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The Rant of the day…Muggles and their concerns.

September 15, 2012

Now, let me start by saying I will,  at all costs, avoid muggles like they are the plague while I am geocaching.  If I see muggles near a cache, I will simply not do that cache, or come back at a later time.  I take my cue from what I once heard a professional cat burglar say “Always blow the score, before getting caught” . The reason being, not all of the public sees geocaching as a positive thing.

If we are to ensure the future of geocaching we need to take the public into consideration whenever placing or finding caches.  I have been doing research on places that have already banned geocaching to see their point of view, and quite frankly, I  “get it”, the people who want geocaching banned in certain areas make some very valid points to ponder.

1. “Geocaching is essentially just littering”

I can see their point here, and it’s a good one, leaving what the public sees as an “abandoned” item anywhere is basically irresponsible. Perhaps we could rest some fears by making it a rule that all geocaches have easy read stickers on the outside of them ,and have designated volunteers in every area to make sure archived caches have actually been removed.

2.  “Geocaching is harmful to wildlife”

Wake up people!  It is harmful to wildlife.  I don’t know about other cachers, but I have found some pretty chewed up geocache containers.  Do people really think that machine washing a peanut butter jar will get ALL the smell out?  If they do, they need to turn up their olfactory senses to that of an animal and take another sniff. By the same token, people who leave food or candy in caches, should be made to chew through the supermarket doors to go get their groceries for the week. Now, I know that there are plenty of smell free containers that a geocacher could make or buy to place a cache, please consider these next time you decide to place a cache somewhere. I would hate to think of all the animals who have died so far because of consuming plastic.  Please be pro-active when geocaching and remove chewed containers when you find them.

3. “Geocaching on hiways is a major safety concern”

Ok, can we have a big round of “D’uh” here? It is, drivers on highways have enough to look out for without watching out for your kids or yourself stepping on to hiways to get your smiley for the day. A major bonk on the head goes to anyone who places a cache on a hiway.  Seriously, couldn’t you have found a spot where cachers don’t have to worry about drivers speeding by?  I hear this concern, and would support any legislation supporting banning caching on major hiways.

4. “Geocaching harms flora and sensitive eco habitats”

If you have read this; https://thebitchycacher.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/the-ninth-rant-eco-friendly-meh-30-2/  you will see I most certainly agree.

5. “Geocaches should not be at safety rest areas on hiways”

This should be seen as a legitimate concern, rest areas ARE for motorists taking a break.  It IS state or provincial property, not your personal playground. The governing bodies of these places have the right to impose rules to ensure that they remain safe and clean for what they were intended to do. One of the problems with this being a user based sport is we cannot ensure other cachers place caches in a responsible manner. I hear this concern, and respect it.

6. “Geocaching should be banned in National parks”

Parks are for everyone. Concerns #1,2, and 4. state why the public and the authorities don’t want caching in parks. If we do not take the public’s concerns to heart we risk getting the sport banned everywhere but our own front lawns. Park authorities have always been able to ban certain activities within the park boundaries. So why do you think geocaching should be any different?  As one member of the public said,  “Geocachers go into areas in the park they have no business going into”.  True, certain areas of parks would  remain untouched and undamaged if it wasn’t for geocaching. As the sport grows, the number of people showing up to cause damage to the areas increases. The sport itself is only about a decade old.  What are these “untouched” areas going to look like after 1400 visits to a cache area?

Now in closing,  (and to be fair to groundspeak), they have imposed a few rules to make sure we don’t become a bother to the public, but frankly, they don’t go far enough. Volunteers should be hired to make sure caches from banned areas get removed, not just archived.  Reviewers should make sure before allowing a cache listing that the local laws allow the cache there.  We have already seen our fill of irresponsible players in the game, so it is obvious we cannot rely on the placers of caches to do the responsible thing. Reviewers are supposed to be non partisan in their reviews of  new cache listings. Personally I do not believe this for one second, in order for them to be truly non biased they would have to not know any other cachers personally.  I’m sure that a few reviewers at one time or another have simply recognized the name of the hider and allowed the cache to get published because of that cachers reputation in the geo community. Trust no one, please reviewers, just the fact you do your job with no monetary compensation from a multi million dollar company shows you’re a little naive, for the most part you do a very good job, and without you, groundspeak might actually have to drum up some advertising to pay for paid employees to do your job.

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3 Comments
  1. It is interesting that that you say caches should be banned in highway rest areas. I am in talks with the BC Highways Ministry for the BCGA about caches along Highways. The one item that has come up is placing caches in this very area. The feeling is that this is a good area to place caches. The reason why it gives one a needed break and the more breaks the more alert the driver is.
    The one item that has come up is caches should be banned period on guard rails period. This has been done in both Nevada and Florida along highways. Guard rails are there for safety reasons, usually near a cliff. There was the cacher from Idaho that fell to his death in BC last summer after stepping over one.
    On another note I think there should be a CITO day to remove archived caches in a area to make sure we clean up after cachers that can’t be bothered to do so.

  2. I think caches should not be placed near any visible wiring….if I think a cache is near something like this, I don’t even touch it.
    I have placed 5 caches…locally and not to disturb nature.
    I was just at one yesterday where there is a weird flow of traffic and you have to cross that to get to the cache. The CO called it kid friendly. Hmmmm.
    If I go in a park, I hope that the cache isn’t off a beaten trail too much. A few weeks back, my hubby and I were walking all over a park. COs forget that GPS can be bouncy with tree cover.
    The DGT (Delaware Geo Trail) are awesome for families. You get to see neat places and they are hidden in safe areas and take moments to find. Maybe not as challenging, but they usually have nice swag and TBs.
    I wanted to say I log everything and will give the CO ‘an ear full’ if it’s a cache I don’t like. This one cache, placed in a nature preserve made you cross a dam like a balance beam! What? Or walk through 3 feet weeds. I mentioned it at a geocachers picnic and another cacher said-there’s not suppose to be a cache there-guess what-it was off the map within a week of me saying something.

  3. I have one in a guardrail in a side parking lot of a medical center. They don’t want the people to roll down a slight hill.
    I don’t have a problem with rest stops-usually I just have to use the restroom. I’ve never done one of those, guess they are few and far between.

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