The Middletown Conservation Commission held its first annual Letterbox Launch today at the Daniels-Schwarzkopf Conservation Area, drawing dozens of letterboxing enthusiasts from around central Connecticut. Letterboxing is part hiking, part orienteering, part sleuthing, and lots of fun, not to mention that a community has cropped up around this sport/hobby that could be likened to a subculture of its own. Letterboxers came from Berlin, Enfield, Torrington, West Hartford, Middlefield and other towns around Connecticut for this event. Each letterboxer has a trail name which is personified by a custom stamp which each carries. Some of the stamps are hand carved. When the hidden boxes are found, the participants can stamps their books with the stamps that are hidden in the boxes. The Conservation Commission planted one letterbox for this event and listed it on various online forums including AtlasQuest, a popular website for letterboxing. After signing up for the event on AtlasQuest, a few letterboxers surreptitiously planted about 8 other boxes around the trails at Daniels-Schwarzkopf Conservation Area, so that when the event kicked off and the crowd hit the trails they had plenty of boxes to find and stamps to collect.
Many letterbox enthusiasts have established friendships and connections through the sport. One person spoke about having connected with a fellow letterboxer while on a trip to Arizona, thereby securing well-guided tours throughout the state by a knowledgeable escort. In addition she stated that letterboxing websites are a great way to plan activities for out of town trips because the boxes are planted anywhere and everywhere and the search for them can lead you off the beaten path, sometimes to beautiful sites that are not typically advertised in tourbooks. It was estimated by one of the other boxers that there may be up to 10,000 letterboxes hidden around Connecticut. One of the most devoted fans who turned out today has found nearly 6,000 boxes and another has found nearly 3,000.
Letterboxer and his daughter sport patches collected from the Department of Environmental Protection, LbCT organization, and others.
Letterboxing is a wonderful way to commune with like-minded souls and get the entire family out for an active and fun day in the outdoors. It turned out to be a perfect way to get the word out about Middletown's successful conservation program.
Middletown's Trail Guide is available online at: http://www.middletownplanning.com/documents/MdtnTrailGuide.pdf
Members of the Conservation Commission Ellen Lukens and David O'Brian
Poster collection of trail stamps from all of the letterboxers who attended the Conservation Commission's Spring Launch today. Thank you all!