The Saratoga/Capital District Region of New York State Parks is hosting 50 all new geocaches in 16 state parks and historic sites, and will hold a drawing for prizes for those participants who successfully complete the geocache challenge by finding any 35 of the 50 geocaches.
The geocache challenge will begin Memorial Day Weekend and extend through Veteran’s Day, November 11th. The goal of the extended event is to bring people out to experience state parks and historic sites and to introduce patrons to the family-oriented sport of geocaching.
The first Geocache Challenge was held in 2012 with over 300 participants and 35 individuals successfully completing the challenge. Because of the success of last year’s event the Saratoga/Capital District Region has expanded the number of participating parks and historic sites and increased the number of geocaches that have been hidden in their facilities. In addition, many of the participating parks have initiated bonus prizes for participants that locate all of the geocaches at individual parks.
In geocaching participants use a global positioning system (GPS) or alternative mobile device and basic navigational techniques to find hidden outdoor containers, called geocaches. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook, stamp, and small items for trading. The state park geocaches will also contain stickers, small prizes, and/or other items related to the host park or site for participants to keep. This year, some of the parks will also offer bonus prizes to geocachers who successfully locate all of the geocaches in the park. Geocaching is often described as a game of high-tech hide and seek, sharing many aspects with benchmarking, orienteering, treasure-hunting, or letterboxing.
Geocache passports can be picked up at the office of any participating park or site, or downloaded from the agency’s webpage at www.nysparks.com. GPS coordinates for the State Park geocaches can be found at www.geocaching.com.
To participate, pick up a passport, get the coordinates, and start geocaching. Stamp your passport with the stamp found in each geocache. If you successfully fill your passport with stamps from 35 of the 50 geocaches before November 11, stop in at any park office for verification and to enter your name in the prize drawing.
First prize is an Eastern Mountain Sports Free Range Day Pack, a $100 dollar value. Second prize is a $30 Eastern Mountain Sports gift card. Third prize is a New York State Parks fleece blanket. Also, all kids who successfully complete the challenge will receive a Ben &- Jerry’s coupon for a free ice cream, a geocache button, and other souvenirs.
For newcomers to geocaching, a number of state parks will host Learn to Geocache workshops on the following dates and times. The cost to participate in the workshops is $3.00 per person. Please call the park for more information and to reserve a spot in the class.
Minekill/Max V. Shaul State Parks June 22, 2013 10:00 a.m.
Grafton Lakes State Park July 6, 2013 1:00 p.m.
J. B. Thacher State Park July 13, 2013 10:00 a.m.
There is no cost for the geocache passport or to participate in the geocache challenge. However, standard Vehicle Use Fees are in effect at some of the parks that are included in this event, and those fees will not be waived for participants in the geocache challenge. The Empire Passport, an annual pass providing unlimited day use vehicle entry to most of New York’s State parks, can be purchased for just $65 at your nearest state park office, on-line at www.nysparks.com, or by phone at 518-474-0458.
State Parks and State Historic Sites participating in the Saratoga/Capital District Region Geocache Challenge this year include:
Bennington Battlefield State Historic Site, Rensselaer County – (518) 279-1155
Cherry Plain State Park, Cherry Plain, Rensselaer County – (518) 733-5400
Crailo State Historic Site, Albany County – (518) 463-8738
Crown Point State Historic Site, Essex County – (518) 597-4666
Grafton Lakes State Park, Grafton, Rensselaer County – (518) 279-1155
John Boyd Thacher State Park, Voorheesville, Albany County – (518) 872-1237
John Brown Farm State Historic Site, Essex County – (518) 523-3900
Johnson Hall State Historic Site, Johnstown, Fulton County – (518) 762-8712
Peebles Island State Park, Waterford, Saratoga County – (518) 237-8643 ext. 3295
Max V. Shaul State Park, Fultonham, Schoharie County – (518) 827-4711
Mine Kill State Park, North Blenheim, Schoharie County – (518) 827-6111
Moreau Lake State Park, Gansevoort, Saratoga County – (518) 793-0511
Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, Saratoga County – (518) 584-2000
Schodack Island State Park, Schodack Landing, Rensselaer County – (518) 732-0187
Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, Albany County – (518) 434-0834
Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site, Fort Hunter, Montgomery County – (518) 829-7516
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 178 state parks and 35 historic sites. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com, connect on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.