In January of 2011, Nelson Byrd Woltz was invited to participate in a 13-day design charrette to develop a master plan for the Summit Bechtel National Scouting Reserve. Together with five nationally recognized architectural firms, top adventure sports consultants, programming consultants, and the client, NBW developed a vision and layout for the village core at the heart of the 10,600-acre reserve. Occupying a landscape formerly used for contour mining and timber harvesting, the site is adjacent to the New River Gorge National River and is home to the National Scouting Jamboree, an event that brings together as many as 60,000 boy scouts and 20,000 volunteers to the site for ten days every four years. NBW also designed the high adventure base camps for the reserve which include skateparks, BMX tracks, archery and shooting ranges, 84 miles of mountain bike trails, climbing walls, ziplines, canopy tours, and aquatic activities.
At the heart of the village core is a 60,000 seat outdoor amphitheater flanked by two 1,400-foot-long ziplines that are each five lines wide. Other projects NBW is responsible for in the village core include the award-winning Sustainability Treehouse (Mithun / BNIM) and Scott Visitor Center (Lake Flato / BNIM), a 220-foot-long climbing wall, five large pedestrian bridges, 2,400 feet of sinuous boardwalk and associated restorative wetlands, Legacy Plaza, Lakeside Amphitheater, and Action Point. Legacy Plaza is an iconic and ceremonial space where scouts herald each day with a flag raising tradition. Lakeside Amphitheater is a 100-person amphitheater adjacent to Lake Goodrich which features a firepit that serves as a beacon to the campsites on the opposite side of the lake. Action Point contains skate parks, BMX tracks, entrances to mountain bike trails and the connection to the eastern campsites via the 800 foot long Consol Energy Bridge, a 200-foot tall wingtip suspension bridge designed by Schlaich Bergermann.
Opened in July of 2013, the Summit Bechtel National Scouting Reserve was, by all accounts, a success with the scouts and volunteers. The site is currently developing summer programs that focus on conservation and stewardship with scouts coming to the site to help build and maintain trails, install reforestation planting, and remove invasive species as well as have fun in the high adventure base camps.
Collaborators: AECOM, Alberice Architecture and Design, Bonsai Design, Collins Engineering, Eldorado Climbing Walls, ET Boggess Architect Inc., FTL Design and Engineering Studio, Gravity Logic, Irrigation Research and Design LLC, S&ME, Smith Turf & Irrigation, Spohn Ranch, The Hettema Group, The Shooting Academy, Themed Development Management, Redmond Schwartz Mark Design, Weld, Mead and Hunt, DMWPV