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Scout Reserve director gives site update

By Megan Workman
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Imagine gliding down a 3,500-foot zip line over a lake and reaching speeds up to 60 miles per hour at a site that has the world's longest total combined zip lines.Visitors to the Boy Scout of America's new Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in Fayette County will get the chance to zip line, hike, bike, shoot, fish, climb and much more at a place that is one of a kind, Summit Director Dan McCarthy told the Rotary Club of Charleston on Monday."There is no place like this in the entire world, and it's here in West Virginia," McCarthy said. "It couldn't have been anywhere else."McCarthy said he was part of the original committee that considered 80 different properties across the nation for the reserve."From a scouting perspective, this location is enormously important. This is the right place," he said.As for a zip line two-thirds of a mile long, some Scouts might not choose the fast-paced activity and that is OK, he said. There are 15 zip lines that make up more than 28,000 feet in lines and 56 canopy tour stations."I suspect there will be kids who hike to the top and decide they'll ride their bikes down instead," McCarthy said with a laugh.The 10,600-acre reserve has recreational access to more than 80,000 acres, thanks to the adjacent New River Gorge.West Virginia's natural rocks are apparent throughout the site, but McCarthy said some of the world's top consultants and designers built the largest manmade outdoor climbing facility in the country.Artists formed 125 climbing stations, 100 boulder stations, 42 rappelling stations and six "leap of faith" stations to resemble the state's rocks.McCarthy said when the 40,000 or so Scouts visit the southern part of the state -- making it the third largest city in West Virginia overnight -- in July for the National Scout Jamboree, and future Jamborees, they are "going through various experiences" unlike anything else.This year's Jamboree is scheduled for July 15-24. The reserve will host a Jamboree every four years."They will be tired puppies when they go through this. We don't have to worry about kids sleeping at night here," McCarthy said. There are six challenge courses, the most available at any single facility in the world.The reserve has the No. 1 purpose-built mountain biking course in the world, McCarthy said.
There are 36 miles of biking trails with three jump courses, three pump courses, two skills courses and 50 trails.The BMX program, at more than 273,000 square feet, is the second largest in the world for indoor and outdoor square footage, including a 32,000-square-foot BMX racetrack, and a 40,000-square-foot downhill track.A skate park area of nearly 104,000 square feet -- including 9,200 square feet in skate bowls -- is the second largest in the world for outdoor square footage.Scouts have more than 1,300 unique barrel shooting opportunities -- the third largest in the world -- at the Summit, such as 79 sporting clay stations, 50 trap stations, 60 rifle stations, 20 pistol stations and 588 jungle airsoft targets.The Summit also is the third largest in the world for the total number of archery shooting opportunities. There are 116 archery stations, including 60 static stations and 36 sporting stations.
To make all of this possible, philanthropists have donated more than $300 million to develop the site, McCarthy said.
The site includes 336 shower houses, 24 miles of road and 100 miles of electricity, fiber, gas, water and sewer lines that are installed underground at the Summit.About 80 percent of the 952 onsite contractors employed are from the Mountain State. The $34.5 million in payroll plus the money spent on materials has a $50 million economic impact in the state, McCarthy said.Each Scout will perform service projects, totaling 300,000 hours, in the surrounding nine counties.McCarthy said the reserve will host the High Adventure program -- which already has more than 2,300 people registered -- the National Scout Camp, the National Camping School and Training Center, the World Jamboree in 2019 and Centers of Excellence, such as science and technology and leadership and wellness excellence.Other features of the Summit: 
  • AT&T sponsored with Wi-Fi and 4G cellphone support
  • Eight million-gallon water storage
  • 75,000-square-foot logistics center
  • 140-acre wastewater treatment facility
  • Helipad the size of three football fields
  • Sustainability tree house
  •  The Summit will host a public driving tour exclusively for West Virginians on May 19. To get tickets, which should be available in one week, or to learn more about the Summit visit or email Megan Workman at or 304-348-5113.
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