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State parks mark 85 years with new geocaching game
0512GO-GEOCACHE1
Georgia State Parks has a special geocaching game to celebrate its 85th anniversary. The Birthday Bash Geocache game encourages participants to use a hand-held GPS or smartphone with GPS capabilities to find 12 caches in 12 different state park locations. - photo by Courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Birthday Bash Geocache
Download the game board at gastateparks.org/parks/geocaching/Birthday_GeocacheBoard.pdf

It’s a little bit high-tech gaming and a little bit old-fashioned treasure hunting.

Geocaching has grown in popularity through the years, and Georgia State Parks has a special geocaching game underway to celebrate its 85th anniversary.

The Birthday Bash Geocache game was created by volunteers from Georgia Geo-Campers. Participants use a hand-held GPS or smartphone with GPS capabilities to find 12 caches in 12 different state park locations.

Kim Hatcher, public affairs coordinator for Georgia State Parks, said geocaching is a sort of large-scale scavenger hunt conducted worldwide.

“These are new caches or boxes in a few select parks,” she said. “You download the game board from our website, and inside each cache is a stamp. After you’ve stamped every location, you mail the completed game board to use and we’ll send you a collectible geo-coin.”

To play, participants can download the game board and attempt to find eight of the 12 total geocaches hidden across the state. Inside each cache, along with the stamp, is a logbook for players to jot down their name or nickname.

Hatcher said geocachers typically use the cache to trade trinkets with previous and future geocachers. Those who find the caches can trade the trinket inside with one of their own of equal or greater value.

To win the Birthday Bash Geocache, participants also need to earn a stamp by either spending one night in a Georgia State Park or attending a Georgia Geo-Campers event. Events are posted online at www.facebook.com/GeorgiaGeoCampers and the hosts will have a stamp for players.

Hatcher said those who complete their game boards can win one of 1,000 trackable, limited-edition coins.

“People who are into geocaching also often collect these geo-coins,” she said. “They are actually trackable, with a chip in them. So if you have it or find it and then find a geocache in another state or city somewhere, you could leave that coin as your trinket. It could, in theory, then go all over the country.”

Once the first 1,000 coins are claimed, the game will end, Hatcher said.

The Birthday Bash Geocache coordinates are available online and on the board. For more information, visit gastateparks.org/85.

To win a collectible coin, mail completed boards to Georgia State Park HQ / Marketing Coordinator, 2600 Ga. 155 SW, Stockbridge, GA 30281.

Hatcher said geocaching has been popular in state parks for “several years now” and is a good activity for the whole family.

“What’s nice to me about this is it’s something multiple generations can do together,” she said. “If you’re grandparents trying to come up with something that maybe the 6-year-old in the family could do, then the grandparents can use the GPS to get close to the cache and then hand it over to the youngest in the group. It’s just something they can all do together.”

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