Choose your own adventure at the Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.
Scouts and Venturers can select from a vast menu of world-class action sports or take a trek in and around the majestic New River Gorge National River.
With world-class venues for BMX, skateboarding, whitewater rafting, shooting sports, rock climbing, “bikepacking” and more, there’s more adventure at SBR than any young person could pack into a week.
Spaces are still available for 2019 programs, though some weeks are full and others are filling fast. The 2019 schedule is abbreviated so SBR can host the 2019 World Scout Jamboree — the first on U.S. soil since 1967.
Registration for the 2020 season, running from mid-June to the end of August, is now open.
Here’s what else you need to know about planning a trip to this action-packed Scouting playground.
What is the Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base?
It’s the BSA’s fourth and newest high-adventure base. It’s located at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia.
High adventure at SBR comes in three main flavors:
This is the sampler platter.
It’s the only program that lets you try all of SBR’s high adventure activities: skateboarding, BMX, shooting sports, archery, high ropes courses, climbing, mountain biking, canopy tours and an aquatic activity (kayaking and/or stand-up paddleboarding). Each group will perform a half-day service project and get a thrilling ride down the 3,100-foot Big Zip.
This one’s for Scouts and Venturers who know what they want. It lets participants focus in for three days in a single program area. The fourth day is a full-day elective activity in an adventure area. The fifth is a service project and ride down the Big Zip. Focus areas include:
- Helmets & Harnesses: A day of climbing at SBR’s man-made climbing facility, a day of climbing on natural rock in the New River Gorge and a half-day each on SBR’s high ropes and canopy tour program areas.
- Berms and Bars: BMX riding and skill development at the second-largest BMX facility in the U.S.
- Ramps & Rails: Skateboarding skill development at the second-largest skate park in the U.S.
- The Marksman: Three days trying multiple shooting-sports disciplines, including shotgun, high-powered rifle, pistol, archery and crossbows.
Trek programs take advantage of one of the greatest natural resources in the eastern United States: the New River Gorge. Scouts and Venturers will camp in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains either along the river or off the trail overlooking the gorge.
- New River Trek: A 50-plus-mile paddle trip on the New River. This includes four days spent in duckies (inflatable kayaks) on Class I to III rapids and one day spent on a whitewater rafting trip in Class III to V rapids. Participants spend four nights camped along the New River.
- Polaris ATV Trek: Get trained at SBR’s Polaris OHV (Off Highway Vehicle) Center of Excellence before heading out on a multi-day trail ride through the backroads and trails of SBR. This includes four days total on ATVs with an elective day at the end. Note: You will get muddy.
- Bikepacking: Think backpacking on mountain bikes. The trek includes 50-plus miles from SBR through the New River Gorge and ending up at one of the nation’s coolest small towns: Fayetteville, W.Va. Four days total on mountain bikes with an elective day at SBR at the end.
Paul R. Christen registration for 2019 and 2020
For the site-based programs (Summit Experience and focused programs), participants must be 13 by Sept. 1 of the year attending. For the offsite treks, participants must be at least 14 at the start of their trek.
2019: There are still spots available for 2019, but they’re booking quickly. Find pricing and the latest availability info at this link.
2020: Registration for 2020 opportunities is now open. Learn more and register at this link.
A reminder about the World Scout Jamboree
The 2019 World Scout Jamboree, which the BSA is hosting alongside Scouts Canada and Asociación de Scouts de México, will be held July 22 to Aug. 2 at SBR.
The event is the first World Scout Jamboree in North America since 1983 and the first on U.S. soil since 1967.
Learn more about attending as a participant, International Service Team (staff) member or visitor at this link.
What’s new at the Paul R. Christen base?
In response to demand, the base in 2019 will expand its ATV trek to two arrival dates per week and its New River Trek to three arrival dates per week.
In 2020, the Christen base will change how it operates its focused programs. These programs will become provisional programs available to individual participants. This means Scouts or Venturers who aren’t able to go to SBR with a full crew can still enjoy the high-adventure base. SBR will provide the required adult leadership, and participants will experience SBR alongside other cool people from across the country. Visit the SBR website in January 2019 for more details.
Check out these new videos to hear what Scouts and Venturers are saying about SBR’s programs:
Other Paul R. Christen news you need
- The New River Gorge treks — on bike or boat — qualify participants for the coveted 50-Miler Award.
- Troops/crews can add a half-day whitewater rafting trip to any program (except the New River Trek, of course) for an additional fee.
- Not high on high adventure? Look into the James C. Justice National Scout Camp and John D. Tickle National Training and Leadership Center, also at SBR.
- After the 2019 World Jamboree, SBR will host the 2021 National Jamboree.
- These are the closest airports to SBR:
- Charleston, W.Va.: 1 hour
- Charlotte, N.C., and Pittsburgh: About 4 hours
- Washington, D.C.: About 5 hours
- SBR provides all program equipment and personal protective equipment like helmets, pads, PFDs etc. SBR provide tents as well as cots. For trek programs, participants should bring a sleeping pad for the trail or river as they don’t use cots while out on the trek. Find more details on equipment and links to a planning guide for each program at this link.