Meeting us at the Pike Lake Unit of the Mid-Kettle Moraine was Park Ranger Rob Wessberg along with three members of the WI Geocaching Association. Over a dozen students from Marquette University High School came to help map the trails of the State Park using GPS units. These new GPS maps would be extremely accurate and used for visitors and park management.
Students were instructed on how to use GPS units and were divided into groups to map the over 12 miles of trail systems in the park. They also took coordinates at waypoints like benches, intersections, and restrooms. Adding to the fun was the WI Geocaching Association. If you are unfamiliar, geocaching is a recreational sport were you search for “caches” (usually small boxes with a toy or prize inside) using GPS coordinates. There are millions of these “caches” around the World. Students were taught some of the history, fun, and how to of Geocaching.
Pike Lake is a diverse park and students were able to see not only the varied geologic features like kames, kettles, and moraines- but also habitats like Maple forests, prairies, and wetlands. After about 3 hours of hiking, geocaching, and point marking, we had finished. The Rangers at the park will be inputing the data on their mapping software and out comes a new and very accurate map of the trails at Pike Lake. We really enjoyed our time and thanks to the staff at Pike Lake and the WI Geocaching Association for making it so wonderful. We look forward to working with both groups on future projects.