Prime Geographic Location

Centrally located in the southern portion of the State of Idaho, the region is home to several conservation areas, nationally designated recreation areas, protected wildlife habitats and historic communities. These resources contribute to the economic vitality and livability of the region. The region is composed of eight counties, thirty-four incorporated communities, and encompasses 11,502 square miles. Of the 7,364,864 acres, federal, state, or local units of government control approximately 63% and roughly 37% is privately held. The City of Twin Falls is the eighth largest Idaho city and the largest community in the Region with nearly 52,000 people according to U.S. Census Bureau 2020 DEC Redistricting Data. Twin Falls serves as the major retail, wholesale, medical and educational center for the Region. Boise, the State Capital, is located roughly 120 miles to the west along Interstate 84. Boise's estimated population exceeds 228,000 and is the State's largest community. The City of Pocatello lies roughly 120 miles to the east along Interstate 86 and is the sixth largest city in the State.

The Region is comprised a complex mixture of different land types. The mountainous area in the southeast portion of the region lies in the Basin and Range Geomorphic Province; the mountainous or hilly areas of the South-central and Southwestern portions are part of the Owyhee Uplands section of the Columbia Intermountain Province; the central part of the Region from east to west, lies in the Eastern Snake River Plain. The Snake River Plain boarders the southern side of the basaltic Mount Bennett Hills with the fertile agricultural lands of the Camas Prairie on the southern side. The Camas Prairie Centennial Marsh Wildlife Management Area in Camas County provides more than 6,000 acres of aquatic and upland habitat for waterfowl breeding and nesting. Historically, the area was used by the Bannock, Shoshoni, and Norther Paiute tribes for camas root gathering and summer hunting. Further north lies the rugged Idaho Batholith mountains – the Soldiers, Pioneers, Boulders, and Sawtooth’s. Elevations range from 2,000 feet where the Snake River exits Gooding County to 12,078 at Hyndman Peak east of Ketchum. With some areas referred to as high desert and others as forested mountain, the Region exhibits numerous soil types and natural vegetation varieties.

Due to these varied landforms, the overall regional climate is considered moderate. Although the area has four seasons, there exists a wide range of temperatures and conditions throughout the year. The higher mountain areas generally experience more snow and cold, while the Hagerman Valley, nestled in the Snake River canyon, is capable of raising fruit and melons. Avid golfers can play nearly year-round, while skiers can generally enjoy snowy conditions from November through April. Rangeland constitutes the major land use with over half (56.5%) of the Region designated as Range. Agricultural uses require approximately 1.7 million acres (23%) of the available land. Lava flows have caused the classification of slightly over 1 million acres in the Region as "barren". Development in Lincoln County is seriously affected by this problem as more than half of the County’s available land area is designated as barren. Lava flows also presents land use challenges in Blaine, Jerome, and Minidoka Counties. Forestland covers six percent (6.01%) of the Region. Only one-half of one percent (0.5%) of the Region is classified as Water and four-tenths of one percent (0.4%) as Urban.

Multiple Opportunity Zones

Established by Congress in 2017, Opportunity Zones encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities. Private investment vehicles that place 90% or more of their funds into an Opportunity Zone cab earn tax relief on the capital gains generated through those investments.

The South-central region boosts five designated areas:

  • Buhl City
  • Gooding County
  • Jerome City
  • Rupert City
  • Twin Falls City

Region IV Development provides support and resources for small business to take advantage of Opportunity Zone incentives. See Appendix 3 for city/county specific information.

Photo Caption: 2nd South Market, Idaho’s first food hall, utilized Opportunity Zone benefits to convert a 94 year-old manufacturing building in the heart of downtown Twin Falls to an entertainment destination. In December 2023, the business was recognized by U.S. Senator Jim Risch as a Local Gem as part of the “Support Local Gems All Season Long” initiative.

Outdoor Recration Possibilities

Southern Idaho has a plethora of outdoor recreation opportunities including hiking, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, skiing, ATV trail riding, and much more. The region also draws visitors from all around the world for uncommon attractions and amenities.

Sawtooth National Recreation Area
The Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) is primarily located in Blaine and Custer Counties. With spectacular scenic beauty and recreational opportunities, the SNRA offers year-round outdoor activities. Established in 1972, the SNRA covers roughly 758,000 acres. Within the recreational area 217,000 acres are designated as Wilderness. The SNRA boasts five mountain ranges, 1,142 lakes, 1,000 miles of streams, 740 miles of maintained hiking trails, and 36 developed campgrounds.
Photo: American Flag suspended above the Snake River Canyon by Tedi Thompson
Base Jumping
Another opportunity for the extreme sport enthusiast is the Perrine Bridge across the Snake River in Twin Falls. This is one of the few places in the U.S. where jumping off a bridge is not only permitted but embraced. When the weather is warm and the wind is right, BASE (Buildings, Antennae, Spans, Earth) jumpers come from around the globe to jump off the Perrine Bridge in Twin Falls. With the banks of the Snake River providing the landing spot over 486 feet below, the Perrine Bridge offers some of the most ideal and breathtaking jumping conditions.
Rock Climbing
City of Rocks National Reserve and Castle Rocks State Park rivals Yosemite National Park as a western favorite for technical rock climbers and is widely considered one of the top rock-climbing destinations in the world. Designated as a National Reserve in 1988, this area holds a prominent place in the history of the Oregon and California trails. Wagon ruts and axle grease graffiti left by pioneers can be seen among the massive rock formations rising from the valley floor.
Photo: American Flag suspended above the Snake River Canyon by Tedi Thompson
Photo: A base jumper leaps from the Perrine Bridge 486 feet above the Snake River by Michele McFarlane.
From raging whitewater rapids to calm flat-water, the region is blessed with an abundance of water opportunities on one of the premier rivers of the West - the Snake River. Centennial Park in Twin Falls provides river access for canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding. Further south in the Hagerman Valley, there is a whitewater stretch that is a favorite with paddlers of all abilities including Class II and Class III rapids. It combines big water with modest rapids in the warmest part of the state. More advanced whitewater enthusiasts can tackle big rapids on the “Murtaugh Stretch”. This 14-mile section of the Snake River is renowned for its 16 class III, IV and V rapids. Other fishing and boating opportunities include Salmon Dam reservoir, Murtaugh Lake, Wilson Lake, Redfish Lake, Magic Reservoir, and countless other streams and water bodies.

