Geocaching Avian Adventure

A new geocaching program offers modern-day treasure hunters an exciting adventure filled with a variety of challenges, rewards, and bird-brained fun!

The Minnesota State Parks and Trails Geocaching Avian Adventure will take you across Minnesota—discovering the hidden gems of the state and revealing exciting facts about Minnesota’s favorite friends of flight.

Centered on Minnesota bird life, Geocaching Avian Adventure will begin this Saturday, June 9 (National Get Outdoors Day), offering long-time and novice geocachers the chance to learn about native avian life and the challenge of finding new caches in state parks, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Adding to the incentive, all state park admissions will be free on Saturday, in celebration of Get Outdoors Day.

A Geocaching Avian Adventure Bird Cache has been hidden and waiting to be discovered in all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas, as well as on one state trail. Your challenge is to locate the Bird Cache using a hand-held GPS (global positioning system) unit.

Most sites have multi-caches featuring several hidden caches with quizzes and puzzles to solve; all have a collectible Bird Card in the final cache.

Each camouflaged Bird Cache includes an instruction card, the Bird Guestbook (logbook), and a collectible Bird Biome Card specific to the state park, recreation area, or state trail.

Each Bird Card is color coordinated to one of the states four distinct natural communities or biomes. Also included in the cache may be small trinkets left by a previous geocacher. If you find a trinket, it’s your to keep. If you choose, leave a trinket in return for the next Avian Adventure geocacher to find.

The clues to their exact whereabouts will be posted at 8:00 a.m. June 9 on the DNR website, mndnr.gov.

“The Geocaching Avian Adventure will be fun for new and experienced geocachers alike,” said Kathy Dummer, interpretive services coordinator for the DNR’s Division of Parks and Trails.

“Everyone who participates will get a little better acquainted with Minnesota’s birds and biomes along the way.”

GPS demonstration parks provide free tips and equipment for beginners.

At 25 designated geocaching demo parks, GPS units can be checked out for free, and Geocaching 101 workshops will provide hands-on instruction for first-time geocachers.

Geocaching 101 programs are scheduled in each region of the state:

  • Northeast Region – Friday, June 8, 1:00-1:30 p.m. at Gooseberry Falls State Park (Two Harbors)
  • Northwest Region – Saturday, June 9, 2:00-3:00 p.m. at Buffalo River State Park (Glyndon)
  • Central Region – Saturday, June 9, 10:00-11:00 a.m. at Interstate State Park (Taylors Falls)
  • Southern Region – Saturday, June 9, 1:00-4:00 p.m. at Camden State Park (Lynd) and 7:00-8:00 p.m. at Sibley State Park (New London)

Since the Geocaching Wildlife Safari began in 2009, the interpretive naturalists at Minnesota state parks have offered 325 Geocaching 101 programs that have reached more than 9,000 participants. GPS units were checked out from the demo parks more than 2,754 times in 2011 alone.

What Is Geocaching?

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure-hunting game played by people with GPS devices throughout the world. The object of the game is to find the cache and then sign the logbook to show other geocachers that one has found the location. Some geocachers leave items near the cache for others to have.

What Is a Biome?

Minnesota is rich in natural diversity, providing essential habitat for a variety of plants and animals, especially birds. Minnesota is home to four major biomes, named for the dominant or most common plants that grow there: prairie grassland, deciduous forest, coniferous forest, and tallgrass aspen parkland.

Some birds are found in only one biome while many move between or across different natural communities. Minnesota State Parks and Trails preserve and manage significant fragments of these essential natural landscapes, making them great sites for birds, and for parks and trails visitors, too!

Worth Pondering…
There’s gold, and it’s haunting and haunting;
It’s luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn’t the gold that I’m wanting
So much as just finding the gold.
—Robert Service, The Spell of the Yukon

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Great Outdoors Month: New York

Campgrounds affiliated with Campground Owners of New York (CONY) are also doing their part to support Great Outdoors Month by offering fun family activities as well as significant camping discounts during the month of June.

