Cache Description: Stephen C. Foster State Park is named after the great songwriter from the 1800's. This GA State Park is unique in that it is enclosed within the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. A parking fee of $5 is required by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and is payable at the park office (the GA State Parks pass does not apply here). The coordinates at the top of the page are for the park office and store "way down upon the Suwanee River".
Entering Stephen Foster State Park takes you deep into the heart of Okefenokee Swamp. You are far from the hustle and bustle of life out here. You will be treated to the sounds of croaking frogs, woodpeckers and the wind in the cypress and pine trees. Power boats and canoes are available for rental, and with your GPS to guide you home you can confidently take a boat out and explore the black water swamp areas that surround the State Park. Since this is a Federal Wildlife Refuge, the geocache container is located inside the park office (open 7 AM - 6 PM spring/summer, 8 AM - 5 PM fall/winter).
With the cache container inside the park office, you will walk the “Trembling Earth Nature Trail” near the park office and gather three clues to open a lock on the cache container. Each clue reveals a single digit number. Inside the container is the State Parks geocache container. You must gather the clues, then go inside and ask for the geocache container and sign the logbook during office hours to claim a find on this geocache. The total walk for the trail to gather the clues is just over a mile and is totally flat. You will be treated to some fantastic scenery along the way. You are not permitted to leave the trail at any time, and you do not need to leave the trail to find the clues.
Location 1: N30° 49.620 W82° 21.729
Here you will find the start of the trail by the park office near the boat lagoon. On a small sign at the start of the trail, "Wetlands" are explained. On the map of the US, how many states are completely shaded in? This is the first number.
Location 2: N30° 49.700 W82° 21.956
While walking the trail, you will come to the entrance to the 2,100 foot boardwalk out over the swamp. Here you will really see the Okefenokee Swamp as you pass over the terrain on the wood boardwalk. About halfway out you will come to the coordinates above. Here you will be treated to a spectacular view that our pal Signal would dream of. At this location there are three white blocks of wood with blue digits on them. Use the lowest valued digit for the second number for the lock combination. (From here, you are 0.21 miles from the end of the boardwalk if you wish to go to the end.) 3/16/12- This is the end for the boardwalk due to a fire caused by lighting that burned in the park for almost a year.
Location 3: N30° 49.728 W82° 21.700
Nearing the end of the main trail, here you find a sign giving information about a rather interesting part of the cypress trees all around you. How many theories are put forth here with regard to the function of these parts of the cypress tree? That is the third and final number. You now have your three digit number and can continue to the park office and open the geocache!
Keep in mind that you are in a secluded, totally natural wilderness area. Alligators call this area home, as well as black bears, raccoons, deer, snakes, turtles, butterflies and dragonflies galore and 223 species of birds. You will probably see an alligator inside the boat lagoon area if you look close enough. There is no swimming inside the Reserve and do not feed any animals. Pets are allowed, but they must be leashed at all times and should be kept away from the water. That said, know that man and nature co-exist well out here and that this will be an enjoyable and memorable experience. This is a lush and beautiful environment and you will not want to leave the peace and quiet of this park.
Access to the park is via Highway 177, which begins in Fargo on the western side of the Refuge. The State Park is 6.5 miles from the NWR access gate into the Refuge, and the access gate automatically opens and closes based on the park hours of 7 AM to 10 PM. The park office does sell supplies such as fishing goodies, gifts, snacks, drinks and ice. Make sure you have gas in your car since they do not sell gas there. Thanks to GA State Parks for the cache and to the US Fish and Wildlife Service for allowing this geocache within the Okefenokee National Wildlife Reserve.
Steps to the Georgia State Parks GeoTour:
1. Obtain a Georgia State Park GeoTour PassPort from any park or historic site or download a PDF from GaParksGeocaching.com
2. Go to Geocaching.com create a log-in and find the GPS coordinates and more information for the Georgia State Parks GeoTour locations.
3. Start your search and locate one or all caches using a hand-held GPS unit. The cache containers are sealed ammo boxes labeled as a Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites geocache. Caches are located in 42 Georgia state parks and state historic parks.
4. When you find a GeoTour cache, log your name and any comments on the logbook inside the cache and stamp your PassPort grid sheet with the unique stamp for that specific park.
5. Be sure to follow the Leave No Trace guidelines – GeorgiaStateParks.org/LeaveNoTrace
6. Follow the Traveling Gophers. There are 58 Georgia State Park & Historic Sites TravelBugs® moving around the country. Click here to see where the travel gopher for this park is now. Be on the lookout for them and help them get to a new destination.