Boy Scouts to take over Seward waterfront

Posted: Friday, June 01, 2001

SEWARD (AP) -- Seward's waterfront campground will take on a different look next week as recreation vehicles give way to hundreds of Boy Scout tents.

The three-day Alaskan Odyssey Jamboree kicking off next Thursday is expected to bring more than 2,000 Boy Scouts to the area, organizers said.

Add in families, drivers, scout leaders and staff, and the number jumps to 5,000, according to Grant Fry, district director of the Boy Scouts Western Alaska Council.

''Jammed in that's where the term jamboree comes from,'' said local Boy Scout organizer Kerry Martin.

Motels and inns will feel a ripple effect, he said.

Martin estimated the jamboree will pump $100,000 into the local economy.

Others who will get some business include the local portable toilet company and tour operaters that offer sled dog rides or trail rides.

Jamborees are a long-time favorite of the scouting community both nationally and internationally. Fry said that before moving to Alaska, he organized a jamboree in Utah that attracted 30,000 participants.

''Here, we had to put a limit on the number. There's only so much seaside space,'' he said.

Publicizing the event was one of the bigger challenges. There are three Boy Scout councils in the state and they include troops from Ketchikan to Barrow.

Martin expects most campers will come from Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, and the Kenai Peninsula, with some from Fairbanks and Canada.

Most will be 11-13 years old. Scouts will take part in sea kayaking out at Lowell Point and climbing at Exit Glacier, and will have the option of activities that include glacier and marine wildlife cruises, tours of the Seward Museum and the Alaska SeaLife Center, and hiking on various trails.

''The idea is to spread out the activities so everyone's not in one place,'' Martin told the Seward Phoenix LOG.

Fry said scouts who are age 14 and older will have the opportunity to travel on a U.S. Coast Guard cutter as it patrols the waters of Resurrection Bay.

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