Conservation Department

The Philmont Conservation Department is a fully functioning year-round Conservation Corps. The department runs programs focusing on volunteer engagement, environmental education, and wildfire prevention and mitigation, and other programs. The department employs approximately 120 seasonal staff every summer and approximately 70 staff during the fall and winter seasons.

Mission Statement

The Philmont Conservation Department is dedicated to managing, maintaining, and planning for the sustainable use of Philmont’s recreational and natural resources through proactive stewardship, volunteer engagement, education, hard work, and the ideals of the BSA.

Departmental History

The Philmont Conservation Department was created in the way that most things are at Philmont: a group of passionate seasonal staff decided that something needed to be done to improve the trails and campsites and decided that they were the people to do it. Officially formed in 1971, the Conservation Department has a long history of promoting stewardship and hard work to all who visit Philmont. LEARN MORE.

Seasonal Staff Opportunities

The Conservation Department is directed by a team of four career staff and employs approximately 120 staff during the summer and 70 during the fall and winter. Some focuses of staff positions include volunteer engagement, trail construction and maintenance, forestry and fire mitigation, sustainable land use, geographic information systems, environmental restoration. LEARN MORE.

Camper Conservation Program

As part of the Philmont Arrowhead Award, campers complete must complete three hours of conservation work as part of the Camper Conservation Program. Projects are varied, but all focus on land restoration or recreation infrastructure improvement. The participants’ work is vital to the overall maintenance of Philmont. LEARN MORE.

Fire Ecology and Forestry

Fire has always been a part of the ecosystem of the Southwest. Throughout history fires shaped the ecosystems of Philmont. Following the advent of European settlement, the impact of human activities replaced fire as the primary influence on natural systems, resulting in a landscape ill-suited to withstand wildfires. Today, the Philmont Conservation Department is managing for resilient forest systems that benefit the natural ecosystem. LEARN MORE.

Individual Programs

The Conservation Department sponsors four unique individual trek programs that focus on conservation skills and allow participants to experience The Ranch in a totally different way than any other program.

  • Order of the Arrow Trail Crew (OATC) is a 14-day individual program that brings Arrowmen together from across the country for a week of trail building followed by a week of trek program. It focuses on the tenants of the Order of the Arrow: brotherhood, cheerfulness and service. 
  • STEM Trek is offered in 7 day and 12 day sessions. It is meant to give participants an up-close look at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math behind Philmont’s most popular programs. 
  • Roving Outdoor Conservation School (ROCS) is a 21-day experience for individuals that combines unique conservation work with field lessons and guest speakers that help participants understand the environment that makes Philmont special.
  • Trail Crew Trek (TCT) is a 14-day program that consists of seven days of trail construction followed by seven days of trek. TCT is designed to develop leadership skills and prepare participants to plan conservation projects in their communities.
  • Volunteer Vacation is a one week fall program for adults registered in the BSA. It is designed to give volunteers an opportunity to be a part of the Philmont trail machine and leave a physical legacy while experiencing the Philmont in a unique way.
  • PhilBreak is a one-week alternative spring break program for youth and adults. The week is spent with timber thinning crews from the Philmont Conservation Department working to improve the health of the Philmont forests and the safety of the ranch as a whole.
  • Sportsman’s Adventure is a unique opportunity for scouters to experience a big game hunt on Philmont Property. Integral to Philmont’s wildlife management policy, Sportsmen must be recommended by a local Scout Executive in order to apply for a hunting slot.
Learn more about all of Philmont’s individual opportunities on the individual treks page.