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.