The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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November 25, 2012

New Mexico camp a case study for the Summit


OAK HILL — Often the first opportunity for Scouts to impact Cimarron’s local economy is their choice of where to bed down for the night before they check in at Philmont.

Sometimes they arrive one or even four days before their backpacking expedition begins, in which case they stay at the ranch or at a local accommodation.

During the summer, Cimarron’s lodging businesses stay very busy.

RV parks, tent camping areas and hotels do their best to meet customers’ needs, which includes offering a variety of set-ups at a variety of price points.

“They have a range of budgets,” says Deb Saunders of The Cimarron Inn. “Some can afford to sleep two Scouts to a room, and others are looking for a bunkhouse situation.”

She says her inn bends over backward to cater to the Boy Scouts, who most often come in groups of 12. After her first year in business, she realized that in addition to regular lodging, there was a need for a bunkhouse.

So she built The Casita — which sleeps 12 and offers a full kitchen for $20 a head — specifically for Scouts, though it is also used for family reunions and groups of hunters.

“A lot of the things you do will translate to being available for other guests, too,” she says.

A huge piece of the puzzle is promoting what there is to see and do in the surrounding area, aside from a visit to Philmont.

When people make a trip this far out, they usually want to see other area attractions. Other regional draws include four ski resorts, a huge arts community in Taos and a vast National Rifle Association shooting range.

“If you have a Scout troop that decides there’s a lot more than they can see and do in one day, they will come in two days ahead of time,” says Saunders.

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