The following proposal is made by the participants of the "Working
With Scouts With disAbilities" conference at the Philmont Training
Center, June 22-28, 1997. The implementation of this recommendation will
enhance Philmont’s ability to "deliver the promise" of scouting
to every Scout.
Click GO to download the Philmont Trek Site
and/or download the map of the proposed Philmont disAbility Awareness Challenge Trek Site.
To provide an opportunity for all Scouts to obtain "the Philmont
To add an additional trek site to:  enable scouts with disAbilities to
experience many the activities currently provided at Philmont, and 
increase the awareness of Scouts who trek the backcountry to the issues
encountered by Scouts with disAbilities.
Currently the vast majority of Scouts with disAbilities have limited
access to the activities at Philmont that support "The Aims and Methods
of Boy Scouting." By modifying an existing backcountry trek site such as
Ponil or creating an additional site, Philmont could more effectively work
towards the achievement of the three aims of Scouting growth in moral
strength and character, participating citizenship, and development of
physical, mental, and emotional fitness. "Boy Scouting is designed to
take place outdoors." This method is restricted to many scouts because
of their disAbilities and the nature of the current facilities. While
adaptations can rarely be made to our scouts, adaptations can be readily made
to our facilities.
The proposed site can be used:
for treks by special needs troops.
for treks by provisional troops made up of individuals with disAbilities
whose troops are trekking the back country.
as an additional site for traditional troops participating in
as a conference site for future classes (i.e. Basic and Advanced Camping
Skills, NJLIC, Boy Scout Leader Training, Working With Scouts With
Requirements for the proposed "hub" site could include:
Accessibility by vehicles.
Small tent city built in keeping with basic Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA) requirements.
Basic communications facilities (telephones, fax machine, etc).
Basic medical facilities (first aid station with a medic/EMT).
Dining facility with food warming capabilities.1
Outside area with a canopy for Scouts to prepare their own food.
Food resupply site for backcountry treks.
Handicraft and Scout Skills area.
Swim tank with water current capabilities for therapeutic needs and
teaching of basic water skills
Limited hot water shower and latrine facilities built with basic ADA
requirements in mind
Snack bar/mini trading post
Quartermaster facilities for tent city, etc.
1 It is envisioned that one multiple use structure would serve
all of the above needs. Some multiple use rooms within this structure could
include; a joint dining room/conference room, the food warming area/food
resupply point for backcountry treks, etc.
The Philmont Chaplain will insure that a member of the Chaplain's Corps
regularly holds services at the hub site
Branching out from the central "hub" camp are duel trail systems
utilizing a wide variety of terrain serving activity sites. These activity
sites would include many of those activities currently provided at Philmont
that a scout with disAbilities can not be easily transported to. Trails would
vary in length depending upon the terrain. It is envisioned that trails would
not be longer than a mile and a half. These dual trails would have a wide,
wheelchair accessible trail and a winding parallel trail that is slightly
wider than the traditional backcountry trails. Some additional trail
The wheelchair accessible trails should be wide enough to accommodate an
eight-wheel type all-terrain vehicle or golf cart.
The surface of this trail should be free of obstacles at the foot and
head level and have a hard-smooth surface (blacktop, concrete, hard-packed
The incline of the trail should not exceed one-inch rise per twelve
inches lateral. There should be periodic locations where the trail is wide
enough to accommodate two way traffic of two eight-wheel ATV's.
A handrail guide for scouts with visual impairments on one side of the
trail should be present along the length of the trail.
Bridges with handrails on both sides would be necessary for this trail.
The winding parallel "challenge" trail should be approximately
three feet wide and does not need to be a smooth surface.
Bridges would not be required.
Wherever possible enhance the trails with the beauty of nature
(incorporate nature trail learning stations).
Challenge trails should be linked to backcountry trails wherever
These two trails emanating out of the hub site terminate at an activity
site. Activities could be grouped into four sites: Indian Lore1,
Western2, Water3, and High Adventure4.
