History Trail GeoChallenge kicks off May 14

Georgia’s New Geocaching Game Highlights Historic Sites:
Families learn and play together on statewide quest

ATLANTA, April 27, 2011 — When the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) launched its GeoChallenge last spring, GPS-toting treasure hunters crisscrossed the state to find hidden caches and prizes throughout Georgia’s state parks. In just one year, 2,000 players had scrambled on trails and crossed streams in search of the secret boxes. As a result of the game’s success, the DNR will soon launch a new geocaching quest that involves 14 state historic sites and requires players to learn about Georgia’s rich and varied history.

The History Trail GeoChallenge kicks off May 14 at Kolomoki Mounds Historic Park in southwest Georgia, but the game can be played any time throughout the year.

Geocaching is the world-wide sport of using handheld GPS units to located hidden caches. An online community has sprung up around the game, and players often trade items called geocoins and pathtags. With the state’s new History Trail, players must visit 14 state historic sites, answer questions related to each site, and solve a padlock code to open the 14 caches. Players without a GPS can get written clues from historic site staff.

“This is the perfect way for families to learn about our nation’s first gold rush, the Civil War and Native Americans while on a fun statewide journey,” said State Park Director Becky Kelley. “Everyone in the family, from grandchildren to grandparents, can work together to solve the puzzles that lead them through this quest.”

For the History Trail GeoChallenge, historic sites are grouped by category: Native Americans, forts, historic homes, museums and battlefields, and plantations. Inside each cache is a collector card. Once players collect all the cards in a particular category, they can trade them for pathtags. Much like pins that are so popular during Olympic Games, pathtags are collector items.

To kick off the game’s expansion, the DNR and Georgia Geocachers Association (GGA) will sponsor a fun-filled celebration at Kolomoki Mounds Historic Park in Blakely. Set for Saturday, May 14, it will include several new caches within the park, a “poker run” game, GGA’s monthly meeting, learning about geocaching from enthusiasts, and barbecue. Most activities are free and parking is $5.

To learn more about the game of geocaching, visit www.Geocaching.com, and to learn about the state’s new History Trail GeoChallenge, visit www.GeorgiaStateParks.org/geocaching.

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