How Philmont was Affected by the Ute Wildfires
By: Joe Carver
As many may know last year “the crown jewel” of the boy scouts was greatly affected by a wildfire that destroyed nearly 1/5th of its 140,177 acres. Having gone to Philmont in 2013 it is very sad to see all the wreckage. It really hit home seeing camps like Dean Cow which I had camped and climbed at when I was there, now destroyed. This prevented several different scout troops from getting the opportunity to go to Philmont in 2018. Therefore, there are more treks going out this year in 2019. So how is Philmont recovering from this catastrophe? Well first off, they now have hired teams to go in and start working to rebuild what was destroyed. Along with that, they are working to add in different fire prevention techniques, so this doesn’t happen again. Since many of the camps were destroyed, they also now must use other camps to make up for the wrecked ones by including the lost activities.
In April of this year, Philmont said they had 3 main goals for the donations they receive; getting ready to host crews, restoration work in the burn areas, and doing fire mitigation to reduce the threat of wildfires in the future. I have already mentioned how they are moving camp activities around since some camps were destroyed, this is helping in preparing so the activities are still available. For example, the climbing at Dean Cow was moved to Chase Cow and the trading post at Ute Gulch was moved to Cimarroncito.
To restore the burn areas, the Philmont recovery corps along with the NRCS (National Recovery Conservation Service) are working and applying to techniques to help the land recover. The NRCS is providing 75% of the funding and 25% is coming from Philmont itself. They are doing things like contour felling which will add contours to help grass and vegetation grow again. An anonymous donor even donated a masticator (a large mulcher) to help in the recovery. Fire mitigation is more fire prevention; they want to make sure a fire like this does not happen in the future. The fire happened partly since the forest had become very dense since our intervention in wildfire prevention had altered the way trees grow and accumulate. Furthermore, Philmont is now working to help trees more grow back into their natural cycle so it may be a little harder for fires to become this deadly.
Philmont is working hard to regain the land and camps that were lost so, if this blog and hearing about what has happened moved you, I will put the link to donate to the cause at the bottom. That way it is easier for you to contribute to helping Philmont regrow: