FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 6, 2012
DEP, ESCAMBIA COUNTY AND THE CITY OF PENSACOLA PARTNER TO EXPAND
~Tour allows participants to explore area’s most unique environmental sites~
Geocachers explore at Project Green Shores site.
ESCAMBIA COUNTY– The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Escambia County and the City of Pensacola have partnered again to improve and enhance the Escambia County Environmental Geocache Tour. The original tour, which was launched in 2009, has been revamped to make it more user-friendly and fun. The enhanced tour is comprised of 13 stops and guides residents and visitors to the area’s major environmental restoration projects and unique environmental habitats.
“Geocaching is an exciting treasure hunting activity and is a great way for individuals and families to spend time together outdoors exploring,” said Shawn Hamilton, DEP Northwest District Director. “I’m excited by the response to the improvements to our tour, which encourages citizens and visitors to experience our region’s environmental treasures and learn more about our restoration projects.”
Geocaching is an activity for treasure hunters of all ages who track where containers, or “caches”, are hidden in the world around us. Participants use a handheld GPS unit armed with specific coordinates (longitudes and latitudes) to reach a predetermined location. These locations mark where a “cache” has been left.
“This tour highlights wild land, rural and urban environments and illustrates the broad diversity of Escambia County’s ecosystems. There isn’t a more fun or educational way to explore our County,” said Keith Wilkins, Escambia County’s Director of Environmental Services.
The Escambia County Environmental Geocache Tour offers individuals and families a great opportunity to learn about the unique environmental features of Pensacola and Escambia County and the work that is being done to improve the quality of the environment. Since the first cache of the enhanced tour was placed two months ago, there have been more than 203 visits to the various caches. The final two sites were placed this week.
Highlights of the tour include:
- The Big Escambia Creek Restoration Project, to return the Big Escambia Creek to its original flow;
- Project Green Shores, the award-winning project to restore oyster, saltmarsh and seagrass habitat in Pensacola Bay;
- The recently unveiled Admiral Mason Park, with its beautiful pond, fountains and walkways that not only add to the beautiful sites of Pensacola, but also serve as a stormwater treatment system for the surrounding 31 acres;
- Cutting-edge stormwater retrofit projects such as the Glynn Key Stormwater Park at Southgate Plaza, which turned a traditional stormwater pond into a county wetland park in the middle of a commercial development. The tour also includes the 17th Street stormwater project, which combines state-of-the-art technology designed to remove solids and debris from stormwater using an underground vault, with a “polishing wetland” to remove nutrients from the stormwater prior to being discharged into the mouth of Bayou Texar.
- Three of Florida’s award-winning State Parks, Big Lagoon State Park, Perdido Key State Park and Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park, which highlight the beautiful and unique habitats in our area.
At each stop, participants will find a different colored pen. Geocachers who visit at least 8 of the 13 locations, and use the colored pens at each location to check off the tour visit sheet, can receive a tour prize. For more information and to download the tour visit sheet please visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/northwest/geocaching/ecotour.htm.
You may also visit one of the two locations listed below for more information or to claim your tour prize once you have completed the tour. Just show the receptionist the completed tour visit sheet, and receive a custom coin celebrating the tour and the City of Pensacola’s 450th birthday.
- Department of Environmental Protection located at 160 W. Government Street Please sign in with security guard in the lobby and then go to the third floor, Suite 308. Contact number 595-8300.
- Escambia County Natural Resource Conservation Division located at 151 Hwy 97 Molino (inside the Farm Bureau Building). Contact number is 587-5404 ext. 102.