Preserve the Wilderness

Learn About Philmont Bear Proceedures.

Philmont is a magnificent wilderness camping area with an immense network of trails and camps tied together by service roads designed for service and protection of both campers and land.

Since 1938, thousands of young people have enjoyed the great scenic beauty of Philmont's mountain terrain and experienced the unique and memorable programs of its staffed camps. However, in the past, a number of inconsiderate and impolite Scout campers employing improper camping methods have marred certain areas of this magnificent land. Consequently, Philmont asks all campers and their advisers to commit themselves to good Scout camping and genuine wilderness understanding.

Each camper and adviser will be asked to sign the Philmont Wilderness Pledge, which declares that he or she will do everything possible to preserve the beauty and wonder of the Philmont wilderness and facilities through good Scout camping. It is expected that Philmont campers will carry this pledge to all camping areas that they might visit throughout America.

Wilderness Pledge

The major areas of emphasis involved in the Philmont Wilderness Pledge are:

Litter and Graffiti

Each camper should make sure that all trails and campsites are left neat and clean, including Camping Headquarters shower and tent areas.

While litter can be picked up, graffiti often permanently defaces BSA property and detracts from the Philmont experience. Do not contribute to this problem.


Respect Philmont's wildlife and livestock. Follow all guidelines regarding food handling and trash disposal. Never feed or harass wild animals.


You are in a land where water is scarce and very precious. Conservation and wise use of water have been practiced since the first person entered this land. Use water properly; never bathe or do laundry or dishes in or near a spring or stream. Do not disturb or throw rocks in springs, or touch any solar pumps. They are easily damaged and the flow of water can be disrupted. Everyone needs water, and you should leave each spring and stream as clean as you found it.


Pledge to respect Philmont trails. Do not cut green boughs or trees, or mark on them. Do not cut across switchbacks, and do not alter or change trail signs.


Each crew is responsible for leaving a neat and orderly campsite, whether it be in Camping Headquarters, staffed camps, or non-staffed camps. Your campsite should be left litter-free with its latrine and sump clean. Fires, if permitted, must be left DEAD OUT and then cleaned of debris before you leave. Do not trench tents; pitch them on high ground. You should respect the feelings of those crews camping near you and those that will come after you.

Philmont serves over 20,000 Scouts, Venturers, and leaders each year. Consequently, some trails and camps are subjected to heavy use. Nevertheless, it is not the wear of so many pairs of boots that mars Philmont. It is the carelessness and thoughtlessness of inconsiderate campers. It is our sincere hope that through your commitment to the Philmont Wilderness Pledge, Philmont will always remain a beautiful and clean place to enjoy high adventure.

Wilderness Pledge Guia (Guide)

Each crew is asked to select a Wilderness Pledge Guia (Spanish word for Guide.) The Guia will help the crew understand the principles of the Philmont Wilderness Pledge and Leave No Trace. This person will help the crew focus on camping practices that will adhere to the wilderness ethics outlined in the two approaches.


About Philmont Scout Ranch

Philmont Scout Ranch, the Boy Scouts of America's premier High Adventure™ base, challenges Scouts and Venturers with more than 214 square miles of rugged northern New Mexico wilderness. Backpacking treks, horseback cavalcades, and training and service programs offer young people many ways to experience this legendary country.