Philmont Scout Ranch to open despite Boy Scouts bankruptcy

By Jesse Moya
jmoya@taosnews.com
Posted 2/19/20

The national Chapter of Boy Scouts of America has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the wake of hundreds of court cases alleging sexual abuse, but local troops will continue as usual, according to the organization. The fate of the organization’s assets, including the popular Philmont Scout Ranch in northeastern New Mexico, remains a question.

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Philmont Scout Ranch to open despite Boy Scouts bankruptcy

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The national Chapter of Boy Scouts of America has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the wake of hundreds of court cases alleging sexual abuse, but local troops will continue as usual, according to the organization. The fate of the organization’s assets, including the popular Philmont Scout Ranch in northeastern New Mexico, remains a question.

According to a release published Tuesday (Feb. 18) by the organization, regular meetings and activities will continue for the troops spread out across the country. In addition, the Boy Scouts of America said it will not be closing the organization due to the bankruptcy filings.

"Local councils are not part of the filings," the Boy Scouts said in a release. "Councils are legally separate, distinct and financially independent from the national organization." 
 

Local Boy Scout Troop 98 officials in Taos could not be reached for comment, however officials at Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarrón said the area is preparing for a busy summer.

Philmont Scout Ranch was donated to the Boy Scouts in 1938 and has since become a popular destination for scouts and hikers alike. The 140,000-acre ranch will continue to operate while the national chapter undergoes its bankruptcy proceeding.

The Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 while a number of pending sexual abuse lawsuits hang over the organization. According to a statement from the national chapter, the Boy Scouts of America plans to use the funds from the Chapter 11 filing to create a victims compensation trust.

“The BSA cares deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in scouting,” said Roger Mosby, president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to harm innocent children.”

Dominic Baima, marketing manager of Philmont Ranch, said he was unable to comment on the bankruptcy and its potential impact but did say the ranch is set to be open for the time being.

“Philmont Scout Ranch is busy preparing for the 2020 summer camping season and will welcome 22,000 scouts from across the country this summer,” Baima said in an email. “We remain steadfast and committed to delivering wilderness and learning adventures that last a lifetime for the foreseeable future.”

Philmont is owned by the national chapter and the Boy Scouts of America declined to respond to a question about whether it would be counted as an asset in the Chapter 11 filings, instead referring questions to a website set up regarding the bankruptcy.

“We expect activities at our high-adventure facilities will continue as usual throughout this restructuring process and beyond,” a public relations representative said in an email.

The ranch is currently listed as an asset with the organization in the Chapter 11 restructuring plan and has a listed value of around $40 million. Of the “high adventure” facilities listed, Philmont Scout Ranch is the most valuable of the three properties.

Philmont Scout Ranch was mortgaged by the Boy Scouts of America in 2019 to secure a line of credit for the organization. The land was being used as collateral to help the organization financially in the midst of the sexual abuse allegations.

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