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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

ALASKA MARITIME: Refuge Creates New EarthCaches and Geocache/Lettercache

Region 7, December 4, 2012

Alaska Maritime NWR is excited to join in with other Refuges across the system in the location-based game of Geocaching. Officially launched in 2001, Geocaching uses GPS technology in a game of hide-and-seek. Players can hide a container at specific coordinates, and other users find the caches and log them online at www.geocaching.com. As physical containers are not allowed to be placed on Refuge lands, Park Ranger Joel Vos worked with Geocaching.com and USFWS personnel to create geocaches here at Alaska Maritime's headquarters at the Islands and Ocean visitor Center that meet the guidelines of the game. As of the Thanksgiving weekend, visitors can now add geocaching to their list of "to-dos" while enjoying the exhibits and natural areas here and around Islands and Ocean. Visitors can now take part in finding our "Letterbox Hybrid" geocache, named "Chasing Wild Geese" (http://coord.info/GC41RVH), that leads them from the front parking lot, on a tour through our exhibit hall, and the wild goose chase ends near our resident model of an Aleutian Cackling Goose. The geocache touches on this important icon of our refuge, and the success USFWS reintroduction programs can experience. We have also started to place "Earthcaches" around our grounds and in Homer. An EarthCache is a special place that people can visit to learn about a unique geoscience feature of our Earth. EarthCache pages include a set of educational notes along with cache coordinates. Visitors to EarthCaches can see how our planet has been shaped by geological processes, how we manage its resources and how scientists gather evidence to learn about the Earth. Our first Earthcahe, "The Tides of Kachemak Bay" (http://coord.info/GC405Q5), takes visitors on a journey to discover what makes the tides here interesting and extreme.Please visit www.geocaching.com to learn more about the game or types of geocaches you can find. Be sure to stop by the visitor center to enjoy these exciting new ways to learn about our Refuge!

Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov