Hanging out of ‘copter, photographer captures World Scout Jamboree

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Orange tents extend across Bravo Base Camp at the Bechtel Summit Reserve. More than 20,000 tents are pitched at the reserve. (Photo courtesy Gary Hartley)

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.”


Action Point and other attractions anchor the area south of the amphitheater and Goodrich Lake. (Photo Gary Hartley.)

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 , the Paul R. Christen National , the James C. Justice National Scout Camp, and the John D. Tickle National Training and Leadership Center.

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The reserve is one of five high-adventure bases the BSA operates nationally. The others are  in New Mexico,  in Minnesota, Manitoba, and Ontario, and  in the Florida Keys.

On Goodrich Lake, basecamps Charlie (blue tents) and Delta (orange) extend across the James C. Justice National Scout Camp at the Bechtel Summit Reserve. Basecamp Echo appears in the distance on Lake Tickle. (Photo courtesy Gary Hartley)

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.

Scouts kayak on Goodrich Lake, created during the development of the Bechtel Summit Reserve. Construction and development adhered to strict environmental and sustainability guidelines. (Photo courtesy Gary Hartley)

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.

The Scott Visitor Center, under the blue roof at left, welcomes scouts, leaders, and guests, to one of the most remarkable outdoor recreation centers in the world. (Photo courtesy Gary Hartley)

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Lodging near the Bechtel Summit Reserve

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