Geocache challenge to celebrate W.Va.’s 150th birthday

PARKERSBURG – The West Virginia sesquicentennial will be celebrated with the launch of the geocaching enthusiast group ExploreWV.

The Civil War GeoTrail, the group’s fourth geocache challenge, will kick off 11 a.m. Saturday at Camp Virgil Tate in Sissonville. The kick-off will last until 5 p.m. and will feature trail registration, family activities, entertainment, a Japanese Auction, and many local artisans and food vendors.

A Civil War encampment will also take place. Basic registration is free and open to the public.

“This geocache challenge will provide a wonderful opportunity for West Virginians, young and old, to set out on a new adventure in our beautiful state and learn more about our history through interactive discovery,” Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said.

The Civil War GeoTrail will take geocachers to 75 of West Virginia’s noted Civil War sites. Documentation will be required during the process and those who complete the trail will receive limited-edition, collectible geocaching coins that fit together to form West Virginia.

“We wanted to do something special to celebrate West Virginia’s sesquicentennial,” said Robin Taylor, program director for ExploreWV. “By incorporating our historic Civil War locations into a geocaching trail, it allows for visitors to simultaneously experience every region in West Virginia – while educating them on our state’s rich history.”

Created in 2000, geocaching is an international outdoor phenomenon that combines elements of a traditional treasure hunt with high-tech Global Positioning Systems. Currently there are more than 2 million geocaches worldwide and more than 5,000 geocaches in West Virginia.

ExploreWV launched its inaugural challenge, the Geocoin Challenge, in September 2010 and has since launched two additional challenges focusing on West Virginia’s Main Streets and famous haunted locations. The Civil War GeoTrail will be the organization’s fourth challenge, attracting people from across the country and around the globe to geocache in West Virginia.

In addition to the main event, a reception will be held from 6-9 p.m. today and a clean up from 9-11 a.m. Sunday, also at Camp Virgil Tate and free.