Karl and Board Members,
Thank you for taking the time to consider my request for funding for the 2016 Cache Dash Splash event, scheduled for September 16 – 18, 2016. I’ve prepared a quick summary of what geocaching is and how it’s already working to boost tourism in our community. I’ve also included some background and preliminary budget for my request for funding assistance for the 2016 event. This funding will be for a specific item which will have a significant appeal to geocachers and increase the attendance for this year’s event by a considerable amount. The specifics about this item is covered in the background and budget section.
- What is geocaching? Geocaching is an outdoor activity which started in the year 2000 in the Pacific Northwest, and is now widely enjoyed throughout the world. Geocaching can be described as a high-tech outdoor treasure hunt, with participants using a handheld GPS or smartphone with GPS capability to locate hidden “geocaches” — waterproof containers with a logbook — that other players have placed in points of interest and listed on the game’s website, www.geocaching.com
- Who are geocachers? Geocachers come from all walks of life and all age groups. They are singles, couples, families with kids with one thing in common — we all enjoy discovering new places that geocaching can lead us to in our travels as well as in our own communities.
- How can geocaching bring tourists to our area from out of town? Geocachers love to travel and explore new areas. When there are lots of geocaches in an area, they will plan weekend trips or vacation time around a visit to an area which has lots of geocaches for them to find.
- Is geocaching a seasonal activity? Not at all! Geocachers love summer weather, but also enjoy our sport year-round — geocaching in rain gear, with snowshoes or cross country skis, or kayak — as well as hiking boots.
- Who can participate in geocaching? Absolutely anyone. Geocaches are rated on the website by their level of difficulty, so someone who is in a wheelchair or a mom pushing a stroller will find fun and enjoyable geocaches tailored to their physical abilities, just as someone who is physically fit and ready to scale mountains.
Geocaching on the Long Beach Peninsula
The 2015 Cache Dash Splash event is in the books, and by all accounts was an outstanding success. While this was my 13th annual hosting of an event of this type and size, it was my first on the Long Beach Peninsula, so it was a bit of a “trial balloon” to see how geocachers would respond to visiting a location which is a considerable distance from any major urban centers and for most requiring at least one overnight stay.
Some numbers to crunch:
- Approximately 200 geocachers attended one, two or all three of the events that were the core of the weekend’s gathering points for the visitors — a Friday evening no-host pizza dinner at Chicos, a Saturday evening meal at Chautauqua Lodge catered by the Lightship Restaurant, and a drop-in Sunday breakfast buffet at the Lightship.
- In addition to those who formally registered their intent to attend the geocaching weekend activities, there were another 50-100 who showed up to go geocaching during the weekend without attending the meal-time events.
- In the 10 days since the end of the weekend activities, another 40-50 geocachers have posted online comments on some of the new geocaches which indicates they came to the area specifically to find the new geocaches on their own after the event. Those who identified their home locations were from places that would have required an overnight stay (eastern Washington, for example).
- I estimate during the next 12 months another 300-400 geocachers will visit the area — drawn in part by the 100 new geocaches that were placed just prior to the September event.
- Age of those who attended one or more of the events ranged from 6 – 85.
- Many of those who attended came a considerable distance — Salem and Bend to the south, Walla Walla and Spokane to the east, the greater Vancouver BC area and northern Vancouver Island to the north. I have already received a substantial number of inquiries regarding the date of next year’s event, some from as far away as Southern California.
- Number of complaints heard from the visitors about the events, the venues, the local residents, accommodations and restaurants, sideline tourist activities, etc. = Zero.
- Several groups and individuals who had attended the Cache Dash Splash weekend events enjoyed themselves so much, they extended their stays for one or more additional nights. One couple who had also attended the weekend events returned the following weekend from their home in Tacoma to find more of the geocaches and enjoy another weekend of beautiful weather.
The events themselves were well attended.