(Reprinted with permission from West Virginia Department of Commerce)
South Charleston, W.Va. – When completed, The Summit: Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve will serve the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for the next 100 years and draw Scouts from across the nation and around the world to Fayette County.
The 10,600-acre site near Beckley will be the BSA’s fourth national high-adventure base and offer Scouts whitewater rafting, rappelling, mountain biking, hiking and more. The three existing bases, Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, Northern Tier National High Adventure Program in Minnesota and Canada, and Florida National High Adventure Sea Base in the Florida Keys, serve more than 50,000 youths annually. Another 20,000 are wait-listed each year.
“The Summit will ease wait-listing and provide completely new programs not offered at the other three bases,” said Chief Scout Executive Robert Mazzuca. “During the selection process, we knew we wanted sites that included natural beauty and water for recreational activities; the Fayette County site has an abundance of both.”
In addition to housing the high-adventure base, The Summit also will host the BSA’s national Scout jamboree. The jamboree is a 10-day event held every four years that focuses on physical fitness, environmental conservation, national heritage and the true spirit of Scouting. Scouts from across the country, with different backgrounds, faiths and cultures, come together every four years to take part in various activities, including rappelling, kayaking, rafting, trap shooting, archery, bike-a-thons, buckskin games and confidence courses. The 2005 National Scout Jamboree in Fort A.P. Hill, Va., hosted more than 29,000 Scouts and 12,000 staff members and leaders.
West Virginia Division of Tourism Commissioner Betty Carver says the benefits The Summit will bring to Fayette County are immeasurable. “The Summit: Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve will bring tens of thousands of visitors to Fayette County every year. These visitors will experience firsthand West Virginia’s warm hospitality, world-class outdoor recreation and breathtaking scenic beauty.” Whether visitors to The Summit drive or fly into the state, Carver says there are plenty of lodging facilities, restaurants and tourist attractions to welcome them.
The Stephen D. Bechtel Jr. family, which has been involved in Scouting for decades, contributed $50 million toward The Summit: Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve. Stephen D. Bechtel Jr., an Eagle Scout since 1940, is the recipient of several awards, including the Silver Buffalo Award and the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. Kenneth Bechtel, Stephen’s uncle, was national president of the Boy Scouts of America from 1956 to 1959.