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.”

Offi­cial map of the Polaris ATV Trails and Safe­ty Train­ing Cen­ter.

 

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. 

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