Washington State Geocaching Association
Member Newsletter
Happy New Year! Time to Renew!
Another amazing caching year has come and gone - State Parks GeoTour! Summer Campout! Going APE mega-event! Cool coins! Chapter activities! Member bonus! Cache of the Month! CITOs!

As you welcome another year of caching fun, please take a moment to renew your WSGA membership for 2014.

Need a refresher on our membership levels and benefits? Here you go. Your dues pay for events, park projects, geocoins, pathtags, campouts, website, newsletter, name tags, and club swag, and half your dues go to your chapter for local activities. The Washington State Parks Centennial GeoTour, Going APE mega-event, and Summer Campout are supported by your membership.  All for just $12 Individual and $18 Family.

We're closing out 2013 with 489 members across our seven chapters: 192 Individual accounts, 144 Family accounts (x2 members), and 9 Associate accounts. Add kids and we're over 500 - the club is healthy and growing!
Get Your Goodies at Our Winter Swag Sale   
Looking for a little bling to brighten your winter? Maybe a warm fleecy hoody? Check out the WSGA winter swag sale - our entire stock of shirts, hoodies, caps, pathtags, and coins (including rare Ape event coins) is up for grabs. Free shipping on many items, and a free patch or lanyard for larger orders.


2014 Geocoin Now Available
Our 2014 Washington geocoin is at the mint and went on sale January 1. Woo hoo - for the first time, the coin is available at the start of the year!

Our east/west theme continues for a third year with another fine NepoKama design. The Space Needle glows in the dark! If you have the  Member Bonus pathtag (or buy one), you'll have a matched set. Full coin details.
As always, current WSGA members get a discount:  $11.50 members (limit 3 per household) vs. $13.50 nonmembers. (Current = renewed for 2014.) We expect coin delivery in late January.

We also have a gallery of previous WSGA geocoins on our Facebook page.
State Parks: GeoTour Madness! 
The success of the Washington State Parks Centennial GeoTour has surpassed the expectations of both WSGA and the State Parks. For many cachers, the GeoTour was the focus of their summer geocaching, and we received lots of feedback - even letters  - from folks saying how much they enjoyed it, and how the GeoTour showed them new parks and places they would not have seen otherwise.

Nearly 2,800 cachers have logged at least one GeoTour cache over the past seven months. As of Jan. 2, we have 32 Gold finishers (100 caches, all coins awarded) and 141 Silver finishers (50 caches, 39 coins left). The 103 caches have accumulated over 18,000 finds and 1,600 favorite points - wow! Fort Worden and Rosario Beach (Deception Pass) are the most favorited, and Iron Horse - Hyak is the most found (thank you, APE event). Three caches - Fort Worden, Rosario Beach, and Potholes - have won WSGA Cache of the Month honors. Check out the finishers and statistics so far.

The official GeoTour lasts a year, but the parks plan to keep the caches in place indefinitely, even after the coins are gone. There are two challenge caches that only finishers can log, so there's still incentive to visit them.

Many parks are closed in the winter, but if you're working on the GeoTour, have no fear. Official statement from the State Parks: "Geocachers can continue to access closed parks by walking in." So the geocaches are available year-round.

The State Parks is so happy with the success of the GeoTour that they want to partner with us on similar projects in future, and park managers are eager to see more caches in their parks, as they are driving awareness and visitation (and Discover Pass sales). Props to the GeoTour co-managers, hydnsek (WSGA) and Ranger Tina (State Parks), for all the work they put into making this a huge win for everyone, and our enthusiastic thanks to all the WSGA members and State Parks personnel who supported the project by placing caches, hosting kickoff events, and managing various aspects.

Cache Permits: Park managers are now welcoming new cache placements, and the State Parks page on the WSGA site has been updated to reflect the most current intel on placing caches in WA state parks. It includes a link to the directive, the online permit form, guidelines for placing caches in state parks, and the updated permit language that goes on cache pages (with HTML code).  

