WVDNR signs MOU with Boy Scouts to promote education, conservation

Agreement will provide scouts with access to free and reduced-price activities at state parks in exchange for contributing to service projects.

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and the Buckskin Council of the Boy Scouts of America announced today the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that will allow scouts to utilize various state parks for activities while encouraging scouts to contribute to the conservation and preservation of these natural treasures through service projects.

Under the terms of this agreement, scouts from the Buckskin Council will have the unique opportunity to camp for free in designated state parks, such as Pipestem Resort and North Bend, as long as the requested facility is available for use on the requested date and its use will not interfere with other groups or scheduled activities at the park. Recreational activities may also be provided at a reduced or negotiated rate, depending on volume, availability, operational hours and the time of year.

“I’m thrilled that this collaboration between the WVDNR and Boy Scouts has come together and look forward to seeing all the ways these two incredible organizations will work together to instill a love for nature in our youth and promote the preservation of West Virginia’s natural beauty for generations to come,” said Gov. Jim Justice. “This partnership will give scouts access to unforgettable outdoor experiences and empower them to actively engage in conservation efforts in our beautiful state parks.”

Before starting a service project, scouting units will be required to complete volunteer agreements and obtain project approval from the WVDNR’s West Virginia State Parks section. State Parks personnel may also provide educational programming, such as merit badge classes and counseling, to visiting scouts subject to the availability of parks personnel, scheduled events, operations and availability of facilities or activities.

“This collaboration is a win-win situation for both the WVDNR and the Buckskin Council,” said WVDNR Director Brett McMillion. “By welcoming scouts into our state parks, we’re not only providing kids with invaluable opportunities to learn and explore the outdoors but giving them the chance to contribute to the conservation and enhancement of our state’s precious resources. We hope this experience will translate into a lifelong love for West Virginia and look forward to seeing the positive impact of this partnership on the scouts, our state parks and the community as a whole.”

The Boy Scouts of America’s Buckskin Council is headquartered in Charleston and serves 40 counties in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Virginia. As with all Boy Scouts of America councils, the Buckskin Council helps youth develop academic skills, self-confidence, ethics, leadership skills and citizenship skills through outdoor activities.

This new agreement is one of several public-private partnerships the WVDNR has developed over the years to promote environmental stewardship, outdoor education and community engagement. Other partnerships include work with the Mountaineer Challenge Academy to guide at-risk youth on their first deer hunt and give cadets an opportunity to participate in trout stocking initiatives and stream improvement projects.

To learn more about the Buckskin Council and scouting opportunities in West Virginia, visit buckskin.org. For more information about West Virginia’s State Parks, visit WVstateparks.com.