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Texas State Parks Visitors Embrace Growing Geocaching Craze
AUSTIN – Seeking new ways to combine their children’s love of digital devices with the health benefits and fun of being outdoors, many parents are turning to geocaching, a hunt for hidden “treasures,” or caches, using the latest technology.
More than 90 state parks located throughout Texas are increasingly embracing such visitors by offering more than 1,074 geocaches, or prize-filled containers, which can be located online in advance or by using a Smartphone application. In addition, many state parks have begun to host Geocache 101 workshops, free with normal park entry, to teach newbies the basics of this modern day twist on an old-fashioned treasure hunt.
“There’s been an 82 percent increase in the number of geocaches in our state parks in the past three years,” says Robert Owen, Texas State Parks outdoor education specialist. “Geocaching is family-friendly and more accessible than ever thanks to new Smartphone technology. You no longer have to have a GPS device to find the cache locations.”
Geocaching, which is the hunt for more than 3 million items hidden by people worldwide, is also supported by online communities, including www.geocaching.com. Participants find coordinates, share photos and tips, and learn all the particulars about the activity. After finding the latitude and longitude of a hidden cache , geocachers are guided to within 12 feet of its location. Then, geocachers search the surrounding terrain until they locate the “goodies” in a container that might be as small as a film canister or as large as an ammo box. These treasures are never buried, so no shovel is needed.
Youngsters will especially enjoy the Texas State Parks Geocache Challenge that kicked off Oct. 1, 2012, and is ongoing. Last year, nearly 11,000 geocache “finds” occurred in state parks alone, and hundreds of children learned interesting facts and stories about Texas history, conservation and stewardship of Texas State Parks, while also earning prizes.
For more information and to find coordinates of prize-filled caches in Texas State Parks, visit texasstateparks.org/geocache.
State parks offering an introduction to geocaching workshop this fall include:
- Lockhart State Park
- Inks Lake State Park
Dallas/Ft. Worth area:
- Purtis Creek State Park
- Cedar Hill State Park
- Dinosaur Valley State Park
- Lake Mineral Wells State Park
- Martin Creek State Park
Houston area workshops:
- Stephen F. Austin State Park
San Antonio area:
- Guadalupe River State Park
- Lake Corpus Christi State Park
- Goliad State Park and Historic Site
- Government Canyon State Natural Area
For geocaching news images, visit: http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/news_images/?g=oam_geocaching
For geocaching videos, maps, logos, PSAs and editorial content, go to: http://tpwd.texas.gov/newsmedia/releases/news_roundup/oam_geocaching/
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