The Baille Ard Trails are a favourite of local outdoor enthusiasts, providing scenic wooded walking paths in 14 acres of mixed woods, yet are located only a few kilometres from downtown Sydney.
As with most things recreation-related, maintaining the trails doesn’t come free of cost. On August 15, local youth organization jcicapebreton.comJCI Cape Breton is hosting a geocaching scavenger hunt to raise funds to maintain the trail and promote their use.
Rick McCarthy, JCI’s Chair of Community Initiatives explained that the event is in line with the group’s recent focus on promoting healthy living. “This event is not just a fundraiser, it’s something that I think needs to catch on.” he explained.” “We’re going to try to do a few more of these outdoors events that get you away from the computer, Facebook, and those sorts of things.” Not to be one to cast modern technology in a negative light, McCarthy highlighted the gadget-appeal of geocaching. “it uses technology, which is usually taking people away from the outdoors”
For those unfamiliar with the activity, geocaching is a type of outdoor ‘treasure” hunt that emerged as GPS technology became available in relatively inexpensive consumer devices. In a commonly practiced form of geocaching, containers holding small items are placed as “caches” in outdoor areas. Variations on the activity include caches containing a logbook, where geocachers can record their visit, or eco-caching, which forgoes physical containers in favour of encouraging cachers to observe a unique natural feature of the cache location.
The JCI scavenger hunt cache is intended to be a relaxed competition conducted in small teams, one that McCarthy characterizes as perfect for first-time geocachers. “To be honest, I didn’t even know what geocaching was about eight weeks ago.” he admitted, having since observed and participated in various local geocaching events. “Initially I had no luck, couldn’t find a thing…but once you find [a cache] you can understand why people get so into it and how exciting it is when you make that find.”
The Baille Ard scavenger hunt will have several caches, each with its own designated amount of time for teams to find the cache and collect the item it contains. There will be prizes for the team or teams able to find the greatest number of caches. The competition will be conducted in teams of four, and at least one member must be equipped with a device that contains a GPS. McCarthy noted that the popularity of smartphones such as Blackberry made GPS technology more accessible. He encouraged potential participants to bring their own devices where possible, but that the event organizers would try to have as many devices as possible on hand to make participation accessible to those who don’t own a smartphone or other GPS-enabled device.
The Baille Ard trails are located at Cottage Street, behind Sherwood Park Education Centre in Sydney. Participation in the JCI Baille Ard geocaching scavenger hunt will cost $5 per participant, and registration will be capped at ten teams of four. The event begins officially at 1:00, though participants who show up early can get some quick instructions on Geocaching. There will be a barbeque with vegetarian options included alongside the usual hamburgers, hotdogs, and beverages. Anyone interested in this event can contact Ricky McCarthy at email@example.com to register either as an individual or as a team.
JCI Cape Breton is an affiliate of Junior Chamber International. JCI chapters are run by youth and young professionals, promoting positive involvement through the development of business, leadership, entrepreneurial, and community-building skills.