Light The Trail Ride 2017
This Labor Day weekend, my ride partner and co-conspirator, Tom Harris and I embark from Fort Clatsop, Oregon and start riding our bikes east following the route of the Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery expedition for nine weeks. Our final destination is Washington D.C. on Veterans Day, 11/11/17.
Our mission is the eradication of suicide. We are riding to benefit the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation. I had the privilege of watching Jordan Harris grow up. I went to her bat mitzvah, had her work in my office in the summers in high school, wrote her college recommendations, followed her adventures at the University of Michigan and was waiting to see what her next extraordinary accomplishment would be after graduation. Instead, I went to her funeral.
Unfortunately, it was not my last. Twenty months later I was surrounded by another family and a tribe of twenty year olds trying to make sense of why their friend, Senior Class President, Captain of my twin son’s football team and frequent couch surfer at my house, Andrew Pillow, had taken his own life. Up until the deaths of Jordan and Andrew I had no direct connection to suicide. I understood depression far too well, but hadn’t experienced the impact of a suicide on a community. It is far more common than I had ever realized. Because nobody wants to talk about it, few of us are aware of its impact until it touches us directly.
The Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation was established in grief and has evolved into a force for good in the North Texas community and around the country. The tag line of the Foundation is “Bring the Conversation to Light”. That is what we are going to be doing for about 3,700 miles. Last fall I did a reconnaissance trip to drive the route we will be biking. Every stop I made along the route people would ask why I was in their town. I would tell them and the stories would start flowing. Brothers, sisters, parents, kids, family and friends. They all had a story.
Developing a Tech-Savvy Summit
Technology played a primary role in development of the Summit Bechtel Reserve. Since the Summit’s inception, the need for development and integration of a project-wide standard Geographic Information System (GIS) platform was a primary focus. Trinity Works has managed and maintained all data associated with site design and critical infrastructure, ranging from valves and fire hydrants to regional issues associated with watershed planning and sustainable development. Building a GIS from the ground-up is no small task, which is why Trinity Works worked with ESRI to ensure that best technology strategy and practices.
Trinity Works began the process by establishing both internal and external goals. This meant understanding data management and how GIS could become a platform to support various disciplines across the project during design, development, construction and programming for the National Jamboree. Trinity Works took an enterprise approach to GIS, facilitating coordination and flexibility.
Trinity Works retained Tuck Mapping Solutions, Inc. and Fugro Earth Data, Inc. to develop detailed LiDAR mapping, aerial imagery and planimetrics for the site in order to establish a base from which planners, designers, contractors and partners could make informed decisions. This data, combined with information developed from the work of hundreds of consultants and contractors, makes-up the Summit Bechtel Reserve's GIS platform.
Now, if you’re not a data or GIS junkie, this may not sound all that interesting. However, this process enabled Trinity Works to expand the Summit’s GIS offerings beyond construction and into the hands of the site's users through web and mobile applications.
Water Works Hard at the Summit
The New River is the engine of West Virginia's tourism industry. Tourism and hospitality employ more people in Fayette County than any other sector of the economy. The health of the River is tied tightly to the economic health of the community. The Summit Bechtel Reserve shares an eight mile boundary with the New River National River. When we began planning the site, Trinity Works placed stewardship at the center of the decision-making process in order to protect the watershed while supporting a city of 50,000 Scouts.
Trinity Works encouraged its team of consultants to focus on creating an integrated system to manage stormwater and wastewater on site. Our goal was to design systems that mimic nature and reduce costs while protecting important natural systems.
Green infrastructure strategies like biofiltration at lakes, swales, constructed wetlands and greywater treatment facilities help to reduce operation costs and conserve resources. Restoration strategies, including reforestation and wetland creation, offer opportunities to teach Scouts about conservation and environmental stewardship, while enhancing the ecological function of the site.
The result is a system that does more than just manage water. It reduces operating costs, creates long term ecological value and new educational opportunities all while protecting the region's economically important watershed. Oh, yeah, it also looks good and makes a nice home for wildlife too.
The Summit Bechtel Reserve is open for Summer High Adventure
Thousands of Boy Scouts and Venturers are spending part of the summer at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in Fayette County.
Nearly a year after the National Boy Scout Jamboree first took over the place, smaller groups are coming to West Virginia each week to stay at the Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base.
By Aug. 23, about 3,000 Scouts and Venturers with troops from across the United States will have spent a week — at least — in the Mountain State.
“We’re running this for ten weeks throughout the summer, so it’s smaller numbers, but over a longer period of time,” explained Gary Hartley, director of community and government relations for the Summit Group.
The Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base is one of the Boy Scouts of America’s four national high-adventure bases. The others are Florida Sea Base in Islamorada, Florida, Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico and the Northern Tier in Ely, Minnesota.
This summer, three different program tracks are being offered at The Summit: introductory, intermediate and advanced high-adventure experiences. Each visiting group is also doing a community service project to give back to West Virginia in some way during their weeklong stays.
“It’s a lot of outdoor activities that teach leadership, team building, character, community service,” Hartley said. Additionally, “We do have the mountain biking, skateboard park, the shooting sports, ziplines, canopy tours, as well as things like our Sustainability Treehouse that is also open.”
The Summit is also open to the public through Aug. 16. Those who want to visit the Summit on their own can do so on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. by purchasing passes.