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Equity


Breaking rocks. Raking roots. Digging dirt. All in a day’s work for Order of the Arrow volunteers during last summer’s trail-building program for the National Park Service. But what they really built was something much bigger. by joseph guinto ∙ photogr aphs by john r. fulton j r.


ON A STEAMY SUMMER DAY, deep in the woods of south-central West Virginia, where trees as thin as a clarinet stand as tall as a house, John Cary, a Scout leader from Tupelo, Miss., was working on a puzzle. A rock puzzle. On his hands and knees in the middle of a crude dirt trail, Cary was chipping small pieces off of dozens of rocks, trying to squeeze those rocks tightly together into a hole perhaps three-feet wide and about as deep. Some fit easily. Others wouldn’t fit at all. So for two days he chipped and pressed and chipped again and pressed again—and again—until the puzzle was complete. For this tedious, dirty work, Cary


had to pay his way here from Tupelo and even had to sleep one night in his car before getting to work on the trail. But looking up from the pile of rocks in front of him, he said, “I’ve loved every minute of this.” “This” was work on hiking and


biking trails adjacent to the 10,600- acre Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve. The Summit will be home to the national Scout jamboree starting in 2013 and the 2019 World Scout Jamboree. It also will become the Boy Scouts’ fourth high-adventure base—and, likely, its most-visited,


given its proximity to densely popu- lated metropolitan areas. Before the jamborees or the adven-


tures begin, though, an all-volunteer group called SummitCorps 2011 was put to work. In four weekly waves this past July, 1,404 SummitCorps volun- teers came to West Virginia’s New River Gorge National River area. They paid their own way to get here. They camped in tents outside the National Guard’s Glen Jean Armory. (Cary arrived one day early, which is why he ended up spending the night in his car.) And each wave consisted of four, eight-hour days in these woods. Their goal: help carve out nearly


13 new miles of multiuse biking and hiking trails from untamed land. National Park Service land, that is. Of course, Scouts and Scouters


have cut trails before. And they’ve also worked with big government agen- cies before, including ArrowCorps5, which teamed Arrowmen and the National Forest Service in 2008. But never before have Scouts and Scouters worked alongside Park Service Rangers on a project of this magni- tude within National Park Service land—70,000 acres located in the New River Gorge area. The Park Service estimates that the SummitCorps youth, adults, and


Deep in West Virginia’s New River Gorge National River area—where the New River Gorge Bridge (above) towers 3,030 feet above roaring rapids—SummitCorps volunteers did some major heavy lifting during four weeklong work waves. Shane Gamble (left), a Scouter from Troop 87 in Winterville, Ohio, moves dirt to make way for a multiuse path located about 20 miles south of the famed bridge. In total, 1,404 volunteers, youth, and adults, completed nearly 13 miles of hiking and biking trails.


NOVEMBER•DECEMBER 2011 ¿ S COUTING


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