Bryan on Scouting

2018-2019 preview: Paul R. Christen High Adventure Base at Summit Bechtel Reserve

It’s the fourth-annual High-Adventure Week here on Bryan on Scouting. This week is all about the once-in-a-lifetime experiences awaiting Scouts and Venturers at the BSA’s four national high-adventure bases. Plus, we share tips for securing your spot in 2018, 2019 and beyond.


Skateboarding, rock climbing and an unbelievably awesome activity called “bikepacking.” At the Paul R. Christen High Adventure Base at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, Scouts choose their own adventure.

Immensely customizable, the Paul R. Christen base allows troops and crews to split into smaller groups when they arrive. So if you have two Scouts interested in shooting sports, three who want to try BMX and four into rappelling, the answers are: yes, yes and yes.

“If you have a unit with varying needs, come to our onsite high-adventure programs where each individual can sign up for the program they are most interested in,” says David Kopsa, director of the Paul R. Christen base. “We can meet the needs of a variety of units. Looking for that challenging journey for the whole crew? Check out our unit-based Trek Programs.”

Spaces are still available for 2018, though the base’s popular 50-mile paddle trek on the New River is filling up fast. In 2019, the Paul R. Christen base is open on a modified schedule so SBR can host the 2019 World Scout Jamboree — the first on American soil since 1967.

What is the Paul R. Christen 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:

2018 registration and availability

Onsite high adventure, including the Summit Experience and Focused Programs outlined above, are held on these dates:

Offsite New River Gorge Treks — “bikepacking” and whitewater — have a longer season. The first trek departs June 10, and the final trips begin Aug. 26.

For more information on fees, availability or to register your unit, go here.

And if you have Venturers wanting to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Venturing program in 2018, check out VenturingFest 2018 at SBR.

2019 registration and availability

The 2019 World Scout Jamboree will be held at SBR from July 22 to Aug. 2.

The onsite high-adventure programs at the Paul R. Christen base will cease just before the World Scout Jamboree and not start up again until 2020. There will be five weeks of onsite high-adventure programs in 2019:

New River Gorge Trek programs, however, will only pause during the WSJ and then start up again after everyone returns to their respective countries.

The Mountain Bike Trek will have nine sessions:

The New River Trek will have 24 sessions in 2019. Instead of two arrival days per week, the Paul R. Christen base will offer three weekly arrival days — a move designed to meet increasing demand.

More Paul R. Christen news you need