One of the fastest growing family-oriented activities is catching on in Aitkin County. The geocache challenge that continues through Dec. 31 is proving successful.
Initiated by a $608 tourism grant and tied to the June grand opening of the Northwoods ATV Trail, 20 treasure boxes (caches) were hidden throughout Aitkin County that encouraged visitors to the county’s trails, parks and communities. Since early in October, 433 separate caches were found with 10 people completing the challenge.
“It promotes towns along the ATV trail,” said project leader Rich Courtemanche, Aitkin County’s assistant land commissioner. “It gives people a sense of Aitkin (County).” Numerous volunteers helped place the treasure chests and prizes were contributed by various organizations.
Participants have been positive in their responses: “Nice easy find. Kid friendly. Nice to return to Palisade now and then. …” “This was not on my agenda, but I was so close … I would never have seen this campground otherwise. … Very pretty spot along the river.” “Wow, I would have never known about this town if not for geocaching. …” “It’s been 34 years since I’ve been to Long Lake Conservation Center. Neat to come back and reminisce.” “The bride’s 65th birthday today, so I said we could do whatever she wanted, and she said caching.”
Browse “Aitkin County Land” at geocaching.com to learn about Aitkin County’s geocaches. Coordinates and more about the challenge are also available at the county’s website. (aitkin.mn.us/departments/ land/recreation.html).