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GeoTours: A New Wrinkle in Geocaching

Geocaching + tourism/travel = GeoTours.

gcTravel destinations interested in boosting visitation are creating "geo tours" with the guidance of Seattle-based Geocaching.com. Geocaching.com hosts a list of 6 GeoTours that it has helped assemble so far, one of them involving Maryland's Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.

Recent articles in The Wall Street Journal (which includes a sidebar with more details about the 6 tours) and The Seattle Times describe the attractiveness of the tours to lesser-known travel destinations, to geocachers and to Geocaching.com. More geo tours are in development.

SWThe geo tour at the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, a water trail near Washington, D.C., includes 59 geocaches. It's noteworthy to see the trail, administered by the National Park Service, included on the list. The NPS has traditionally been cool to geocaching, hesitant to make potentially fragile resources open to free-ranging geocachers. Using a water trail would seem to mitigate that risk.

"Caches will be located in museums, refuges, parks, and towns in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware along the rivers and creeks that Smith and his crew explored four centuries ago," one cache description on the website states.

Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona permits "earthcaching" (where no physical caches exist) in association with the Historic Route 66 Geocaching Project, and Southern California's Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area hosts 6 "ParkCaches" and earthcaching.

A few factoids about geocaching:

• Geocaching.com was started in 2000 by Seattleite Jeremy Irish and 2 partners.
• Today its Seattle-based parent company, Groundspeak, has a staff of 70 people.
• Estimated number of geocachers worldwide: 5 million.
• Estimated number of geocaches worldwide: 1.8 million.

kidsInterested in learning more about geocaching, which at its recreational core is a family-friendly, GPS-guided treasure hunt? Check out the resources in the REI Expert Advice library of articles:

• How to Go Geocaching
• Geocaching with Kids
• Q&A with a Geocaching Expert 
• How to Choose a Handheld GPS Receiver

Photos by T.D. Wood and REI.

Posted on at 2:13 PM

Tagged: Geocaching and national parks

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MissJenn

Hi REI and TD.
Thanks for writing about GeoTours! The most current list of them can be found in our Global Directory:
http://www.geocaching.com/adventures/geotours

This week, we are celebrating two million geocaches! More on that here:
http://blog.geocaching.com/2013/02/two-million-geocaches/
and here:
http://www.geekwire.com/2013/milestone-geocachingcom-approaches-2m-active-geocaches/

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