They were like men coming up with axes to a grove of trees…
They set fire to your holy place… and raised it to the ground. Psalm 74: 5,6
Some years ago the Ranch authorities realized that letting forests go their own way was not the best so they started selective timbering around some of our camps. With this amount of acreage there’s only so much you can do at a time, of course.
With last year’s fire, and the lesser fire in 2002, the need to ‘weed out’ some of the timber has become more necessary. Conservation crews have been working diligently since last year to thin out some of the timber which will provide sunlight to reach other growth, diminish the possibility of major fires spreading so quickly, and in other ways, provide better habitat for the fauna.
Piles of cut logs, old dead wood as well as cleared live timber line our roadways. Stacks of lumber which can be used for building projects are neatly piled. Some has been used already for projects around the ranch, like an Altar for one of the Catholic Chapels. I’m told that some of the cut logs will be offered to the locals of Cimarron who will take them to fuel their wood stoves and fireplaces in the deep winter’s snow. And yes, even as I arrived the second week of July, there was still snow on the top of Mount Baldy! Other pyres will be burnt when snow covers the ground in a few months.
Philmont had from the beginning been very conscious of land preservation and conservation. The past few years have elevated that awareness to amazing proportions. And the work being done is a good testament and example to the Scouts who come, not only from the inner cities but for all
We think of forest fires as devastating – and they are as they approach inhabited areas, but they also bear fruit of care and concern for God’s creation.