Washington State Parks revised its Geocaching Directive in December 2012 to be more cacher-friendly, and named WSGA as its official partner. The updated Directive says all existing caches must be brought into compliance or removed. We are now working on the compliance phase, with a goal of having all caches permitted by March 31. Hydnsek is managing this phase as well - her list has 180+ unpermitted caches! - and will work with cache owners to either permit or adopt out their caches (to be permitted), with archival as a last resort (if cache owners are unresponsive or Parks' stewardship denies the permit).
Going APE Turns Five
As you know, the Pacific Northwest is THE destination for geocaching on the third weekend in August - International Geocaching weekend. Cachers from around the globe attend Groundspeak's Geocaching Block Party on Saturday (where WSGA has a booth), and then trek to Snoqualmie Pass for WSGA's Going APE mega-event on Sunday. 

Our APE event just keeps getting bigger and more successful - even without an official APE cache! On Aug. 18, nearly 1,600 cachers from around the world strolled and rolled through the spooky "Tunnel of Light." As usual, Apezilla and Fen Dweller were in attendance, and there was plenty of sunshine and spectacular views for all.

This year, we took preorders for goody bags that contained an event coin, shirt, and flashlight, and had on-site sales for additional bling. The flashlight-shaped event coin was mega-cool, and we quickly sold out of the shirts with their glow-in-the-dark design (perfect for a tunnel walk). Event expenses were $11,362, but income was a whopping $15,695, so we made some money for future club activities.

Our heartfelt thanks to all the geocachers who helped this year. You made a lot of visiting geocachers very happy!

The 5th-annual Going APE mega-event will be Aug. 17, 2014. Groundspeak is promoting the APE event as part of the annual International Geocaching weekend package, so we can expect the increased attendance and mojo to continue.

We'll need even more volunteers next year to accommodate the crowds. In addition, hydnsek is retiring after creating and directing the first four APE events, so we are looking for new leadership to continue our club's marquee annual event. Let us know if you can help!
2013 Member Bonus   
Each fall since 2010, we've surprised our members with a Member Bonus - free swag to thank you for your support of WSGA and geocaching in Washington. Sweet!

For 2013, it's a pathtag, designed by NepoKama. The Space Needle glows in the dark! The pathtags were mailed in early December; Individual and Associate members received one; Family members got two.

The custom back is our WSGA Give Back, which is available as a custom back for anyone's pathtag. The $0.10 per-tag cost goes to WSGA, which we can use for future member goodies. Starting Jan. 1, we are selling these online in 5-packs on the same page as our 2014 Washington coin.
How to Train a Geocacher
Want to give a caching newbie a leg up? The Complete Idiot's Guide to Geocaching is now in its Third Edition. Written by the staff of Groundspeak, edited by MissJenn and Monkeybrad, and featuring Bryan's family on the cover, it's still the classic on our favorite outdoor activity.

Tips and techniques on finding caches, advice on hiding good caches, intel on smartphone apps and GPS units, the how-tos of travel bugs - it's all in there, and more besides.
 Upcoming Events
Winter 2014   
In This Issue
Happy New Year!
Winter Swag Sale
2014 Geocoin Now Available
State Parks GeoTour & Permits
Going APE Turns Five
2013 Member Bonus
How to Train a Geocacher
Upcoming Events
2014 Board Elections
Thank You, Volunteers!
Small Grant Program
New Park Liaison Manager
In Memoriam: Ed Lovitt
Cache of the Month
Let's Go Camping
Which Chapter Are You In?
Follow Us on Facebook
To get the latest news, "Like" the WSGA Facebook page. We have over 600 followers, and we welcome your
comments!   
Board Elections
The 2014 WSGA Board elections will be March 1-15, with the new Board taking office April 1 (no foolin'). We'll begin taking nominations Jan. 30. 

WSGA's Board is comprised of four officers and seven chapter representatives. All serve one-year terms.

We welcome candidates who are active volunteers, support the club's goals, and want to get more involved. If this sounds like you - or someone you know - please consider running for a Board position in  2014. 
Thank You, Volunteers!
We'd like to thank the WSGA members in every chapter who went above-and-beyond in supporting club activities in 2013. You rock! 

Thirty members are being recognized for their efforts with a Volunteer version of our 2013 geocoin. They will also be recognized on a special Thank You page on the WSGA site once all the recipients are announced.
Small Grant Program
The WSGA Board is pleased to announce the WSGA Small Grant Program, which provides annual funding of $500 to support geocaching-related projects in Washington. Check it out, and please help us get the word out to potential grant candidates.

