The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve located near Beckley, W.Va., is a BSA property known for being a multipurpose year-round destination for Scouting activities and adventures.
That’s just a fancy way of saying, “It’s really cool.”
The Summit became the permanent home for the National Jamboree in 2013 and features a high-adventure base, a national flagship Scout camp and a leadership training center.
Again, you’re going to have to trust us: It’s really, really cool.
But the best news is that there are still openings for 2021.
A Wide-Ranging Menu
Four high-adventure programs are back in action this year:
- the New River Experience, which features more than 50 miles of backpacking-style travel on inflatable kayaks and rafts;
- the Summit Experience, which offers introductory-level experiences at each of the Summit high-adventure venues;
- the Bikepacking Experience, with more than 50 miles of backpacking-style bike rides through the Summit and New River Gorge area; and
- the Polaris ATV Experience, including more than 60 miles of rugged exploration in the New River Gorge area.
Even better, there are two brand-new opportunities for 2021:
- the Marksman Experience, which offers four days of shooting sports activities for both beginners and experienced marksmen alike; and
- the Pack N’ Paddle Experience, which is a combination of hiking and rafting.
A Historic Area
The New River is one of America’s most scenic and historic rivers. It was already popular enough to merit a national park. We’re here to remind you that it’s home to a BSA high-adventure base, too.
The Summit offers paddling, camping and fishing opportunities right on the river.
The hills and trails near the river were already famous for their mountain-biking opportunities. The Summit offers a mixture of single-track, doubletrack and paved roads.
Rugged exploration has long been a deeply entrenched tradition in West Virginia. The Summit’s ATV course brings back that feeling of rugged exploration while teaching you to safely drive an ATV through the wilderness.
Who Can Go
The Summit’s high-adventure programs are open to registered Scouts BSA members, Sea Scouts and Venturers who are at least 13 or 14 years old (depending on the program), along with their registered leaders.
Participants in aquatic activities must successfully complete a BSA swimmer test. The Summit also recommends that aquatics program participants have completed the Kayaking merit badge or have equivalent knowledge and skill.
If you want to fish during your trip, you must purchase a West Virginia fishing license. Youth under 15 years of age may fish without a license.
Photos by W. Garth Dowling