News Column

Thousands of Boy Scouts Arrive for Jamboree

July 16, 2013

Tens of thousands of Boy Scouts, clad in uniform, have arrived at The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve for the 2013 National Scout Jamboree.

Scouts from all over the country and several other countries began arriving by bus at the Jamboree, which will last 10 days.

The gathering will give Scouts the opportunity to try high-adventure activities, learn new skills and enjoy the outdoors at the Jamboree's new, permanent home in Fayette and Raleigh counties.

Tyrone Gore, director of operations for the West Virginia Parkways Authority, said traffic was consistent Monday for accommodating the 40,000 Scouts, leaders, staff and volunteers.

"It hasn't been overwhelming at this point," Gore said. "Traffic has been steady, and all the lanes have been moving as they should. We've had a lot of buses come through for the Scouts, but everything is moving."

Gore said the West Virginia Parkways Authority has taken precautionary measures to address the traffic as it increases by having appropriate staff, posting signs in key locations and staffing extra State Police to patrol the area.

"We want to make sure highways are safe and people are traveling the speeds they should; maintenance personnel are also on standby in case we need to flag traffic," he said.

Gore said buses began arriving as early as 6 a.m. and continued until 6 p.m. Monday.

Gorge Collon drove a Peoria Charter Coach Co. bus chock full of Boy Scouts from Illinois.

"It's about 800 miles, so we did that in two days," Collon said.

His bus was receiving some mechanical repair in the nearby parking lot of a Days Inn before heading back to Illinois.

"We have about 60 buses total from our company, and each bus holds about 55 Scouts," he said. "I think they have about 700 or 800 buses total, so it's a lot of Scouts here."

The Mount Hope Days Inn is located at the entrance of the registration area for Scouts. Pam Upton, who works the front desk said, "The traffic has been insane."

State Trooper S.L. Bass of Clay County was helping point traffic in the right direction.

"We are just trying to get all these buses up to where they need to be," Bass said. "The local community has had enough time to prepare and make accommodations, so traffic hasn't been bad."

Bass said troopers from Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Virginia and Ohio were all helping guide the buses.

"We have all hands on deck - the Air National Guard, DNR, Marines - we have a lot of cooperation."

West Virginia Parkways expects traffic congestion on Saturday for the Jamboree concert between 5 p.m. and midnight and on July 24 as Scouts and staff depart between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The heaviest traffic is expected on the West Virginia Turnpike, U.S. 19 and W.Va. 16.

Some bus traffic will be encountered daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. as Scouts travel for service projects within the nine surrounding counties.

The Boy Scouts of America purchased a 10,600-acre plot of land about four years ago in Fayette and Raleigh counties next to the New River Gorge National River. The Jamboree is allocated about 1,000 acres of the Summit.

The site will be the location of future Jamborees and also the upcoming World Scout Jamboree in 2019.

Source: Copyright Charleston Daily Mail (WV) 2013

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