Great Lakes Seaway Trail, NY and PA — The Great Lakes Seaway Trail GeoTrail has completed its first full year of providing a healthy outdoor activity for GPS-guided explorers with a $150,000 impact for the byway’s local economies in New York and Pennsylvania.
Organizers with the nonprofit tourism organization Seaway Trail, Inc., Sackets Harbor, NY, say they expect the total economic impact for the current supply of GeoCoins – tokens available once a certain number of caches are found – will be approximately $400,000.
Geocaching enthusiasts who use hand-held global positioning systems have embraced the fun and challenge of finding as many as 75 caches hidden in the landscape along the 518-mile length of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway. The byway parallels the freshwater shoreline of 11 counties: St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Oswego, Cayuga, Wayne, Monroe, Orleans, Niagara, Erie, and Chautauqua, NY; and Erie, PA.
A total of 1,481 Great Lakes Seaway Trail GeoCoins were claimed by those finding at least ten of 15 hidden caches in any of the byway’s five regions: Lake Erie, Buffalo/Niagara Falls, Rochester/Central Lake Ontario, Eastern Lake Ontario, and the 1000 Islands/St. Lawrence River.
Cachers typically spent two or three days geocaching in each region, spending an average of $80 to $150 in each region.
“Nearly all the participants surveyed indicated they are caching along the entire Great Lakes Seaway Trail GeoTrail, spending nearly two weeks on the byway to do so,” said Seaway Trail, Inc. Director of Business Relations Kurt Schumacher.
“People have come from 26 US states, five Canadian provinces, and as far away as Australia to complete the GeoTrail. As we’re seeing more people from outside the byway region, we’re also seeing longer stays and higher average expenditures,” Schumacher added.
Sixty-one percent of those surveyed said their GeoTrail adventure was highly likely to influence their decision to travel on the Great Lakes Seaway Trail in the future.
Seaway Trail, Inc. President and CEO Teresa Mitchell said, “This ‘get outdoors on the Great Lakes Seaway Trail’ initiative is an accessible and affordable opportunity to enjoy healthy fresh air travel along the entire Great Lakes shoreline of New York and Pennsylvania.”
The Great Lakes Seaway Trail GeoTrail will continue in 2012. Logbooks are available at locations along the byway, including:
· St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, Canton, NY
· 1000 Islands International Tourism Council, Alexandria Bay, NY
· Seaway Trail Discovery Center, Sackets Harbor, NY
· Oswego County Tourism, Oswego, NY
· Cayuga County Tourism, Auburn, NY
· Wayne County Tourism, Lyons, NY
· VisitRochester, Rochester, NY
· Niagara USA Official Visitor Center, Niagara Falls, NY
· Visit Buffalo Niagara, Buffalo, NY
· Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau, Chautauqua, NY, and
· Tom Ridge Environmental Center, Erie, PA.
This geocaching travel initiative debuted in August 2010 with 75 caches – used military ammo boxes emblazoned with the Great Lakes Seaway Trail logo — hidden by a cadre of local volunteers working in collaboration with Seaway Trail, Inc. and GeoTrail coordinator Jim “Boots” Hooper.
Each cache includes a unique punch tool for marking logbooks. Sponsor sites validate the logbooks to issue the collectible GeoCoins. The colorful antique metal-finish square coins feature iconic byway landmarks: the St. Lawrence Seaway, historic Fort Ontario, Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse, Niagara Falls and the Maid of the Mist tour boat, and the Flagship Niagara.
Cachers can learn more about the Great Lakes Seaway Trail GeoTrail and where to pick up a logbook by visiting www.seawaytrail.com/geotrail. #