Geocaching Program 

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Geocaching example

Program Overview

Thanks to the Global Positioning System (GPS), anyone with a hand-held GPS unit can find any spot on Earth. Not only is the GPS an important tool for public and private use, it’s a key part of geocaching (gee-oh cashing).

The GPS, a series of navigational satellites developed for military use, became available to the public May 1, 2000. By May 3, a cache had been hidden near Portland, Oregon, and geocaching was born.

Today, geocaching is a worldwide activity and geocachers check web sites (the most popular is www.geocaching.com) to find their next conquests.


How to Participate

Using a GPS unit, a geocacher places a cache and posts the coordinates on a geocaching web site. Other geocachers search for the cache. When searchers find the cache, they may take an item (a toy car, a baseball cap, a deck of cards, a key chain, etc.), leave an item and sign the logbook. They post their experiences on the web site so others can follow the history of the cache. By the way, fellow geocachers may be reached on family radio service (FRS) channel 2; the alternative channel is 12.


Etiquette

Geocachers have a language all their own. CITO, for instance, means "cache in, trash out." FTF stands for "first to find."

Review simple rules of etiquette like these:   

  • If you take something from a cache, leave something.    
  • Sign the logbook in the cache.    
  • Register your find on the Web site.   
  • Don’t leave food, weapons, alcohol or anything harmful or inappropriate.    
  • Don’t move a cache (unless instructed).    
  • Tread lightly when geocaching.

Outdoor Challenges

Geocaches can be more than boxes left in the woods. Regular caches are the most common. Others include:   

  • Offset caches: The "cache" is really coordinates found on a marker that will lead the geocacher to the real cache.    
  • Multicaches: The first cache found includes coordinates (or part of the coordinates) needed to take the geocacher to the next cache.    
  • Virtual caches: A landmark (tree, tombstone, statue, etc.). Answer a question about the landmark to prove you found the "cache."  
  • Travel bugs: These little hitchhikers are found in caches and come with web site directions that tell geocachers where to take them. They travel from cache to cache or person to person.

Geocaching with AGFC

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission maintains six geocaches listed below. Coordinates are listed as WGS-84 (NAD-83). The difficulty of finding the caches and the terrain surrounding them is rated on a scale of 1 (easiest) through 5 (most difficult). Along with the numbers listed for each cache, you can also call (800) 482-5795 for details.
 

Location:

Andrew H. Hulsey State Fish Hatchery
Hot Springs, Arkansas

Coordinates: N 34° 24.913´ W 093° 03.589´
Difficulty: 1
Type: Virtual Cache
Terrain: 1
Description: This is much more than a fish hatchery. Take time to see wildlife displays and aquariums inside, pick up a wildlife checklist and enjoy the kiosk and informative signs between the main building and the hatchery ponds.
Driving Directions: The hatchery is in Garland County. From the intersection of U.S. Hwy 270 and Arkansas Hwy 128 in Hot Springs, travel south on 128 to Arkansas Hwy 290. Continue south on 290 about 2.5 miles to the hatchery entrance (watch for signs). Call (877)525-8606.

Location: Bell Slough Wildlife Management Area and Nature Trail
Mayflower, Arkansas
Coordinates: N 34° 56.466´ W 092° 24.691´
Difficulty: 1
Type: Virtual Cache
Terrain: 1
Description: Waterfowl enjoy this low-lying mix of hardwood forest, prairie and pines. A nature trail makes two loops, complete with interpretive signs and observation blinds. Watch for 35 resident bird species and as many as 75 species during summer.
Driving Directions: Bell Slough is in Faulkner County. From I-40, take exit 135 at Mayflower and turn south on Arkansas Hwy 365. Go three miles to Grassy Lake Road, watch for signs, and continue over the bridge to the WMA parking lot. Call or write: (877)470-3650; 331 Clinton Road, Conway, AR 72032; information@agfc.com

Location: C.B. “Charlie” Craig State Fish Hatchery
Centerton, Arkansas
Coordinates: N 36° 21.079´ W 094 ° 17.716´
Difficulty: 1
Terrain: 1
Description: Catfish, crappie, bluegills, sunfish, walleyes and bass come from the hatchery. Bird watchers look for shorebirds and many western species seen in few places in Arkansas. Take the auto tour, walking tour and birding trail.
Driving Directions: The hatchery is in Benton County. From Centerton, go west one mile on Arkansas Hwy 102 and turn south on Arkansas Hwy 279. Continue half a mile and turn north on Arkansas Hwy 904 at the fish hatchery sign. The hatchery is half a mile away. Call (877)795-2470.

Location: Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center
Jonesboro, Arkansas
Coordinates: N 35° 45.953´ W 090° 42.171´
Difficulty: 1
Terrain: 1
Description: Crowley’s Ridge, an erosional remnant of an ancient ocean floor topped by windblown soil, is loaded with marine fossils and is the best place in eastern Arkansas for rock hounds to hunt. Discover more about this unique geological feature by exploring the nature center’s exhibits and trails. To find the cache, start in the nature center parking lot and head east across the earthen dam.
Driving Directions: Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center is in Craighead County. From Arkansas Hwy 1 on the south side of Jonesboro, head northwest on Lawson Road and watch for the entrance to the center to the right. Call or write (870)933-6787; 600 E. Lawson, Jonesboro, AR 72404; info@crowleysridge.org.

Location: Governor Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center
Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Coordinates: N 34° 14.383´ W 091° 59.451´
Difficulty: 1
Terrain: 1
Description: Delta Rivers Nature Center is an enlightening mix of displays, hands-on exhibits, trails and aquariums that reveals the essence of Delta life. To find the cache, walk down Black Dog Road and look for yellow gates. The stash could include items from the nature center and sporting goods.
Driving Directions: The nature center is in Jefferson County. From U.S. Hwy 65B in Pine Bluff, turn north on Regional Park Road (east of Lake Pine Bluff ). Continue to Black Dog Road (watch for nature center signs) and turn right. Call or write (870)534-0011; P.O. Box 8074, 1400 Black Dog Road, Pine Bluff, AR 71611; info@deltarivers.com.

Location: Ponca Elk Education Center
Ponca, Arkansas
Coordinates: N 36° 01.353´ W 093° 21.711´
Difficulty: 1
Terrain: 1
Description: See elk in Boxley Valley along the Buffalo River and visit this center, which covers the history of the wapiti’s return to the Ozarks. There’s a lot packed into this center and good wildlife viewing along Ponca Creek. Find the nearby cache and take home a souvenir.
Driving Directions: The Ponca Elk Education Center is on Arkansas Hwy 43 in Ponca in Newton County. Call or write (870)861-2432; P.O. Box 31, Ponca, AR 72670.