High-tech Treasure Hunt at Three Columbia River Dams

Media Contact: Lynne Brougher, (509) 633-9503
John Redding, (208) 378-5212

For Release: May 18, 2012

D3 Geocache Challenge Patch GRAND COULEE, WASH. - Visitors to three Columbia River dams will have an opportunity to join in on a high-tech educational treasure hunt that could earn them a special patch simply by taking part in the D3 Geocache Challenge beginning May 27 and continuing through Labor Day.

The visitor centers at Bureau of Reclamation's Grand Coulee Dam; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Chief Joseph Dam; and the Chelan County Public Utility District's Rocky Reach Dam will be the starting point to discover the hidden treasures of hydropower production and other essential facts about the role large dams play in the Pacific Northwest.

Geocaching uses GPS (global positioning system) devices or a Smartphone that is set to specific coordinates which can lead to a "cache" or treasure box containing educational information and a prize. For those completing all three geocaches at Grand Coulee, a special prize awaits at the visitor center. Those wanting to win the D3 Geocache Challenge patch must visit all three dams and complete all the caches.

Each visitor center will hide three or four caches on their grounds, for educational purposes"This is a great opportunity for visitors to have some fun exploring these areas while also winning a special patch showing that they met the challenge," said Lynne Brougher, Grand Coulee Dam public affairs officer.

The fun starts when participants receive a "D3 Challenge Passport" along with GPS coordinates at each visitor center and follow the coordinates to locate at least three or four geocache sites at each dam which will consist of a box containing an educational activity sheet. Remember to bring a pen or pencil to complete the activity sheet.

Participants will record answers to questions they learned while touring the dams and return the completed sheets to the visitor center to have their "passport" stamped and earn a prize. Questions can include facts about hydropower production, irrigation, flood control or recreation.

"Tour guides will be on hand to explain the D3 Challenge and assist participants in getting started on their adventure," Brougher said.

For more information call the Grand Coulee Dam Visitor Center at (509) 633-9265.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.