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ByronForestPreserve

What makes a good GeoTour or Geotrail?

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I'm sure this has been discussed in the Geocaching Topics forum, but I think it would make sense to have a discussion here. I'm at the early stages of making a GeoTour--submitted a design idea to a company to have a geocoin prize made, and that's about it so far. Here are some newbie questions and some things I've been pondering (and things that may not end up being relevant but have crossed my mind):

 

What are the main differences between a Geotrail and a Geotour? Is it just the partnering with Groundspeak? I've seen examples of both, and other than that couldn't really tell.

 

Should they all be traditional caches, or can some be puzzles or multis?

 

Are we discouraged from including high difficulty or terrain caches? I probably wouldn't, but wondered anyway.

 

What's the best system for verifying finds--having cachers pick up a passport and collecting codes from each cache, or some other method?

 

For the coins themselves, can I do different finishes/editions and have one be a prize and different ones for sale?

 

Are there minimum or maximum travel distances between caches (aside from the regular cache placement guidelines)?

 

How about any advice to ensure it's a spectacular GeoTour and not just a series of caches?

 

That's what I've got for now, but anyone more experienced, please feel free to add things I haven't thought of. Thanks, all.

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What are the main differences between a Geotrail and a Geotour? Is it just the partnering with Groundspeak?

 

A Geotour is done in partnership with Groundspeak. A geotrail is a whatever you want to put together that meets Geocaching.com's listing guidelines.

 

That partnership is a HUGE tool to bring your caches to the attention of seekers. Puts it on a national stage.

 

Florida Parks have a GeoTour, their press release states 10,000 visits as a result - this was after 7 months, the long hot wet summer months. This winter, I'd expect those numbers to be up sharply.

 

There have been previous geotrails through the Florida state parks, one with coin. With only local notice, it hasn't seen anything like that level of interest - 38 people have completed the 10 caches in 3 years. Ddmittedly, the final was disabled due to fire for too long, which suppressed finds, and now it's been upstaged by the Operation Recreation GeoTour.

 

Without that partnership with Geocaching.com, you've got an cache series that your locals will notice, more or less. A coin will help some.

 

Doing a GeoTour is not free. As far restrictions to cache type, I doubt it, but that would be a conversation to have with the folks at geotours. http://www.geocaching.com/travel/

 

I've seen stamped passports, codes in each cache, or just following find rates. The ORGT tour offered coins to the first 75 people to find 40 caches in the series. They were asking people print out a form and indicate which caches they'd found. Coins are long gone, people still working on the tour.

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[snip]

Doing a GeoTour is not free. As far restrictions to cache type, I doubt it, but that would be a conversation to have with the folks at geotours. http://www.geocaching.com/travel/

 

 

Yes, I'd read the article, but it didn't answer any of those questions. I guess they just want you to email them right off the bat, huh? I had thought instead that I should have a plan in place before I contacted them.

 

We have an official GeoTour in Illinois (McHenry County) and a Geotrail along the Illinois River communities. I guess I didn't realize the exposure was dramatically different since I found both of them fairly easily. But I am on the forums a decent amount and browse the collected list from time to time for updates. I can see how having a marker on the map from the home page could make a huge difference.

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I'm going to add a question about scope, which will probably be answered in their reply to my email inquiry, but perhaps should be info that's on the forums as well. How large and significant an area do I need for my collection of caches to be considered for an official GeoTour? After reading the blogs announcing new tours, I note that most of them encompass quite a lot of naturally or historically significant sites, and I have to wonder if a single forest preserve district will qualify.

 

If that's the case, I may have to look more broadly and expand it to include our "Rock River Valley" region. I think that wouldn't be a problem as I know most of the folks who manage the state and county parks in the area. I bet most of them would like the idea. There's a long and lonely stretch in our area south of the largest city that doesn't have a lot of caches. I'd have to change the geocoin design, but that's still in the early stages anyway.

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I have done the four GeoTours put up by Lane County. The first couple that they put out were all regular sized (in fact, all the containers were identical), traditional caches. They used a password located in the lid of each container. The last two GeoTours they put up included some Mystery and Multi-caches. Still, all of the containers were regular sized. The GeoTour was designed to bring tourists to the area. The placement of the caches was roughly 1/4 placed at local businesses, and the remainder at other points of interest. For a really dedicated cacher, each tour might be do-able in a single day. (For me, about a day and a half per tour.) Each of their GeoTours has a them. One was on the coast, two more followed a river valley, and the last one was a loop trip following an old territorial highway.

 

I have also started the Washington State Parks GeoTour. This one uses stamps, and you must stamp a passport. The caches were placed in cooperation between a large number of cachers. They were different sizes, and included a couple of puzzle caches.

