On Friday, the first round of Scouts was pitching tents and getting their bearings in Fayetteville. About 240 are set to begin work today, but those Scouts will leave in a week and be replaced by another group double the size of the first group.
Not all of the Scouts are coming from far away. Brandon Tyson, 15, of Teays Valley is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Order of the Arrow who chose to spend his first week of July cutting through the forest.
"The OA is about service to others, plus it's pretty out here and the West Virginia mountains are beautiful, so it's an opportunity to spend 10 days in the wilderness helping others, you know?" Tyson said.
As with any outdoor adventure, the Scouts have recognized the possibility of accidents and injuries.
That's where Dan Miller comes in as the safety officer and part-time physician.
"We want them to come home and be safe and happy and ready to be a volunteer and serve the community even more," he said.
Miller grew up in Charleston but now lives in Florida and practices ophthalmology. He was excited to be back in the state on Friday, teaching Scouts how to safely clear trails without risking snakebite or dehydration.
"It's kind of neat to come back to my home state and practice my hobby," he said.
Park service officials estimate the work being done by the Scouts over the next month will save taxpayers more than $1 million. It would also take about 10 years without the manpower of more than 1,000 Scouts working together.
For Miller, it's more about fostering an appreciation of the land and the work that can be completed by the end of July.
"How many of these kids will come back years from now and show their kids the trails and say, 'We built these trails in 2011'? It's a legacy being created. We could use more people creating that legacy and coming back rather than sending our youth elsewhere," he said.
Contact writer Amber Marra at amber.ma...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4843.