Walk the (Geocaching) Line

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Keeping one’s environmental footprint to a minimum is a good rule to abide by while geocaching. Today, we mean that literally.

Unless you live on the moon, you’ve probably gone geocaching in some sort of natural area—food garden, arboretum, state park, nature reserve, etc. Most areas have designated walking or hiking paths, but it can be sorely tempting to march straight off into the bush looking like Kipling’s Mowgli.

Here are three reasons not to release your inner Tarzan unless you’re in your own jungle oasis (potted plant patio).

1) You are a big, strong human, and you will crush the plants.1606366_10202242626841636_814244427_o

Are you in the new King Kong remake? If not, then there’s no reason to blunder around crushing things. Your wanderings off the path are likely to leave a trail, one that another geocacher might follow thinking it leads to a cache. By the time the next person finds out your trail doesn’t lead anywhere, they’ve made it look even more like a trail that leads somewhere. You see where this is going. Big strong human, please keep all arms and feet inside the designated trails…

2) Stingy, bite-y, slimy things.

What’s red and green and stings all over? Poison oak, poison ivy, and stinging nettles. And they can really ruin a geocaching party. Keeping to the designated paths (and wearing your cargo pants) is key to avoiding these antagonists of the plant world. Nettles, like human children, are best seen and not heard disturbed.

3) Every step you take…the land manager is watching you.

Alright, so that may be unnecessarily creepy. But it’s the land manager’s job to make sure activities like geocaching are done in harmony with the environmental goals of the area. It’s the geocacher’s job to know what that means for geocaching. It’s true that geocaching in public natural areas is a privilege, not a right. Is this patch of hillside closed-off to protect sensitive species? Don’t go there human! No find is worth being kicked out of a park.

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Tell us (and share some pics)…what’s your favorite natural area to geocache in?

 

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