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

(Continued)

MOUNT HOPE —

Those Scouts and Venturers will have the option to participate in varying specialized week-long programs, or the choice of a “Mountaineer Weekend,” a three-day weekend program which Hartley said will be a big draw for local troops wishing to take advantage of the Summit’s world-class adventure activities. 

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While the projected economic impact of the high adventure base is still unclear, Hartley stated that the best indicator of what’s to come can be gathered by looking at Philmont Scout Ranch, a 137,000-acre tract of wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico. 

Backpacking expeditions and horseback riding may serve as the camp’s primary draws, but Hartley said that the employment opportunities of the Summit may hold similar to that required to staff Philmont. 

With close to 1,000 seasonal employees and 80 permanent staff members at Philmont, Hartley said that those numbers seem like a reasonable projection for future staffing numbers at the Paul R. Christen High Adventure Base.

However, Hartley said that staff numbers will be among the only similarities between Philmont and the Summit’s high adventure base. 

In its 75-year history, Philmont has served to supplement the waning economy of Cimarron, N.M., and many residents attribute the town’s current prosperity to the neighboring Scout base. 

“Without them, we probably wouldn’t exist. They’re one of our biggest industries here.” Mindy Cahill, clerk administrator for the Village of Cimarron, told The Register-Herald in a previous interview.

Due to its remote location, Hartley said that families do not often accompany Scouts to Philmont (they instead arrive by some combinations of plane, rail and chartered bus with their troop). For that reason, the local economic boost in Cimarron is more often generated by special side trips organized by Scout leaders and local spending in restaurants and gift shops. 

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