Philmont Millennium 1

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Copyright © 2001 - 2014 Chip S. Elliott & Mike McAdams

Last modified: 01/27/14

Philmont Scout Ranch


Philmont Scout Ranch is the largest High Adventure Base owned and operated by the Boy Scouts of America. Nestled in the Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range near Cimarron, New Mexico, it is the best-known Boy Scout camp in the world. Scouts from all 50 states, Europe, South Africa and Japan backpack its rugged and beautiful terrain every year.

Philmont Fire of 2002:


The program “PHILBREAK” wasn’t created just to have a spring break program. It was required to fill an urgent need. The June 1, 2002 staff banquet usually held on the lawn of the Villa, had to be moved inside due to lightning storms. In Ponil canyon a bolt of lightning dramatically changed everyone's summer. That lightning strike and others nearby, started what came to be known as the Ponil Complex Fire.

Valiant efforts by 1,342 fire fighter personnel, 13 water dropping helicopters, 31 engines, 24 dozers, and 12 water tenders contained the fire by June 17th, but not before it encompassed 92,000 acres (143 Sq. miles). About 28,000 (42 Sq. miles) of those were part of our beloved Philmont Scout Ranch, with 14,000 acres actually burned.

The fire burned in the North Country above highway 64 from the Dean Canyon area into the Valle Vidal and neighboring ranches. But none of our historic buildings were lost as the crews wrapped the buildings with a fire-resistant foil material.

Philmont responded quickly, rerouting crews and modifying programs to keep the magic of the Sangre de Cristos alive for the thousands of summer campers. The fire was extinguished, but a lot of work still needed to be done to mitigate erosion, replace millions of trees, repair trails and rebuild campsites.


As a result of this fire, Philmont created the PHILBREAK

Program that ran from 2003 through 2009.


Philmont comprises 137,493 acres or about 215 square miles of scenic mountain wilderness. The terrain is challenging for all backpackers with base camp at 6500 ft. and mountain peaks rising to 12,441 ft. (Baldy Mountain). The vast expanse leads the camper to experience a variety of weather patterns from 100° temperatures in desert regions to hail and snow in the mountains. There is abundant wildlife, such as brown bears, elk, pronghorn  

sheep, mule deer, mountain lions, beaver, wild turkeys, and mini-bears (squirrels, chipmunks and ground hogs).


There are thirty-some staff camps and over fifty trail camps operated by the Ranch. Each year, more than 20,000 Campers come to the Ranch to hike its trails, climb its mountains, and learn about themselves and the wilderness. In the summer a team of nine hundred seasonal staff works to ensure that every camper's Philmont experience is something that will change them forever.


The size of Philmont and the contrast of its terrain and wildlife are striking. There are countless breathtaking views. The beauty of the camp, the exciting program activities, and the challenge of the rugged trails leave each camper with experiences that he or she will treasure for a lifetime. Attendees return from Philmont as a stronger person with a truer sense of themselves and what they can achieve.


Philmont challenges everything about a person, both physically and mentally. After a trek, the camper can go home and know, “Hey, this is nothing. I climbed a 12,441-foot mountain!” These adventures—a hike through a freak hailstorm, rappelling down a sheer rock face, burning all of your leg hair off with a Coleman stove, eating something that looks like something you wouldn’t step in, these are what make Philmont special. After Philmont, no one is quite the same.


Since the Boy Scouts of America received the property, Philmont Scout Ranch has produced a vast amount of memorabilia to commemorate this Philmont experience. Philmont: Millennium One serves to provide interested individuals with a description and information regarding Philmont memorabilia. Read on and enjoy the memorabilia history of Philmont’s first millennium.

Photo by Mike McAdams