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The Outdoor Code

Previous Versions of the Outdoor Code

While the four key points have not changed, there have been many revisions of the wording describing each of the points over the years.

Outdoor Code - Boys Life, March, 1954

As an American, I will do my best to --
BE CLEAN IN MY OUTDOOR MANNERS -- I will treat the outdoors as a heritage to be improved for our greater enjoyment. I will keep my trash and garbage out of America's waters, fields, woods, and roadways.
BE CAREFUL WITH FIRE -- I will prevent wildfire. I will build my fire in a safe place and be sure it is out before I leave.
BE CONSIDERATE IN THE OUTDOORS -- I will treat public and private property with respect. I will remember that use of the outdoors is a privilege I can lose by abuse.
BE CONSERVATION-MINDED -- I will learn how to practice good conservation of soil, waters, forests, minerals, grasslands, and wildlife; and I will urge others to do the same. I will use sportsmanlike methods in all my outdoor activities.
Original 1954 version
5th, 6th, ...? Edition Boy Scout Handbook
1990 printing of The Scoutmaster Handbook

1982? Revision

As an American, I will do my best to --
BE CLEAN IN MY OUTDOOR MANNERS -- I will treat the outdoors as a heritage. I will try to improve it for myself and others. I will keep my trash and garbage out of America's waters, fields, woods, and roadways.
BE CAREFUL WITH FIRE -- I will prevent wildfire. I will build my fire in a safe place and be sure it is out before I leave.
BE CONSIDERATE IN THE OUTDOORS -- I will treat public and private property with respect. I will remember that use of the outdoors is a right that I can lose by abuse.
BE CONSERVATION-MINDED -- I will learn how to practice good conservation of soil, waters, forests, minerals, grasslands, wildlife and energy. I will urge others to do the same.
1982?-1988?
..?, 9th Edition (8th printing), ..?Boy Scout Handbook

1990? Revision

As an American, I will do my best to --
BE CLEAN IN MY OUTDOOR MANNERS -- I will treat the outdoors as a heritage. I will take care of it for myself and others. I will keep my trash and garbage out of lakes, streams, fields, woods, and roadways.
BE CAREFUL WITH FIRE -- I will prevent wildfire. I will build my fires only where they are appropriate. When I have finished using a fire, I will make sure it is cold-out. I will leave a clean fire ring, or remove all evidence of my fire.
BE CONSIDERATE IN THE OUTDOORS -- I will treat public and private property with respect. I will use low-impact methods of hiking and camping.
BE CONSERVATION-MINDED -- I will learn how to practice good conservation of soil, waters, forests, minerals, grasslands, wildlife and energy. I will urge others to do the same.
1990?-?
..?, 10th Edition Boy Scout Handbook
2003 Outdoor Code Poster

? Revision

As an American, I will do my best to --
BE CLEAN IN MY OUTDOOR MANNERS -- I will treat the outdoors as a heritage. I will take care of it for myself and others. I will keep my trash and garbage out of lakes, streams, fields, woods, and roadways.
BE CAREFUL WITH FIRE -- I will prevent wildfire. I will build my fires only when and where they are appropriate. When I have finished using a fire, I will make sure it is cold out. I will leave a clean fire ring, or remove all evidence of my fire.
BE CONSIDERATE IN THE OUTDOORS -- I will treat public and private property with respect. I will follow the Principles of Leave No Trace for all outdoor activities.
BE CONSERVATION-MINDED -- I will learn about and practice good conservation of soil, waters, forests, minerals, grasslands, wildlife and energy. I will urge others to do the same.
Scoutmaster Handbook, 2008 printing

2012 Proposed Revision

As an American, I will do my best to be:
Clean in my outdoor manners - We will clean up after ourselves using pack it in, pack it out techniques. We avoid leaving graffiti, fire rings, camp gadgets, and other signs of our presence.
Careful with fire - Fire is an important tool, but one that can be devastating if it gets out of hand. We think about the need for fire, how best to use it, and how to minimize its impacts.
Considerate in the outdoors - We will think about others as well as ourselves and how our presence impacts them. We think about not just our impact on other humans, but also on wildlife and the environment.
Conservation minded - We will think about our impacts on the environment. We take steps to correct and redress damage to the environment.
2012 BSA Outdoor Ethics Conference

2013 Revision

As an American, I will do my best to:
Be clean in my outdoor manners.
We will clean up after ourselves using pack-it-in, pack-it-out techniques. We will avoid leaving graffiti, fire rings, camp gadgets, and other signs of our presence.
Be careful with fire.
Fire is an important tool, but one that can be devastating if it gets out of hand. We think about the need for fire, how best to use it, and how to minimize its impacts.
Be considerate in the outdoors.
We will think about others as well as ourselves and how our presence impacts them. We think about not just our impact on other humans, but also on wildlife and the environment.
Be conservation-minded.
We will think about our impacts on the environment. We take steps to correct and redress damage to the environment.
2013 Outdoor Ethics Award Brochures

Other Editions of the Scout Handbook and Fieldbook

The Outdoor Code was not included in the Third Edition (1984, 1989) of the Fieldbook.

The 1998 11th Edition of the Boy Scout Handbook included the key points of the Outdoor Code, but did not include any additional wording.

The 2010 Centennial 12th Edition of the Boy Scout Handbook included the key points of the Outdoor Code, but did not include any additional wording.

The Outdoor Code's key points were printed inside the front cover of the 2014 Fifth Edition of the Fieldbook, but it did not include any additional wording.


2016 Revision

As an American, I will do my best to --
* Be clean in my outdoor manners.
I will treat the outdoors as a heritage. I will take care of it for myself and others. I will keep my trash and garbage out of lakes, streams, fields, woods, and roadways.
* Be careful with fire.
I will prevent wildfire. I will build my fires only when and where they are permitted and appropriate. When I have finished using a fire, I will make sure it is cold out. I will leave a clean fire ring or remove all evidence of my fire.
* Be considerate in the outdoors.
I will treat the land and other land users with respect. I will follow the principles of outdoor ethics for all outdoor activities.
* Be conservation-minded.
I will learn about and practice good conservation of soil, waters, forests, minerals, grasslands, wildlife and energy. I will urge others to do the same.
Boy Scout Handbook, 13th Edition, 2016

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