|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||November 1, 2010|
|Contact:||Erin Haddix St. John, West Virginia Program Manager, National Parks Conservation Association, 304.860.7228
Alison Zemanski, Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association, 202.454.3332
Three-Day Workshop Focuses On Preparing The New River Gorge Region For Boy Scouts Reserve
Community leaders gather to discuss how to prepare region for Boy Scouts of America 2013 Jamboree and new national high adventure camp
Beckley, West Virginia--More than 70 community leaders, local business owners and regional economists gathered last week for a three-day strategic planning workshop, facilitated by the Conservation Fund, to focus on how to prepare the New River Gorge region for the upcoming Boy Scouts of America (BSA) 2013 Jamboree and new national high adventure camp. The Bechtel National Scout Reserve will be located on more than 10,000 acres of land adjacent to the New River Gorge National River and is expected to draw thousands of scouts and their families to West Virginia. Participants were actively involved in assessing the impact of the scout reserve on the region and discussing how communities can capitalize on projected economic growth, while preserving community character.
“With so many scouts and their families coming to our region we have the opportunity to showcase our amazing natural and cultural resources, including the New River Gorge National River.” said Erin Haddix St. John, West Virginia program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association. “We need to be sure that we preserve our area’s unique community character along with the scenic beauty and ecological value of the New River Gorge National River.”
Last year, the Boy Scouts of America conducted a national search to determine where to host the 2013 Jamboree and national adventure camp. Applications were received from states across the country and after much research, the proximity to the national park and the enthusiasm of the local communities, made West Virginia the winner and host site.
Congressman Nick Rahall kicked off the public forum on Wednesday evening, followed by Ed McMahon from the Urban Lands Institute, a national leader for community planning, who lead the discussion on the ‘Dollars and Sense of Protecting Community Character.’
The workshop was hosted by a coalition of groups including the Reaching the Summit Steering Committee, National Parks Conservation Association, National Park Service, Boy Scouts of America, New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, National Coal Heritage Area, and the Southern West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau.
A list of action plans were compiled at the conclusion of the three-day workshop including such projects as an impact assessment, the production of non regulatory design guidelines, and the continued development of the regional brand. These next steps will be led by the Reaching the Summit Steering Committee, a collaborative group assembled to help the region prepare for the future home of the Boy Scouts of America, along with the continued involvement of those present at the workshop and many additional community members.
“The input received from community leaders during this workshop will be invaluable to the steering committee as we prepare for the Boy Scouts in 2013,” said Bill Baker, Chairman for the Reaching the Summit Steering Committee.