New for 2013, Virginia State Parks is introducing the statewide geocaching program, “Tree-mendous Adventure,” with a focus on identifying Virginia trees. Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game where a GPS unit is used to find hidden containers (geocaches) in various locations.
Geocaching combines technology with good old-fashioned outdoor fun. The basics are simple: a modern GPS receiver is used to locate a hidden cache in the woods, usually a small container with a log book and mementos. Geocaching is growing in popularity around the world, and it’s something you can do near home, or in any Virginia State Park. The 35 award-winning Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
“Geocaching is a fantastic intersection of nature and technology,” said DCR State Parks Director Joe Elton. “Young people today are so technologically savvy that it’s vitally important to engage them electronically as we introduce them to the wonders of nature and the outdoors. Our geocaching program is statewide, it’s affordable and on the cutting edge of technology – and it’s just a whole lot of fun to get outdoors with the family and go on a treasure hunt.”
Virginia State Parks launched the new geocaching program March 1. It continues through Dec. 15, 2013.
Every Virginia State Park has a cache specific to the series that includes information about activities around the park and a collector’s card with information about a native tree species. Visitors can collect the cards to receive prizes.
In order to get to the cache at Natural Tunnel State Park, a gravel trail is used. You can enjoy great views in the spring and fall time.
The cache is not hard to find if you keep your head to the ground. Do not forget to finish the trail. Currently five folks have already found the caches at Natural Tunnel.
Each state park has GPS units available for rent, for $6 per unit for a half-day and $10 for the full day.
More information about geocaching in Virginia State Parks can be found at www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/geocachegame.shtml. For more information about geocaching across the country, visit www.geocaching.com. For more information about state park activities and amenities or to make reservations, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 800-933-PARK (7275) or visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.