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Find your own Bicentennial treasure

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All hidden geocaches will include a log book and some will have a toy or prize and information about the Fayette County Bicentennial GeoTour.
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Thirty geocaches such as this one will be scattered around the county for people to find as part of the Fayette County Bicentennial GeoTour.
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By DARRELL SMITH - dsmith@newsexaminer.com

Treasures are being hidden around Fayette County for people to seek out during the Fayette County Bicentennial May 16-19 and into the future.

The value is not in what is inside the cache but in the fun of finding it and the history the treasure will impart.

The Fayette County Bicentennial GeoTour will guide people around so they can learn about the county, Lindsey Brooks, event chair, said. Thirty Bicentennial geocaches will be placed.

Those are in addition to the many other caches placed in the county by people and groups not affiliated with the Bicentennial celebration.

“Geocaching is using GPS coordinates to find hidden containers that contain various things,” Brooks said. “Some are small and have just a log book but others are large enough to contain small prizes, coins and different items.”

Brooks is a veteran geocacher, starting the activity in 2007. Most of her activity has been in the area but while on a field study trip to Belize while from Ball State University, she geocached in that country.

“In college, I worked at the Minnetrista Cultural Center (Muncie) that held the grand opening of the geocaching exhibit so I got to meet the founders of geocaching,” she said. “That was pretty cool.”

Geocaching came about as a result of improvements in the GPS satellite system in 2000 that allowed more pinpoint accuracy using the GPS system. In Beverton, Oregon, a man wanted to test the accuracy by placing buckets in a woods and finding them using coordinates. Thus, geocaching came into being, according to www.geocaching.com.

The locations can be found by signing up for the Geocache app on a smartphone or going to the website and looking for the Fayette County Bicentennial GeoTour. The sites will also be on the Fayette County Tourism Board Facebook page, Brooks said.

Most caches are in watertight containers. They are not hidden too well because the goal is for people to find them, she said. 

When a cache is located, the finder should open it.

“The rule for anything in the container is if you take something you have to leave something,” she said. “There are some toys and prizes in some of the caches that I have been placed. Caching is a family activity so if they have children and want to take some of the toys I placed in there, they just have to leave something behind.”

The second rule is to sign the logbook and tell of the experience.

The Bicentennial caches all have an association with things that have been important to Fayette County’s past, she said. The descriptions will all have old pictures and some information about the sites.

“The goal is to get people out and learn about our history but also to attract those from outside of town to come and learn,” she said. “There is a lot to be learned from caching. This is telling our county’s history for future generations.”

Geocachers cannot yet find the locations because not all have been placed. Once all are in place, they will be turned on so the app will locate them, she explained. The goal is to keep the caches maintained well into the future.

“It’s a free activity and gets people out enjoying the outdoors and their local sites,” Brooks said. “It’s better than sitting inside playing video games all day. It is incredibly family friendly and everyone can do it from small kids to senior citizens. There are many handicap accessible geocaches.”