Next month, West Virginia will host its first National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve being developed in Raleigh and Fayette counties.
News reports about its economic impact are numerous and important.
But no one should overlook the fact that this jamboree is about fun and adventure for more than 50,000 Boy Scouts and other people. This became clear as Scout leaders gave a glimpse of the CONSOL Energy Wingtip Bridge, built with a $15 million gift from CONSOL.
More than 1,000 West Virginians have worked on the Scouts' fourth high-adventure base. Supporters of the project have committed more than $250 million to its development.
The CONSOL Energy Wingtip Bridge is a 786-foot long pedestrian span that rises 100 feet above a valley. It is the New River Gorge Bridge for pedestrians, and it gives Scouts access to Action Point - where ziplining, BMX and skateboarding will occur.
Campers will be able to walk the main deck as well as the side paths that span points above and below it. There isn't a bridge like it anywhere in the world.
"It's not quite finished yet, but I'd love to walk on the side parts. It looks scary and fun," said Chris Wunderly, 17, of South Charleston. "A lot of people are
going to be here, and to be one of the first makes me feel pretty special."
Scouts should have fun.
Thank you, CONSOL and the people who designed and built this magnificent structure: the German structural engineering firm Schlaich Bergermann and Partner and the Canadian tunneling and transit engineering firm Hatch Mott McDonald.
This is West Virginia developed as it should be. The the state and its visitors are very fortunate.