Southfield Parks and Rec to host geocaching event

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published October 17, 2017

File photo

SOUTHFIELD —  Summer is over, but the outdoor fun in Southfield is still going strong. 

Earlier this month, the Southfield Parks and Recreation Department launched a new citywide program called Geocaching Scavenger Hunt, which will run through Dec. 2. 

According to Carly Gladnick, a public relations associate at Geocaching.com, geocaching is the world’s largest treasure hunting game, where players use GPS to find hidden containers called geocaches. 

Gladnick said in an email that to start, players select a geocache they want to find, and then they navigate to its location using an app or GPS. 

Southfield Recreation Programmer Cathy Fresia said the goal of the program is to keep people in the city’s parks long after the summer has ended. 

“We did Recreation on the Move for the whole summer, which was just being outside with families, and this is a continuation for outdoor recreation programs. (The event) will get people in the parks  — passive parks, where you don’t have play structures or where you normally wouldn’t go with families,” she said. 

To get in on the fun, Fresia said, teams of one to four people can register at the front desk of the Parks and Recreation Department, 26000 Evergreen Road, through Nov. 27. Registration costs $25 per team. 

 Every Monday, clues and coordinates to that week’s geocache will be sent out via email to participants. Once the teams locate the geocache — which Fresia said is a clearly marked box — they will sign a login sheet and return the cache to its hiding spot. 

Each signature on the log is one entry into a prize drawing for a TV, donated by Medilodge of Southfield. 

Fresia said the program will not be utilizing common geocaching apps or websites. Instead, the event is open to all, but sign-up is required to receive the clues. 

While it’s a family-friendly activity, the program isn’t just limited to mom, dad and the kids. 

“Families, students and groups of co-workers can get out in our parks, especially to enjoy the fall weather. It’s a citywide scavenger hunt with a geocache flair,” Fresia said. 

Gladnick said that the geocaching trend is part of a national movement. 

“Geocaching started in 2000, when the U.S. government effectively de-scrambled GPS signals with the flip of a few switches. GPS devices were instantly 10 times more accurate. A man in Oregon wanted to test that accuracy,” Gladnick said in an email. “He hid a container, marked the coordinates and put the information online, challenging anyone to find it. Three days later, someone did, and that’s the start of geocaching.” 

Four months later, Gladnick said, Geocaching.com launched with 75 known geocache locations. Now there are more than 3 million active geocaches hidden in over 190 countries. 

For more information, call the Southfield Parks and Recreation Department at (248) 796-4620 or visit geocaching.com.