Historic Trails Award honors Scouts, Scouters who bring history to life.
SOME OF THE MOST memorable hikes Scouts take explore history, whether that means tracing the steps of Billy Yank and Johnny Reb at Gettysburg, hiking part of the Oregon Trail or visiting a historic site in their own community. The Historic Trails Award recognizes youth and adult leaders who not only explore history but also share it with other people.
WHY HAVE A HISTORIC TRAILS AWARD? The award is designed to foster an appreciation of the ideals, principles and traditions that have helped make our country strong. It also connects Scouts with a local historical society or association, pointing them toward opportunities for further exploration of history.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS? Members of the unit must plan and participate in a historical activity involving either a historic trail or a historic site. Specifically, they must: (1) locate and study a historic trail or site, (2) hike or camp two days and one night along the trail or near the site, and (3) work with an adult group, like a historical society, to restore and mark all or part of the trail or site.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE? It varies for different trails. In most cases, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Venturers, Sea Scouts and adult leaders are eligible.
ARE THERE NATIONALLY APPROVED HISTORIC TRAILS? Yes. More than 300 trails have been approved. The BSA recommends that hikers use only the historic trails that have been nationally approved.
DOES THE TRAIL WORK HAVE TO COINCIDE WITH THE HIKING OR CAMPING TRIP? No.
WHAT IF THE TRAIL OR SITE DOESN’T NEED TO BE RESTORED OR MARKED? As an alternative, the unit may work with the adult group to plan and stage a historical pageant, ceremony or other public event related to the trail or site. The event should be of sufficient scope to merit coverage by the local press.
A NATIONAL PARK IN OUR COUNCIL HAS A DESIGNATED HISTORIC TRAIL. DOES HIKING IT COUNT FOR THIS AWARD? Only if your unit also studies the trail and either works on the trail or conducts an event related to it.
DO WE HAVE TO WORK A CERTAIN NUMBER OF HOURS OR MARK A TRAIL OF A CERTAIN LENGTH? No.
WHAT RECOGNITION ITEMS ARE AVAILABLE? Individuals who complete the award may receive an embroidered emblem (No. 188) and/or a leather patch (No. 244). Many of the approved trails also offer a patch or medal for completing the trail. These can be purchased from the host council.
IS EITHER RECOGNITION ITEM APPROVED FOR UNIFORM WEAR? No. The recognition items are intended for display on things like tents, backpacks and patch blankets.
CAN AN INDIVIDUAL EARN THE AWARD MORE THAN ONCE? Yes.
WHO APPROVES THE AWARD? The unit leader submits the Historic Trails Award application to the local council service center for approval.
FIND AN APPLICATION for the Historic Trails Award (No. 34408) at bit.ly/historictrails.
READ MORE ADVANCEMENT (AND AWARD) FAQ STORIES AT SCOUTINGMAGAZINE.ORG/ADVANCEMENTFAQS.
Is there a link to the list of approved trails?
I would also live to see the list of the 300 approved trails! Where are they?
This is great, but why no list? Why have an award with no way to know if you are fulfilling the requirements?
I found a link on BSA’s website, but it appears to be broken.
While it is outdated, here is the only list I could find – which is supposed to be a recreation of the national list:
I did find a list of “BSA approved” trails as of 2003. Apparently, not all historic trails qualify.
Kind of ridiculous to have an article promoting something that the national website has no information on. Typical.
Same comment as all the rest. The most current list available on a google search is from Coastal Carolina Council’s website and is from 2009. At this point every trail on that list would have been expired and need to have their application resubmitted and approved.
National wants us to choose from a list of nationally approved trails, but doesn’t share that list. Kind of ratchets up the difficulty there, doesn’t it?
A current list of approved historic trails is maintained at BSA’s “The Adventure Plan” website (bsatap.org):
What is needed to create an historical trail? I have an idea of a trail close to where I live but do not know the criteria of how to obtain the BSA approval. Any information you could furnish would be greatly appreciated.
Here is a link to the Historic Trails Specifications and application:
Here is a link to the renewal application for an historic trail (required every five years):
Thank you so much for this information.
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