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Geocaching a fun way to explore area trails

Posted: August 27, 2008

from: Shoreline Beach, August 27, 2008

Treasure hunters behold: the trails of Bruce County are full of trinkets just waiting to be discovered.

Ray Gilbert, executive director of the Bruce Grey Trail Network was at the Bruce library headquarters in Port Elgin recently to officially unveil the network's geocaching program, in association with the Grey Bruce Health Unit and area libraries.

Geocaches are mostly small, camouflaged items hidden throughout the world. The people hiding the items then go to a website, usually and post the co-ordinates of where they hid their cache.

The fun part comes with trying to find the item. Geocachers can input the co-ordinates into a GPS unit and begin their search for the item, which can be hidden somewhere on the counties' trail network, or other public areas.

Geocaching is a way for the trail network to "get youth involved in trails," said Gilbert. The network includes 64 trails in the two neighbouring counties.

"The response has been incredible," he said of the initial popularity of geocaching in Bruce County. He cites the lure of the technology and the thrill of the treasure hunt as reasons why entire families have taken up the hobby.

It will get easier for more people to get involved now that geocache kits will be available at select libraries throughout Bruce County, including Kincardine, Southampton, and the headquarters in Port Elgin. The kit includes a GPS unit, a dvd, and various "how to"guides.

Like a normal loan from the library, each kit will be available for a three-week period. "People who aren't familiar need time to learn," Gilbert said. "One week just isn't enough."

A kit similar to the one available from the libraries retails for approximately $250.


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