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Star-Spangled Banner Geotrail Launches February 27
More than 30 sites in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. to Take Part in First-of-its-Kind Adventure

Released 02/26/2010

Set to launch on February 27, 2010, the new Star-Spangled Banner Geotrail is a unique journey through American history and across the landscapes of the Chesapeake Bay region. Participants will have the chance to visit forts, museums, battlefields, ships and parks, with each site telling its own unique story. Intended to compliment and promote the congressionally designated Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, the Geotrail commemorates the dramatic chain of events, people and places that led to the birth of our National Anthem during the War of 1812. The first-of-its-kind, multi-state initiative is sponsored by Friends of Chesapeake Gateways, the Maryland Geocaching Society, and the National Park Service. Geocaching, pronounced “geo-cashing,” is a worldwide phenomenon, in which participants use a hand-held GPS (Global Positioning System) to plot map coordinates in order to locate a hidden treasure or “cache.” Searching for a cache is akin to going on a treasure hunt and can involve clues, riddles and visits to multiple locations. A “geotrail” is a series of caches tied together by a common topic or theme. The Star-Spangled Banner GeoTrail includes more than thirty diverse sites that are all part of the landscape of the Chesapeake Campaign of the War of 1812. Some hold national prominence, others reflect the all-encompassing nature of the conflict, during which the British raided and burned communities throughout the Chesapeake region. In addition, the majority of participating locations are also designated Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails, special places the share the story of the Bay and its Rivers. “The geotrail is a wonderful way to build interest in the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake and in the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail,” said Suzanne Copping, National Park Service Project Manager. “The Geotrail crosses state lines, just as the British and Americans did, and also connects sites along the National Historic Trail to other locations in the larger Chesapeake region. The stories behind the caches highlight the roles of civilians, soldiers, women and African-Americans and draws attention to a variety of themes as we approach the 1812 Bicentennial. This initiative will also generate support for the National Historic Trail’s planning and development.” In order to participate in the adventure, a geocacher must access the official geocache website at www.Geocaching.com. A basic membership is free. Once an account is established, the geocacher can use the advance search function to locate the Star-Spangled Banner account and retrieve the map coordinates and hide details for each Star-Spangled Banner Geocache. The next step is to head outside with a GPS to find geocaches along the Star-Spangled Banner Geotrail! A collectible, highly coveted trackable geocoin will be given to the first 400 geocachers who locate a minimum of 20 geocaches along the trail. To be eligible for the coin, geocachers must download a trail passport from www.friendsofchesapeakegateways.org;, find and log on www.geocaching.com; at least 20 geocaches from the trail and record the secret code word from each cache on their passport and post a picture of each cache location on the corresponding geocache webpage. After discovering the 20 required caches, geocachers may have their passports validated in person or via mail at the Friends of Chesapeake Gateways office. “Whether you are hiking through a park, paddling along a river or discovering a historic downtown, Chesapeake Gateways offer rich, revealing ways to enjoy the unique Chesapeake region,” said Eleanor Mahoney, Program Director for the Friends of Chesapeake Gateways. “Friends is excited to co-sponsor the Star-Spangled Banner Geotrail and expose a whole new group of visitors to the Gateways Network. We are so grateful for all the assistance from the Maryland Geocaching Society and its members, who made the trail a reality!” The Star-Spangled Geotrail launches February 27, 2010. For more information visit: www.nps.gov/stsp; www.friendsofchesapeakegateways.org; www.mdgps.org; About Friends of Chesapeake Gateways Established in 2006, Friends of Chesapeake Gateways is a nonprofit organization that supports the mission and goals of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network. Friends works closely with the National Park Service and over 165 individual sites across the Chesapeake Bay region to promote conservation, interpretation and stewardship of the Bay’s natural and cultural resoures. To learn more about Friends of Chesapeake Gateways, visit www.friendsofchesapeakegateways.org

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