City of Helena, Montana, USA, Blog of Former Commissioner Elsaesser
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Helena, Montana receives Best for Geocaching title from Rand McNally’s Best of the Road and Geocaching.com
Helena, Montana receives Best for Geocaching title from
Rand McNally’s Best of the Road and Geocaching.com
October 8, 2013 - Helena, Montana has received Rand McNally’s Best of the Road, Best for Geocaching title. Since mid-summer the contest has been in full swing with Helena recruiting online votes atbestoftheroad.com. In September, Best of the Road named five geocaching finalists and Helena was invited to submit a video and essay. The winners of the six categories, which also includes Most Beautiful and Best for Food, were announced Tuesday morning. Helena took the title Best for Geocaching.
One of the judges commented on Helena’s submission: “I was convinced by the words taken directly from the geocaching community: this is an authentically engaging place to geocache. You can feel the historical connection to the gold treasure hunters from long ago while using today's satellites and smartphone apps. The gorgeous scenery just adds to the adventure!”
Helena is no novice when it comes to treasure hunts. In July of 1864, four miners, down on their luck, gave it one “Last Chance” and struck it rich in Helena. The region, named Last Chance Gulch, grew almost overnight, producing an estimated (in today’s dollars) $3.6 billion in gold over a twenty-year period.
Nearly one hundred and fifty years later, Helena’s main street is still called Last Chance Gulch, but GPS units have replaced sluice boxes. In lieu of a gold vein, caches are hidden. Helena is booming with modern-day prospectors, geocachers. Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunt where cachers use GPS coordinates to locate hidden caches. Geocaching is a free, interactive adventure. More details on geocaching can be found at geocaching.com.
Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, half-way between Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park, Montana’s capital city of 30,000 residents has evolved into the region’s geocaching leader. The core of this reputation is the GeoTour, part of Groundspeak’s GeoTour program and created through a collaborative partnership between the Helena Tourism Alliance and the Capital City Cachers. The entire community including Downtown Helena, Inc., The Clay Arts Guild, State of Montana, Montana Historical Society, Helena National Forest, City of Helena Parks Department, Montana Heritage Commission, Montana State Parks, AAA MountainWest, Tizer Gardens and EDGE Marketing have played a part in Helena’s geocaching success.
Highlighting the best of Helena, the GeoTour brings cachers to thirty-eight destinations including Two Camps Vista, where both Lewis & Clark camped along the Missouri River during different parts of their journey West. Others bring cachers to places like the historic and charming Last Chance Gulch Walking Mall, scenic Mount Helena and the Elkhorn Ghost Town.
As winners of the Best for Geocaching title, Helena and will receive a feature in the 2015 Rand McNally Road Atlas and a free custom iPhone app and online travel guide promoting the community as a top destination. Helena will also receive a FREE GeoTour, courtesy of geocaching.com.
The Helena Tourism Alliance has played a large part in promoting geocaching in Helena and financed the GeoTour program. The Helena Tourism Alliance is funded by Helena’s Tourism Business Improvement District, a self-assessed tax on the hotels for Helena promotion. More information on the Helena Tourism Alliance and the GeoTour can be found at helenamt.com. This project would not have been possible without the dedication and enthusiasm of the Capital City Cachers, Helena’s geocaching club.