Geocaching is like a treasure hunt using a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit. You input the coordinates and the GPS unit leads you to the geocache. While the activities are geared towards 8 to 12 year olds, all of the geocaches require driving to the recreation site followed by a very short walk. Navigating to and from the sites, helping out with reading maps and working the GPS is a great opportunity for everyone in the family. There are opportunities to learn about how to read maps, how GPS works, and learning about wildlife, trees, plants and cultural history you will encounter along the way.
The geocaches are small, 6” x 6” plastic boxes that contain a card with information and a short activity specific to the recreation site. Any child who can collect all of the cards and present them at the Kettle Falls Information Center will be able to claim a small prize. The Colville National Forest encourages visitors to practice the Leave No Trace Principals while exploring the Forest. The Leave No Trace Seven Principals can be found athttp://lnt.org/learn/7-principles and encourage visitors to:
· Plan Ahead and Prepare
· Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
· Dispose of Waste Properly
· Leave What you Find
· Minimize Campfire Impacts
· Respect Wildlife
· Be Considerate of Other Visitors
This event takes place on the Colville National Forest and other participating adjacent lands, which has been designated as part of the Upper Columbia Children’s Forest. A Children’s Forest can be thought of as an outdoor classroom, and it can be anything from the local city park or schoolyard all the way to remote wilderness.
What distinguishes Children’s Forests from other education efforts is the focus on partners and place. In Children’s Forests, communities and partners work collectively to provide places and educational opportunities that get kids outside.
If your family does not own a GPS, there are a limited number of GPS units available to borrow at the Kettle Falls Information Center located at 255 West 3rd, Kettle Falls, WA. 99141. To ensure a unit is available, call the Information Center at (509) 738-2300.
If you want to play - go to www.geocaching.com and search “Upper Columbia Children’s Forest geocaches” and get the coordinates to input into your GPS Unit. For more Information on geocaching on the Colville National Forest, please visit www.fs.usda.gov/colville/ and look for geocaching under Quick Links, or call (509) 684-7000.