“Camping is not only the most affordable vacation option, but it supports a healthy lifestyle, particularly when you consider the great variety of outdoor activities that are available at campgrounds across our state,” said Don Bennett, president and CEO of Campground Owners of New York.

New York campgrounds will be participating in GoCampingAmerica.com’s Great Outdoors Month promotion, which involves 20 percent discounts on camping between June 1 and 25 at participating parks.

Twenty-five New York campgrounds are also offering a “buy two, get one night free” promotion through October 10.

Additionally, 16 New York campgrounds are offering a geocaching competition on June 11, in which campers will have the opportunity to search for a hidden coin, which they can redeem for a special prize.

Geocaching, a high-tech scavenger hunt in which the players use GPS devices to search for hidden treasures, using coordinates that are given to them as clues to use in the hunt, will take center stage at some New York campgrounds next month.

“Geocaching has gotten to be a really popular camping activity in recent years, partly because it’s as appealing to adults as it is to children,” said Don Bennett, president and CEO of Campground Owners of New York (CONY), the Pittsfield-based trade association that represents New York’s campground industry.

Camping at Whitehall, New York. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In fact, 15 New York campgrounds will be participating in a statewide geocaching contest on June 11 in celebration of National Get Outdoors Day, according to a CONY news release.

A special coin will be hidden in one of the participating campgrounds, which the finder can redeem for a special prize.

Following are New York campgrounds that will be offering geocaching activities on June 11:

  • Adirondacks Region (Lake George RV Park, Stony Creek Campground)
  • Catskills Region (Brookside Campground, Rip Van Winkle Campground, Saugerties/Woodstock KOA)
  • Central New York Region (Lebanon Reservoir Campground, Susquehanna Trail Campground, Tall Pines Campground & Canoeing)
  • Finger Lakes Region (Camp Bell Campground, Conesus Lake Campground, Country Charm Campground, Lake Bluff Campground, Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort, Junius Ponds Cabins and Campground)
  • Hudson Valley & Long Island Region (Brook n Wood Family Campground, Copake KOA)
  • Thousand Islands-Seaway Region (Back Bay Campgrounds and Cottages)

Fun Facts About New York State

Day tripping 'round Adirondack State Park, New York. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

State Motto: Excelsior (Ever Upward).
State Fruit: Apple
State Tree: Sugar Maple
State Flower: Rose
State Fish: Trout
State Bird: Bluebird
State Fossil: Sea Scorpion
State Gem: Garnet
State Muffin: Apple Muffin
State Song: “I Love New York”

Details

Campground Owners of New York (CONY)

Campground Owners of New York (CONY) founded in 1963, is an association dedicated to the promotion, growth, improvement and development of privately owned campgrounds in New York State.

CONY promotions

Geo-caching with CONY

Worth Pondering…
In every walk with nature, one receives more than he seeks.

—John Muir

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Great Outdoors Week

If you are an RVer, then you already take advantage of the great outdoors every chance you can. But did you know that the second week in June is the National Great Outdoors Week?  This is a chance for people all across the country to enjoy the outdoors lifestyle, as well as honor some of those who make recreational outdoor life so great.

Let's Go RVing to Brasstown Bald, Georgia during National Great Outdoors Week. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved.

Planning is well under way for another eventful Great Outdoors Week, the American Recreation Coalition’s (ARC) annual celebration of outdoor recreation and its important contributions to the well-being of the American people and their communities.

According to a press release, the week begins with the observance of National Get Outdoors (GO) Day on June 11 and will include special events showcasing key recreation programs and recognizing the outstanding efforts being undertaken across the country to improve outdoor recreation experiences. Great Outdoors Week is one of the focal points of Great Outdoors Month, proclaimed nationwide by the president and by state governors in every state throughout the U.S.

The GO-Day launch of Great Outdoors Week will be marked at more than 100 sites where the public—especially young people—will be invited to enjoy different recreation activities and learn about additional, easily accessible recreation opportunities.

The U.S. Forest Service will celebrate GO-Day as Fee Free Day, waiving fees on millions of acres of national forests. And dozens of marina operators celebrating National Marina Day on June 11 will welcome thousands of visitors to these family-friendly gateways to wonderful boating experiences.

Programs featured during Great Outdoors Week will include:

  • The Obama administration’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to link the American people to their magnificent public lands
  • The Let’s Move Outside campaign launched by first lady Michelle Obama to combat childhood obesity
  • The ED OUT partnership program to encourage outdoor learning and fun
  • The Recreational Trails Program, which serves as the foundation for state trail programs all across the country
Let's Go RVing to Newport, Rhode Island during National Great Outdoors Week. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Great Outdoors Week will also include several different award ceremonies recognizing individual and collective achievements within the recreation community.

The Coalition for Recreational Trails will salute outstanding trail programs and projects funded by the federal Recreational Trails Program.

ARC will present its Legends Awards to exceptional individuals from seven federal agencies whose personal efforts have led to substantial improvements in outdoor recreation resources and management.

ARC’s Beacon Awards will recognize the innovative use of technology in visitor services and recreation management on public lands.

And, finally, the Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award—the recreation community’s most prestigious award—will recognize the leadership, vision and accomplishments of one extraordinary individual whose personal commitment to the value and importance of recreation has contributed significantly to the welfare of the American people.

Let's Go RVing to Santa Fe, New Mexico during National Great Outdoors Week. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Great Outdoors Week gives us a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the people, places and programs that bring healthy outdoor fun to millions of Americans every day of the year,” said ARC President Derrick Crandall. “They really put the ‘Great’ into the Great Outdoors.”

Details

American Recreation Coalition (ARC)

The American Recreation Coalition (ARC) is dedicated to the protection and enhancement of everyone’s right to health and happiness through recreation.

U.S. Forest Service

Worth Pondering…
Two roads diverged in a wood, and

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

— Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

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MECOA Partners with Maine State Parks

Maine is legendary for its rock bound coast, the north woods, mountains, lakes, and rivers.

Pleasant Mountain, Bridgton, Maine. (Photo credit: visitmaine.com)

From June 1 to 25, campers who stay at any Maine campground that is a member of the Maine Campgrounds Owners Association (MECOA) will be able to visit any Maine state park or historic site for day-use at no cost, says Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL) in a recent news release.

The special promotion is being offered by the BPL, under the Maine Department of Conservation, and MECOA in recognition of the proclamation made by Gov. Paul LePage that June is “Great Outdoors Month,” according to BPL officials.

“We are pleased to partner with other campground owners to provide more opportunities for outdoor recreation at our state parks,” Will Harris, BPL director, said. “This should be good for both of our organizations, but most importantly, it’s good for the recreating public.”

Earlier this spring, Gov. LePage proclaimed June 2011 as “Great Outdoors Month,” which will be highlighted by National Get Outdoors Day on Saturday, June 11. The month is designated to recognize the opportunities for American families to experience traditional and non-traditional types of outdoor activities and to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun.

Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde is just one of more than 60 lighthouses along the Maine Coast. (Photo credit: visitmaine.com)

BPL is a member of MECOA, which represents about 200 campgrounds, including the 12 Maine state park campgrounds, around Maine.

For the first four weeks of the month, campers at any of the MECOA campgrounds will be able to get a “Great Outdoors Month State Park Visitor Pass” that will give them a free, day-use visit to any of Maine’s 48 state parks and historic sites.

“All they need to do is present the pass at the park or historic site’s visitor booth for free admission, and they will get to enjoy some of the best that Maine has to offer,” Harris said. “That means ocean-front and lakeside beaches, fascinating historic locales, and beautiful, scenic places great for picnicking, hiking, swimming—all kinds of fun.”

The pass is valid only when signed by a MECOA member campground agent. It is for use by one vehicle and its occupants during a stay at a MECOA member campground from June 1-25.

This benefit also pertains to all campers at Maine’s 12 state campgrounds, Harris said. Anyone camping at a Maine state park campground during the same period is eligible to visit another state park or historic site, day-use facility at no additional cost during the dates they are camping. State campground campers must show their camping permit or rear view mirror hang tag to the park staff at the day-use facility as verification of their eligibility to have the day use fee waived.

