Dan Moore, a volunteer in the BSA’s Montana Council, has seen his share of world-class trails for all-terrain vehicles. He even helped build five miles of ATV trails at a Scout camp in Montana. And now, just in time for the National Scout Jamboree, a first-rate ATV experience has been built for Scouts and Venturers at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.
The new trails are called the Polaris OHV Center for Excellence. Moore himself helped design the trails, and they’re sponsored by Polaris, the top name in ATVs and UTVs (utility task vehicles). Polaris has generously signed on to be the official ATV and UTV provider of the BSA and the Summit Bechtel Reserve.
The two most important goals for activities at the National Scout Jamboree were taken into consideration during the construction of these trails. They had to be fun, and they had to be safe. The new ATV trails and ATV educational safety pavilion check both of those boxes.
“The whole trail is fun and exciting, but there is one particular section where there are so many twists and turns you really lose track of whether you are going up or down or right or left,” Moore says. “Scouts will come away from the experience with life skills and wide smiles.”
Enjoying the ATV trails at SBR
Scouts and Venturers who attend this summer’s National Scout Jamboree will be the first to try these new trails. After that, the ATVs will be available to Scouts and Venturers who participate in a high-adventure program at SBR can make ATVs part of their week of fun.
For ATV participation at the Jamboree:
- You must be 14 or older.
- Complete the free, online ATV safety course.
- Complete the parental consent waiver.
- Participants must bring a printed copy of their completed safety course certificate and parental consent waiver to the Jamboree. Bring printed copies or take pictures of the waiver and safety certificate and have it saved on their phone.
- Sign up for a time slot at the Polaris ATV Program Area at the Jamboree. There is limited capacity, so it’s suggested that you stop by the Polaris ATV Training site early in the Jamboree to reserve a spot later in the event.
- Participants must wear hiking boots, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt while in the ATV program. Other safety gear will be provided in addition.
For ATV participation after the Jamboree:
Keep an eye on the Summit Bechtel Reserve website to learn how you can try the new course after the Jamboree.
Why the trails are safe
- The ATV trails remain curvilinear, which keeps the speeds down but the fun factor high.
- Trails include proper signage, meaning riders can concentrate on the technical aspects of the trail without worrying about getting lost or off-trail.
- Trails provide pen sight lines enough for the riders to be able to look ahead — but not so much that they see a long enough distance ahead to increase speed.
- Rails are added to a low bridge that is part of a skills-development obstacle.
The trails themselves are half of the equation. The other half, therefore, is the rider-education course, where ATV riders learn to use body position to control their machine.
“Scouts can expect to learn safe and responsible riding in a safe and controlled manner. And they can have a blast doing it,” Moore says. “The riders will definitely experience every aspect of the safe rider training they receive.”
Most importantly, through these twisting trails, Scouts will gain many important life skills while having the time of their lives. As a result of developing exciting opportunities like this, Scouts will want to come back to Jamboree year after year. It will truly be an experience like none other.