Be on the lookout: Munzees will soon be coming to Cache Creek.
There’s no reason to be worried, however. While they sound like a previously unknown type of insect, Munzees are actually part of a free scavenger hunt game that is starting to take the world by storm; and Terri Hadwin, chief operating officer of the Gold Country Communities Society (GCCS), wants to make sure this area is on the cutting edge.
“Worldwide there have been more than 88 million Munzee ‘captures’,” she explains, “so there are definitely people playing the game. But it hasn’t really been utilized in the tourism industry yet, so we’re trying to get in on it before a lot of other tourism entities do.”
Munzee is similar to geocaching, in that participants have to use GPS coordinates to locate their target. In geocaching this means locating a logbook, but in Munzee it means using an app on your tablet or smartphone to “capture” the Munzee by reading its unique QR code (a matrix bar code).
And while geocaches are often outside towns and villages, and can be difficult to get to, Munzees are generally located inside communities, usually on the outside of a business. This means that the activity is good for people with mobility issues who find geocaching too taxing.
“A lot of people who are already geocachers enjoy doing this alongside that activity,” explains Hadwin. While there are no tangible rewards, such as stickers or collectibles, as there are with geocaches, Hadwin says that many participating businesses use the Munzee’s QR code to open a link to a coupon enabling the participant to get a discount or free item. “They just have to show their phone or tablet with the coupon to the cashier.”
GCCS approached the Village of Cache Creek for assistance in getting Munzees in place for their geocaching event being held over the Labour Day weekend, which ends in Cache Creek on September 5, and Village staff will assist in creating a Munzee “trail” by helping to scout out locations and placing the Munzee stickers or tags in advance of the event. While the Munzees can be active only for the duration of the event, GCCS hopes that some of the locations can be kept active afterwards, and become a permanent fixture that would provide another activity within Cache Creek.
Hadwin notes that Munzees can be a way to bring people to local businesses, and says it would be nice if some businesses could offer prizes for the people who capture the most Munzees. “The Village of Cache Creek will be one of the first places to launch this,” she says. “We want to catch this train before it really takes off.”
She adds that while the Cache Creek Munzees will not be active until September 5, there are a couple already in Ashcroft that people might like to try to find. The free Munzee app can be downloaded at https://www.munzee.com/download/.