Outdoor ethics is deeply ingrained in the BSA program. No place is this more important than in the outdoors. Scouting and Venturing have a long, proud tradition of conservation service to the nation. How do we preserve that tradition? By heeding the challenge in the Outdoor Code.

Outdoor Ethics

The Outdoor Code

As an American, I will do my best to:
Be clean in my outdoor manners.
Be careful with fire.
Be considerate in the outdoors.
Be conservation minded.

Outdoor Ethics, tread lightly!® and Land Ethics

Building upon this foundation, the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Venturing, and Sea Scout programs all include outdoor stewardship, care for the environment, and Leave No Trace as part of their programs. To support the Outdoor Code with proven principles and skills, Scouting has incorporated Leave No Trace for non-motorized outdoor activities, Tread Lightly! for motorized activities and the Land Ethic into the BSA Outdoor Ethics Program.

To learn more about the BSA Outdoor Ethics Program, click here
To learn more about tread lightly!®, click here
To learn more about the Land Ethics, click here

Through the Outdoor Code - supported by Leave No Trace, tread lightly!® and the Land Ethic, we can take responsibility for our own impacts. We can provide leadership to those around us to reduce their impacts by making good choices. Together, we can preserve and conserve our rich environmental heritage.

Outdoor Ethics Awards

For Scouts and adults who have a deep interest in the outdoors, nature, and the environment, Scouting’s outdoor ethics will give you an ever-deeper appreciation of the richness of the land and how we fit into it. If you are prepared to venture down the path of really becoming aware of your surroundings, of building the skills that will allow you to leave no trace on the land, then the Outdoor Ethics Awareness and Action Awards are for you.

Outdoor Ethics Training

The BSA offers outdoor ethics training as part of its core outdoor training programs: National Youth Leader Training (NYLT) and National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience (NAYLE) for Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts, and part of Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills (IOLS) and Wood Badge for all adult volunteers with outdoor leadership responsibilities.

The BSA offers a carefully selected group of specialized Outdoor Ethics and Leave No Trace training courses to assist youth and adult members seeking to bring cutting-edge outdoor ethics to their outdoor programs. Among the courses offered are:

  • BSA Outdoor Ethics Orientation
  • BSA Outdoor Ethics Guide
  • BSA Leave No Trace 101 - Awareness
  • BSA Leave No Trace Trainer Course
  • BSA Leave No Trace Master Educator Course
  • Implementing Leave No Trace in the Local Council

Upcoming Outdoor Ethics Classes

For general information on all these courses, visit Outdoor Ethics Training in the BSA. Be sure and check the TFC Calendar for upcoming local Outdoor Ethics training courses.

Tread lightly!®

Training courses may also be hosted by BSA Councils. See the tread lightly!® Tread Trainer Program webpage for a listing of available courses.

Outdoor Ethics Resources

Numerous resources are available for individuals interested in outdoor ethics issues. See the BSA National Outdoor Ethics Resources webpage for further information. ​

Three Fires Council Outdoor Ethics Contacts

Mark Thomas - Council Outdoor Ethics Advocate

Russell Snella - Council Outdoor Ethics Advocate & Committee Chair