LITTLE SIOUX, Iowa (KCAU) — A scout camp that has welcomed Siouxland youth for five decades is changing hands. The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation was set to purchase the Little Sioux Scout Ranch by the end of 2022.

With dwindling scout visitors, the Mid-American Council of the Boy Scouts of America approached the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation for them to purchase the roughly 2,000 acres of land.

“Potentially one of the largest privately owned natural areas within the state of Iowa,” said Kody Wohlers, Loess Hill land stewardship director.

When deciding to sell the property to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. The Boy Scouts of America required the new owners to follow three rules.

“It will be open to the public, and then maintain the heritage of the four scouts who were lost in the 2008 tornado, and then also maintain the story of the Little Sioux Scout Ranch and the scouting history that’s been here for the last 50 years,” said Wohlers.

After swiftly agreeing to the three rules, the Natural Heritage Foundation needed to come up with $2 million by the end of 2022. However, it wasn’t easy.

“Finding some of those big contributors, different organizations that want to contribute to it. The other thing that was tough is just getting the word out there to help tell the story, what it’s gonna be in the future,” said Wohlers.

Even with roughly 500 donors, by the end of last year, the foundation was still a few hundred dollars short of the $2 million. However, by the end of January, the foundation is expected to have the full amount and will officially own the Little Sioux Scout Ranch. After the purchase is complete, the Heritage Foundation will begin to upgrade the camp.

“The goal for, at least the short interim, is to still have the scouts here on property, and then we’ll start working towards, kinda a management plan of what the trails look like, assess them, what upgrades need to be done, different stewardship management practices as far as the needs as far as that goes,” said Wohlers.

Over the past year, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation has received donations from some of the same people that went to the scout camp years ago and sharing stories and saying how much it means to them that the foundation is buying the Little Sioux Scout Ranch.

“This property has touched so many lives over the years, that’s what I think is one of the truly amazing things of this property, and just its overall size and the quality of it is amazing,” said Wohlers.

Wohlers said while he isn’t sure when the park will be completely open to the public. At this time, an open house is expected to take place late summer/early spring.