Experience high-tech scavenger hunting and travel through Oakland County to see what's hidden beyond your backyard! Geocaching is a great way to combine the outdoors and the techno-age.
In Oakland County, residents and visitors alike are exploring beautiful woodlands and downtown areas to discover caches (pronounced "cash") using a Global Positioning Unit (GPS). A caching adventure can last from an hour to a full day. Caches exist in urban and backcountry areas. Coordinates can be found online at www.geocaching.com.
Once you select a cache and enter coordinates into the GPS, the receiver indicates the distance and direction of the cache. When you find it, sign the logbook, take a prize, leave a prize, re-hide the cache and venture on to the next one!
The geocaching craze started in 2000 and is now a hands-on adventure for more than 750,000 people worldwide. It's an activity for all ages and abilities, from a lone cacher to an entire family or group of friends.
Geocaching is an outdoor recreation option available year-round at eight Oakland County Parks: Addison, Catalpa, Highland, Independence, Lyon, Orion, Rose and Waterford Oaks.
Geocaching clinics are offered at the Wint Nature Center at Independence Oaks County Park or call to arrange a group visit. You can also reserve the GO! Adventures Mobile Recreation unit and let the adventure come to you.
Oakland County Parks has adopted the gold standard of guidelines used by geocaching organizations. Since GPS units measure "as the crow flies," you are encouraged to take a map along to prevent the temptation of creating your own paths to the cache. Maps are linked below. There are also additional rules that protect the sensitive natural areas within the parks system.
Sponsor a Cache
Outdoor businesses, community parks and recreation departments, as well as local clubs and service groups, are invited to sponsor a cache. Cache sponsors Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI) and Moosejaw are also great resources for outdoor gear including GPS receivers.
Park Geocache Maps
Another geocaching resource: The Ultimate Guide to Geocaching
What is Letterboxing?
Letterboxing combines treasure hunting, art, navigation and exploration. It began in Dartmoor, England when a gentleman simply left his calling card in a bottle by a remote pool on the moors.
Here's the basic idea: Someone hides a waterproof box somewhere in the park that contains a logbook and a carved rubber stamp. Participants seek out these hidden letterboxes by cracking codes and following clues. When the hunter successfully deciphers the clue and finds the box, he stamps the logbook in the box with his personal stamp, perhaps writing a note about his adventures finding the letterbox, and stamps his personal logbook with the box's stamp. To learn more, visit www.atlasquest.com or www.letterboxing.org.