Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Thousands of Boy Scouts from coast to coast are pouring into southern West Virginia this weekend as part of the Boy Scouts of America’s 2013 National Jamboree. It’s an unprecedented gathering for southern West Virginia, and an event that will reap multiple benefits for nine southern West Virginia counties.
The actual national jamboree begins Monday and continues through July 24 at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in Fayette County. But the Scouts are arriving now. That means motorists across the region can expect congested roadways this weekend. Please drive carefully, and respectfully.
In all we can expect upwards of 40,000 Boy Scouts attending the national jamboree. So a few traffic jams are more than likely the closer you get to Fayette and Raleigh counties. But the Scouts also will be in Mercer, McDowell and Monroe counties. In all they will be performing 300,000 community service hours in nine southern West Virginia counties during the 11-day period.
The state Department of Transportation is warning that traffic will be the heaviest on the West Virginia Turnpike, U.S. Route 19 and state Route 16. But motorists in Mercer County can expect congestion as well, particularly along the Interstate 77 corridor and near Exit 9 in Princeton.
Take 40,000 Boy Scouts, add their family members and relatives into the mix, and you have one of the largest gatherings of out-of-town visitors ever witnessed in southern West Virginia. Hotels in the region, including Exit 9 in Princeton, should see an increase in business from family members and relatives of the Scouts. Area restaurants, convenience stations, department stores and malls can also expect to see a big increase in traffic thanks to the national jamboree.
West Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. Jay Smithers is asking motorists to use common sense and to be courteous while traveling near the jamboree. But that same courtesy must extend beyond just Fayette County as the Boy Scouts also will be performing community service across southern West Virginia as part of the Summit Community Service Initiative.
The Scouts will be working on 49 different community service projects in Mercer and McDowell counties. The projects will range from brush removal and cleaning trails to landscaping and building animal shelter kennels. Many of the community service projects in Mercer County will be focused on school-improvement efforts.
Let’s welcome the Boy Scouts, and their family members, with open arms. And please be courteous to the youngsters — or any strangers — you happen to come across over the next 11 days. Remember, the national jamboree is a win-win for all of southern West Virginia. Let’s make a great first impression for these youth and their families.