2007-10-27 / Front Page


'Allegheny GeoTrail' latest addition to geocaching hobby

Geocaching has arrived as a major hobby in the region, as confirmed by the formation of the "Allegheny GeoTrail."

Cameron, Potter, McKean, Elk and six other northwestern Pennsylvania counties are part of this effort to cash in on the tourism potential of geocaching.

Participants must acquire an Allegheny GeoTrail Passport. These are available locally at Good Real Estate on Fourth Street in Emporium; Potter County Outfitters on the Port Allegany Road (Rt. 6 West), Coudersport; and Potter County Visitors Assn., North Main Street, Coudersport.

There are as many as 20 geocaches located in each of the counties. Using a GPS system, individuals must locate at least six caches of their choosing within a county and mark their passport with a special stamp found in each cache.

Once six stamps have been acquired, the passport can be traded in for a special commemorative coin (shown).

Each county has a unique coin and individuals who receive coins from all 10 counties will also receive a special 11th coin to complete the collection.

Coins are 1.75 inches, with a polished brass finish and a different design for each county. On the back of each coin is the standard AGT design. Only 1,000 copies of each

coin have been minted, and none will be for sale. Currently coins are available for Potter, Crawford, Venango and Warren counties. Coins for Cameron, Clarion, Elk and Jefferson counties are expected to be available soon. Additionally, the coins for Forest and McKean counties will be available in November.

All caches are listed on a website, geocaching.com. Searchers should use AGT- or AGT-(county name) in the cache title. More information on the Allegheny GeoTrail is accessible at alleghenygeotrail.com.

What is geocaching?

Geocaching (pronounced "geo-cashing") involves the use of a handheld GPS receiver. Based on information provided on the website, geocaching.com, the GPS receiver (inset) guides its

operator to hidden treasures.

A typical cache consists of a waterproof

container, a log book, and trinkets. Signing the log book proves you found it, and the trinkets provide trade items; the idea is to take an item, then replace it with an item of equal value.

Basic handheld GPS receivers are available for under $100. Log onto the website and enter the zip code. You'll get a list of caches in that area. Enter the latitude/longitude coordinates of a cache into your GPS receiver, and you're good to go.

The Allegheny GeoTrail is perhaps the largest of its kind. The quest to find these caches will take participants throughout rugged and scenic land.

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