A couple from Belle Plaine, Minn., have become the first ones to complete the Geocaching Wildlife Safari by finding a hidden geocache at each of Minnesota’s 72 state parks and recreation areas.
Jason and Sarah Geisel completed this year’s event last weekend when they found their final cache at Zippel Bay State Park in northern Minnesota.
“We love being outdoors seeing animals, interesting plants, and all the beautiful sites Minnesota has to offer,” said Sarah. “It’s great exercise and a wonderful experience.”
The Geisel’s finished third in last year’s Geocaching History Challenge and were determined to improve on that finish this time around.
Courtland Nelson, director of the DNR’s Division of Parks and Trails, will congratulated the Geisels and recognized their accomplishment on June 8 at Fort Snelling State Park.
The Geocaching Wildlife Safari, which began May 2, will offer three more years of treasure-hunting fun. All Minnesota’s state parks and recreation areas have its own geocache, also known as a Critter Cache.
The geographic coordinates indicating the specific location of each cache are posted online. When geocachers enter these coordinates into a GPS device, they can see which direction to go to find the cache.
Critter Caches contain Critter Cards featuring Minnesota mammals, fish, insects and other critters native to the state. Note: All caches were placed above the ground in relatively well-traveled areas, so there is no need to disturb natural features to find a cache.
Cachers have already logged more than 2,335 finds at geocaching.com. Since many people geocache in groups, and not everyone logs their finds, this is likely only a portion of the participation in the program.
To help beginners learn the basics of geocaching, 25 Minnesota state parks have been designated as “GPS Demonstration Parks.” These state parks will loan out GPS units free of charge and offer periodic free “Geocaching 101″ programs.
Upcoming “Geocaching 101″ programs in the metro area include:
* 10 a.m. Saturday, June 20, at William O’Brien State Park (participants are asked to register in advance by calling 651-433-0500).
* 10 a.m. Thursday, June 25, at Fort Snelling State Park.
More dates and a map of all the GPS demonstration parks are available online.
The Geocaching History Challenge, a special Sesquicentennial event, ended Dec. 31, 2008. Some 20,000 geocache finds were recorded last year.
A larger photo of the Geisel’s is available by clicking here.