Scouts-L Mail Archive for April of 1999: Re: Philmont Overflights
Re: Philmont Overflights
Bob & Lorrie Dewar
Tue, 13 Apr 1999 14:47:31 -0500
I will not argue the need for this type of training, only the location.
I, and many others, all realize that Philmont is not a wilderness expeience
by any stretch, but it is an excellent resource for Scouts to put to active
use the various skills of hiking, backpacking, camping, and the new
emphasis(sic) on Leave No Trace. With the number of Scouts and Scouters who
attend Philmont for treks and for training, there is no place better with
its built in programs and activities. Yes, we can go to other places to
experience wilderness, or go on a hike, or any of the other activities. But
we can not bring it all together for the boys like we can do at Philmont.
The topography of Philmont is not so unique that training flights could
not be done in some other area that would affect fewer recreational users.
And this is where I view the problem to be from. No matter the designation
of the property, no semi-wilderness or wilderness area that I am aware of
comes close to providing the experiences, that are a part of Philmont, to as
many of our youth as currently participate in Philmont.
My vote is for no overflights of Philmont, with one reservation that I
will come to shortly.
As far as the noise factor goes, I grew up in Chicago's northern
suburbs. Literally across the street from the old Milwaukee Road rail line.
This meant morning and afternoon/evening commuter trains along with around
the clock freight trains. We, along with all of our neighbors, learned to
deal and live with it.
My parents currently live in the hill country around Elroy Wisconsin.
They are occasionally "plagued" by low level National Guard overflights that
originate at Volk Field at Camp Douglas. I have never heard them complain
about the frequency of the flights or the noise, as they fully understand
the need for the training that these pilots are recieving, but instead we
have talked about the level of skill necessary to perform the feat of flying
that we have witnessed. And it is not just fighters that make this
overflight. I remember well the time that I was visiting and heard a plane
approaching up the valley behind the house, and soon was greeted with the
sight of a C-130 going overhead at around 700 feet above the house.
The need for military training is greater now than at any time in the
past due to two factors. The first factor is the increased level of
technology being used on the battlefield. The other factor is the lessening
of familiarity with any type of "tool" (read: firearm) of the general
population and the side effect of not being able to understand how they work
at their most base level.
And here we come to my reservation on not allowing overflights of
Philmont. It really boils down to what is a best compromise for all
involved. The pilots could train in another area that has similar
topography. We, as participants at Philmont, could just accept the noise
factor. But, can the pilots train as well somewhere else? Do we want to
dilute the "Philmont experience" for the boys by being disturbed by these
proposed flights? Or would these flights have to be done year round? Is
Philmont in use by BSA on a year round basis? Could the BSA and the
government come to some agreement on when overflights would not be allowed?
Just some thoughts from one who does relish the wilderness expeience,
wherever it may be found.
UC, Fox River District
From: Norman MacLeod <gaelwolf@WAYPT.COM>
To: SCOUTS-L@LISTSERV.TCU.EDU <SCOUTS-L@LISTSERV.TCU.EDU>
Date: Tuesday, April 13, 1999 10:29 AM
Subject: Re: Philmont Overflights
>I've been watching all of this for quite awhile, and now I'd like to throw
>two cents worth.
>I spent 22 years in active military service. While I understand that we
>wilderness areas, and that Philmont is an area that we in Scouting
>cherish, I also understand the need for realistic military training.
>Every time that the issue of low level flying is introduced, howls of
>are raised from every quarter, whether the area is near the boundaries of
>airfield or deep in the bowels of the southwestern deserts or the
>regions of the northern tundra. There's always someone who wants to
>area from the invasion of noise and the possibility of mishaps. It's not
>the NIMBY ("not in MY back yard") folks, it's also the NIAMBY ("not in
>back yard" ... including a wandering snowshoe hare's back yard...) crew
>jump in with both feet.
>These are also the young men who are now in one of two situations:
> -- Training to go into harm's way in the Balkans.
> -- Already in the Balkans, going into harm's way
> every single day.
>Given that they are literally flying for their lives now, I don't care
>they have to fly in order to learn how to avoid getting their tails shot
>the skies over Serbia and Kosovo (even if it's directly over MY
>doubt soon to include Albania, Macedonia, and Bosnia. If you know anything
>about that region, you will realize that Philmont shares a lot in terms of
>geography with areas in the Balkans, and that's one of the reasons it could
>become a low-fly training area.