CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia and the Buckskin Council of the Boy Scouts of America have signed a memorandum that will allow scouts to use state parks for activities while encouraging them to contribute to park conservation and preservation through service projects.
Under the terms of the agreement, scouts from the Buckskin Council in West Virginia will have the opportunity to camp for free in designated state parks, such as Pipestem Resort and North Bend, as long as the requested facility is available for use on the requested date.
Recreational activities at those parks may also be provided at a reduced or negotiated rate, depending on volume, availability, operational hours, and the time of year.
Before starting a service project, scouting units will be required to complete volunteer agreements and obtain project approval from West Virginia State Parks.
State parks personnel may also provide educational programming, such as merit badge classes and counseling, to visiting scouts.
The Boy Scouts of America’s Buckskin Council is headquartered in Charleston and serves 40 counties in Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. As with all councils, Buckskin helps youth develop academic skills, self-confidence, ethics, leadership skills, and citizenship skills through outdoor activities.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice praised the agreement for its ability to engage in park conservation efforts.
“This partnership will give scouts access to unforgettable outdoor experiences and empower them to actively engage in conservation efforts in our beautiful state parks.”
Brett McMillion, director of the division, said his agency was thankful for the conservation help and was enthusiastic about its long-term impact on the scouts and the state park system.
“By welcoming scouts into our state parks, we’re not only providing kids with invaluable opportunities to learn and explore the outdoors, but we’re giving them the chance to contribute to the conservation and enhancement of our state’s precious resources,” McMillion said.
"We hope this experience will translate into a lifelong love for West Virginia. We look forward to seeing the positive impact of this partnership on the scouts, our state parks, and the community as a whole.”
The agreement is one of several public-private partnerships the division has developed to promote environmental stewardship, outdoor education, and community engagement.
Other partnerships include work with the Mountaineer Challenge Academy to guide at-risk youth on their first deer hunt and give cadets an opportunity to participate in trout stocking initiatives and stream improvement projects.