On a Wild Goose Chase

Message From The Director

I hope everyone has had a chance to enjoy a park this month. Whether it is your first visit or your 100th, you can find something new and inspiring on every visit. It is one of the reasons we have seen so many Ultimate Outsiders repeat the challenge to visit all 47 state parks. We are always looking for ways to keep people excited and give them a challenge when visiting parks. So, this year we decided to give everyone a chance to go on a "goose chase" through our parks!

Most of us have heard the saying, going on a “wild goose chase,” and are pretty familiar with its meaning.  Just in case you haven’t. Oxford Dictionary defines it as, “a foolish and hopeless pursuit of something unattainable.” If you do a little more digging, you will read that it was originally used to describe a style of horse racing. It was a race with no course where horses were set out, one after another and had to follow whatever wild and erratic course the horse that was leading set.

In the hallways of the SC State Park Service, and at parks around the state, it has taken on a whole new meaning!  If you listen closely you may hear such phrases as, “I am going to goose chase while visiting the park” or, “I need a picture because Ranger X is ahead of me in goose chase.” In fact, as I write this, I am currently in 52nd place out of about 200 people.  While that may not seem bad, I had a three-week head start, and at one point was in second place.  Such is the nature of a goose chase, I guess!

So I hope you are now wondering what in the world I am talking about.  Let me tell you.  Back in February, after close to a month of testing, we publicly rolled out our 2020 South Carolina State Parks Scavenger Hunt challenge.  However, this is not your typical old-fashioned scavenger hunt.  Instead of a piece of paper with clues, it is a digital hunt hosted through an app you can download onto your phone, and if you haven’t guessed, the app is called Goose Chase.  This year’s challenge (which we also made available in a paper version) gives participants a chance to go for a hunt on parks around the state to find features, people and even animals.  From finding a picture of a ranger born outside of South Carolina to finding the “one foot above sea level” sign in a park, the app gives you challenges which will force you to find out more about the parks as you visit.  

Every time you find and complete a challenge, you submit your proof --either through taking a picture or having your location geotagged via the app --and earn points. Depending on the level of difficulty, you can earn anywhere from three to ten points per clue, with a total of 287 possible points.  If you aren't an Ultimate Outsider yet, these points can earn you prizes, but even if you HAVE NOT visited all the 47 state parks, you can still have fun and earn bragging rights over the dozens of rangers and staff participating, as well as, hundreds of other scavenger hunt participants.  For either user, it is a fun and engaging way to get out there and to learn more about your state parks.

So, if you haven’t done it yet, I encourage you to start your Ultimate Outsider journey. While working towards it, you can even use the new app to give you another interactive way to discover information about parks as you explore.  You may learn something new like:  which parks have artesian wells, or which midlands park has four lakes?  How about the best location to see a red cockaded woodpecker or where to find one of our national landmarks?  There are so many great things hiding in your South Carolina State Parks, we hope to see you out there “goose chasing” for them soon. 

• Download the GooseChase app from the App Store or Google Play
• Create a new account or login to an existing account
• When prompted enter game code SCSTATEPARKS
• Click "Join Game" and create a player profile
• Get started with the fun!

**If you are an Ultimate Outsider, you will be sent your own special set of directions to sign up and play!