Boy Scouts of America in WV: The Summit Bechtel ReserveFebruary 2, 2012
Since November of 2009 when the site selection was made, 10,600 acres of wilderness and old mine lands in Fayette and Raleigh Counties have been slowly transformed into what will be the Boy Scouts of America’s newest High Adventure Camp.
The Summit Bechtel Reserve is going to carry the Boy Scouts into the next century by focusing on state of the art equipment and embracing change to better engage the youth of today.
The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve is going to be the Boy Scouts of America’s greatest facility. Not only will it be the newest and most state of the art High Adventure Base Camp, but it will also become a future home of the National Scout Jamboree, starting in 2013. It will also be the home of the National Center for Scouting Excellence.
It will be the seventh High Adventure Base Camp in the history of the BSA; it will be the fourth currently operational camp. The programs offered at the Summit will be specifically tailored to take advantage of the New River Gorge and its resources. It will offer rafting, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, rappelling orienteering, and geocaching. There are many other activities being proposed as well.
With close to 13 miles of its property bordering the New River Gorge National Park, this camp is situated in the heart of southern WV. 8,000 acres are in Fayette County and the remaining 2600 are in Raleigh County. This 10,600 acre reserve allows the scouts to access more than 70,000 acres of park property just outside its boundaries.
Located between Fayetteville and Beckley, and only about 25 miles from the Gauley River National Recreation Area, its not hard to see why this site was chosen ahead of 80 others in 28 states. This site also has a close proximity to a large percentage of the U.S. population, with nearly 2/3 of people in the United States living within a 10 hour drive of the Summit.
After it was selected as the site, the next step to making it a reality was to get funding. Stephen Bechtel, a past eagle scout himself, donated $50 million to the project and the Summit was named in his honor. Millions more have been donated from a wide pool of sources, making this one of the largest BSA projects ever. In fact, when all is said and done, the Scouts will most likely have close to $250 million in the project.
The Summit was developed out of necessity. There is typically a wait list to attend the other High Adventure Camps. Also, the permanent home of the National Jamboree, Fort A.P Hill in Virginia, is part of the Fort A.P. Hill Army instillation. At the Summit, BSA now has it’s very own, dedicated spot for the Jamboree.
It’s estimated that 50,000 scouts and 300,000 visitors will visit the Gorge during the Jamboree. The local area is busy getting ready for these new visitors.
Are you coming to the Jamboree in 2013?