An economic impact study released today (June 20) by the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research concludes that even in years when The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve is not hosting a national Scout Jamboree, it pours $28 million into the economy, supports 280 jobs and generates almost $1 million in state and local tax revenue.
When the National Jamboree arrives every four years, those numbers grow to an impact of $76 million, 350 jobs and $1.2 million in tax revenue.
The economic impact includes some $13.5 million in salaries in Jamboree years and $10.6 million in non-Jamboree years.
“The Summit is an amazing community asset and we want to be a part of helping the area grow to its full potential as well as providing positive life changing memories for the Scouts and others attending the Summit,” Summit Group Director Todd McGregor said.
“The estimated impact also does not include non‐quantifiable impacts such as the exposure that the state’s tourism industry receives from hosting the event, which in and of itself could help boost the state economy,” Deskins says in the report.
Not included in these numbers is the impact in years such as this one, when the World Scout Jamboree is held, bringing 45,000 participants from 150 countries around the world making Glen Jean the second largest city in West Virginia.
“The Summit undoubtedly creates many other benefits for the state that we did not attempt to quantify,” Deskins said. “For instance, many Summit visitors leave with a positive impression of West Virginia, and this goodwill likely further boosts tourism in our state in the future. As such, our economic impact estimates are likely lower bounds of the true impacts.”
The Summit Bechtel Reserve was built in 2009 on more than 10,000 acres in Fayette and Raleigh Counties near the New River Gorge. It serves as the home of the quadrennial National Scout Jamboree, drawing nearly 30,000 participants to that event alone and pushing annual participants over 46,000. In the three non-Jamboree years, The Summit Bechtel Reserve attracts almost 24,000 participants.
In addition to the economic impact of Summit operations, the study says it creates an additional $18.6 million in annual impact from construction, supporting 92 jobs.
The Summit also serves as a catalyst for West Virginia University in developing academic programs in leadership and outdoor recreation.
“Having the Bechtel Summit in West Virginia is an incredible advantage to the state and the University,” said WVU President Gordon Gee, an Eagle Scout and member of the Scouts’ National Executive Board. “Not only does it introduce the world to West Virginia, but at West Virginia University, we believe so strongly in Scouting’s potential in positive youth development that we have developed a strategic partnership with the Summit Bechtel Reserve.”
Since The Summit was built, WVU’s Chambers College of Business and Economics in Morgantown has launched an organizational leadership program to train non-profit leaders. WVU Institute of Technology, located in Beckley just a few miles from The Summit, has created a bachelor of science program in adventure recreation management.
In part to recognize that relationship, committees of the West Virginia University Board of Governors were scheduled to meet at the Summit Thursday, and the full board will meet Friday at WVU Tech.
The University has also provided special programs at past Jamborees and, for the World Scout Jamboree this summer, will offer Scouts the opportunity to earn six “Science Behind the Sport” badges to learn about everything from the physics of zip-lining to the geological foundations of rock climbing.
The full economic impact report will be available on the BBER website.
CONTACT: John A. Bolt
WVU Office of Communications
Summit Group – Boy Scouts of America
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