BECKLEY, W.Va.—Officials at the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve are anticipating increased river use and shuttle traffic during the World Scout Jamboree July 22-August 2 at the adjacent Summit Bechtel Reserve.
Up to 65,000 scouts and scout leaders from more than 170 countries are expected to attend the event attend the landmark event, which is being held for the first time since 1967 in the U.S., according to park superintendent Lizzie Watts.
Scouts will have the opportunity to visit the park on half-day river trips along middle sections of the river, and park visitors should expect heavy daytime use in these areas and increased bus traffic along roadways leading to these locations.
Hundreds of scouts will be shuttled daily by commercial river outfitters to and from river access areas at Glade Creek, Thayer, Stone Cliff, and Cunard.
To help mitigate congestion in the Thayer area, the Thayer primitive campground will be closed from noon on Sunday, July 21, to noon on Friday, August 2.
During this time, the river access area at Thayer will be closed daily between the hours of 6 a.m. and 4 p.m., reopening for evening use only. In addition, no overnight shuttle parking will be permitted in the Thayer area.
During the Jamboree, park service rangers from New River Gorge National Park and Preserve and other parks across the country will operate an outreach tent alongside staff from other Department of the Interior agencies at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. Exhibits will showcase the diversity of public lands throughout the U.S.
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Scouts can earn the first-time offering of a Department of the Interior World Scout Jamboree patch by participating in a variety of hands-on activities.
Watts welcomed the influx of guests to southern West Virginia.
"In this event, we have the opportunity to welcome youth, not just from the United States, but from all over the world to our beautiful area, and show them the magnificence of southern West Virginia and national parks throughout the U.S.,” she said.