Philbreak 2019

Post date: May 21, 2019 9:30:45 PM

By Paul L. Hiszem

This past March I spent a week at Philmont participating in the Order of the Arrow sponsored Philbreak. Over several weeks of spring breaks, approximately 120 Arrowmen participated in a week of service at Philmont. Going from Saturday to Saturday we provided much needed assistance helping Philmont both recover from the devastating fires of last May/June and prepare for possible future fires on the property. Each week there were between 30 to 50 Arrowmen who assisted workers from the Philmont Conservation department. The Conservation staff provided supervision, ran the chain saws, and help us complete our various jobs.

The week I participated, we worked at two different job sites. The first was just off Beaubien Road below Lovers Leap camp. We worked at burning a wide swath of land on both sides of the road. We were basically creating a fire break for possible future fires. Our fire break would help provide a safe evacuation path in the event of a future fire. We cleared all of the trees and brush, creating stacks of logs that were made available to the public. We also created large, ten feet tall burn piles of brush that will be burned safely next winter when there’s snow on the ground. At our other work site near Ute Gulch we worked on a mountainside creating log barriers helping to prevent erosion. The barriers resembled a gigantic Plinko board, shunting water off to the side and slowing it down greatly to prevent erosion.

It is the intent of the Philmont Conservation department to offer another round of Philbreak weeks next year during spring breaks. This year the cost was $100 plus transportation. I took the Amtrak from Sandusky to Raton, New Mexico. My transportation costs were around $400. During the week I spent at Philmont we stayed in lodging at the Philmont Training Center. We had two beds in our rooms with bathrooms. We at in the dining room at the Training Center for breakfast and dinner. We packed our own lunches from food that Philmont supplied. Participants on my week ranged from high schoolers, college age students, and adults into their 60s and early 70s. We had Arrowmen from all over the country.

Think about spending some time next year out at Philmont. Whether you’ve been there before or don’t have the time/money to do a trek, the week was well worth it.