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The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) is breeding chestnut trees for the ability to survive the blight disease, which killed almost all our American chestnut.  TACF’s goal is to confer on American chestnut the ability to thrive in our nation’s woodlands, as it once did.


Currently, with the help of Summit Bechtel Reserve (SBR) staff, TACF maintains a grove of hybrid American chestnuts at the Consol Bridge just below Camps A and B.  This grove is the home of the Albert tree known for fame at the 2017 National Jamboree. The “I Found Albert” tokens will be awarded to scouts who participate in this event and find Albert.


 The American chestnut forest that existed pre-1900 consisted of gigantic trees with diameters up to 8 feet. Once known as the “Redwoods of the East” the trees provided every need to the early American settlers in Appalachia.  Food for family and livestock, firewood, split rail fencing, cabins and furniture.  When the blight destroyed the trees it was considered the greatest ecological disaster in the history of the United States.  Over 4 billion trees were killed in one generation of people.  SBR is smack dab in the center of this ancient chestnut range and can with the help of TACF and scouts of Appalachia be the premier site of restoring these trees. 


There are some few surviving American chestnut known as “Mother Trees” scattered throughout Appalachia and TACF has been invited to search the SBR forest for these trees.  Because of SBR’s location and size I fully believe we will find several Mother Trees.  Once a Mother Tree is located it can be adopted by a patrol, troop, OA Lodge or any scout group and registered in that group’s name in the national TACF database.  Nuts, pollen and sprouts from the Mother Tree will be transplanted into a Germplasm Conservation Orchard (GCO) at Summit Bechtel Reserve.  There can also be GCO’s at other scout camps.  These GCOs will become heritage orchards where the American chestnut gene pool can be maintained and studied. 


TACF’s dream is that scouting in West Virginia will work with TACF scientists to create GCO’s across West Virginia and return these magnificent giants to our forests.




  1. Come prepared to hike with water, trail lunch and in a group with a smart phone.
  2. 9:00 AM TACF scientists will describe how to recognize American chestnut trees, collect tree samples and demonstrate the smart phone Tree Snap App.
  3. 10:30 AM hike to a pre-determined location at SBR where chestnut flowering has been observed and has the best chance of having “Mother Trees” and collect chestnut tree samples.
  4. 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM Return to base during this time period and submit tree samples.As time allows search for “Albert” and depart for home.Samples will be analyzed at TACF laboratory and results mailed to each group.

Please RSVP to  telephone 304-457-4531 by 26 August 2019.  Participation is limited to first 50 individuals

Thank you.

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