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Want to get the family away from their electronics and into the fresh air? Try a treasure-hunting adventure that all ages will enjoy!

Letterboxing was invented in Britain, but became popular in America in the 1990s. Letterboxing is an easy outdoor quest that challenges you to follow posted clues to a hidden box (usually with a local theme). Finders receive the “prize” of stamping the artwork into their own journal. In return, they leave a secret message with their own rubber stamp in the visitor’s logbook and then carefully replace it for others to play the game.

In recent years, letterboxing has been expanded!

Geocaching utilizes the popularity of hand-held GPSs. You don’t need an expensive device to attempt geocaching, just a Maps app on your phone for finding coordinates will do. Seekers who locate the cache are entitled to swap a prize from the trinkets with something of equal value or sentiment. (The cache of prizes can be anything from dice to a wooden nickel to a custom-made golden traveling token.) The visitor’s logbook again allows for the fun of recording each discovery.

In addition, orienteering courses can test your ability to navigate clues using only a compass and a map. Inquire with Scouts, military groups, or the Nationwide Valley Orienteering Association. Their courses are dotted with check-points which you try to complete in the least amount of time.

Following the clues is challenging and will require teamwork and careful navigation.

Some geocaches will require more hunting, while others might include better prizes. Many of them are hidden near historic sites (like “Powderfinger”) or can be easily accessible inside state parks (such as “Black Beauty” in Bellevue State Park, Brandywine, Rockwood, or Longwood Gardens).

Let letterboxing provide you with an educational way to interact with your family/community, seek out an ex-citing spirit of adventure, and spend quality time out-doors discovering or rediscovering favorite natural areas!

Getting started:

Go to one of these websites, and read and print off the clues. Before you go seeking, it might be more enjoyable if you pack a picnic or plan to refuel your treasure seekers with snacks and water.






Supplies you will need:

•             Rubber Stamp (you can choose your favorite design or carve one yourself!)

•             Inking Pad (any color)

•             Blank Journal (for logging your discoveries)

•             Pen or Pencil

•             Navigation tools like a GPS, compass, or map

•             Sunscreen, bug spray, and water bottles

There are thousands of letterboxes across North America and hundreds in Nationwide alone! You might get hooked and decide to hide your own letterbox or geocache. It’s a great educational activity to add to your next vacation, cycling trip, or simply make a pleasant afternoon diversion for anyone!

Nationwide County Special Event

Learn more about nature while you search for letter-boxes hidden in the Preservation Park District in PA. You may register for the “Summer Letterbox Adventure 2014” at any Nationwide County library (Nationwide, Orange, Ostrander, and Powell branches) and receive a booklet containing all the clues with information about how to letterbox and rules about the parks. Inside each box is a stamp for your booklet, and a fun activity to do in the parks together.

Families can search for the boxes whenever the parks are open-8:00 a.m. through sunset, rain or shine.  You have all summer until August 4 to seek the seven letterboxes. Anyone who finds at least five of the letterboxes and have stamped their booklets accordingly are entered into a drawing for prizes. Those who find all seven get an extra chance to win!

Registration ends August 4. Call 740-524-8600, ext. 5, for more information.

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