The 140,000-acre Philmont Scout Ranch has been mortgaged by the Boy Scouts of America to help secure a line of credit as the organization faces a growing wave of new sex-abuse lawsuits.
The Associate Press reported Friday that the BSA mortgaged its legal right and title to Philmont Scout Ranch to J.P. Morgan Chase Bank to secure $446 million of debt incurred over the past decade.
The northeastern New Mexico ranch was donated to the Boy Scouts in two parcels in 1938 and in 1941 by oilman Waite Phillips. Since 1939 more than 1 million Scouts and others have camped and hiked on the property. One of its many trails leads to the 12,441-foot summit of Baldy Mountain.
In a statement provided to The Associated Press, the Boy Scouts said programming and operations at Philmont “continue uninterrupted, and we are committed to ensuring that the property will continue to serve and benefit the Scouting community for years to come. “
“In the face of rising insurance costs, it was necessary for the BSA to take some actions earlier this year to address our current financial situation,” the BSA said. “This included identifying certain properties, including Philmont Scout Ranch, that could be used as collateral .... in order to keep in place an existing line of credit for insurance.”
The BSA, headquartered in Irving, Texas, says it’s exploring “all available options” to maintain its programs and has not ruled out the possibility of filing for bankruptcy.