The Summit Story
Situated in the wilds of West Virginia, The Summit is a training, Scouting, and adventure center for the millions of youth and adults involved in the Boy Scouts of America and anyone who loves the outdoors. The Summit Bechtel Reserve is also home to the National Scout Jamboree and the Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base which complements the three existing bases: Philmont Scout Ranch, Northern Tier and Florida Sea Base.
Get ready for the next century of Scouting. With incredible facilities and amazing outdoor programs, The Summit is a place that takes Scouts and Venturers to the limits of what they think they can do, and then pushes them further.
The Summit is more than just a place for Scouts; it’s where future leaders are shaped.
From Conception To Reality
The Summit story began in 2007 when BSA leadership began looking for a permanent location for the National Scout Jamboree, which had been held at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia since 1981 as well as seeking another high adventure base for the large number of Scouts who are wait-listed at the other three high adventure camps every year. A committee in charge of site selection and project planning was created. The committee named the new venture Project Arrow, chaired by Jack D. Furst. Plans for Project Arrow grew to include not only a venue for the Jamboree, but also for a summer camp, a high adventure base, and a leadership center, all housed on the same contiguous property.
More than 80 sites in 28 states were visited over an 18-month span and inspected as possible locations for the new venue. The top fifteen sites were visited and in October 2008 the list was cut to three sites: Saline County, Arkansas; Goshen, Rockbridge County, Virginia; and the New River region of West Virginia. In February 2009 Arkansas was cut from the list, leaving Virginia and West Virginia. On August 4, 2009, the BSA announced it was no longer considering the Virginia site as the permanent host of the National Jamboree and was looking into the feasibility of the West Virginia site hosting the National Jamboree as well as the leadership and high adventure programs.
On Wednesday November 18, 2009, the BSA announced that it had chosen the West Virginia site, known locally as the Garden Ground Mountain property, as the future home of The Summit.
One of the deciding factors for Project Arrow in choosing the West Virginia site was its adjacency to New River Gorge National River. More than 13 miles of the property borders the park, giving Scouts and Scouters access to more than 70,000 acres of managed wilderness beyond the Summit property.
But this was merely the beginning. The Summit story would not have been possible without generous donations and support from those with an interest in the tools Scouting provides young people to prepare them for life.
Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. ran the largest engineering company in the United States for 30 years. The S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the Stephen Bechtel Fund, both family foundations, provide support to, among other groups, select non-profit organizations that address challenges to the economic welfare of the United States.
One of those organizations is the BSA. Stephen credits the BSA, more than anything else, with building the strength of character that would allow him to lead others throughout his life.
The Bechtel Foundation donated $50 million to the BSA to help purchase and develop the land that is now The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve. It was the largest charitable donation ever made to the Boy Scouts of America.
Walter Scott, Jr. became an Eagle Scout in 1946 and is a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. On October 22, 2010, his foundation donated $25 million to The Summit. Scott credits the lessons he learned in Scouting to much of his success, including the central tenet of goal setting (but he loved the camping, too). The gift will result in the Scott Scouting Valley, the central panoramic feature at The Summit.
The Goodriches are no strangers to charitable giving and the BSA. The family helped create the Comer Scout Reservation (AKA Camp Comer) in the BSA’s Greater Alabama Council. Goodrich has described his gift as a natural response to wanting to give back to the organization responsible for creating such transformative experiences for so many young people. In appreciation of their gift, The Summit’s primary lake will be named Goodrich Lake.
CONSOL Energy has donated $15 million toward the creation of the CONSOL Energy Bridge, a unique pedestrian bridge that will be an integral part of a Scout’s experience at The Summit. With three separate walkways, two of which bend above and below the main span, the bridge’s eagle-wing inspiration is clearly visible. The generous donation of America’s largest energy company will be forever recognized in this beautiful and inspiring structure.