Maine-ly just the facts about Maine

The Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway runs along Maine Route 201 near Bingham, Maine. (Photo credit: visitmaine.com)

Maine is the only state in the union with a one-syllable name.

Maine has 3,500 miles of coastline, 17 million acres of forest, 32,000 miles of rivers and streams, and 436,064 acres of state and national parks.

West Quoddy Head is the most easterly point in the contiguous United States.

More than 60 lighthouses dot the Maine coast.

Maine leads the United States in lobster catching, low-bush blueberry harvesting, and wooden toothpick production.

The state claims America’s first chartered town: York in 1641.

Information was compiled by Richard P. Carpenter from books, websites, and the deepest recesses of the author’s mind.

Details

Maine State Parks

Day Use Fees: Maine resident, $2-5/person; Maine residents 65 and older, free; non-resident, $3-7/person; senior non-resident, $2-2/person

Camping Fees: Maine resident, $11-15; non-resident, $19-25

To make reservations at any Maine state park campground, go online to: campwithme.com.

An additional fee of $2.00 per night, per site, will be charged for reservations.

Maine Campgrounds Owners Association (MECOA)

Worth Pondering…
Maine’s long and cold winters may help keep our State’s population low, but our harsh climate also accounts for what is unique and valuable about our land and our people.
—Tom Allen

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Get Outdoors and Go Camping…It’s Easy!

In support of “Great Outdoors Month,” the Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association (PCOA) is teaming up with Cabela’s in Hamburg, Pennnsylvania, to promote the camping lifestyle on June 10-11.

Pennsylvania has to offer in scenic beauty and camping. Pictured above is Lackawanna State Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Get Outdoors and Go Camping…It’s Easy” is the theme that the association has chosen to use for its two-day promotion.

Members of the association will be on hand to greet the guests and give them a 2011 Campground Directory of privately owned parks, according to a recent PCOA news release.

The guests will be encouraged to check out the RVs and tents supplied by Maiden Creek Marine and RV in Berks County.

They will experience what camping is really like by making mini-s’mores around the campfire and singing a few campfire songs. Coloring books will be given to the children and there will be photo opportunities.

Expert outfitters from Cabela’s will be demonstrating the newest camping products available and helping campers gear up for their next trip.

“Camping is not only the most affordable vacation around, it also is fun and memorable. In Pennsylvania you have over 230 campgrounds to choose from to make that memory,” said Beverly Gruber, PCOA executive director.

“Time spent camping or RVing allows you to slow down and gives you the flexibility to pursue what you want and where you want to be. It gives you a chance to rediscover your family and lets you choose the activities your family enjoys. So stop in at Cabela’s and get acquainted with camping and RVing.”

This promotion ties in with the “Great Outdoors Month” in June, being promoted by the American Recreation Coalition (ARC) and proclaimed nationwide by President Obama and nearly every state governor in the United States.

Lancaster County is home to more than 16,000 Old Order Amish who farm the rolling hills. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Camping is a family activity which is a great memory-maker.

At this Cabela’s event, young families will be encouraged to go camping during the month of June.

A coupon is being issued from the Go Camping America website that gives a 20 percent discount on your campground stay. The downloadable coupons are valid only between June 1 and June 25 at participating parks, so when you make your reservations, ask if they’ll accept the GCA coupon.

About Pennsylvania

If you are thinking of new and interesting places for a fun camping trip this summer you may be surprised to see how much Pennsylvania has to offer.

Pennsylvania is a state rich in history and extraordinary natural beauty. Rolling hills, plateaus, ridges, valleys, rivers, lakes, and streams dot the countryside. Visitors will find an eclectic mix of architecture ranging from classic stone farmhouses and covered bridges to glass skyscrapers that form panoramic cityscapes.

Pennsylvania has seven distinct geographical regions: the Erie Lowland, the Appalachian or Allegheny Plateau, the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region, the Blue Ridge, the New England Upland, the Piedmont, and the Atlantic Coastal Plain.

