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OA PhilBreak 2019

  Matt Dukeman & Tyler Grey             Lodge Ledger

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Philmont and the Order of the Arrow are excited to offer OA PhilBreak 2019. This event will consist of a full week preparing Philmont for the 2019 camping season. Following the fires of 2018, Philmont needs our help to accommodate campers once again. Actual work will include slope stabilization projects, such as log erosion barrier and wattle installation, as well as re-vegetation, campsite installation, and forest thinning. By March 2019, the Philmont Conservation Department will have the exact details and locations ready to go. Please note these projects are heavily dependent on the weather and road conditions. Though there is no guarantee that fire restoration will be the main project, there are many service opportunities available to help Philmont prepare for the summer. Only 50 slots will be open for each session, filled in the order that registrations are received.

There are three sessions available: March 16-23, March 23-30, and March 30-April 6. The cost is only $100; note, this does not include travel arrangements. The registration deadline is February 15th, 2019. Please see the Registration and Cancellation Policies at the end of this article. Lodging for the entire week will be indoor dormitory type housing at the Philmont Training Center (PTC). Participants will be transported to the worksite every day. Breakfast and dinner will be at the PTC dining hall with trail lunches provided at the worksite.

Participants are required to be registered with the BSA and a member of the Order of the Arrow. This program is available to Order of the Arrow members 16 years old and above. The minimum age is 16 years by date of participation. The full Philmont medical form with your doctor’s approval is required. Please note, just because your doctor certifies you, it does not mean this program is for you. This OA PhilBreak program will require hard work, long hours, good crew spirit and a sense of humor. This program is not leisurely; it is of similar or greater difficulty than a normal Philmont Trek, and participants should be able to carry a 50 lb pack. Participants should be comfortable digging, dragging debris, and moving heavy loads. The Order of the Arrow reserves the right to return the entire registration fee of any person who would be inappropriate for this program.

A recommended packing list will be posted when it becomes available.

Currently, the tentative schedule is as follows:

  • Saturday, Day 1
    Arrive at Philmont during the day. You must arrive by 5 PM Mountain Time. No late arrivals will be allowed. If you cannot arrive by 5 PM, then you should plan on arriving on the Friday before your start date and stay in Cimarron, Taos, Raton, etc. The first provided meal will be dinner in the PTC Dining Hall. In the evening, the Philmont Conservation Department will begin the program with introductions and specific plans, gear info, advice and general Q&A.
  • Sunday, Day 2
    Medical recheck, finalize plans and eventual transport to the fire area / worksite to begin work. Approximately one-half day’s work. Breakfast and dinner at the PTC. Trail lunch in the field.
  • Monday, Day 3 through Friday, Day 7
    Daily transport to the fire area / worksite (shorter work-day on Friday). Breakfast and dinner at the PTC. Trail lunch in the field.
  • Friday evening, Day 7
    Recognition dinner and final gathering.
  • Saturday, Day 8
    Depart Philmont after breakfast.

Below you can find some of the frequently asked questions (FAQ):

  1. Are we camping?
    No. We will spend all nights at the PTC and stay in roofed housing. You will share rooms with other Phil-breakers. We will be transported daily to the worksite.

  2. Do we need a pack?
    Yes – a good-sized day pack or small weekend pack. Every day you will be driven to the worksite, but you’ll need to carry a trail lunch, lots of water (4-6 liters), rain gear, extra warm clothing (think layers), camera, etc.

  3. Will it be cold?
    Probably. This is the backcountry in early March at 8,000 – 9,000 feet. Plan on layers for your clothing.

  4. Where will we be working?
    In the backcountry burn area. It’s too early right now for the conservation team to pinpoint exactly where we’ll be working.

  5. Are there multiple OA PhilBreak sessions?
    There are 3 OA PhilBreak sessions this year.

  6. Can a spouse or other family member hang out at the PTC while I work every day?

  7. Can I arrive later in the week and still participate?

  8. What happens if 30 people register before me?
    We will put you on a wait list. Cancellations are inevitable.

  9. What about shuttle transportation?
    Shuttles available from Raton, NM $20 round trip. Shuttle available from Albuquerque Airport $100 round trip. Must arrive by noon on the first day and depart after 1 pm on the last day.