The prize for the Uncharted Lancaster and Historical Preservation Trust of Lancaster County’s Secret Trust of Lancaster treasure hunt-style game was discovered last weekend.
The $1,000 cash prize and painting valued at $2,000 by local artist Scott Cantrell was claimed by Donna Longenecker and her two sons, Jake and Josh Longenecker, of Lancaster, and family friend Emily Crocker last weekend.
“We researched the poem that was sent out and narrowed it down to a search area that was kind of small,” Donna Longenecker said. “We went to Columbia and deciphered the first clue, which was a piece of the GPS coordinate. So, once we got that piece of the puzzle, we could really narrow it down and zero in on where we were supposed to go. Then we went and searched on foot until we found it.”
The Longeneckers and their family friend plan on donating a portion of their winnings.
Jake and Josh Longenecker are mapmakers as part of a start-company called Power 7 Corp – a groundwater exploration and production company.
Donna Longenecker and her sons are fans of treasure hunts and escape room-style games and regularly play the Hunt A Killer monthly subscription murder mystery-based game. Donna Longenecker also designs her own treasure hunts as part of her Graystone Ridge Alpacas’ summer Detective Camp themed-week for kids. Her sons were familiar with Uncharted Lancaster’s previous adventures.
“I would say to other people to keep going with the hunt,” said Donna Longenecker. “It was fun and it forces the family to work together.”
The group was able to locate the treasure within two hours of researching the information gleaned from the poem.
Zurn said he was surprised the treasure was discovered during the first weekend.
“I was pleasantly surprised at how positive the reaction was to it. If you look on social media there was a lot of congratulations. And obviously some disappointed people – I was one of them,” Zurn said. “It (the treasure) wasn’t supposed to get found in the first weekend – but you know that’s part of the adventure.”
Zurn said the game will continue and people have expressed that they’re still excited to continue the search – just for the adventure of it. And now there’s even more incentive to continue the adventure.
Uncharted Lancaster announced today a second-place prize of $200 to be awarded to the first person to successfully complete all six weekly challenges and discover the location of the hidden cache of treasure.
The Secret Trust Adventure attracted 125 new members to Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County, Zurn said.
Zurn said he met with fellow Trust board members on Wednesday and that they’re planning to do another treasure hunt next year.
“This gave us a lot of valuable data to use for next time to make it more fun and challenging,” Zurn said.
Zurn said he spoke with one participant who noted that a number of families were lined up 20 minutes before the opening of Columbia Crossing River Trails Center – the location of the first week’s clue – and mentioned that after finding the first clue they walked around Columbia and went to a local ice cream shop.
“That’s exactly what this was designed to do – get people outside and doing things as a family,” Zurn said.