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SOAR's first expedition through the Great Smoky Mountains was in 1981. We found our home here, and soon after purchased Balsam Base.

CAMPUS AND FACILITIES

Our Campus & Facilities vary by location:

Balsam Base, Balsam, NC

Our Balsam Base is located in Balsam, NC, approximately 45 minutes west of Asheville.  We are situated on ~25 acres of wooded, mountainous land, bordering National Park Service land.  The facility includes:Sign

  • The Lodge – this houses our kitchen, dining hall, indoor group recreation space, gear/food rooms, and administrative offices.
  • The Bathhouse – this building is adjacent to the Lodge with private bath and shower facilities, indoor group space, and a twenty-four-foot climbing wall.
  • Cabins – throughout our campus are 10 rustic cabins, named for various explorers.  The cabins contain wooden bunks and are electricity-free!
  • ROPES Course & Game Field – Balsam Base also offers both a low and high ropes course as well as an open field area for games, archery, and hatchet throwing.

Campers are surrounded by nature! Our grounds are home to various native wildflowers (including trillium & mayapple), blackberry bushes, and a wide variety of tree species. Many bird species, including woodpeckers, goldfinch, cardinals, and more can be seen and heard in the trees above base.

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Eagle View Ranch, Dubois, WY

Eagle View Ranch is located four miles west of Dubois WY, situated on ~22 acres of ranch and woodland.  Its facilities include:

  • The Dining Pavilion – constructed of lodgepole pine, this area houses the kitchen, bath, and shower facilities, and a covered dining area with a fireplace.
  • The Riding Area – with horseback riding as the focus of Eagle View Ranch, this area provides students with a wonderful venue for honing their equestrian skills.
  • The Eagle View Lodge – this facility houses administrative offices and classrooms.  A second kitchen complex is adjacent to the Lodge, as are the horse corrals and tack buildings.
  • Cowboy Tents & Tipis – for their time on base, participants and staff stay in outfitter-style shelters and tipis that are electricity-free.

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Set in the Wind River Range, Eagle View Ranch boasts incredible scenic views overlooking Dunoir Valley. One favorite view is the Ramshorn range seen from base, as it is covered in snow even during the summer months!

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Florida Keys, FL

Our Florida Keys Adventure and Florida SCUBA programs are facilitated in the Middle Keys. We utilize Camp Sawyer, a nine-acre oceanfront camp owned by the Boy Scout Council. The property overlooks both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico and is surrounded by tidal pools and mangroves perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and exploration.  All staff and campers stay in tents throughout the summer and will have access to bathroom facilities, picnic tables, and fire circles.

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California

The California programs camp in local State Parks and National Parks. Each campsite is equipped with water and bathroom facilities. Campers and staff will stay in tents for the duration of the program.
Our California Coastal Adventure program begins at Lake Casitas Recreation Area west of the Big Sur region of California.  The participants will travel to the Channel Islands NP, and stay at Morro Bay State Park.
The California Expedition begins in Monterey Bay and then travels to Yosemite NP and the Lake Tahoe region.

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Specialty Courses

Accommodations on specialty courses will vary. International courses typically combine lodging at hostels, private hotels, and campground facilities.

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