The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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March 8, 2014

The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve

Site ready to move into next development phase


Situated adjacent to the New River Gorge National River in Fayette County, the 10,600-acre property comprising the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve (more commonly dubbed “the Summit”) has been exalted as a key player in ensuring that southern West Virginia’s economy moves forward.

So far, the Summit injected nearly $170 million into the local economy during the construction phase, and another $12 million was estimated as the 2013 national Jamboree’s economic impact. Those numbers included the estimated impact on local vendors and businesses, local labor and payroll and the five-day-long community service initiative. 

However, after businesses experienced a significantly lower traveler turnout to the 2013 Jamboree than they anticipated, many local community members and business owners are wondering about the extent of the Summit’s economic impact in the region in coming years. 


With the last official day of winter less than a month away, the arrival of warmer weather and summer activity is just around the corner, and with that comes the unbridled curiosity of locals wondering what activities are planned at the Summit. 

With more than three years until the next Jamboree, Gary Hartley, the Summit’s director of community and government relations, ensures that the Summit will continue to thrive in the meantime.  

“In 2014, we move into our first phase of additional programming: The Paul R. Christen High Adventure Base,” said Hartley.

As the first of many programs to be hosted at the Summit, the Paul R. Christen High Adventure Base will be one of four high adventure bases operated by the Boy Scouts of America across the country. The Summit’s adventure base opportunities will include mountain biking, rock climbing, shooting sports, ziplining, whitewater rafting and more.

Starting in June, the BSA plans to run an estimated 5,000 Scouts through the base each week over a 10-week period, Hartley said. 

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