The full extent of the record-breaking 2019 World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia might be difficult to imagine, but photographer Gary Hartley was willing to hang out of an open helicopter to help.
“[I] had the opportunity to fly with my good friend Chandler Swope over the Summit Bechtel Reserve/World Scout Jamboree and take photos,” Hartley posted on Facebook.
“Chandler was kind enough to take the door off his helicopter, so I could hang out and get some clean shots of the site. The site holds 45,000 scouts & leaders pretty well.”
Though now retired, Hartley was a former Boy Scouts of America official employed to establish the Summit where 45,000 are now gathered.
He also served as a chief ranger for the New River Gorge National River, an adjacent national park that helped attract the scouts to West Virginia.
The reserve is the current home of the National Scout Jamboree, the Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base, the James C. Justice National Scout Camp, and the John D. Tickle National Training and Leadership Center.
The reserve is one of five high-adventure bases the BSA operates nationally. The others are Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, Northern Tier National High Adventure Bases in Minnesota, Manitoba, and Ontario, and Florida National High Adventure Sea Base in the Florida Keys.
The Summit is currently home to three important scouting facilities—the James C. Justice National Scout Camp, the Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base, and the John D. Tickle Training and Leadership Center.
Its six subcamps have the capacity to house up to 40,000 campers, and its outdoor arena at BB&T Point boasts a capacity of approximately 80,000 spectators.
The reserve’s ten adventure areas provide scouts with access to zip lines, canopy tours, mountain biking trails, challenge courses, skateboarding parks, climbing and rappelling, walls, and archery, rifle, and shotgun ranges.
The 2019 Jamboree will end August 2, after which the reserve is expected to host its next Jamboree, the U.S. Jamboree, in 2021.
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Lodging near the Bechtel Summit Reserve