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freezer bag cooking
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Thomas Glennon
(Eagletrek007) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Freezer Bags on 03/19/2013 08:14:32 MDT Print View

Hey Ranger Jake,

Got it, no freezer bags. No debate needed, as you guyts are the "land manager". That said how about using your connections through Ranger channels and ensure that this message gets out loud and clear to all attending in 2013 and beyond. As I review the latest Philmont Council and Unit Planning Guide (2013 edition) and Guidebook to Adventure, there is no mention of the prohibition on freezer/turkey bags for cooking.

LNT principle #1 is "plan ahead and prepare". If Philmont will let us know, well in advance, I'm sure folks will come prepared not to go the "bag route".

Thanks for your service to our youth and the great scouting program.



Sarah Kuhn
(SCKuhn) - MLife

Locale: Mountainous Ohio
'Turkey bags' on 03/19/2013 09:02:33 MDT Print View

Thomas -
Unit planning Guide comes out for 2013 in the fall of 2012, so probably missed the printing deadline. I agree though, should have been in the Guidebook to Adventure since they JUST came out, but it is referenced in the Itinerary Guide.


From the 2013 Itinerary Guide - page 15
"Turkey Bags
A common food preparation inquiry amongst crews travelling to Philmont relates to the use of oven cooking bags, or as they are sometimes called, “turkey bags”. Though their use may be a common practice on camping or backpacking trips on the local level, Philmont asks that units DO NOT use this cooking method while on an expedition at Philmont. Rangers will teach the proper cooking and cleaning procedures to the crew at the beginning of the trek using pots, camp suds, hot water, and Philmont sumps. This is an important skill for crew members to learn, and helps reinforce the Patrol Method on the trail by rotating this valuable position on the crew duty roster to all members of the crew. Other concerns with the “turkey bags” are the environmental impact and the impact to bear and wildlife procedures. 22,000 participants in a summer would create over 50,000 bags that take up scarce refuse space in the backcountry and then have to be hauled to a landfill. Also, with 50,000 bags worth of food residue, the potential for increased odors that are carried in backpacks, hung in bear bags, or left in refuse containers, will certainly create an impact to Philmont bear and wildlife procedures. Your cooperation in this effort will help support Philmont’s multiple sustainability initiatives and will make a positive and lasting impact on the environment."

Edited by SCKuhn on 03/19/2013 09:03:58 MDT.

Tony Ronco
(tr-browsing) - MLife
'Turkey bags' Redux - reframe it into embracing tradition. on 03/19/2013 14:18:27 MDT Print View

Re: "Rangers will teach the proper cooking and cleaning procedures ..."

Hmm, this is just one illustrative sentence that reflects a value-belief which is at the heart of the issue here ... it is simply unaware of (or doesn't accept)that there are differences between "proper" and "Philmont"

Also there is no recognition that the Philmont version of the patrol method of cooking and cleaning does not fully embrace Philmont's own Wilderness Pledge commitment to converse water. There recognition that it wastes stove fuel and increases fossil fuel emissions from unnecessary boiling of water for clean up. So, there is no recognition that it is less sustainable.

The Reframing to Tradition:

I get that there is a element of tradition in play here ... and that tradition is important to the culture of Scouting. That can certainly be acknowledged and act as a basis for going forward.

But please, let's drop creating specious rationalizations that the cooking alternatives represented in this thread aren't as effective in promoting the Patrol Method. (As Don outlines in his 12/26/2012 post on this thread)

Permit me to add one more example from the previous post's Itinerary Guide quote:
"the potential [turkey bag method] for increased odors that are carried in backpacks, hung in bear bags, or left in refuse containers, will certainly create an impact to Philmont bear and wildlife procedures."

Oy what a rationalization. In reality, the traditional Philmont methods do not minimize that - as food solids left over from the dinner cleaning procedure (from the frisbee strainer and a bit from the sump strainer) get packed out in plastic waste bags (our ranger encouraged the use of zip-locs for moisture control ... just like waste containment for the alternative methods in this thread). And of course, besides dinner's rehydration, there are plenty of other food residue trash from lunch spreads, meat containers, etc (that have nothing to do with a rehydrating method) that also go into waste bags. BTW, Campsuds is aromatic as well, and that makes the things it washes aromatic too. (Which would one think is more of a bear attractor; a pot that's had food cooked in it and washed with aromatic soap? or a pot that has only been used for boiled water?)
Anyway ... in short - the food residue & trash from the traditional Philmont method are NOT the most minimized and are also naturally carried in backpacks, hung in bear bags, or left in refuse containers at staff camps ...

