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Dams at Scouting Adventure Base Win Engineering Award

The dams and lakes project at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve has received the highest recognition from the American Council of Engineering Companies of West Virginia. As the project's designer, Freese and Nichols received the 2013 Engineering Excellence Award in Water Resources at the Council's annual awards banquet Oct. 28.

The Bechtel Summit, near the New River Gorge National River in southern West Virginia, is one of the Boy Scouts of America's four national High Adventure Bases and the permanent home of the National Scout Jamboree. When the Boy Scouts selected the 10,600-acre site in 2009, it had no developed water features. Thanks to this project, the Scouts have four lakes for swimming, fishing, rowing and other aquatic activities. In addition, the two-part Goodrich Lake also provides a scenic backdrop to the Summit's 80,000-person amphitheater, and the dams serve as important roadways and trailways connecting multiple campsites and activity centers.

The four dams, all earthen embankment dams, range from 35 to 80 feet tall and from 400 to 1,300 feet long. They were planned, designed, permitted and constructed on an accelerated three-year schedule so that they would be ready for the Jamboree in July 2013. Construction occurred on all four dams simultaneously, with as many as 60 workers working two shifts totaling 20 hours per day, seven days a week. The lakes were 100 percent full in time for the 40,000-plus scouts at Jamboree.

Freese and Nichols planned, designed and oversaw construction of the four dams and lakes. S&ME, Inc. of Raleigh provided geotechnical field investigations, environmental permitting, construction and inspection services; Kanawha Stone Co. of Poca, W.Va., was general contractor; and Trinity Works of Fort Worth, Texas, was program manager for the overall Bechtel Summit development.

Learn more about the project at, the Bechtel Summit at and ACECWV at

Photo by Todd Punch/Boy Scouts of America

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