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Jamboree to bring long-term benefits

The Mountain State's hosting of the National Scout Jamboree this year, and for many years to come, is as good a deal for West Virginia as it is for the Boy Scouts.

From an economic perspective, the Scouts' purchase of the 10,600-acre Summit Bechtel Reserve in the New River Gorge area was a big plus, helping assure that the forested mountain region would be developed responsibly, maintaining the character of the rugged forest land.

Bringing in 50,000 Scouts, Venturers, volunteers and staff will be a huge benefit to the state.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin noted that the economic impact of The Summit includes job growth in the construction industry as well as employment in professional, scientific, technical, utility, and health care industries. To date, the governor reports, the Summit has:

* Supported, on average, 848 local jobs each year -543 directly, and another 305 indirectly.

* Provided labor income amounts totaling $169.7 million into the local economy:

* $121.4 million directly through employment income, including wages and benefits as well as proprietor income.

* $48.3 million indirectly through local industries buying goods and services from area companies.

* Generated $45.1 million in additional tax revenues for the four years:

* $15.8 million in state and local collections.

* $29.3 million in federal collections.

While that impact is great business news for today, it's only part of the long-term story. The Summit Bechtel Reserve and the Boy Scouts of America's decision to use the property for its quadrennial jamboree and other events is likely to produce long-term benefits well beyond economic statistics.

Those 40,000 scouts will return to their home states and home countries and tell their family and friends about the wonderful time they had rafting, mountain biking, rock climbing as well as other fun in wild, wonderful, West Virginia. And as they grow to adulthood, their fond memories of our state will stick with them.

And no telling how many will come back to our state for college, future careers or with their families for future vacations. And some may even come back to our mountains and become job creators.

Huge gratitude is due to all who helped make West Virginia the home of the National Scout Jamboree.



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