VICTOR TWP. — To mark the 100th anniversary of the Michigan state park system, Sleepy Hollow State Park is hosting a game of hide-and-seek for people who like to get off the beaten path.
The park is conducting a geocaching event
Geocachers place a cache of items, sometimes a notebook, a trinket or other items in a location and then post the GPS coordinates, usually online.
Participants use the coordinates and a GPS device to hike to the location of the cache. Once there, they record their feat in the notebook, leave an item of their own and take a trinket previously left behind.
Steve Bassette with the Michigan Geocaching Organization calls geocaching a game of “global hide and seek. The caches at Sleepy Hollow will be worth from 1 to 5 points based on how difficult it is to acquire them.
”Some of the ‘fives’ you will actually have to get into a kayak or go up a ladder to access,” he said.
There will be 75 caches throughout Sleepy Hollow that participants of the Camp MiGo event will seek.
The event starts Friday night with a meet-and-greet campout.
The search starts at 9 a.m. Saturday. There will be a potluck lunch at 1 p.m. and the search will continue until dark.
In addition, there will be a a photo scavenger hunt with a list of places that need to be photographed throughout the park, like the big bear at the entrance of the campground, and then posted to Facebook. The first person to take all the photos wins.
Bassette said the Michigan Geocaching Organization took off around 2000 when the U.S government took steps to make GPS technology available at the consumer level.
“Shortly after it became available to the general public, some guys went out and hid a stash, which was the original name and they gave the coordinates to some friends and they all went looking for it. That’s how the game got started,” he said.
According to Bassette, the oldest geocache in Michigan is at Power Island in Grand Traverse Bay area which was set up in the early 2000s.
Bassette is expecting 150 to 200 people to attend this weekend’s event and is excited that for the 11th year his group’s geocaching event will be at Sleepy Hollow.
“I love it there it’s a really beautiful place,” he said.
The event welcomes newcomers. Bassette said Saturday morning there will be a class to get people familiar with the concept; participants just need a cellphone with internet access.
Besides the local event, the Michigan Geocaching Organization partnered with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for a larger geocaching event called the Michigan State Parks Geotour. The event kicked off May 24 and features geocaches at 103 of Michigan’s state parks.
Dave Zmikly, Sleepy Hollow State Park’s supervisor, said the park has hosted several events to mark the centennial, including a youth outdoor event that included pellet gun target shooting, lessons on types of animal furs and other events.
The goal of the centennial celebration is to recruit young people to outdoor activities.
Zmikly said Sleepy Hollow is one of area’s gems and called it a tranquil place to visit and reflect.
“It’s a fun and safe place where people can get together with their families, and that’s what state parks are all about. It close to home for people to come and enjoy biking and the trails with their families,” he said.
Michigan has quite a rich history when it comes to its national parks systems. In 1895 the federal government gifted the Mackinac Island State Park to Michigan, which had been the country’s second national park.