BECKLEY, W.Va. -- Good luck finding a hotel room in Beckley this week.
The influx of 40,000 Boy Scouts, their bus drivers, support staff and parents and visitors expected this week because of the National Boy Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in Glen Jean has tied up almost every room in several counties. At the Comfort Inn hotel on Harper Park Drive in Beckley on Monday, hotel staff were advising callers looking for rooms to try Beaver or Princeton.
Hotel manager Ellie Farley said Comfort Inn has carefully planned for the Jamboree. A group of Scouts and bus drivers stayed at the hotel Sunday.
"They were wonderful," Farley said.
Scouts, staff and bus drivers have rooms booked through today, and parents and visitors start arriving Wednesday. Farley said Comfort Inn has worked with local tour groups and tourism officials to provide tour packages, dinner packages and whitewater trips for anyone interested.
All over Fayette and Raleigh counties, businesses and government agencies have been gearing up for the Jamboree, which kicks off officially today and runs through July 24. The bulk of the Scouts began arriving Monday in a steady stream of tour buses carefully staggered to help minimize congestion.
"We're real satisfied with the way things are going," said state Homeland Security and Emergency Services Director Jimmy Gianato, stationed at the West Virginia National Guard Armory in Glen Jean, not far from the Summit campsite. "Traffic's flowing, and there aren't any backups anywhere."
At a bus staging area in Bradley, dozens of tour buses loaded with Scouts were being herded by uniformed soldiers armed with orange batons in a scene reminiscent of airliners landing at a major international airport.
Nearby, John Cameron, of the Hammerstone Scout Museum near Fayetteville, N.C., manned a Tradoree, a tent set up for the sole purpose of buying, selling and trading Boy Scout patches, badges and memorabilia.
Cameron has seen a lot of jamborees. So far, he said the planning for this one appears to have been top-notch.
"Wednesday's going to be the test," he said.