Thursday, Mar 4, 2010
Launched on February 27th, the new Star-Spangled Banner Geotrail is a unique journey through American history and across the landscapes of the Chesapeake Bay region.
During its opening weekend, the geotrail welcomed hundreds of visitors to more than 30 sites, including forts, museums, battlefields, ships, parks and preserves, each with its own unique story about the War of 1812. Intended to complement and promote the Congressionally-designated Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, the geotrail commemorates the dramatic chain of events, people and places that led to the birth of our National Anthem.
This innovative, multi-state initiative is a partnership project supported by the National Park Service's Chesapeake Bay Office, Friends of Chesapeake Gateways and the Maryland Geocaching Society
Geocaching, pronounced "geo-cashing," is a worldwide phenomenon in which participants use a hand-held GPS (Global Positioning System) to locate a hidden "cache." Searching for a cache is akin to going on a treasure hunt and can involve clues, riddles and visits to multiple locations. A "geotrail" is a series of caches tied together by a common theme.
In this case, the unifying element is the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake region, during which the British raided and burned communities in Maryland, Virginia and even our nation's capital. In addition, the majority of participating locations, which include local, state, federal and nonprofit sites, are also designated by the NPS as Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails, special places that share the story of the Bay and its Rivers.
In order to participate in the adventure, a geocacher must access the official geocache website at www.geocaching.com. A basic membership is free. Once an account is established, the geocacher can search by key word to locate the Star-Spangled Banner account and retrieve the map coordinates for each Star-Spangled Banner Geocache. The next step is to head outside with a GPS to look for hidden treasures and step back into history along the trail. A trackable, commemorative geocoin will be given to the first 400 participants who locate a minimum of 20 geocaches at sites along the route.