Join the multi-county scavenger hunt for Smokey Bear's 75th birthday

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It's Smokey Bear's 75th birthday, and he's hosting a scavenger hunt in the woods to celebrate.

"He's been one of the most effective media campaigns in history and his message is still valid," said Duane Weis, district manager for the Myakka River District of the Florida Forest Service.

The scavenger hunt will span five counties to encourage participants to enjoy the Florida wilderness.

Patrick Mahoney is a wildfire mitigation specialist for the Myakka River District. He says 75 Smokey Bear items are hidden in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Desoto and Hardee Counties. 

"Our thing is to get up, get out, go find and enjoy," Mahoney said. 

The list of items is posted on the Myakka River District's Facebook and Twitter pages. There are also GPS coordinates to help you zero in on the right spot. You're going to have to use your cell phone or a GPS to enter these coordinates.

Finding these items is no walk in the park, but that’s what Smokey Bear wants. He wants people to go out to their local parks and enjoy all that they have to offer.

Once you've found the hidden items, The Myakka River District wants you to take a photo, using the hashtag provided for each item and tag them on Facebook and Twitter. 

The top three winners will receive a big prize package, which will include a year's pass to any state park, tickets to baseball games and more prizes that are yet to be announced. 

Smokey has picked beautiful locations that you can spend a few hours or a day exploring. 

"With him, it’s getting back to nature and understanding his message: 'Only you can prevent wildfires,'" Mahoney said. "By getting back into nature and the woods and enjoying what nature has for us, makes his message a lot clearer of, 'Now I understand why. We only have one of these.'"

For a list of the hidden items visit the district's Facebook page or their Twitter account

The winner will be announced on August 3rd at Smokey's 75th celebration at the Charlotte Sports Complex.