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Savannah Coastal Refuges GeoTrail: Blackbeard NWR Mystery Cache

Hidden : 01/02/2017
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Size: Size:   other (other)

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Geocache Description:

Welcome to the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex GeoTrail!  This geocache has been placed with the explicit permission of the USFWS Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex.

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 Cache information:  Blackbeard Island NWR

Steward: EagleScout_Fonz
National Wildlife Refuge: BLACKBEARD ISLAND
Cache type: Puzzle
Cache Locations: N 31° 29.348 W 081° 12.567
Difficulty: 2.5
Terrain: 5

Hours: The refuge is open from sunrise to sunset, 7 days a week, unless otherwise posted. Access to the refuge is by boat only, and the Fish and Wildlife Service does not provide transportation. Visitors must use their own boat or make arrangements with a local boat captain or charter service. Most visitors who bring their own boats anchor off the beach. The government dock located on Blackbeard Creek may only be used for loading and unloading of passengers and gear; mooring for an extended period of time is not allowed.

Blackbeard Island was acquired by the Navy Department at public auction in 1800 as a source of live oak timber for ship building. A Presidential Proclamation in 1940 changed its designation from Blackbeard Island Reservation to Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge. Today, the refuge's 5,618 acres include maritime forest, salt marsh, freshwater marsh, and beach habitat. In 1975, three thousand acres of the refuge were designated as National Wilderness.

Blackbeard Island NWR is one of the seven refuges administered as part of the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex. This barrier island refuge is located off the coast of McIntosh County, Georgia, about 50 miles south of the port city of Savannah. Blackbeard Island is accessible only by boat, and transportation to the refuge is not provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service. Visitors may use their own boats to reach the refuge or arrangements can be made through local boat captains and charter services. A public boat ramp on Harris Neck NWR (Barbour River Landing) may be used as a launching site for trips to the island.

The refuge offers visitors a variety of wildlife-dependent recreational activities year-round. Wildlife observation, especially birdwatching, is excellent throughout the year. In winter months, concentrations of migrating waterfowl and shorebirds utilize the marshlands and beaches, while songbirds abound in the wooded areas in the spring and fall. The existing trails and roads provide hikers with scenic paths ideal for nature study. Saltwater creeks that pass through the refuge marshes are open to fishing the entire year. Presently, two archery hunts for deer are scheduled on the island in the fall and winter

Please remember that pets of any kind are NOT permitted anywhere on the refuge. This includes dogs that are leashed. This rule is strictly enforced to ensure protection of refuge wildlife and habitat, which is the primary mission of the Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Cache

The cache is at the posted coordinates. You must read the information kiosk to determine the combination to the lock. Below are excerpts from the several informative tidbits on the kiosk.

Remember have fun and cache on!

Periodically habitat management includes prescribed __ __ __ __ __ to promote, maintain, or discourage certain types of vegetation. ( 4th Letter)

Birdwatching, photography, and other forms of nature study can be enjoyed all year long. In winter months, waterfowl are most abundant in the man-made freshwater ponds. In spring and fall, many migratory birds, especially songbirds, can be seen in the wooded areas. Throughout the year, shorebirds can be found resting or __ __ __ __ __ __ __ along the beach. Alligators are permanent residents, often seen in the refuge’s ponds and salt waters and sometimes even in the surf. (3rd Letter)

Many wading birds seek out isolated sites on Blackbeard Island for nesting. In Flag Pond, long-legged wading birds build precarious looking nests high above the water to discourage visits from predators such as __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __. (1st Letter)

Surf fishing, swimming, sunning, and shell collecting are __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __. However, beach users are reminded that these activities must not disturb birds or other wildlife found on the beach or in the surf. Please take no live shells and limit other collection to a handful. (Last letter)

Unscramble the letters to make the name of a familiar animal.

The Savannah Coastal Refuges GeoTrail:

Savannah area Geocachers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Wildlife Refuge System, and the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex are proud to present the Savannah Coastal Refuges GeoTrail!  There are 7 special geocaches placed to help you learn more about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Wildlife Refuge System, and the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex!

Steps to the Savannah Coastal Refuges GeoTrail:

1. Obtain a Savannah Coastal Refuges GeoTrail Passport from our Headquarters location or download a PDF from

2. Go to create a log-in and find the GPS coordinates and more information for the Savannah Coastal Refuges GeoTrail locations.

3. Start your search and locate all 7 caches using a hand-held GPS unit. The cache containers are sealed boxes, labeled as a Savannah Coastal Refuges GeoTrail geocache. Caches are located near Savannah, Georgia, in both great states of Georgia and South Carolina.

4. When you find a GeoTrail cache, log your name and any comments on the logbook inside the cache and punch your Passport with the unique orienteering punch for that specific Refuge.

5. Be sure to follow the Leave No Trace guidelines

6. Complete all of the GeoTrail's caches to get a custom Geo-Coin created by the master and celebrated designer Christian Mackey! Bring your completed passport into the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center and receive your coin. (Coins will not be mailed )

The USFWS Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex:

The Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex (SCRC) is a group of 7 National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) spanning over 100 miles along the coast of South Carolina and Georgia.  Our Refuges include SavannahPinckney IslandHarris NeckWassawBlackbeard IslandTybee, and Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuges.  Our headquarters is located at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, near Hardeeville, South Carolina. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is the premier government agency dedicated to the conservation, protection and enhancement of fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitats. The USFWS also helps ensure a healthy environment for people by protecting such ecosystem services as clean air and water.

Since President Theodore Roosevelt designated the first wildlife Refuge in 1903, the National Wildlife Refuge System has grown to include more than 560 refuges, 38 wetland management districts and other protected areas encompassing 150 million acres of land and water from the Caribbean to the remote Pacific. There is at least one National Wildlife Refuge in every state and territory, and within an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas.

National wildlife refuges provide habitat for more than 700 species of birds, 220 species of mammals, 250 reptile and amphibian species, and more than 1,000 species of fish. More than 380 threatened or endangered plants or animals are protected on wildlife refuges. Each year, millions of migrating birds use refuges as stepping stones while they fly thousands of miles between their summer and winter homes.

Each of the Refuges across the nation has been created for their own special, specific reasons.  This geocache series will help you learn more about each of the 7 Refuges that make up the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex!

For more information about this series, please contact us at SCRC Ranger.  For general questions about geocaching at USFWS National Wildlife Refuges, please contact USFWS Land Manager user IslandsAndOcean.


Disclaimer to New Geocachers:
Please join us in playing! All are welcome who observe and obey the rules. Please do not move or vandalize the container. Replace the cache like or better than you found it and when you leave, and make sure the cache is completely covered. Please do not remove the stamp from the geocache box, this is a essential game piece for cachers working on the GeoTrail. The real treasure is in finding the container and sharing your thoughts with everyone who finds it. Pick up a GeoTrail Passport at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. DO NOT LEAVE SWAG/TRADE ITEMS OR TRAVEL BUGS/GEOCOINS BEHIND IN THE CACHES, PER USFWS PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS


Additional Hints (Decrypt)

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Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)