Life in the slow lane... © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

No trip to Pennsylvania would be complete without a visit to Lancaster County’s Amish area, located in the central region. While visiting the area you’ll soon realize there are no telephones, radio, or television. Instead, you’ll find fresh-baked pies, freshly picked produce, beautiful quilts, and hand-crafted furniture. The area is home to more than 16,000 Old Order Amish whose timetable is governed by the sun and the changing of the seasons. Many Amish continue to earn a living by farming, and Lancaster County is one of the nation’s top-producing, non-irrigated counties.

Details

Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association (PCOA)

Go Camping America

Cabela’s

Cabela’s is a direct marketer and specialty retailer of hunting, fishing, camping, and related outdoor recreation merchandise, based in Sidney, Nebraska.

American Recreation Coalition (ARC)

Worth Pondering…
For me, forces of nature are the simple, subtle and powerful moments that can come together at any time. Even a raging river can be subtle and powerful all at once—and so can a root structure, its power invisible to the eye but recorded in its intricate patterns.

— Brandon Jakobeit

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Great Outdoors Month

Are you planning a camping trip next month?

June is National Great Outdoors Month, which is a wonderful time to enjoy fun outdoor activities with family and friends.

Presidential recognition of Great Outdoors Week was begun in 1998 by then-President Bill Clinton. Since 2004, Presidential proclamation of Great Outdoors Month has come annually, celebrating a variety of important events and actions that occur during the month.

The 2011 Presidential Proclamation states in part:

“America’s vast and varied outdoor spaces are a source of great national pride, and we have long strived to protect them for future generations. Our lands and waters provide countless opportunities for exploration, recreation, and reflection, whether in solitude or with family and friends. During Great Outdoors Month, we renew our enduring commitment to protect our natural landscapes, to enjoy them, and to promote active lifestyles for ourselves and our children.”

Great Outdoors Month highlights the benefits of active fun outdoors and our magnificent shared resources of forests, parks, refuges, and other public lands and waters. Media attention to the proclamation triggers actions by millions of households and prompts public discussion of important issues linked to outdoor recreation, including volunteerism, health, and outdoor ethics.

Additionally, the majority of governors issue proclamations declaring June as Great Outdoors Month in their states, and many take further actions ranging from Governor’s Outdoor Conferences to hosting campouts for local kids on their state capitol grounds.

Many campgrounds across the country are offering discounts to encourage people to spend time outside and appreciate the outdoors during 8th annual National Great Outdoors Month in June.

Get outdoors next month and enjoy America's parks. Pictured above Enchanted Rock Natural Area, Texas Hill Country. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“We think National Great Outdoors Month is a perfect opportunity for America’s campground industry to encourage everyone to get outdoors, explore nature, and have fun with their friends and families,” said Paul Bambei, President and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).

The Denver-based association represents more than 3,300 private campgrounds, RV parks, and resorts, which it promotes through the GoCampingAmerica.com website.

All participating campgrounds are private campgrounds associated with GoCampingAmerica.com. The 20 percent discount will be valid for the first three weeks of June.

In addition to discounts on camping, GoCampingAmerica.com provides e-coupons that consumers can use to obtain discounts at Camping World stores, on Coleman gear, and RV rentals at El Monte RV (7-night minimum required).

“We encourage campers to use GoCampingAmerica.com to locate the parks of interest to them and to call ahead to book their reservations,” Bambei said.

Although participating campgrounds are not located within national parks, many sit on the doorsteps of parks or in nearby towns. A few examples:

  • West Yellowstone outside Yellowstone National Park
  • Columbia, Montana, near Glacier National Park
  • Cherokee and Bryson City, North Carolina, near Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Three Rivers, California, outside Sequoia National Park

Details

GoCampingAmerica.com

GoCampingAmerica.com is the largest searchable database of privately owned and operated campgrounds, RV parks, and resorts in the U.S., which offer family activities as well as rental accommodations ranging from safari tents and teepees to cabins, park model cottages, yurts, and RVs.

GoCampingAmerica.com promotions

American Recreation Coalition (ARC)

The American Recreation Coalition (ARC) is dedicated to the protection and enhancement of everyone’s right to health and happiness through recreation.

Worth Pondering…
To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.

—Helen Keller

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