Missouri Parks have the Best People

Over the past week I’ve been on the phone or email with over a dozen city, state, and federal parks trying to find future locations for our treasure hunts. But first, think about how you’d initiate a conversation like that. You’d be suave and professional, right? It’d be an effortless conversation.

I was not like that. Here is a smooshed up summary of my cringiest moment:

MOTH: Hi, I don’t know if this is the right number. I’m looking for permission to do something weird in one of your parks.

PARK: … such as?

MOTH: Not that.

I am a smoooooth talker. It’s probably best for everyone if I do as much as possible over text.

MOTH: I’d like to run a treasure hunt!

PARK: A… oh! Like pirates, and all that?

Now that the creep factor had been replaced by the weird factor, it felt like we were really getting into the jive of it. We talked a bit about rules and safety. (Rule #1: no digging for treasure!) From here down I’m quoting the essence of the conversations, because the exact words were not as entertaining.

MOTH: Pardon me while I ramble on about the size of my treasure chest and how it will be waterproofed.

PARK: I’m interrupting you now, but in a really kind way. Person X can give you the answer. Hold on one second.

< I did not go on hold. She actually just turned in her chair and asked the person, and we had a nice chat. >

PARK#2: Treasure hunt? Like geocaching?

MOTH: Like monies.

PARK: For real? Why?

MOTH: Because if someone finds it first, they’re not leaving you a second place prize. It’s more exciting if it’s a race. Your mind versus everyone else on the hunt. Who will reign supreme?!

PARK#2: Sounds fun. Do it.

And so we shall.

I did eventually find a conversational groove, minus a few bouts of awkwardness. I even learned some things about laws and permissions and all of that jazz. It’s the type of information I’m glad I got before someone smacked me with a massive fine.

  1. To run a city hunt, call the city. Easy enough, right?
  2. To run a state hunt, permission is needed from the individual park.
  3. To run a federal hunt… you don’t. 36CFR Section 2.22 prohibits geocaching, letterboxing, and treasure hunting on federal land. Special thanks to Jim for letting me down with a dollop of encouragement.
  4. It doesn’t seem to matter if they are city, state, or federal: the people who manage the parks in our state are the nicest group of people I’ve ever met. They were unanimously knowledgeable and helpful, didn’t hang up on me once, and I hope I have a positive reason to run into them again in the future.

Sometime this week I’ll be holding twelve shiny new treasure chests: one for each month in 2020. Now, thanks to their patience and support, I also have twelve general locations to stash them in!

So thanks to them, and to you, for playing along and for spreading the word. This has been so much fun – and we’re just getting started.

Happy Daydreaming,

-MOTH