It’s autumn, take a hike….on the Caching the Rain Geotrail!

October 30, 2015
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Fall is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy nature – the changing leaves, the crisp air, fall festivals, hiking along a trail, you name it, its just a great time of year.

Engaging the family in fun Fall activities is fairly easy, but have you ever tried geocaching? If not, Montgomery County has a program that promotes nature and stormwater awareness called the Caching the Rain Geotrail. The CTR trail is a fun and interactive way to learn about local water resources and how you and your family can protect them.

 

What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is an outdoor scavenger hunt in which participants use a GPS enabled device, such as a smartphone, to locate hidden containers or landmarks called “geocaches.” The Caching the Rain Geotrail is a series of 6 geocaches with interactive puzzles and riddles hidden near various stormwater maintenance facilities in the County.

Once an adventurer, or geocacher, has found all 6 geocaches along the trail, logged them, and solved the riddles they are eligible for a souvenir “Caching the Rain” geocoin (while supplies last). Due to the trail’s popularity, the County has ordered 300 new souvenir coins to reward participants.

 

Geocache User Zanderfoster making “the find” along the Caching the Rain Geotrail

Geocache User Zanderfoster making “the find” along the Caching the Rain Geotrail

 

CTR Geotrail fun facts:

There have been over 750 logged visits along the geotrail. That’s practically one visit every 2 days!

  • On average, someone completes the trail every 4 days.
  • Since it began, 120 participants have completed the geotrail and received a souvenir geocoin.
  • Our most popular geocache on the trail is the White Oak-Paint Branch cache located at the White Oak Recreation Center but our most visited is the Slow the Flow cache which can be found at the Kensington Library.
  • Our geocaches have been “Favorited” and shared by participants a total of 42 times.

 

Images from WSSC's twitter page on their geocaching experience

WSSC staff had fun on the Caching the Rain Geotrail

 

Why should I bring my family to the Caching the Rain geotrail?

One of the goals of the CTR geotrail has been to change behavior when it comes to our environment. Well, our first question is, has it been effective? Here are some of the things we’ve observed over the past year. Of the 120 participants that have completed the trail:

  • Awareness of Montgomery County’s local watersheds has increased 91%.
  • Knowledge of stormwater facilities in the County increased by 55%.
  • Awareness of behaviors and action steps the participants could adopt to improve the environment increased by 45%.
  • Overall knowledge on stormwater pollution increased by 40%.
  • Of the behaviors/action steps the participants learned about during the geotrail, 66% said they would be highly interested/likely in adding a RainScape practice to their property.
  • 46% were willing to reduce the amount of fertilizer and pesticides they use on their property. 46% were also willing to plant a native tree on their property.
  • 84% stated they recycle on a regular basis.

Taking your family on the CTR geotrail could help instill an ethic for the environment and create future watershed stewards.

 

Closeup of the Caching the Rain geocoin

Closeup of the Caching the Rain geocoin

 

Still have questions? See what others from the County are saying:

“I completed this geotrail today while waiting to meet some people for brunch. I enjoyed learning about storm water management best practices and exploring the varied hide locations. The entire trail deserves favorite points” – Geocache User Pfenix

“Excellent geotrail! Please do another one. Very well done with nice caches and creative hides. Highly educational. – Geocache User Zymantics

 

Want to get started? Visit our website to learn more about the program and download the Caching the Rain Geotrail Passport today!

 

Guest blog by DEP Watershed Outreach Planner Ryan Zerbe

Check out these additional photos from residents who completed the Caching the Rain Geotrail!

 

Child sitting on storm drain after participating in the Caching the Rain geotrail

Family member of Geocache User RobFam showing her excitement about one of the trail’s rain gardens

 

Image of child's feet standing on storm drain art.

Geocache User Sygrda stopping by to admire the local stormdrain art project. (PS it also leads to one of the answers to the riddles, shhh!)



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