Small Business Lending Capabilities

Region IV Development helps strengthen economic vitality of the region by assisting small businesses in obtaining commercial financing. The RIVDA Loan Program focuses solely on the progression of small businesses. Business owners are walked through step-by-step to find financing solutions that will meet their ever-changing needs. All types of for-profit businesses, from the entrepreneur looking to launch a new product to the seasoned business looking to expand their operations, are assisted through this program. Collaborating with banking partners, in addition to working with clients individually, allows RIVDA to provide financing for real estate, equipment, inventory, tenant improvements and working capital.

Occasionally, there are some instances where lending institutions are unable to finance certain projects. In those instances, RIVDA administers an array of internal loan programs in which we can take on the financing of an entire project. Borrowers must have a marketable skill, service, or product available to the public. Applicants must demonstrate that the business has or will have adequate cash flow and profit to repay the loan. See Appendix 2 for more information on the individual loan programs administered by RIVDA.

Total Loans Funded by RIVDA
From 1984 when RIVDA made its first loan through the end of the Fiscal Year 2023, the RIVDA Loan Division has funded 618 loans totaling $171.5 million. This effort has positively supported the economic growth and businesses throughout the region and the entire State of Idaho. RIVDA will continue its efforts in administrating these loan programs to promote economic growth.
Rinard Media utilized financing options through Region IV Development to revitalize a 100 year old building in downtown Twin Falls. Functionality was improved upon while preserving the historic features, allowing Rinard Media to grow as an organization.
Rinard Media utilized financing options through Region IV Development to revitalize a 100 year old building in downtown Twin Falls. Functionality was improved upon while preserving the historic features, allowing Rinard Media to grow as an organization.
Photo: Rinard Media utilized financing options through Region IV Development to revitalize a 100 year old building in downtown Twin Falls. Functionality was improved upon while preserving the historic features, allowing Rinard Media to grow as an organization.
Total Loans Funded

Broadband Access

The lack of adequate broadband in many areas of the South-central region was brought to light during the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic as world-wide stay-at-home orders were issued. In response RIVDA prepared eight successful applications that yielded $7.2 million in Idaho Broadband Grant Awards to rural Idaho communities. While the majority of stay-at-home orders have been lifted globally, the pandemic continues to reshape how many choose to work. Nationally, those who can work from home are choosing to do so at a higher rate than prior to the health crisis. Additionally, the ability to work from home gives workers the option to live anywhere with consistent internet access, making leaving large urban areas a reality. The wide-open spaces of Idaho have proved to be an attractive option. In 2021, Idaho was the fastest growing state in the nation.

This shift in preference to work from home and to do so in rural Idaho can only be supported with ongoing improvements to broadband coverage and connectivity. High-speed internet access has shifted from a luxury to an infrastructure necessity in order for cities and counties to attract and retain individuals, businesses, and industry. Despite the efforts to improve broadband access Idaho is currently lagging behind the rest of the nation. Only 79.8% of Idaho residents have access to 100 Mbps broadband (46th in the nation) and only 68.4% have access to 1G broadband (32nd in the nation).

Closing the digital divide across South-central Idaho ensures regional access to education and healthcare while making our communities more attractive to industrial development and growth. Accessed October 18, 2023 Accessed October 18, 2023


Collaboration among community and economic development professionals is a key factor in the region’s success. In 2023, Idaho was selected as one of six states to receive technical assistance from the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness. Funded by EDA and NADO, the “Policy Academy” initiative was based on a need to better align planning efforts. Named 44Go! to represent the forty-four counties in the state, the initiative vision is to formalize and institutionalize collaborative regional and state planning processes to create an inclusive economic development community within the state. Significant time was spent building relationships among the academy participants and identifying the role each organization plays in economic development. Participants concluded culture change among the state’s economic development professionals, including long-term commitment to ongoing collaboration, transparency, and expanded communication efforts is the first step to align planning efforts and for state-wide economic prosperity.

Brownfield Revitalization Project

Since 2021, Region IV Development collaborated with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to encourage the revitalization of potentially contaminated properties in South-central Idaho. Funding from EPA are used to complete Phase I and Phase II Environmental Assessments and Cleanup Planning on properties where historical use creates a probability of contamination, which discourages reuse. In addition to assessment funding, RIVDA received funding to establish a loan program for cleanup of contaminated properties. Idaho Therapy in Motion (below) in Gooding was able to utilize the assessment program to determine if hazardous materials were found at the property they were purchasing. The assessment gave owners providing the necessary information for the purchaser to feel confident in moving forward with the purchase, remodel, and eventual revitalization. A previously vacant building on Main Street is now an operating business, providing the community a needed service.

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