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Pandemic creates resurgence for geocaching at Breaks Interstate Park

Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 7:39 PM EDT
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BREAKS, Va. (WYMT) - As the pandemic continues and people look for safe outdoor activities, the Breaks Interstate Park offers many options. But one of those is seeing a resurgence as the park’s Geocaching program finds itself back in the spotlight.

Geocaching allows people to follow a GPS point on the app, which takes them to hidden containers. Most of the containers hold small items and a record of the people who have found them. Players are asked to leave their name and can drop in a memento of their own before placing the container back in its designated spot for the next hunter.

“It’s like a digital treasure hunt throughout the park," said Park Superintendent Austin Bradley. "And they get really excited when they find the caches. And they get to explore new areas of the park where they may not have been before.”

The Geocaching craze began years ago, but more people have been taking advantage of the game while spending time at the park where more than 75 hidden gems await.

“A lot of people are already familiar with all the caches in the park," said Bradley. "But every year we have people that are basically new to the activity.”

Bradley said he is glad to see families getting involved, making the park their classroom with a game that he considers one of a kind.

We’ve seen kids who were all online, you know, doing all online or hybrid schooling or homeschooling, out with their parents in the park," he said. “That blend of technology and the outdoors, I think, is a key in getting the next generation involved and passionate about conservation.”

According to Bradley, it is a game so fun that even the wildlife participates.

“The bears will definitely seek out the caches and they’ll take them with them," he laughed.

He said the park is always looking for ways to invite more tourism, which the game does.

Another way the park is working to highlight its amenities is with the creation of the 725-foot pedestrian bridge, which is expected to be the longest swinging bridge in North America.

”We think that the proposition of building the longest swinging bridge in North America will be kind of a defining factor in introducing our area to potential visitors as an adventure tourism destination," Bradley said.

The geotechnical work for the project just wrapped and Bradley said he expects to see progress soon, with an estimated completion of next fall.

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