SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (KMTR) -- A local tourism agency has launched a new effort to get people exploring the McKenzie River area through a popular activity called geocaching.
Travel Lane County kicked off its year-long 'Eugene Cascades and Coast Geo-Tour' on Saturday, October 20 at its Adventure Center building in Springfield.
The tour is based on the art of geocaching, where people use GPS coordinates to find hidden objects. Travel Lane County has hidden 36 different objects at spots between the Eugene / Springfield area and the McKenzie River. The activity covers about seventy miles of terrain.
Inside each object is a password. Geocachers have to collect 24 different passwords to be able to get a special prize token. The token - which is locally made from local wood - represents half of the state of Oregon and looks similar to a puzzle piece.
About ninety people showed up to help kick off the geocaching event on Saturday, including Jen Butler. Butler says it's a fun way to explore the region.
"The maps can only get you so close and then the GPS can only get you so close and after that you've got to use your eyes and your brain and figure out where is it that they've hidden it. They give you clues, of course, so yeah, there will be some hiking involved and just stopping at some great sites along the river,” said Butler.
Come Spring 2013, Travel Lane County will launch its second 'Geo-Tour' in the region with 36 new locations to hunt down. After completing that, people get the second piece of the puzzle.