Geocaching encourages outdoor adventures
It's a high-tech treasure hunt that's perfect for outdoor lovers. Geocaching is gaining popularity all over the world, with as many as 765,000 caches hidden in parks, paths, historic sites and other places.
Here's how it works: the geocacher goes online to find the coordinates of where a "treasure" is hidden. Then they use a hand-held GPS unit to help them find it. Once they've discovered it, they mark their name in a log and leave something for the next adventurer.
The Minnesota State Park system is hoping these treasure hunts can help encourage more people to get outdoors. They've launched a three-year program called the Geocaching Wildlife Safari that has treasures in each of its 72 state parks. They're meant to encourage exploration by helping people to discover the hidden gems of the state, while revealing exciting facts about Minnesota's wildlife.
Since it was launched in May, more than 10,000 cache finds have been logged online by both new and experienced geocachers.
And, the park system is making it easy for anyone to join the fun by stocking 25 parks with loaner GPS units so those who don't have one can try it out for free.
In addition, they recently announced that they've hidden state park gift cards ranging in value from $10 to $50 in Critter Caches throughout the state.