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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release October 15, 2009

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

WHTC hosts 3rd Annual “Geocache the Bluffs” this weekend

(COUNCIL BLUFFS) – Modern-day treasure hunters are invited to “Geocache the Bluffs” this weekend at the Western Historic Trails Center in Council Bluffs.

Registration is 3-4 p.m. Friday and 9:30-10:30 a.m. Saturday at Western Historic Trails Center (WHTC), 3434 Richard Downing Avenue in Council Bluffs. Door prizes will be drawn Saturday at 3 p.m. and the event concludes with a potluck at 4 p.m. Call 712-366-4900 or visit www.geocaching.com for more information.

Door prizes range from stainless steel thermoses, carved wood walking sticks and camp chairs to a one-night cabin stay at the Hitchcock Nature Center or Arrowhead Park, a one-night stay in the King Suite at the Springhill Suites – Council Bluffs, and tickets to Ahn Trio at the Arts Center at IWCC Dec. 4, 2009. The grand prize is a $100 gift certificate from Walmart.

Geocaching, a new kind of global treasure hunt, has taken root at WHTC, home to the Lewis & Clark, Oregon, California and Mormon Pioneer trails. WHTC also has seven geocaches.

Geocaching (“geo-cashing”) is a game that asks players to set up caches all over the world and share the coordinates of each on the Internet. Players use global position systems (GPS) to find each cache, which may yield a wide variety of rewards.

A GPS is an electronic device that can determine a player’s approximate location – within about 6-20 feet – anywhere on the planet. Coordinates are normally given in longitude and latitude and players use the unit to navigate from location to location. Some units have maps, built-in electronic compasses and voice navigation.

A cache can be placed in any number of places – indoors, outdoors, rural spaces, urban areas – and they typically hold a log book in which players can write notes, document their journey or relay information about nearby attractions. The cache is also logged on the cache page of www.geocaching.com. There are currently 921,710 active geocaches around the world. In the last seven days, there have been 665,339 new logs written by 87,259 account holders.

Caches have been known to contain maps, books, software, hardware, CDs, travel mugs, videos, pictures, money, jewelry, tickets, antiques, tools, games and other items.

Courtesy rules call for players to leave an item for each item they take and always ask permission of the landowner before placing a cache. Visit www.geocaching.com or www.iowageocachers.org for more information.

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The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a trustee of Iowa's historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa's past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa's historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.

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