For the first time in its history, Philmont Scout Ranch is closing its backcountry.
According to a press release from Philmont, the largest camp in North America, the Philmont backcountry will remain closed for treks and individual programs for the remainder of the 2018 summer season. This includes 7- and 12-day treks; and individual backcountry programs, including Rayado, ROCS, Trail Crew, STEM and Ranch Hands.
Philmont is mailing refund checks Monday (July 9).
“Over the next few days, our staff will be contacting the lead advisor or contingent leader of these crews confirming the refund, offering a trek at Philmont for the 2020 season, and answering any questions,” the press release noted. “Please wait and allow the Philmont team to contact your crew – your assistance will help make sure that Philmont phone lines remain open. Your cooperation will be most appreciated.
“As difficult as this situation has been for our Philmont family and for Scouts across our country, we have been truly inspired by the incredible enthusiasm and perseverance shown by our staff, the resourcefulness displayed by displaced crews to find other summer adventures, and the understanding and good wishes from thousands of Scouts and Scouters from around the world. For all of these blessings, we are truly grateful.
“Fire danger in northern New Mexico is currently classified as ‘extreme.’ The fire danger has led to closure of most public lands near Philmont. The Carson National Forest’s nearby Questa and Camino Real Ranger Districts, including the Valle Vidal area that Philmont utilizes, have been closed to public access. The New Mexico Game and Fish Department has similarly closed all of its properties that border Philmont, including the Colin Neblett Wildlife Management Area on our western border and the Elliott S. Barker Wildlife Management Area adjacent to our North Country. Links to these closure notices are included at the end of this release.
“On Friday, June 29, 2018, the Morris (Moras) Creek fire started south of the Philmont property line on private neighboring property near the Rayado River Canyon. This fire is currently more than 1,500 acres and is burning on Philmont property.
“Our ranch managers, volunteer leaders, and national staff have monitored the situation since the Ute Park fire began and attempted to plan alternate trek routes and procedures required by Philmont to manage backcountry emergencies. Because of the Morris (Moras) Creek fire, these alternate trek routes have now been eliminated. The safety of our youth participants, volunteers and staff is the priority at Philmont Scout Ranch and for the Boy Scouts of America.
“This decision applies only to Philmont’s backcountry programs. Philmont’s Camping Headquarters and Base Camp area, the Philmont Training Center, the new National Scouting Museum, the Chase Ranch, and the Kit Carson Museum at Rayado will remain open all summer. Training courses at the Philmont Training Center and the National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE) will proceed as scheduled. This decision does not affect Philmont’s fall programs, including Autumn Adventure and fall PTC training conferences.
“The Philmont ranger motto is ‘scramble – be flexible.’ That’s what we at Philmont have been doing all summer as we deal with these unexpected and unfortunate circumstances. Our terrific summer staff has embraced challenges that they didn’t anticipate when they signed on. They expected to be delivering awesome backcountry programs and inspiring high adventure experiences to thousands of Scouts and Scouters. Instead, they have enthusiastically taken on difficult and physically taxing timber stand improvement projects, backcountry fire abatement work, community service projects, and staff jobs at other camps. They are making sure we will be ready to re-open next year! Their willingness to roll up their sleeves, pitch in and meet the challenges we have faced reflects the very best on Scouting and our nation’s youth. They have our sincere thanks!
“Our entire Philmont family thanks you for your continued understanding, your support, and your cooperation.”
Our National BSA leadership has been working with airlines to assist crews with refunds, changes, and credits. Please refer to the following contacts for support.
Links for information on area closures and fires:
As you look at alternatives for adventures this summer please check out NCAP accredited high adventure programs offered by local councils here
According to the Philmont Scout Ranch website, the first season opened in 1942 with 275 Scouts. Attendance remained low during the war years but by 1950, Scouts were attending Philmont from almost every BSA Council. Attendance passed 7,000 in 1954 and since it opened, more than 1 million Scouts, Venturers, and leaders have experienced the adventure of Philmont.