State leaders and the Boy Scouts of America promised The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve would live up to its hype.
So far, construction of the multi-million facility near Mount Hope in Fayette County has delivered.
Although the main event, the 2013 National Jamboree, is still months away, the facility has already resulted in a more than $50 million economic impact to the surrounding area, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin recently announced. That $50 million figure comes from wages and materials alone. However, nearby hotels that have housed workers and volunteers constructing the facility have seen $1 million pumped into the local economy.
"Millions of dollars associated with materials, labor and tourism have boosted the local economy, with millions more to come when the Summit opens in 2013," Tomblin said at the Boy Scouts of America's 2012 Sustainability Summit held at the Greenbrier Resort Oct. 17. "Together, we are building a sustainable future for the region, our beautiful state and tens of thousands of Scouts from West Virginia and across the globe who will enjoy the Reserve for years to come."
Nearly 1,000 workers have worked to construct The Summit, which includes 10,600 acres and a number of facilities as well as zip lines, mountain biking and hiking paths and a challenge course. Those 1,000 workers represent $34.5 million in wages. To date, $16 million in materials have been purchased in West Virginia, including $9 million in purchases from vendors in Fayette, Raleigh and Nicholas counties.
Tomblin said construction of The Summit represents "a true West Virginia partnership." The Division of Highways, National Guard and Homeland Security have joined with the Boy Scouts and local workers and vendors to construct the facility. BSA Summit Group Director Dan McCarthy said the organization owes the success of The Summit to that partnership.
"From the inception of The Summit Bechtel Reserve project, our success has been tightly linked to the strong partnership we have formed with the state of West Virginia," McCarthy said. "The economic success Gov. Tomblin has outlined is a direct reflection of that partnership and one we expect will continue to yield long term economic benefit to the state."
Next summer, more than 40,000 scouts will travel to West Virginia for the 2013 National Jamboree, a week-long event. By that time, the Boy Scouts will have built four dams, creating 77 acres of lakes, 24 miles of road, 235 miles of trails and pedestrian routes and a number of high-adventure activities for visitors and scouts. The Jamboree is scheduled for July 15-24.