1,2,3,4 The only activities replicated in all of the sites
listed above would be those that are not readily accessible by transportation
to existing sites.
A comparable dual trail system should be developed linking two neighboring
activity sites with a trail camp located somewhere along these trails. (See
attached diagram.) The trail camp could only have a firepit, outhouse
facilities, and an in-camp water supply. No other structures would be located
at this camp. It would be accessible from both the wheelchair trail and the
Modifying Existing Site
Ponil should be evaluated as an existing site to be modified to
incorporate this recommendation. It has streams, woods, hills, level areas,
and road accessibility. Other existing sites may also warrant investigation.
Although not usually available to traditional trail crews, these side
trips might be made available to special needs treks. Barrier free
transportation shall be provided to our scouts so they may participate in
total Philmont experience. This should include excursions to Villa Philmont,
the Philmont Museum & Seton Memorial Library, Kit Carson Museum,
Petroglyphs, horseback riding, the New Mexico Story, Trading Post, religious
services as needed, etc.
Although not all inclusive, the success of the disAbility Awareness
Challenge Trek Site will be enhanced by the availability of the following
Bus with a wheelchair lift.
Eight-wheel All Terrain Vehicle or golf carts.
Mini trailers to hook behind wheelchairs.
Portable toilet/shower chair.
Remote charging facilities for electric wheelchairs.
Currently there are a number of qualified people available to meet the
special needs of the disAbility Awareness Challenge Trek Site. This would
State rehabilitation center staff members.
College students currently studying special education, adaptive physical
education, recreation, or physical therapy.
Scouting volunteers and professionals with expertise in the area of
Participants of the "Working With Scouts With disAbilities"
Sign language interpreters.
Educators with experience in the special needs field.
There are a number of organizations that currently support efforts to meet
the needs of youth with disAbilities or are capable of aiding in the
construction of the required facilities. They include, but are not limited
Army Corps of Engineers.
Military Reserve and National Guard units.
Telephone Pioneers of America.
Philmont Training Center Conference members.
National and Local Order of the Arrows units.
There are a number of organizations, corporations, and individuals who
may, if approached, contribute to this worthwhile cause. Examples may
Telephone Pioneers of America.
Service Clubs (Lions. Rotary. Kiwanis. Shriners).
Prime contractors and unions (Construction, Electrical. Plumbing.
National organizations that support people with disAbilities (MS
Society, C P Foundation. National Head Injury Foundation, National
Association for the Blind) National Foundations (Ford Foundation, Kellogg
Foundation, Anderson Foundation).
Sources recommended by the BSA National Board Members
There are a number of experienced suppliers of adaptive equipment that
address the needs of the disabled. Though not all inclusive, examples
Ironhorse Productions, Inc
Accessibility Products, Inc
Additional Sources of Information
There may be value in site visits to a Kiwanis camp, Easter Seals camp, or
other camps for the disabled. In addition, a familiarity with the Recreation
Access Advisory Committee’s; Recommendations for Accessibility Guidelines:
Recreational Facilities and Outdoor Developed Areas (US Architectural and
Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, July 1994: US Government Printing
Office: 1995-400-001/40240) would be helpful.
Additional Issues to be Evaluated:
Care should be taken and an assessment made to insure that modifying an
existing site or developing a new site will not have an adverse impact on
scouts participating in the existing backcountry treks. Proper scheduling may
alleviate many of these potential difficulties.
It will be necessary to develop criteria to qualify and prepare future
participants in this activity.
At some point in the future, professional staff should participate in an
orientation session on the requirements of this new/modified trek site
An effort should be made to gather the opinions and experiences of
scouts with disAbilities, who have attended Philmont in the past few years.
By implementing the above recommendations, Scouting will enhance the
Philmont experience for all members of the organization. Every effort should
be made in the design and implementation to challenge each scout to the
extent of their ability and not view all scouts with disAbilities as a class.
June 26, 1997