WG08 – Wilderness First Aid

Staying healthy and safe in the backcountry is the primary responsibility of all advisors.  The Philmont CPR and Wilderness First Aid (WFA) requirements are a necessary first step.  At least two, and preferably three, crew members must be certified in both CPR and WFA and be with the crew at all times in the backcountry.  Current WFA and CPR certification cards will be reviewed by Philmont at check-in.  Certification must be by a Philmont-approved organization – check the Wilderness First Aid requirements (from the Council and Unit Planning Guide) posted in the Medical section of the Trek Preparation page of the Watchu Experience Web site (www.watchu.org) for details.

The Watchu recommendation is that at least three crew members be certified in Philmont-approved CPR and WFA programs.  Further, it is recommended ALL crew members be certified in Standard First Aid and CPR from the Red Cross, ECSI, or the equivalent.  Experience suggests the Watchu recommendations are by far the best and safest policy.

The Watchu Tribe under the guidance of Medicine Man Tom has created a Philmont-approved WFA and CPR training team and program.  They have scheduled weekend WFA courses normally delivered at Camp Allamuchy Scout Reservation.  For details, registration, and dates check the Wilderness First Aid page in the Training section of the Crew Development page of the Watchu Experience Web site.  Sign up for the course that is convenient for you.  You are free to take a WFA course from any of the Philmont-approved providers, but expect their fee to be three or four times more expensive than the WFA course being offered by Patriots’ Path Council, BSA.

NOTE:  A current CPR certification is a pre-requisite for attending a Wilderness First Aid course – cards will be checked upon arrival and anyone without a valid CPR certification will not be allowed to take the course.


50-Miler Award Tip: Successful completion of your Philmont trek will qualify all in your crew for the BSA 50-Miler Award, with the exception of 7 additional hours of conservation work per participant (all crews will do 3 hours at Philmont.)  Some crews integrate 7 hours of conservation work into their Watchu crew development plan.  In that way they return from New Mexico having completed all the 50-Miler Award requirements.  Check with the Patriots’ Path camp rangers and staff – they will certainly have suggestions for your crew conservation project.  Go to the Resources section of the Crew Development page of the Watchu Experience Web site for a 50-Miler Award application and a Service Hours Tracking Form for use at Patriots’ Path camps.

Check out the Recognitions and Awards page on the Web site to see all that are available to participants in Patriots’ Path Council’s Philmont expeditions!


Phil Fact:  Head of Dean Camp is the crossroads of Philmont’s North Country.  Crews heading to or returning from Baldy Mountain almost “have” to pass through.  The program offered is Challenge Events – a combination of low COPE and other crew building exercises.


The wind whispers in the pines at Head of Dean camp!

Bob Dean
Cattle foreman in the Dean Canyon area