Geocaching in the Canadian Badlands Project
Canadian Badlands Ltd. (CBL) is owned by 60-plus communities, most of them around the size of Three Hills (pop. 3500) or smaller.
CBL is working to make the Canadian Badlands region a second iconic tourism destination in Alberta, like the Canadian Rockies. The Canadian Badlands stretches from a little east of the Queen Elizabeth II Highway (Hwy 2) to the Saskatchewan border, and from just north of Stettler to the Montana border.
It’s a huge area, about 90,000 square kilometers - half the size of the state of Florida.
One challenge we face is that major attractions in the region are separated by great distance across seemingly empty space. It’s a long drive between spots, and why would you stop in between?
The Canadian Badlands Geocaching Association and the Town of Three Hills are leading a project on behalf of the Canadian Badlands Limited members to fill this “empty” space between major centres by pointing people at the wonderful things that are invisible to the eye as you zip by on the highway.
The CBGA takes geocachers slightly off the beaten path to enjoy fascinating points of interest they wouldn't otherwise see along Touring Routes already established in the Canadian Badlands. With the help of visiting and local geocachers, we’re identifying premium sites and branding them as CBL caches along six of these touring routes across the Canadian Badlands.
Most of these caches will be in or near our smallest communities. Many of our communities don’t see a lot of visitors because they’re well off the beaten track. They have no tourism industry as an economic driver like a lot of bigger places.
This project will put another tool for economic growth in the toolbox for more than 60 communities in the Canadian Badlands region and the people who live there, at the same time as it promotes the growth of the game, sport and recreation of geocaching in a huge patch of Alberta. About 24 communities in the Canadian Badlands should see direct increases in visitor traffic through the project period along the touring routes we seed with caches.
The not-for-profit Canadian Badlands Geocaching Association being established through the project is the way we’ll connect local geocachers across the whole region and make it possible for them to work together after the project at the grassroots level where geocaching truly lives.
CBGA members will identify CBL-branded cache sites and maintain them across the whole Canadian Badlands region going forward. They’ll also do things like add new geocache touring routes, coordinate and host CARs and geocaching workshops, develop stakeholder partnerships.
And with the help of geocacher across Alberta, the Canadian Badlands Geocaching Association will host Best of the Bad Mega Event (WestCan1) Western Canada’s first Mega Event in the summer of 2011 in Three Hills, Alberta.