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35,000 Boy Scouts Participate in Service Projects in the National Coal Heritage Area

National Park News

The National Coal Heritage Area recently served as the location for the largest community service project ever undertaken in the United States.  Coordinated by the Citizen Conservation Corps of West Virginia and implemented by hundreds of community volunteers, 35,000 Boy Scouts fanned out across nine counties in West Virginia to complete over 300 community service projects. The Boy Scouts were assembled as part of the National Jamboree, which was being held for the first time at their new facility, Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in Mount Hope.  U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller and the CEO for the Corporation for National and Community Service, Wendy Spencer, were on hand to welcome the Jamboree to its new permanent home within the national heritage area. 

In preparation for this ground-breaking event, the NHA sponsored seven AmeriCorp*VISTA members over the past three years who have assisted the local community with litter sweeps, organizing service projects, and developing Beautification Toolkits.  Seven AmeriCorps teams from the National Community Conservation Corp also came to the area to prepare project sites and supervise volunteers.  One of these teams installed a set of interpretive signs along the Coal Heritage Trail near the historic Whipple Company Store

The National Coal Heritage Area Authority, the management entity for the heritage area was responsible for the planning and supervising of two projects during the week.  One project involved landscaping and stage improvements at the McArts Amphitheatre where “The Story of Sid Hatfield” is presented each summer.  In another project, an international group of Scouts and Venturers were involved in removing vegetation surrounding the historic Empire Coal & Coke Company lamp house, part of a soon-to-be restored and reconstructed coal camp.  Many other heritage area partner sites, including New River Gorge National River, White Oak Rail Trail and Historic Depot, and Marsh Fork Interpretive Park also hosted Boy Scout service projects.  The combined efforts of the heritage area and its partners allowed the record-breaking service project to make a real impact on the community.



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