By Brandi Underwood
For The Register-Herald
THE SUMMIT —
Sen. Joe Manchin visited the Sustainability Treehouse at the Summit Saturday to discuss the Summit property and his hand in its development over the past five years.
Sen. Manchin said that he was approached regarding plans for the Summit in late 2008.
“They brought it (the plan) to me as economic development,” said Manchin. “I looked at them and said, ‘We don’t have anything that could be any better fit for the state of West Virginia than the Boy Scouts of America.’”
Although he was instrumental in the Summit’s development, Manchin said he does not take credit for bringing the Summit to West Virginia.
He was just in “the right place at the right time,” he said.
Manchin said he immediately saw the Summit as being a great opportunity for West Virginia.
Manchin also said that with good land management and good land planning throughout the state, more pieces of abandoned property could be used to benefit our state.
The Garden Ground Mountain property used for the Summit site was once mined by mountaintop removal.
“We were able to use a piece of land here that people would have thought would have been wasted,” said Manchin.
“The coal that came off of this (property) helped build the Panama Canal. The timber that came off of this property helped built the PT boats that helped win WWII for us. It has so much historical value, and now you think it’s going to be building the tallest timber, and that’s the youth of the future. I just don’t think it gets any better than this.”
“When people don’t know something, they might have a conception that’s not accurate because they heard someone say something unflattering,” said Manchin. “This took all of that away. This gave us a chance to say that West Virginia is somewhere special. West Virginia is the home of the Boy Scouts of America, which has true value and will add true value to our economy and our society.”
Most importantly, said Manchin, is that the Summit is a place where character and leadership for future generations will be built.
“It’s really, truly, a dream come true,” he said.