FAYETTE COUNTY — Since their purchase of the 10,636 acre Garden Ground tract near Mt. Hope in October of 2009, the Boy Scouts of America has increased their land holdings in Fayette County by nearly a third.
The BSA now owns approximately 14,042 acres of Fayette County land, still a mere 3.3 percent of the county’s total area.
New and recent acquisitions include 526 acres along U.S. 19 in the area of Sun Mine Road, riverfront plots in Thurmond and Cunard, 20 acres off of Gatewood Road, and 173 acres adjoining National Park Service land within Fayetteville town limits.
The largest recent acquisition was in November of last year, when the BSA purchased 2,667 acres in the Cunard area — known as the “South Boundary Tract” — for $2.5 million.
Gary Hartley, The Summit’s director of community and government relations, says the BSA is not actively seeking additional properties at this time and only purchases property from willing sellers.
“The BSA purchases property for the specific purpose of support site development and program delivery,” he writes in response to an email query.
“The BSA’s goal is to prepare for the needs Scouting will have at the Summit and plan for future growth. The BSA firmly believes that is our responsibility to get things right now, so we can ensure good stewardship and continue to bring new economic opportunities to the region.”
The BSA has spent $31.3 million on Fayette County land in the past 4 years, not including the undisclosed price of 211 acres of the Sun Mine Road land, valued at $303,840.
In addition, the organization also spent $5.2 million on mineral rights beneath The Summit property.
Hartley says the Thurmond and Cunard riverfront properties will provide river access to scouts and reduce congestion at National Park Service public use areas.
He says properties adjacent to the park will be used to “support future Summit programs” and may include limited development like rustic campsites.
“By providing scouts with BSA owned campsites on private lands near the New River Gorge, pressure on public camping areas will be reduced,” says Hartley.
Dilapidated structures and lots in Glen Jean near The Summit entrance were purchased to improve access and create open space, says Hartley.
The Sun Mine properties will be used for parking, though perhaps not as soon as the 2013 National Jamboree.
The BSA says it “supports the National Park Service’s efforts to develop a through the park trail system,” which will include providing volunteers to help build trails.
Per acre, the highest value land purchased by the BSA was a piece within the Garden Ground tract that contained a sawmill and pellet mill. Hartley says the $5.1 million price included relocation of the business. Now, he says, the remaining structures are being dismantled and the materials are being reused or recycled.
Next most valuable, per acre, were the tiny Glen Jean dilapidated lots and Thurmond riverfront parcels.
Cheapest was the South Boundary Tract near Cunard, which sold for $938 per acre.
One Glen Jean agreement included a $20,000 relocation stipend in addition to purchase price.
In the deed to the South Boundary Tract, the seller, 12 & 6 WV Partners, LLC, retains mineral rights but agrees that any mining or drilling will be done in the same manner as if the property were located within a National Park System.
The deed also states that no surface mining is allowed on the property. Also, any oil and gas operations must be done “so as to reasonably preserve the character of the property.”
Boone East Development Co., which sold some of the mineral rights beneath Garden Grounds to the BSA, has right of first refusal for the same rights if the BSA ever decides to sell.
In the fall of 2009, the BSA also signed an option to purchase contract with Meadow Creek Coal Corp. for 1,655 acres on the waters of Mill Creek in Fayette and Raleigh Counties, though the organization did not end up purchasing any of the land.
You definitely have them off to the right start.....hang in there and stick with it......you'll enjoy it more and more........hope you didn't mind my
brightening up your photo a little.....
My camera was not working so well with the lighting in there.
I am happy to be apart of the Boy Scouts. I had never been around anyone that was part of it until one of my boys joined last year. I was busy so his mother always took him. The other two decided that wanted to join after the fun they saw their brother having. The Boy Scouts do things I have been into for years so it works out great. I can't wait to go to Day Camp with them this month.
I think the Scouting experience was one of the best things I did growing up. My father was the Scoutmaster the whole time I was in it, so it was a really good thing for us - I learned more about him and we had a lot of fun together. I think the worst day for me was my 21st birthday. When you are a Boy Scout you are a youth until 18, but if you are in the Order Of The Arrow, you are a youth until you turn 21. I loved that part, I think even more than the Boy Scout side. The fellowship between members, the extra camping experience you got, was all very rewarding.
I urge anyone to join the Scouts if possible. Unfortunately I've heard the costs have jumped a lot since I was in, which in a low economy like it seems we have it is harder for many who are just making it get really involved. I will say, I paid for most of my summer camps by recycling aluminum cans, cardboard, and newspapers. Cardboard and paper pretty much lost it's worth of effort towards the end, but all those days sorting and crushing aluminum and steel pop and beer cans even gave me some spending money at camp. We went around to golf courses and other places that sold drinks by the can and gathered up the cans. A couple local markets would hold the unsold newspapers for us. A lot of good money was made for me this way, and it lightened the financial load on my parents immensely.