As pheasant hunting season opened across South Dakota, a hunt of a different kind also began along Highways 50 and 18. The Oyate Trail Geocaching Project kicked off Friday, October 14, following the Oyate Trail from North Sioux City to Hot Springs across southern South Dakota.
The Oyate Trail is known as the road “where cultures meet.” Here you can discover the history and culture of European Immigrants as well as Native Americans like Spotted Tail, Red Cloud and Swift Bear. Now, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Marvin and Julie Braun of Gregory, who enlisted the help of their fellow geocachers, technology joins with history.
According to Dr. Braun, most of the caches along the Oyate Trail have some historic significance. “All of them were released onto the Geocaching website at 5:00 p.m. on October 14th. This gave geocachers a chance to load the coordinates of the 110 caches, and head down the trail that night.”
Geocaching is a world-wide phenomenon where “geo-techies” and “geo-newbies” alike try to locate hidden containers called “caches” using GPS enabled devices. For anyone who hasn’t discovered the fun yet, www.geocaching.com
does a great job of getting you started on this real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. You’ll find lots of information, coordinates and maps of caches in your area, and of course, a place to record your finds. A link to the website can be found on the Oyate Trail website, www.oyatetrail.com
The following geocachers created the Oyate Trail Geocaching Project: CartDaddy did the first 10 from North Sioux City to Vermillion; Geopractor did the next 10 from Vermillion to Yankton; SDGAL did 10 from Yankton to Wagner; Nothin2do did Wagner to Fairfax; Sleuthmeister did 20 from Fairfax to Carter, James Bridger did the last 50 from Carter to Hot Springs. You can check out their profiles by going to www.geocaching.com
. Under “hide and seek” type in their geonick (geocaching name) or type in their town and find them.
The goal of the project is to promote travel along Highways 18 and 50, and so far it seems to be working. Dr. Braun said he met approximately thirty geocachers out on the hunt during the first weekend the Oyate Trail caches were available. Charlie Moe of Salt Camp Cabins at Rosebud said he has already been contacted by the first person to find over 100 of the 110 caches. Each of the first 50 to find 100 will receive an Oyate Trail Geocaching coin.
This project was made possible with help from the Great Lakes of South Dakota Tourism Association, Southeast South Dakota Tourism, and the Gregory County Economic Development Corporation. They all encourage you to “Travel the Trail, the Oyate Trail of Southern South Dakota.” For an Oyate Trail brochure go to www.sdgreatlakes.org
or call 1-888-386-4617.