‘Great Balls of Fire’ returns to Cama Beach, Camano Island state parks

Geocache event caters to novice and experienced geocachers alike
Jan 18, 2018

Washington State Parks, Cama Beach Foundation and partners invite geocachers and the general public to a weekend of learning, fun, contests, volunteering and finding hand-blown glass balls at two state parks on Camano Island and throughout the nearby community.

The ninth annual “Great Balls of Fire” geocache event takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, at Cama Beach Historical State Park, 1880 SW Camano Dr., Camano Island and from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, at Camano Island State Park, 2269 Lowell Point Rd., Camano Island.

Geocaching is a real world, outdoor treasure-hunting game. Geocaching uses problem and puzzle-solving skills, and the pastime helps players sharpen their  navigation and orienteering abilities.

Great Balls of Fire activities will help novice and experienced geocachers hone their skills. Participants are welcome to bring their GPS devices; loaner units will also be available.

The following is a glimpse of some of the activities taking place on Feb. 3 and 4. Further details can be found on the Cama Beach Foundation website or by contacting Tina Dinzl-Pederson, Parks Interpretive Specialist, (360) 387-3342.

• Learning Geocaching 101 with “Ranger Tina,”, noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 3, Cama Center. Learn the rules and terminology of geocaching, and find several geocaches in this introductory class.

• Creating an EarthCache with “Prying Pandora,” noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 3, Cama Center. Learn how to set up an EarthCache.

• Trackables withRey Del Roble,” noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 3, Cama Center. Learn how to set up, launch, grab and track Travel Bugs and other Trackables.

• Volunteering: For those who like to do good while having fun geocaching, there will be two “Cache In Trash Out” (CITO) events. Interested participants should register for these cache events at www.geocaching.com. This site requires participants to sign up for a free account.

• The Cama Beach Dirty Dozen CITO takes place from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Feb. 3, starting from the Cama Beach Grocery Store. Volunteers will scour the beach and cabin area looking for and picking up the 12 most-found garbage items, including cigarette butts, Styrofoam and plastic food bags. (For more information, visit: https://coord.info/GC7G6B1)

• The Ivy and Plastic CITO goes from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, at North Beach in Camano Island State Park. Help pull up invasive ivy and pick up plastic in the park. (For more information, visit: https://coord.info/GC7G6BC)

Volunteers may bring gloves and tools to pick up litter; the parks will provide litter bags and some tools.

Finding ‘clue balls’: Geocachers are invited to use their skills to find one of two plastic “clue balls” from noon to 4 p.m. at Cama Beach or Camano Island state park. Those who find the balls redeem them for hand-blown glass balls made by local renowned glass artists Mark and Marcus Ellinger. This search is a practice run for the Great Northwest Glass Quest, taking place Feb. 16 through 25, on Camano Island (registration code: Cama Center-GC7EYPD, www.geocaching.com).

Additional activities include “discovering” and “grabbing” Travel Bugs, as well as a Find-the-Coordinates contest. The Feb. 3 event culminates with a buffet dinner, recognition of sponsors, results of contests, door prizes and more. Geocachers with accounts can sign up for the dinner by selecting “Will Attend” when they register at www.geocaching.com (registration code: Cama Center-GC7EYPD).

Those who don’t have an account may sign up for the dinner by contacting ConwaySuz@gmail.com with the number of people in their party.

The geocache activities and classes are free. A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access at each park. Annual passes can be purchased at the Cama Beach Welcome Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. One-day passes can be purchased outside the Cama Welcome Center 24/7.


For those wishing to camp or stay in a cabin at either state park during the “Great Balls of Fire” event, may make reservations by calling (360) 387-1550 or cama.beach@parks.wa.gov.


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