Almost Preserved

Preservation plans for Warm Springs Ranch would likely include a dog park. Photo credit: City of Ketchum

Nearly $7.6M raised since beginning of Warm Springs Ranch preservation

By Eric Valentine

A City of Ketchum illustrated map reveals where a parking lot is envisioned for the 65-acre lot. Image credit: City of Ketchum

If there’s any question that natural history and its man-made counterpart can’t coexist, recent events in Ketchum suggest otherwise. On the heels of reaching a multimillion-dollar fundraising milestone to preserve 65 acres of open space, Ketchum City Council made the latest effort to preserve historically significant buildings in the downtown core official.

Specifically, on Jan. 3, City Council reconstituted the so-called Historic Preservation Commission—a five-member panel made up of Planning and Zoning officials and other members of the public. In addition to maintaining and updating a list of historically important downtown structures, that panel will deep-dive review any proposed changes to those structures. A temporary ban on changes to potentially historic buildings had been in place since October of 2020.

And on the natural preservation side of city business, the city announced it had reached the $6.5 million mark by the Dec. 31 deadline set by the current owners of the pristine property known as Warm Springs Ranch near Bald Mountain Road. The fundraising effort is part of an attempt to turn the property into a preserve, where both restoration efforts and a limited set of public uses could coexist.

A special fundraising committee was set up last year to raise funds from residents and others to purchase the 65-acre property for, initially, a total of $10 million—$9 million for the property and $1 million for the irrigation and site upgrades. Soon after, the committee announced a $1 million reduction in the sale price, which had a timeline contingency attached. Finally, a fundraising committee member also ponied up a $1 million time-contingent offer toward the effort. Both timeline benchmarks were reached successfully.

“Thanks to the generosity of 687 donors, the total raised since the start of the campaign is now $7,599,446.90,” the city announced in a press release last week. “With this much raised, the city is essentially $400,000 away from the $8 million purchase price of the property, and $1.4 million away from the full campaign goal.”

The full amount to purchase 65 acres of the Warm Springs Ranch property must be in hand by April 2022.

“I can’t thank this community enough for responding so generously to the two year-end incentives,” said Mayor Neil Bradshaw. “We don’t have much further to go and with the support we’ve had so far, I’m confident we will get where we need to be.”

Warm Springs Preserve will be kept as open space in perpetuity for the community if the campaign to purchase the property succeeds.

Priorities for the Preserve include off-leash dog access, creek and habitat restoration, new water-conscious irrigation system, walking trails, informal gatherings and activities, Nordic ski and snowshoe trails, and public restrooms. Development, organized sports and reserved private or commercial events would be restricted.

Currently, the property is zoned to allow significant development. However, a subdivision application and approval from the city would still be required.

For more information and to find ways to give, visit If you have questions about the fundraising campaign or the city’s plans for the property, please email


Proposed Allowable Uses

• Dog Park • Picnics • Connector Trails • Riparian Zone

• Water-conscious Irrigation • Nordic Skiing • Snowshoeing

• Green Space Preserve • Public Restrooms

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