In 2013, prior to the SGP, the WSGA Board donated $250 to Moun10Bike's Northwest Trails project, based on the benefits that this free public mapset provides to our members.   
New Park Liaison Manager 
We're thrilled to announce the appointment of Louie Bliss (Nicole Bliss) as the new Park Liaison Manager, replacing hydnsek.

This is WSGA's most important appointed position, supporting the club's founding purpose of working with land managers in support of geocaching. The Park Liaison Program has grown substantially since hydnsek founded it in 2010, and it has become a valuable asset to park systems and the geocaching community.

Nicole is a former Groundspeak lackey with experience working with park systems, and the perfect person to lead and evolve the program, working with our geocaching liaisons and land managers. Please contact her about park issues going forward, or if you're interested in becoming a liaison.
In Memoriam:  
Howard Lowell 
 
On Dec. 7, Howard Lowell, aka P-38, lost his battle with cancer. He will be sorely missed by his fellow Cache-cadians. Michelle Auvil (mmauvil) says, "He was my go-to phone-a-friend." 

Howard served in the Army during the Vietnam War, and was buried with full military honors. Our condolences to his family and friends. Obituary.

Found a great new cache you think everyone should know about? Nominate it for WSGA's Cache of the Month. We've been sponsoring COTM for nine years, and our winner's circle includes lots of great hides. The COTM section is accessed at the top-right of our home page. You can nominate a cache, vote, and view previous winners.

Caches are eligible during their first year, and you must nominate a cache in the month you find it. Any geocacher can nominate a cache, but only WSGA members can vote (which occurs the 2nd-10th of the following month). Complete COTM rules. Winners may display the COTM icon on their cache page.
WSGA Membership
Your annual dues help support geocaching in Washington.
Promote WSGA
Show your support for WSGA on event and cache pages by including our logo or banner. See options and get HTML code
 Board Meetings
WSGA's Board of Directors meetings are open to all members. Meetings are online  6:30-9:30 p.m. on the dates listed. To join an online meeting, click Live Chat in the menu bar on the WSGA site.

2014 Board meetings:

January 30 

March 27 

 

Agenda items may be sent to the President until two days before each meeting. 

The Minutes of Board meetings are accessible from the WSGA home page (lower left column), and an archive of Board Minutes is also available.
  WSGA Board Members

Officers
President
   Abby Wolfe / hydnsek
Vice President
   Kelly Wiggans / psykokiwi 
Secretary
   Ben Hewitt / benandjayme 
Treasurer
   Kristine Norton /
   Hippychick1620

Chapter Representatives
Puget Sound
   Chris Brue / mc3cats
48 North
   Kathy McCormack /
   GrievousAngel
Cache-cadia
   Gene Reed / Mr. Gadget #2
Inland Empire
   Jerry Martin / Martin 5
South Central
   Mike Lowery /
   tumbleweedpirates
Southwest
   Ray Harrison / Geek&Gopher
Olympic Peninsula
   Jo Dunn / idajo2  
Let's Go Camping 
Mark your calendars: Our next Summer Campout is July 25-27 at Sun Lakes State Park in Central Washington, hosted by Sunshine Geo and the Inland Empire chapter. We've booked the group camp (tents) and 19 RV sites, and registration should be available in early February.

Our 10th-annual Summer Campout in July 2013 was a rip-roaring success, thanks to Geek&Gopher and the Southwest chapter. Held at Timberlake Campground along the Columbia Gorge, the Campout attracted 90+ attendees, who enjoyed great weather, fun activities, good eats, an awesome raffle, and a CITO to thank our hosts. More photos.

Which Chapter Are You In? 
WSGA has seven chapters, each represented by an elected Chapter Representative who serves on the  Board of Directors. By default, new members are affiliated with the chapter where they live, but you can  belong to a different chapter by changing the chapter designation in your profile on the WSGA site. Associate members (those living outside the state) are aligned with the closest in-state chapter (e.g., Idaho cachers with Inland Empire chapter) unless they specify otherwise.

Chapter affiliation affects three things: who your Chapter Rep is, what chapter news you receive, and how much funding and swag your chapter receives (which is proportional to chapter size).
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Washington State Geocaching Association | P.O. Box 971 | Liberty Lake | WA | 99019-0971