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Arizona Butterfield Stage Trail Trek Award
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    BSA Arizona Butterfield Stage Trail Award

    The Butterfield Overland Mail Trail was a stagecoach service in the United States, operating from 1857 to 1861. It carried passengers and U.S. Mail from two eastern termini, Memphis, Tennessee and St. Louis, Missouri to San Francisco, California. The routes from each eastern terminus met at Fort Smith, Arkansas, and then continued through Indian Territory, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Baja California, and California ending in San Francisco.

    On March 3, 1857, Congress under James Buchanan authorized the U.S. postmaster general, Aaron Brown, to contract for delivery of the U.S. mail from Saint Louis to San Francisco. Prior to this, U.S. Mail bound for the Far West had been transported by ship across the Gulf of Mexico to Panama, where it was freighted across the isthmus to the Pacific, then taken by ship for points in California.

    Arizona Butterfield Stage Trail Requirements
    1. Contact Grand Canyon Council (formerly the Theordore Roosevelt Council) for a current copy of The Butterfield Stage Hiking Arizona Trail Guide for a historical outline and trail directions.
    2. File a Tour Permit (see below)
    3. Hike at least 5 miles of the trail
    4. Do a Trail Related Service Project
    5. Troop participates in a Trail History Presentation.

    Arizona Butterfield Stage Trail Preparation

    The Butterfield Overland Mail Company held the U.S. Mail contract from September 15, 1857 on a six year contract. On that date stages departed from St. Louis and San Francisco for the first time. The stage from San Francisco arrived in St. Louis 23 days and 4 hours later with the mail and six passengers. The scheduled time between the two points was 25 days.

    The Overland Mail made two trips a week over a period of 2-1/2 years. Each Monday and Thursday morning the stagecoach would leave Tipton and San Francisco on their cross continent, carrying passengers, freight and up to 12,000 letters. The western fare one-way from Memphis or St. Louis to the Golden Gate was $200, with most stages arriving at their final destination 22 days later. The Butterfield Overland Stage Company had more than 800 people in its employ, had 139 relay stations, 1800 head of stock and 250 Concord Stagecoaches in service at one time.

    Mountain Biking some of the Butterfield Overland Mail Route near Gila Bend, Arizona on Feb. 8, 2012.

    Trek Detour #1
    Historic Trails Award

    Many councils feature local Historic Trail Awards which can easily be earned in conjunction this award. To earn this award, members of your unit must plan and participate in a historic activity.


    Trek Detour #2
    Mormon Battalion Trail Award

    The Butterfield Stage Trail follows the route of the Mormon Battalion Trail in many places.

    During its service, the battalion made a grueling march nearly 2,000 miles long from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to San Diego. This route crossed through much of Southern Arizona when there were hardly any roads. The Arizona portion of the trek was also the sight of the Battalion's Battle of the Bulls.

    Trek Detour #3
    Trail Service Project

    Currently a popular Eagle Service Project is the construction of a trailhead information kiosk. Park rangers love this type of project as they need a station to properly inform trail visitors as to trail conditions, publish park/trail rules & policies. A kiosk is needed at nearly every trail entry point.


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BSA Fieldbook
BSA Fieldbook
Outdoor Trek Guide

Based on experiences of millions of Scouts and leaders, this book holds essential information for every outdoor enthusiast. A comprehensive reference, this handbook includes sections on trek, preparation and adventures, appreciating our environment, and more.

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