The ABCWV supports Boy Scouts of America's Amendment 1, titled the West Virginia Nonprofit Youth Organization Tax Exemption, Amendment 1, this amendment is intended to benefit both Scouting and tourism in West Virginia.

The proposed measure would permit a nonprofit property that was constructed for $100 million or more and used for adventure, educational, or recreational activities for youth to lease its facilities to other organizations while maintaining its tax-exempt status. If approved, the measure would take effect only after the West Virginia Legislature adopts rules for the use of the property to protect local and regional businesses from unfair competition and unreasonable loss of revenue.

The Summit Bechtel Reserve (SBR) is a training and adventure center built by and for the Boy Scouts of America on a 10,600-acre site in Fayette County, West Virginia. The Summit opened for the 2013 National Scout Jamboree last year and welcomed more than 35,000 Scouts, Venturers, leaders, and volunteers to West Virginia. While in our great state, these Scouts and Scouters participated in a wide array of activities like zip lines, canopy tours, challenge courses, mountain and BMX biking, kayaking, rock climbing, skateboarding, and white water rafting.

The BSA has sought to provide opportunities beyond its Scouting programs to leverage SBR for the economic benefit of our state. One of the primary ways in which we can do that is by making the SBR available during non-Scouting program periods for major events such as concerts and sporting events. Amendment 1 is intended to provide for such use. Here are a few examples of how the world-class facilities at the SBR could be used to increase tourism, create jobs, and shine a spotlight on West Virginia:

  • The AT&T Summit Stadium could host concerts and other events. It can hold up to 80,000 people and could be used to boost tourism. One example would be to have an evening event associated with Bridge Day at the nearby New River Gorge Bridge each October.

  • The archery, shooting, BMX biking, mountain biking, skateboarding, and other outdoor facilities could host national or regional touring sports competitions, some of which could be televised.

  • Local tourism and recreational organizations could use the SBR to extend partnerships and invite people to our great state.

Broader use of the Summit Bechtel Reserve would help the region and the entire state of West Virginia by giving us greater exposure and attracting more people to the area. But for the SBR to realize its full potential, West Virginians must approve Amendment 1 on the November 2014 ballot.