Geocaching at Ohio historical sites 7.16

Written by David Green.

The Ohio Historical Society (OHS) has seized the opportunity presented by the geocaching craze to place caches at 10 of its historic sites to help increase awareness and visitation. Caches are hidden at: Adena Mansion & Gardens in Chillicothe, Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Cedar Bog near Urbana, Flint Ridge near Brownsville, Fort Ancient near Oregonia, Fort Meigs in Perrysburg, Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, National Road/Zane Grey Museum near Nowich, Piqua Historical Area in Piqua and Serpent Mound near Peebles.

Geocaching is a combination of a treasure hunt and a hike that requires the use of a global positioning system (GPS) receiver. While some people define it as a sport and others a hobby, it is an activity that can be enjoyed individually or with groups of friends or family. The objective of geocaching is to locate hidden "caches" using GPS technology and a little sleuthing. A cache is a waterproof box that contains a log book for all successful searchers to sign and few small trinkets like foreign currency, small rubber animals, stickers and toy action figures that geocachers exchange with each other.

Favorite OHS caches seem to be the Armstrong Air & Space Museum’s “One Small Step for Everyone,” Fort Meigs’ “The British Are Coming!” and Serpent Mound’s “Snake in the Grass,” according to Erin Bartlett, a regional manager for OHS historic sites who coordinates the Society’s geocaching program. “Two interests that Ohio Historical Society visitors and geocachers have in common are history and the environment,” Bartlett said.

J.B. Berry, a biology teacher from Friendship, Ohio, and long-time geocacher and environmentalist, cites Serpent Mound’s “Snake in the Grass” as his favorite. He lives nearby, visits the site frequently and, as a science educator, has placed his own earthcache on a nature trail there.

Until OHS got involved with caches, Berry admits there were many sites he had not visited. The Piqua Historical Area was one of those. He now acknowledges that the three-hour trip from his southern Ohio home to the Piqua Historical Area’s “Treasure of the Upper Miami” cache was “well worth it.”

Berry was excited when OHS placed caches on eight sites across the state because, as he says, it’s a “double bonus for all geocachers: mixing history and the love of nature.”

 “Introducing people to Ohio history, no matter where they live, is our main goal,” said Bartlett. “We’re thrilled with the response to our historic caches and expect more and more cachers to visit OHS sites in the future—especially now that Ohio travelers want to stay close to home to save on gas.”

OHS caches are during daylight hours year-round and many the historic sites on which they’re placed are open to visitors. Cachers who want to place their own cache at an OHS site can fill out an online application. Information on OHS sites and caches can be found at www.ohiohistory.org/geocache and at www.geocaching.com.

The Ohio Historical Society is a private, nonprofit organization that serves as the state’s partner in preserving and interpreting Ohio’s history, archaeology and natural history. For more information about OHS programs and events, call 800.686.6124 or go online to www.ohiohistory.org.

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