Rather than relying on such specious rationalizations, maybe focusing on it as a tradition approach is easier way to advocate the Philmont Method.

LNT Approach -
I can also embrace the LNT angle which is thankfully (ironically?) counter to the older traditions of back country woodcraft (among other things). And while the Philmont Method ignores the issue of water conservation, fuel & emissions waste. I'm just hoping to see at PSR this summer,t LNT practices that are better & wider spread than what I saw in 2011 ... because there are lots of low hanging fruit that haven't been picked yet. Philmont certainly has the potential to be a shining example of the LNT approach. I'm accepting as a matter of faith that these steps are a part of an effort to pursue that goal.

Edited by tr-browsing on 02/27/2015 12:20:57 MST.

bs on 03/19/2013 15:51:11 MDT Print View

Call it what it is. Total BS.

How many crews use turkey bags? 1/2? 1/3? 1/4, or less?

Probably less.

But lets be kind and say 1/3

Might be 7000 turkey bags per summer

Assuming a 8 weeks of treks = 875 per week.

want to know how much volume the bags actually takes up?

A couple cubic feet, tops. Less than 1/2 of a trash can, per week.

The food residue in the bags would be way more of a problem, than the bags themselves.

And that food comes out anyway in the yum yum ziplocks.

People have used turkey bags and other preferred ways of doing things for years at Philmont without issues.

But apparently someone new got a hard-on to try to make everyone do things their way.

When we have asked, we have not been told that we couldnt do anything that we wanted. We were told they would "prefer" if we did it X way.
That is also the language used here.

actual turkey bag weighs .5 oz
10 bags weigh 6 oz,= 0.375 lb

How much trash if 1/3 used them? 272lbs
How much trash if everyone used them 816 lbs

816 lbs is all the recyclable trash they are actually saving. Period.

22000 participants cant generate 50000 bags unless they use two for each meal, or if they have 5 man crews. Neither happens.

22000 * 11/7 =34571 = the max # of bags that could be possibly generated.
=1080 lb All recyclable too.
Seems they cant even do math, or possibly just like throwing out ridiculous exxagerations. More that likely the average crew size is 10, and you end up with 800 lbs of trash, max based on 24000 turkey bags, not 50,000

In actuality, you will use one yum-yum bag every 2 days since you will dispose of at staffed camps, so thats 0.6 oz (double bagged) vs. 1.0 oz for one turkey bag each day.
so in reality, the trash savings is even less, probably half. 400lbs total if everyone used turkey bags, or more likely, 150 lbs.

The rest of the trash in their food packaging for a crew, eclipses that easily by probably a factor of 50. They are working on the wrong target, as usual.

Edited by livingontheroad on 03/20/2013 20:21:36 MDT.

Thomas Glennon
(Eagletrek007) - MLife
Re: 'Turkey bags' on 03/20/2013 13:08:00 MDT Print View


Thanks for pointing out Philmont's new policy. It was just my luck that the 2013 Itinerary Guide was posted on-line just after I made my post. Glad to see that they included it however it would have been nice if it had been done earlier. Seems to be a little late in the process especially for those of us who start training early.

Thomas Glennon
(Eagletrek007) - MLife
Re: 'Turkey bags' Redux - reframe it into embracing tradition. on 03/20/2013 13:13:07 MDT Print View

In keeping with Philmont's return to "tradition" I'm contemplating toting my Plumb three quarter axe with me during our 2014 trek. Just for looks you know!!!

Tony Ronco
(tr-browsing) - MLife
Return to Tradition :-) on 03/23/2013 09:53:07 MDT Print View

@ Thomas: LOL - going retro! Let us know how that goes.
I'm old enough to remember when I was a Scout, Woodcraft was a natural part of "Scout Craft" ... not exactly a LNT approach.

Scout Hatches

Yeah, point made. Some traditions are best left in the past *smile*

Edited by tr-browsing on 03/23/2013 09:55:37 MDT.