Geocaching is a great reason to get outside, enjoy a breath of fresh air, and reconnect with nature. If you are like most geocachers, you want to be respectful to your surroundings—especially plants and wildlife! To give you some pointers, we compiled six tips to show your love for Mother Earth when geocaching.
1. Come prepared
When planning a geocaching trip, make sure to read the geocache description carefully. This way you’ll be informed about the seasonal changes in your area. Do not visit caves in which bears or bats hibernate during autumn and winter and educate yourself as not to disturb breeding habitats. Before searching for a night cache in the woods, check in with park rangers or land management to make sure that this is safe for you and for the natural area.
2. Stay on track
Stick to designated trails and don’t cut across switchbacks when navigating to the geocache. Doing so might disturb flora and fauna along the way.
3. Bring garbage bags
Geocacher Cindi Lee G. says: “We cache in and trash out every time we go geocaching or hiking.” We think that’s grand! Next time you go geocaching, include a few garbage bags with your geocaching gear. This way you can pick up litter on the way to and from the geocache. Some geocaches even have an extra compartment for trash bags that geocachers can use to Cache In Trash Out® (CITO) on their way back.
4. Leave the car at home
If possible, bike or walk to the geocache location. This is not only great for your health and good for the environment, the slower pace might even make you notice things along the way you would have never seen speeding by in your car.
5. Respect wildlife and plants
Observe wild animals from afar. Never feed or try to touch them. Be conscious where you are stepping so you don’t destroy fragile plants and mushrooms. Pro-Tip from Geocacher Sarah H.: “Please clean your footwear and gear when hiking in various places. Footwear caked in mud and plant material is a good way to spread invasive species.”
6. It is OK to DNF
You have searched in all the obvious places. You took a good look at the geocache description and the hint, but you still couldn’t find it. Log your DNF (Did Not Find) online to let the geocache owner know that you did not find the geocache. Don’t keep on searching, turning over every stone, and potentially ravaging the area. Keep in mind: A DNF is not admission to failure, it is just honest communication.
We hope these tips will help you sharpen your nature senses and become a skilled environmentally friendly geocacher. Do you have another tip for environmentally friendly geocaching? Let us know in the comments below!