More on Philmont Lottery..
Scott Begin (0005555440@MCIMAIL.COM)
Mon, 22 Aug 1994 19:45:00 EST
I would like to add to Bill Eujle's comments on the Philmont Lottery.
This is information I picked up at the Philmont Staff Association
meeting from Dave Bates, Director of Program for the ranch.
Dave indicated that when reservations were opened for 1994 on April 1,
1993, all available incomming phone lines were jammed for 2 days taking
reservations. According to the Spring 1993 High Country (Philmont Staff
Association Newsletter), 13,700 reservations were taken on April 1,
7,000 on April 2, and 2,900 on April 5. That was almost 24,000 in 3
Philmont received lottery entries for about 46,000 campers (about 2.5
times capacity of the ranch), of wich 18,000 were given reservations.
The remaining 28,000 were placed on the waiting list. There were 1700
numbers in the waiting list. As of August 13 (when I talked with Dave),
about 2000 of those on the waiting list had been offered spaces because
of the failure to pay deposits by those who won slots, taking about 200
off the top of the waiting list.
In our discussion, it was mentioned that the large number of entries may
have been attributed to the first year as a lottery system. For
example, if 2 neighboring units were going to combine to form a crew,
both may have sent in entries planning to cancel one if they got 2.
Another suggestion was that because many units are on a cycle of going
to Philmont every n years, they may have sent in an entry a year earlier
than they usually would, to have a better chance of getting a slot in
the next couple of years. Until several years of lotteries have been
held, we won't know what the norm is.
Currently there are a couple of proposals to limit attendence. I can't
say if these will be adopted, but beause of the high demand, I wouldn't
be upset to see all passed.
The first is to raise the age limit from 13 1/2 to either 14 1/2 or 14.
This may eliminate those crews where most of the scouts are just making
the age limit. It would help to get more crews at Philmont who are old
enough and mature enough to handle it. I'm not saying all 13 year old
scouts can't handle Philmont, it is just that a majority of the scouts I
saw with problems were younger (My opinion only).
The second is to limit the number of advisors in each crew. Currently,
half the crew must be youth (under 21). The proposal I have seen is 3
advisors per crew maximum. This meets the 2 Deep leadership and gives a
spare adult in case of injury. The idea is that Philmont is for the
Scouts (youth). Less advisors in a crew mean more spaces for Scouts.
If the Adults want to experience Philmont, they either need to rotate or
particpate in the Autumn Adventure program (which is open to all adult
crews, although there are no staffed camps or backcountry programs).
The third is to limit units who do not come as part of a Council /
District contingent to getting a crew every other year. For example, if
Troop 22 had a trek in 1994, they wouldn't be eligible for a trek until
1996. For units with a really active high adventure program, this could
be a serious limitation. It may cause units to only take first timers'
or to not be able to send some scouts at all. In councils where a troop
can register as part of the Council Contingent (and let the council do
all the transportation planning), you may have these spaces take up by
troops unable to get a troop only reservation. You may also have spaces
in the council contingent taken by members of the troop who couldn't go
with the troop.
Currently, the Philmont management is looking at ways to increase
capacity. The biggest concerns on capacity are land space required to
handle all those campers and facilities to hold them. The ability to
use the Valle Vidal area of the Kit Carson National forest has helped.
If the ranch is able to purchase the Cottonwood Canyon area (NE of the
ranch, on the other side of the ridge from Indian Writings), they would
have more access to the Valle Vidal, as well as more space to expand
programs. This was being talked about when I worked on the ranch in
1988-90, but I'm told the property has been sold and we have a different
person to work with (for better or worse). I can't say when it may
As for Facilities, this is an equal problem. There were 32 staffed
camps this year, including 3 or 4 in the Valle Vidal. New camps cannot
be created overnight: Staff Cabins must be built; Water Sources
located; Campites created. Once a site is identified, it takes at least
a year to set it up as a staff camp.
Even if you have the places for Staffed Camps, you also have find
qualified staff to run them. When I worked at the Ranch in the late
1980's, finding sufficient staff was a problem. The situation has
inproved, but is always a concern. There is a special kind of person
who can afford to spend the summer at Philmont and can do the job
The last thing is base camp capacity. The rated capacity of the Base
Camp dining hall is about 600 or so. According to Dave Bates, there
were days where over a thousand people were fed at a meal. When the
dining hall was built in the 1970's, it was not expected that they would
have that many people comming to Philmont. As one of my fellow PSA
members mentioned several times during our trek, "In the 1970's, we
though 15,000 campers was a lot."
There is hope on the horizon. There are plans for Base Camp expansion.
These look a little more certain than the property acquisition. Current
plans are for expansion of the dining hall and the trading post in 1997
(although I can't say for certain when they will take place). There are
also plans for a new welcome center / entrance located near the Lover's
Leap Road, with a covered bus loading area and more separate Philmont
Bus and Private vehicle loading areas. From what I understand, this has
been talked about for 25 years, but may finally become reality in the
From what I can tell, Philmont is experiencing growing pains. It seems
like it took a few years to be reconginzed, but they are finally making
plans to work with the situation. I did not see the ranch under the
leadership of Lloyd Knutson, who was Program director prior to Dave
Bates, but it looks as if Dave is doing more than accepting the status
quo. He is trying to improve the ranch through new programs and
increased capacity. Although some may doubt the appropriatness of the
direction of the vision, I am glad to see that the vision is there.
I have more info to follow.
Yours in Scouting,
Scott A. Begin ASM, T-348, Oak Forest, IL; Calumet Coucil
firstname.lastname@example.org Philmont Staff, 1988-1990
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City