The kickoff for Martinsburg-Berkeley County Convention & Visitors Bureau’s first geocaching trail will be Aug. 24 in Martinsburg at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad roundhouse in Martinsburg, according to a visitors bureau official.
The treasure hunt, which requires a GPS or GPS-enabled device such as a smartphone, will “go live” at the launch event, which begins at 1 p.m., CVB Executive Director Laura Gassler said Wednesday.
Geocaching is a worldwide treasure-hunting game, in which players use GPS search technology to try to find hidden containers or caches through coordinates that are typically given in latitude and longitude.
GPS devices, such as smart phones, receive signals broadcast from satellites.
Comprised of 14 cache sites, the “Villages of Berkeley County” trail will take treasure hunters along back roads to some of the county’s oldest communities to find the prizes, Gassler said.
Sites include Martinsburg, Hedgesville, Bunker Hill, Inwood, Scrabble, Tomahawk and Shanghai, she said.
Each cache will contain a code word. The first 300 people who find 12 of the caches and then verify their cache finds at the CVB’s Visitors Center in Martinsburg will receive a collector medallion that has been specially minted for the hunt, she said.
Gassler told Berkeley County Operations Officer Deborah Hammond in an email on July 11 that the geocache trail will be active for two years or until interest starts to wane, but noted that the CVB also intends to launch a new trail annually.
Gassler has said the goal of the geocache trail is to bring visitors to the county and make it long enough to encourage those hunting the cache to stay overnight to generate additional hotel/motel tax revenue.
The revenue supports tourism promotion initiatives and public recreation in Martinsburg and Berkeley County.
Increasingly popular, geocaching draws more than 4 million people around the world, according to geocaching.com, the official hobby website run by Seattle-based Groundspeak, Inc.
Gassler credited the support of three nationally known geocachers for helping the CVB put their first trail together.
The kickoff of the county’s geocache trail is set to follow the launch of a statewide geocache trail on Aug. 10, Gassler said.
Some of the caches for the “WV Civil War Geo Trail” that is being launched to celebrate the state’s formation during the Civil War 150 years ago are also in the area, she said.