By Jack Spaulding
A giant scavenger hunt stretching from Lake Michigan to the Ohio River called “Fall into Geocaching” began on September 15 and will run through December 31, 2006 at participating Indiana state parks and reservoirs.
Geocaching enthusiasts will be able to enjoy their favorite sport and explore some wonderful facilities at the same time. Prizes include a $100 gift certificate to Indiana state park inns, four 2007 annual passes, five sets of two-night camping reservations for 2007 (some restrictions apply) and 10 free daily admissions to be used at any Indiana state park or reservoir in 2007.
During the contest, geocachers will be challenged to find a unique cache in at least 10 of the 22 participating properties. Competitors will find contest instructions, coordinates and clues online at www.geocaching.com
Participants will have to log in and search for the cache information by the name of an Indiana state park or reservoir included in the contest.
When the cache is physically located on-site, the competitor will sign a logbook and make note of a word at the top of each logbook telling the searcher something unique about a particular park or reservoir. The geocacher will e-mail the word to the contest coordinator, whose contact information will be found on the website.
An information flier about the contest can be found at www.interpretiveservices.IN.gov
Participants can look for caches any time during the contest; however, the first geocacher who finds 10 of the 22 caches, reports them to the contest coordinator and is verified as a winner will be awarded the $100 gift certificate.
All other prizes (annual passes, camp nights, daily entrance admissions) will be awarded at the end of the contest in a drawing for all participants who have located at least 10 of the 22 caches.
One hundred free “Fall into Geocaching” T-shirts will be awarded in a drawing for all participants who have found and reported at least one cache during the contest.
Properties with contest caches include Brookville Lake, Brown County, Fort Harrison, Indiana Dunes, J. Edward Roush, McCormick’s Creek, Mississinewa Lake, Mounds, Ouabache, Pokagon, Potato Creek, Prophetstown, Salamonie Lake, Shades, Shakamak, Spring Mill, Summit Lake, Tippecanoe River, Turkey Run, Whitewater Memorial, Raccoon SRA (Cecil M. Harden Lake) and Mansfield Mill.
Most state park and reservoir properties have several geocaches on-site; however, these other caches are not included in this contest.
Geocachers who want to place their own cache for others to find must obtain a permit from the respective property manager.
The number of caches may be placed at each property is limited by acreage, usage and other factors.
To read the DNR’s geocaching policy, visit www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/publications/InfoBulletin46_Geocaching.pdf
DNR fights hydrilla
The DNR is taking the first step to eradicate the exotic, highly invasive aquatic plant, hydrilla, from Lake Manitou. Approximately 20 acres of water was treated with the aquatic herbicide Komeen on September 13.
The specific location was the bay between Coney Island and the city boat ramp plus an area around Poet’s Point. The locations contain the highest density of hydrilla, but scattered plants are in other areas of the lake as well.
Manitou Lake is the only known location of hydrilla in the Midwest, and the plants presence was confirmed in late August by the IDNR.
Experts from southern states and California, who have been dealing with hydrilla for decades, recommend the species be treated with herbicides as a first step toward long-term eradication.
Hydrilla advances in a number of ways. In the fall of the year, the plant produces an abundance of propagules, which are reproductive structures allowing it to survive over the winter.
A rapid elimination of the lake’s hydrilla plants at this time will greatly reduce the “seed source” for next year’s growth.
Funding for this rapid response hydrilla treatment will come from the DNR Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) program. During a Komeen application, there are no water-use restrictions, and swimming, irrigating, and other water uses can continue as usual.
The DNR is considering boat-use restrictions to contain the spread of the plant, however, none are yet in effect. In the meantime, boaters using Lake Manitou can help ensure hydrilla isn’t transported elsewhere.
After boaters load their boats, but before leaving the access ramp, they should remove all plant material and dispose of it in the trash.
Common places to find plant fragments include boat trailer bunks, rollers, axles, and fenders. Plant pieces are also found on a boat floor or propeller.
This farm news was published in the Sept. 27, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.