As the 1970s dawned, BSA officials worried that Scouting was not in tune with the times. In response, they ordered an overhaul of the Boy Scouting program that deemphasized outdoor skills. For the first time, a Scout could become an Eagle Scout without earning the Camping merit badge or knowing how to swim.
The experiment didn’t last long. In 1978, the program returned to its roots with revised requirements. A year later, a new Boy Scout Handbook appeared, drawing heavily on Scouting traditions for much of its content.
A more successful response to changing times was an increased environmental emphasis. In 1970, the BSA created Project SOAR (Save Our American Resources); prompting tens of thousands of Scouting units to create recycling programs, clean up litter, and plant trees to fight erosion. On a single day in 1971, Scouts collected more than 1 million tons of litter.
The 1970s also saw growth in the BSA’s high-adventure programs. The Maine National High Adventure Area opened in 1971, offering canoeing and backpacking trips in the state’s abundant wilderness areas. Four years later, volunteers developed a high-adventure program in the Florida Keys that would become the Florida National High Adventure Sea Base in 1979.
Now well into its second half-century of service to America, the BSA could boast a strong alumni base. In 1972, it created the National Eagle Scout Association to keep adult Eagle Scouts informed and engaged. In 1978, it unveiled a public service campaign featuring such notable former Scouts as Gerald Ford, Henry Fonda, Hank Aaron, Rich Little, and Mark Spitz, each of whom credited Scouting with some of his success in life.
The Eckale Yakanen OA Lodge constructed the current CFE gateway in 1970. The old one (built in 1935) had been located near the current Nature Lodge.
Campsites Saunders, O’Neil, and Cedar Hammock were developed in 1970.
George Kaiser replaced Frank Bileth as the CFE Ranger in 1971 and Wayne Gifford replaced Kaiser in 1976.