Among West Virginia Arrowmen taking part in the project is Cole Coates of Weirton, who had traveled through the New River Gorge area with his family, but never stopped here until volunteering for trail-building duty.
During a break from trail work on Wednesday, Coates and fellow crew members talked about plans for Friday, the one day off during the week. Options include such New River Gorge activities as mountain biking, rock climbing and zip-lining.
As midday heat and high humidity caused sweat to linger on his brow, Coates had little difficulty with his choice: "I'm going whitewater rafting," he said.
Each week in July, a new group of several hundred Scout volunteers will arrive in Fayette County to take the places of the previous week's volunteers. More than 400 Scouts are scheduled to take part in next week's work.
Hundreds of other support personnel -- adults affiliated with BSA who serve as drivers, cooks, clerical and communications workers -- are also taking part in the project.
The Glen Jean Armed Forces Reserve Center is the headquarters for the project, with scouts sleeping in a tent city behind the center, dining in its mess hall, and taking part in evening programs in its auditorium.
"We leave the armory before 7 a.m., and we don't leave the work site until about 4 p.m.," said Mitchell Pierpont of Michigan. "We're a work hard, play hard kind of group."
After the Order of the Arrow volunteers leave, other BSA volunteers have made plans to continue trail work in the Gorge.
"Other Scout groups and bike clubs will come on board in August," said Robin Snyder, a spokeswoman for the New River Gorge National River. "If the new trails are done with volunteer work, as planned, we're looking at saving 10 years and $1 million."
Long-range plans call for connecting a network of trails on National Park Service and state park land to create trail access extending the length of the 53-mile New River Gorge.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169