Note: This item is more than six years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references.
First Texas Geocache Challenge Debuts Nov. 1
Pilot Effort Will Test Way To Get People From "Online" to "Outside"
AUSTIN, Texas — A new program at 12 Texas state parks aims to use technology to draw visitors into the outdoors. The Texas Geocache Challenge will run from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31, 2010, challenging state park visitors to use Global Positioning System technology to find a cache of hidden rewards in each park.
Participating central and southeast central parks are Bastrop, Buescher, Government Canyon, Guadalupe River, Huntsville, Lake Somerville-Birch Creek, Lake Somerville-Nails Creek, Lockhart, McKinney Falls, Monument Hill-Kreische Brewery, Palmetto and Washington-on-the-Brazos.
"It’s a good, healthy way to get out on the trails of state parks," said Chris Holmes, outdoor education coordinator for Texas State Parks. "We think it will be appealing to families, a really fun thing to do in a state park. The fun thing with the kids is that they literally get to find treasure, so we know they will be excited when they find the cache."
"Children today are very different from children of the past," Holmes explained. "They are much more technology-savvy, and our experience at park workshops for families has shown that the kids end up leading GPS activities. This is really using technology to be outside."
Participants can download a Texas Geocache Passport, as well as the coordinates of each of the caches, from the TPWD Web site. In each of the 12 parks a hidden box will contain small prizes, information about the park, a logbook for cachers to record their visit, and a paper punch unique to the park. Geocachers can use their GPS units to find the containers and then use the punch to mark their passports to verify their visit.
When geocachers have found all 12 boxes, they can mail the passport to TPWD, and the first 100 people to send in their passports will receive a commemorative geocoin. Other participants who finish will qualify for other prizes, such as a map of all 12 parks, Texas Geocache Challenge stickers and a certificate of completion.
The department also is making a low-tech version of the challenge available for visitors who don’t own a GPS device. Outdoor sleuths can download written clues to each of the hidden caches from the TPWD Web site. The department also is working on a Facebook page and a Twitter feed to accompany the challenge, which will allow participants to post photos and descriptions of their adventures.
"We really want people to get outside, and this is another reason for people to go out to state parks, Holmes said. "It’ll be a three-month pilot, and then we are going to evaluate it, and if it’s as successful as we expect, it could go statewide within a year."
On the Net:
Publication — Permission is granted to publish, in whole or in part, any news releases on this page.
Print — A print-friendly version of the news release shows only the release with font sizes set to the browser default.
Plain Text — Plain text versions of TPWD news releases are provided for copying and pasting into editing software.
To copy text into an editing software:
- Click a Plain Text link to display the plain text page in your browser.
- Select all.
- Paste in a document in your editing program.
Permalink — This is a direct link to the news release, omitting the navigation context from the URI.
English/Spanish — News releases posted in both English and Spanish have one of these links.
If you have any suggestions for improving these pages, send an e-mail to email@example.com and mention Plain Text Pages.