 

Of the two, I prefer the password approach. With the stamps, I found a couple of caches where the stamp was missing. Can't claim the find with the stamp, so this meant a return trip. As I am traveling several hundred miles to do this Tour, returning is not an easy option.

 

As for the size, if you go the Tour route, I think every cache should be big enough for swag and travelers. As mentioned in another post, a Tour gets worldwide exposure. Encourage swag and travelers from far away. It also helps in making the cache kid-friendly.

 

As for your question on how long, I think any Tour or Trail should be at least a couple of hours, and probably no more than three or four days. Think about what you are highlighting, and who your target group of cachers are. For a nature preserve, I see this as a targeting families with children. So, a half day trip would probably be your target. The HIGHKING Tour targets hard-core hikers or backpackers. I believe it is something like 65 km long, and for most, takes around three days.

 

Likewise, on your question of difficulty or terrain. who are your targeting. For families, stay away from high terrain (except maybe if your Tour/Trail requires a boat for transportation). For others, maybe this is exactly who you are targeting. High terrain values if most of the caches require rock climbing, for example.

 

IMO, your trail should have a theme. Bring me to an area in your preserve, and explain what is going on here. If the preserve has signs, bring me to the signs, consider using a two stage multi to make me read the signs. The final location would be based on info on the sign. The real cache would be a short distance away, in a more secluded area, to reduce the possibility of muggles.

 

Hopefully my ramblings make sense. If I can clarify anything for you, don't hesitate to ask.

 

Skye.

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a question about scope,...How large and significant an area do I need for my collection of caches to be considered for an official GeoTour?

 

One of Florida's GeoTours is 15 caches in a single county preserve system - https://www.geocaching.com/play/geotours/takingflight

 

There might be some lower limit of caches/area where Geocaching.com staff would feel that it might damage the image of a GeoTour, but I doubt that a group in your forest preserve district would be an issue. On the other hand, expanding the area and the agencies involved would allow you to pursue funding from more sources, spreading costs.

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Hello ByronForestPreserve.

 

Thanks for emailing us privately. For others: geotours@geocaching.com

 

We find that each person has very specific questions based on their specific project. It is actually more effective to answer questions in an email or a phone call, as opposed to answering all questions all ways on one webpage and making the GeoTour introduction page super long. :-)

 

a question about scope,...How large and significant an area do I need for my collection of caches to be considered for an official GeoTour?

We leave this up to the GeoTour Host. What we do specify is the number of geocaches: between 5 and 150.

 

And to palmetto: You rock! That is all. wub.gif

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Hello ByronForestPreserve.

 

Thanks for emailing us privately. For others: geotours@geocaching.com

 

We find that each person has very specific questions based on their specific project. It is actually more effective to answer questions in an email or a phone call, as opposed to answering all questions all ways on one webpage and making the GeoTour introduction page super long. :-)

 

a question about scope,...How large and significant an area do I need for my collection of caches to be considered for an official GeoTour?

We leave this up to the GeoTour Host. What we do specify is the number of geocaches: between 5 and 150.

 

And to palmetto: You rock! That is all. wub.gif

 

I can understand that. :)

 

I figured with a new forum area dedicated to GeoTours, I might as well have a discussion about it. I'm a person who likes as much info as I can get before starting a project, and figured the folks here would have good advice, and might also bring up some points to talk or ask about that I might not have otherwise considered. I got some good answers, too (thanks, all)!

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Let me add extra wishes in GeoTours. 1. The caches should be free without any extra payments. 2. All caches should be accessible on weekend days.

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Make sure your geotour has more than the required number of caches. I'm waiting on completing a tour right now because two of the necessary caches are disabled and there aren't any extra ones I can do instead. I'm hoping the cache owners will get around to replacing their caches eventually so I can finish up.

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Make sure your geotour has more than the required number of caches. I'm waiting on completing a tour right now because two of the necessary caches are disabled and there aren't any extra ones I can do instead. I'm hoping the cache owners will get around to replacing their caches eventually so I can finish up.

 

Mmmhm, I was thinking about doing that--having maybe 10-12 caches but requiring a couple less to qualify for the coin. I'm still in the process, btw--just working with the director to get it put into the budget.

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Make sure your geotour has more than the required number of caches. I'm waiting on completing a tour right now because two of the necessary caches are disabled and there aren't any extra ones I can do instead. I'm hoping the cache owners will get around to replacing their caches eventually so I can finish up.

 

I second the motion. For large GeoTours, you could also consider different awards for different levels. The Lane County GeoTours (36 caches each), require 24 for the coin, and for all 36, they entered you into a drawing for a trip (to Lane County, of course!). The Washington State Park GeoTour has over 100 caches. There is a challenge cache available to those that find 50+. Also, they have a silver coin for completing 50, and a gold coin for getting 100.

 

Skye.

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