Texas State Parks to Host Annual Summer Geocache Challenge Event

Media Contact: Chris Holmes (979) 229-2886 icle__media__contact">Media Contact: Chris Holmes (979) 229-2886 or chris.holmes@tpwd.texas.gov

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Tapping what has become a global network of ongoing geocache events, Texas State Parks is hosting a statewide Texas Geocache Challenge on Saturday, June 4, with 89 state park locations (dividing the state into eight regions) scheduled to participate as host sites.

Texas State Parks Geocache Challenge

Each park in the Texas Geocache Challenge will have a special hidden “cache” that will test participants’ individual scavenger-hunting skills in the outdoors to find each one. In advance of the statewide competition, participants should download a Texas Geocache Passport for each of the eight regions, as well as the coordinates of each of the caches located within a specific park, from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Web site: http://tpwd.texas.gov/geocaching/.

Geocaching (pronounced GEE-oh-cash-ing) has recently become an enormously popular outdoor-enthusiast sport throughout the world for both children and adults. It combines treasure hunting with outdoor recreation and hiking, as well as technology (a handheld global positioning system, or “GPS,” device is needed).  Weatherproof boxes are hidden in specific locations (caches) marked with GPS coordinates, and individuals navigate to hidden locations using the provided coordinates to find each box and its contents.

“Geocaching is a healthy way to get out on the trails of state parks," said Chris Holmes, outdoor education coordinator for Texas State Parks. "We think it should appeal to families and provide 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. This is really using technology to be outside, and we’ve seen today’s tech-savvy children grasp the idea and hit the trail running."

In the Texas Geocache Challenge, the hidden cache box at each park will contain collectible wildlife-themed trading cards, park information, a logbook for cachers to record their visit and a paper hole punch unique to the park. Once a person finds the cache, he or she uses the hole punch to mark his Geocache Passport and verify the visit.

When competitors have successfully located and documented all caches in a particular region, they can mail the completed passport to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in Austin. The first 25 people to send in completed passports will receive a commemorative “geo-coin,” a metal medallion with the date and Geocache Challenge logo. Other participants who finish and submit their completed Geocache Passports, but were not a part of the first 25, will receive Texas Geocache Challenge stickers, a certificate of completion, and be entered to win additional geo-coins in a lottery drawing.

Some of the participating state parks in the Texas Geocache Challenge include popular destinations such as Big Bend Ranch, Huntsville, Bastrop, Caddo Lake, Palo Duro Canyon, Mustang Island, Brazos Bend, Enchanted Rock, Lost Maples, Estero Llano Grande and Dinosaur Valley State Parks.

"In years past, only a relative few owned a handheld GPS, but now they are commonplace with people being able to use iPhone apps and even car GPS units to find these caches," said TPWD’S Robert Owen.

"We really want people to get outside, and geocaching offers one more reason to do so and visit our many great state parks, as a family or as individuals," Holmes said. "Try geocaching and you might get hooked and end up searching for more of the thousands of other geocaches stashed across Texas that you never knew existed!"

For more information, and a complete list of the parks and regions in the Texas Geocache Challenge, visit our website at: http://tpwd.texas.gov/geocaching/. Or, to learn more about geocaching, visit http://www.geocaching.com/.

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