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Today’s Rant…Social and Eco Responsibility in our game

October 25, 2012

In my effort to expand on this subject, I did my research…, only to find there was very little on the subject of note worthiness. We now have to ask ourselves the question; “Why not?”

First off, I will post the one article that was “spot on” (environmentally) Congratulations to http://www.treadlightly.org  your article on preservation and respect while geocaching was incredibly informative and well written. Here’s the article; http://www.treadlightly.org/page.php/responsible-geo/recreation-tips.html  (very worthy of a read) , although the website itself is not specific to geocachers, it gives the message that anyone using the great outdoors for recreation needs to know how to respect it.

Other than www.treadlightly.org, no one else seems to think we have a social or eco type responsibility in our sport. Groundspeak writes about responsibility, but only in terms of a cache owner has a responsibility to maintain their caches. (Duh…)

So let us expand on the idea that we need to set some new rules to the game.

1. Responsibility to the environment;

This one should go without saying. No caches in eco-sensitive areas, wildlife preserves, conservation areas, and protected habitat spaces. Unfortunately cache reviewers don’t seem to know where a lot of these areas are, so once again it’s up to us the users to report bad placements that damage flora and fauna. If a reserved area posts a information for users that no hunting, fishing, motorized vehicles, or harvesting of native plants is allowed, it  is probably a sign we shouldn’t be geocaching there either. Please talk to the governing bodies of these places first before deciding to place a cache there. If you really feel the need to bring cachers to these places please make it an “earth cache” and remind cachers to stay on the trails in your description.  These places ARE worth visiting, let’s make sure they stay that way for the next generation.

2. Responsibility to the public.

It would be ignorant of us to think that we cause no damage to private and public property, we have all done a “skirt lifter” and seen the damage to the light pole itself (scratched paint, loose bolts, etc.). Sometimes you can tell where the cache is hidden just by the damage or the wear to the property. Anyplace where there is a distinct geo trail to the GZ in parks and common areas IS damage to areas we don’t personally own, ALL citizens have the right to enjoy these areas, not just us. If next time you go to maintain one of your caches if you see damage to the area you have placed it in done by cachers, please consider moving it to minimize the damage and allow for eco-recovery of the surrounding flora. If we were to add a environmental recovery rule to our game such as;  a cache may only stand for X number of months before it must be moved or archived.  I’m sure the eco, green type people would be a lot more accepting of our sport and less concerned about the damage we are doing to parks and common areas.

3. Responsibility to our government.

Now, as I have basically said in previous posts, what we are doing should not have to cost taxpayers one red cent. It is our game, the only ones who should have to suck up the cost of the bomb squad blowing up a plastic containers near bridges and public offices should be groundspeak and the cache owners. Unfortunately , this is not the way it works. Please try to trust your instincts when it comes to finding a bad hide, in some small way you may already know which caches will alert the suspicions of the public, if the hide is near transportation stations, or communication offices report it immediately. These are the types of places that are considered by police and the military to be prime terrorist targets.  Make sure all of the caches you place do not look like they may be mistaken for a bomb, (black PVC pipe comes to mind) and have appropriate labeling please.   You also might want to consider telling anyone within eyesight of your cache (either businesses or locals) that you have placed a geocache nearby, so that if they see persons with suspicious behavior they will not be alarmed, (they may even enjoy watching cachers look for it)

So in closing, just let me say that we do have the ability to prevent our sport from getting banned altogether, and becoming a nuisance to the public. If groundspeak won’t tighten the rules on placement, let’s do it for them. Please report bad hides for both social and eco reasons. Let us not forget for one minute that groundspeak is a money making operation. Why should they care that a suspicious film can hidden beside subway station in Montreal just cost the taxpayers of Quebec thousands of dollars when  the groundspeak offices are in Seattle? They don’t care, let’s make them care, and start tolerating bad hides less and less.

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One Comment
  1. Bruno permalink

    Hi,
    just discovered your blog. Entertaining posts!
    When the subject of eco-responsibility in connection with gc comes up I always struggle with the following:
    yes, we should take care where we walk, no we should not put nails in trees, CITO etc… BUT… people, my statement is that we shouldn’t be to pedantic about all that.. I see fellow cachers with 5+ k finds… now there might be one or two who achieved this by bicycle or by hiking, i reckon most of them did this with their car… wait what.. car??? imagine the carbon footprint they left by utilising every free minute of their life to hop in the car and go find a cache.

    I think the real environmental burden of caching is caused by all the travelling involved…

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