FORT WORTH — On Thursday, Fort Worth’s Isaac Manning strapped on his backpack about midday and set out for a leisurely 12-mile trek on a hiking trail at the newly opened Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in southern West Virginia.Manning, founder and president of Trinity Works, a Fort Worth-based development firm, served as master developer for the new 10,600-acre Summit, the new permanent location for the Irving-based Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree. On this day, he wanted to enjoy a hike without feeling as if he was at work. The firm has been involved in the project from the very beginning and Manning and other members of his firm have spent countless hours at the site during the past few years. About six years ago, Manning said, he was asked by Jack Furst, a Trinity Works client who was spearheading the Boy Scouts search for a new Jamboree site, to assist in the process. Furst is a retired co-founder of HM Capital Partners in Dallas and former partner of Dallas financier Tom Hicks.Trinity Works was brought on as the master developer to oversee design, planning and construction and to transform the more than 100-year-old former timber and mining site into a world-class facility for adventure sports. The Summit is located next to 70,000 acres of the New River Gorge region and the 53-mile long New River Gorge National Park. “The best part is to watch the kids,” Manning said by phone from the Summit. “To see their faces, that makes me very happy. That’s who we built this for.”And Manning, whose four sons are Boy Scouts, said he’s not tired of hearing the word “awesome.” This year’s Jamboree will host more than 40,000 scouts and some 30,000 daily visitors. The site was selected from 80 proposals in 28 states.Trinity Works is not the only Fort Worth connection to the project. The Freese and Nichols engineering and architecture firm designed and built four dams and four lakes totaling 77 acres.The Boy Scouts held its first Jamboree in 1937, and it has since become one of the organization’s most iconic events, held every four years. The past several have been held at the Fort AP Hill Army post in West Virginia.About 1,500 acres of the new Summit site were developed for Jamboree activities and include the world’s second largest open-air skate park and the largest man-made outdoor climbing facility, Trinity Works said. It has 34 miles of walking trails, 36 miles of mountain bike trails, zip lines, each about 1,400 feet long, 13 acres for shooting sports, kayaking, rock climbing, and 43 miles of roadway to access activities.“At the 2010 Jamboree, we brought in consultants and experts from every field imaginable, from programming to signage and way-finding, to help us analyze, evaluate and re-imagine the way a Jamboree site might work,” said Manning, a Scouting volunteer with Troop 17 in Fort Worth. “We assembled a team of consultants that looks like the who’s who in actions sports,” he said, including Spohn Ranch, designer of the Summer X-Games facilities. The Jamboree started July 15 and runs through July 24.Since 2002, Trinity Works has been involved in the development of the Edwards Ranch in southwest Fort Worth. Manning also worked for the Perot family and its development group Hillwood. Manning served as president of Hillwood Strategic Services, an international arm, providing consulting and development services overseas.
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727 Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST