Scout Camps USA
A Guide to BSA Camps, Camping & High Adventure

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Editor's Note            Sample Pages            Readers' Comments

A Note from the Editor

As a Scouter for many years, my primary interest has always been in camping. As Troop camping chairman, it was my duty to explore all the opportunities available to our boys. Over the years, I collected information on Council and National camps throughout the U.S. and was amazed at the variety of properties, programs, and activities.

Hampering my search for information was the fact that there was no national guide to Council camps, and, with that in mind, I published the 2000 Edition of Scout Camps U.S.A., which mapped, described, listed, and cross-referenced every long-term BSA camp in the country and was based primarily on my earlier research, plus contact with Council staff whenever possible.

Reader response was tremendous, and our Second Edition, released in fall 2001, expanded on the first guide and included short-term camps, Cub-world type properties, and armed forces campsites open to Scout groups. Accepting advertising allowed us to include full-color maps and articles, as well. Once again, reader response told us we were absolutely on the right track. Among the many congralutory letters we received, one Scouter wrote:

"This is the camp guide that we all wish national BSA had published. Every new Scoutmaster or Cubmaster should be required to purchase a copy!"

Required may be a bit too heavy-handed, but I am firmly convinced that every Scouter can benefit from the information found in Scout Camps USA, and, with the new features found in our recently released Third Edition, the guide will be of equal benefit to any youth group leader, especially those associated with GSUSA, 4-H, church, and other non-BSA scouting groups.

Not only have we updated all of the listings for BSA Council properties, but we have also included the very popular Scout's Choice category of camping and adventure destinations. These are annual must-visit Troop favorites submitted by Scouts and Scouters and include such diverse opportunities as overnighting in aircraft, sailplaning, and caving. In almost every case, these opportunities are open to BSA and non-BSA groups alike.

Another useful feature in the new third edition is an addition to the very handy At-a-Glance charts. These camp snapshots now include a column that notes if a camp and/or program is available to non-BSA groups (400+ are!).

Of course, as with any undertaking of this magnitude, there are mistakes made and lessons to be learned, and, perhaps more than any group of readers, Scouters are alert and helpful. When we published the second edition, we received many helpful suggestions for improvements in future editions. We've taken your suggestions to heart!

  • Each At-a-Glance chart now carries a handy key to symbols and codes
  • State maps with low camp density have been consolidated to one page
  • Large states and states with high camp density have been expanded to three or four pages
  • Three-column layout has been used throughout the book for better readability and compactness
  • Typos - how we hate them - have been corrected
  • What we thought was perfectly sensible - using the camp's post office town to locate it on the map -- turned out to be confusing for readers when the camp and its town were on either side of a state line. This put a Wyoming Camp in Idaho, for instance. To avoid this confusion, we've put these two or three camps back where they belong!
  • Map indices are now color-coded, making it easier to quickly locate a camp by type (long-term, short-term, etc.)
  • Running page headers are included in the camp description section, making it easier to locate camps
  • We've increased the number of indices contained in the Camp Lists section
  • We were happy to expand the book to 352 pages and include more articles, as suggested by many readers
  • Many more improvements too numerous to list have been made!
This new Third Edition of Scout Camps USA is, once again, dedicated to every Scout and Scouter whose love of the outdoors leads them to their special summer place year after year. To the Camp staff that makes each summer's visit a memorable one. To those Scouts and Scouters who need a little help and inspiration to get out and explore the Scout camp network. And, finally, to the members of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting volunteers, and other service groups that help to preserve, maintain, and improve Scout camps throughout the country.

Paul Fairbank

Top of Page            Readers' Comments

Sample Pages & Quick Start Users Guide

Scout Camps USA includes 50 full-color Camp Locator Maps.

Texas (4-page spread)
texas page 1   texas page 2

texas page 3   texas page 4

Low-res scans from the Third Edition
see below for high-res scans you can download
Each Map includes a convenient legend color-coded to the map index.

map snippet from n. california
from the Northern California Map
(right-click the map and choose "save
target as" to download a high-res
page scan in pdf format; this is
a large file & will take a bit to save)
Each camp location is marked with a symbol indicating its type.

Each Locator Map has a camp index corresponding to the locator dots.

Every Camp Number tells a story! The introduction to the Map Section fully explains map usage and points out that camps numbered 1-99 are long-term camps, 101-199 short- term, 201-299 Cub properties, 301-399 armed forces, 401-499 sponsors, and 501-599 Scout's Choice destinations.

On each state map (2- to 4-page spreads), camp locator dots are cross-referenced on the map's index, arranged by Map Number.

map index snippet
from the Northern California Map
(right-click the index and choose "save
target as" to download a high-res
page scan in pdf format; this is
a large file & will take a bit to save)
Each index entry shows Council Reference Number, Camp Name, and the nearest town.

A short narrative about each camp (BSA and non-BSA) is given in the Camp Description Section.

"Snapshots" of Property & Program! Camp information is gathered from each BSA Council (or, if non-BSA, from other sources, such as state parks divisions, USDA Forest Service, and the like). Each state's listings are ordered numerically by Camp Map Number, thus grouping the camps by type: long-term, short-term, Cub, armed forces, and Scout's Choice.

camp description snippet
from the California Camp Descriptions
(right-click the index and choose "save
target as" to download a high-res
page scan in pdf format; this is
a large file & will take a bit to save)

Long-Term Camp Descriptions
Camp Listings contain the Camp Map and Council Reference Numbers. Number of acres and campsites are self-explanatory; in some cases, these are blank where information was not obtained from the Council. Many camps are found in the middle of public lands and are able to take advantage of their surroundings. A 100-acre camp in the middle of a 1,000,000-acre national forest is a large camp indeed! These circumstances are noted in the general description.

The Standard Camp Listing endeavors to paint a picture of the camp, its surroundings, terrain, waterfront facilities, feeding style, number of summer sessions, and merit badges offered.

Continuing, the listing offers information on First Year Program, general non-merit badge activities of note, and special programs of interest. "Older Scout" generally refers to Scouts 13 or older; however, in some cases, the minimum age may be 12 or 14.

High Adventure - Treks, Trips, and Programs lists activities that exceed two nights out of camp. Some High Adventures may take place on remote sections of camp property. These adventures are designed typically, but not exclusively, for older Scouts.

High Adventure Bases, etc., are given a one-paragraph description and generally contain information regarding age requirements. "Must be 14 by 1-1-XX" means the Scout must be 14 by January first of the year of the trek, trip, or adventure.

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of camp listings. Specific age, rank, and other requirements apply to many Boy Scout programs and camp activities. Contact appropriate councils regarding exact requirements. Councils are listed numerically in Section 3.

Short-Term and Cub Camp Descriptions
Camp Listings are similar to long-term; however, short-term listings focus on terrain, facilities, and nearby adventure/program opportunities, while Cub listings focus on "theme" offerings and length and types of stays.

Many Second Edition readers suggested that it was confusing to find a short-term camp listed in the At-a-Glance chart but without a corresponding description (done in cases where the Council supplied little, or no, information). That confusion is eliminated in the Third Edition. Every short-term camp now appears in the Camp Descriptions, and when info is skimpy, the description simply directs the reader to contact the Council for details.

Armed Forces Camp Descriptions
Camp Listings do not include acreage or number of campsites; however, this information is sometimes included in the narrative. A general description of the facility and/or program is offered, along with contact names and phone numbers.

Scout's Choice Destination Descriptions
Again, Camp Listings do not include acreage or number of campsites; however, this information is often included in the narrative. Entries include "What the Scouts/Scouters Say," "Editor's Notes," and contact information. A typical narrative is as long, or longer, than a Long-Term listing. Editor's notes may draw heavily upon previously published information in the public domain or be based entirely upon our research. Many Scoutmasters gave us incredibly detailed descriptions of their Troop's favorite spots, and we think you'll be inspired by the enthusiasm displayed in the "What the Scouts/Scouters Say" sections! In fact, several detailed, lengthy Scout's Choice submissions morphed into full-length articles in the Third Edition! Whenever possible, the contact information includes a website.

At-a-Glance Charts begin each state's Camp Description Section

example at-a-glance chart

Long-term, short-term, and armed forces camps are compared and summarized in the At-a-Glance Charts.

at-a-glance chart

Easy cross references to maps, indices, and descriptions.
Availability to non-BSA groups is coded as C, P, B, or blank (camp only, program only, both, or none). at-a-glance chart snippet 2

at-a-glance chart snippet 3

from the California At-a-Glance Chart
(right-click to save example chart)
Each chart includes a handy code key that allows a user to quickly understand the essential facts about amentities, program, and property.

For BSA properties, the Map Lists, Camp Descriptions, At-a-Glance Charts, and indices include a Council Reference Number, which corresponds to a listing in the Council Reference Section.

Council Contact Info - Easy to Find! The Council Reference Section is ordered numerically by the Council Reference Number. Reference numbers are assigned in a manner that also orders the index alphabetically by state name and, within each state, alphabetically by Council Name. This alpha-ordering feature is the reason we use a guide-only Council Reference Number, rather than the Council's official BSA number. Sorting by BSA Council number does not provide a state-by-state, Council-by- Council alphabetical list. If a user only knows a Council name (versus a camp name), each entry also includes a list of the Council-owned properties.

council reference snippet
from the Council Reference section (right-click the index to save a full-page pdf version)

BSA Council information includes address, phone numbers, and web sites, if known. Council properties are listed, making it easy to work "backward" to a map.

Indices in Scout Camps USA are called "lists" and include:

  • All Scout Camps
  • Scout Camps without BSA Councils
  • Armed Forces Campsites/Programs
  • Scout's Choice Destinations
  • BSA-certified High Adventure Bases
  • Cub Camps
Each index includes map numbers and, for BSA camps, Council reference numbers, making it simple to work backward from an index to a map or Council when a user knows only a Camp name.

camp lists snippet
from the indices (right-click the index to save a full-page pdf version)

Camp Oljato, for instance, is California Map #16 and belongs to Council #29.

Third Edition Highlights:

  • 20 Lively, Pertinent Articles
  • Dozens of Camp Photos
  • 15 Camp Close-ups
  • Historical Naval Ships Locator Map & Info
  • New Design: More info on Each Page & Easier to Read
  • Running Headers in Camp Descriptions make Camps Easy to Locate
  • New, Improved At-a-Glance Charts, each with a Key
  • 50 Revised, Full-Color State Locator Maps
  • 1000+ Camps for Youths, Mapped, Described, and Cross-Referenced

Editor's Note            Top of Section

what others say about the book

People are talking about Scout Camps USA!

(Comments from all editions, including the new Third Edition)

We are deeply grateful for these and the many other unsolicited and enthusiastic letters and reviews we receive. If you order Scout Camps USA and find it's everything we promised and more, you can, of course, feel free to let us know - but, we'd really like you to let your fellow Scouters know! To submit your comments or make suggestions for future editions, email to

Paul, I did receive the book and have found it quite useful. We are using it as we speak to plan our summer camp for 2001... Again, thanks for checking (I should have already let you know I received same) as to whether I received the book and please know I will be recommending same to others.

The book arrived yesterday (Thursday). Not too bad on the delivery! The information provided is exactly what I was looking for. All you need now is to add some reviews from people who have actually been to each camp. I'll be sure and let others know what a good resource it is...

(note: Second and Third Editions include Camp Close-ups, observations from the Editors' camp visits). We try hard to incorporate your suggestions and corrections!)

Hi Paul : I received the book today, WOW it is super. We have a meeting tonight and I will show it off and I will be sure to let all know where I got it. You did a great job and I know it will be used a lot. Thank you.

Hello, I just picked up a copy of your book the other day at the Mecklenburg Council store in Charlotte. First I wanted so let you know you did a great job! I'm sure we'll put it to use in our troop. But I did notice a couple of Camps missing. One is Clear Creek Scout Camp, Mecklenburg County Council here in NC? The camp address is 9408 Belt Rd, Midland NC 28107. Phone 704-545-0958 We have been there numerous times. It is perfect for Cub Scouts...

(note: Camps missing in the First Edition turned out, primarily, to be short-term camps, a category not included in that edition and which have since been included in the Second and Third Editions. We do have to admit, though, that we managed to miss an entire Council the first time around - boy, oh boy, were our faces red! The Second and Third Editions include the forgotten Council and every BSA camp open for camping in the U.S. Still not included are camps owned but not open for use and the camps of one lone Council that still insists their camps not be's a mystery to us, but we abide by their wishes. Otherwise, fingers crossed, we haven't missed a camp in this edition.)

Received your book. It's great. Should be a great resource for all of Scouting. I plan on using it in part to verify my contact database for my business. We do a lot of business with BSA Councils that operate their own camps. Even sell some to BSA directly for use at Philmont. Do keep me advised of any future editions. I don't know how many you printed and how easily you can revise it. Once I get into using it, I'll drop you a note with more detailed comments. Ever thought of doing one for Girl Scout Camps?

Thanks again.

(note: Well, actually, we have thought of including GSUSA camps in a future Edition. With the new Studio 2B program and a growing feeling among our correspondents that older Girl Scouts are increasingly looking for challenging outdoor adventures, we'd like to make the book more useful to GSUSA Leaders in a number of ways, including listing their camps. Look for more details in 2005.)

Thank you so much! That is exactly what I was looking for. This will be very helpful in many things that I do.

Hi Paul, Thank you SO MUCH for your wonderful book. I can appreciate how much time you put into this project ...Again, thank you very much - you did a great job!

Hi Paul. How are you? I received your book and it is AMAZING

Thanks for the book. The coffee pot will always be on for you...I have been looking for something like this for years. What a terrific labor of love. Thanks again. What a surprise!

(note: This reader was "surprised" because he received a book out of the blue, as it were, through the complimentary book distribution campaign that runs concurrent with the release of each new edition. Who gets a surprise copy of Scout Camps USA? We send copies to our camp contacts (Scout Executives, District Execs, Program Directors, and Rangers), relevant book reviews, scouting magazines (in the U.S. and abroad), contributing authors, advertisers, "Friends" of Scout Camps USA - a huge category of folks who help us in our research (for instance, HNSA, state divisions of tourism, "retired" Scouters), GSUSA Council Executives (starting with the Third Edition), and nearly 700 Roundtable and District Commissioners. Why do we send books to our list of Commissioners? Well, we know that the best advertising is word-of-mouth. We ask the Commissioners to take a book to Commissioner Meetings and Roundtables and show it around. Regardless how we feel about the book, it stands or falls based on how Scouters feel about it! If you haven't seen the book before and if it isn't carried by your Scout Shop or included in the collection of a local library, please check with your Commissioners - they may have a copy you can preview. We send out hundreds of books each week, and it typically takes several months after publication to get all the complimentary copies to the post office, so if your Commissioner doesn't have one now, they should shortly.)

"Until recently, it has been difficult to advise on the availability of campsites for our Members who wish to camp in the USA. However, that has been remedied by a new publication, Scout Camps USA."
                                 Scouting Magazine (Scouts UK), March 2002

"...a good, though overwhelming, resource for any Scouting unit. Roundtable Commissioners, Program Chairs, and professional Scouters should not be without a copy..."
                                 American Scouting Digest, Winter 2003

I have appreciated your second edition and have shown it to numerous Scouting friends, and have put out information on it at several District Roundtables. I was happy to see the advance info on the 3rd Edition and informed my Scouting friends . . .

Thank you for compiling and providing such valuable data pertaining to Scouting. Your hard work and dedication has saved enormous amounts of research and planning time. Scoutmasters have been enabled to extend the Scouting experience beyond traditional Council Camping and provide Scouts with enriched and high adventure programs. Your publication has become an integral and essential planning tool.

Editor's Note            Sample Pages

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