Keith Wood (kwood@CJNETWORKS.COM)
Thu, 9 Apr 1998 09:33:23 -0400
Phil Golden has something there with his idea of shortening treks. Sommers
has used six and seven day treks for years and we have a good experience
there. I'm a real traditionalist and hate to change things that work, but
the pressure is there to serve the kids. Most of all I hate to lose the
aura and mystique of Philmont by overloading it. Cliff's suggestion of
reducing trek days and extending camp days spreads the load out, but it
will still make the camp busier. But I like the idea.
The difficulties that I see for Philmont are several:
a) walking distances at entry and exit points are far apart and all on the
east. Shorter treks make it harder to reach the west side areas. The
solution to shorter treks means a complete revamp of treks and additional
entry points, but with no more sign ups until 2001, there is time to
b) shorter hikes means less opportunity to hit the high points - literally
and figuratively. Fewer treks could do both Baldy and the Tooth. That
might mean more pressure for Scouts to return to Philmont a second time,
thus raising the demand again.
c) I'm not sure what impact more crews would have on ranger staff
requirements. I suspect it would raise the need. Costs could be offset by
not changing the total charge for the trip, or only slightly reducing it.
d) More crews in the back country means more campsites or more camps. Those
can be built but some areas are already overused and more camps reduces the
wilderness experience. We really need more room, more acreage. The Valle
None of those are fatal problems to the concept. Some of our leaders have
commented before that a shorter trek would minimize the impact on family
vacation time and work. With current system, you can impact three work
weeks, depending on your arrival day. With a nine-day trek, only two weeks
would be impacted at most.
This solution, if adopted, would help get more Scouts into Philmont, but it
can't address the problem of continued growth in Scouting and more growth
in long term demand. If we shorten treks too far, we dilute the experience
too much. If we expand the overall load of campers, we beat down Philmont
worse that it already is. Sommers helped its situation by adding Bissett
and Atikokan. Maybe in the future Philmont adds remote programs in
national forests or parks for experienced crews who don't need rangers or
staffed program camps. That would take a while to grow and develop its own
persona; the Northern Tier did it over time.
I like Cliff's concept. What do the rest of you think?
High Adventure Advisor
Troop 59 Lawrence, KS
"..used to be a Lightning BobWhite"
Support Services Manager
Morris Systems Support Group
Morris Communications Corporation
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"The mountains are calling and I must go."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City