Sunday, March 18, 2012

Anti-geocacher hits Pacific Northwest

No kids geocaching The so-called Forest Defenders is a group (or more likely, an individual) conducting a “personal war against Letterbox and Geocache littering in eco-sensitive areas.” This drives me absolutely crazy; it’s people like this that give environmentalists a bad name. If you want to limit impact in natural areas, a good start would be to ban people and trails period. But hey FD, in case you haven’t noticed, humans are part of the ecology too.

Now I’m pretty radical in my environmental views, but if there was no one in the woods other than granola munching environmentalists like me, there wouldn’t be much support for parks. That’s why I’m happy to see hunters, ATV riders, people on horse back, dirt bikes and what have you in the woods. We need a broad coalition to expand and preserve natural areas. Did this person ever consider how many kids, like the one above, have been introduced to nature, and dragged away from their X-Box, due to geocaching?

As far as eco-sensitive areas go, let’s remember that geocaches can only be placed with the permission of the land owner, and that there are extensive guidelines as to where and how they can and cannot be placed.

I have personally worked on endangered species restoration from coast to coast, in a 20 year career that involved partnerships with the Center for Plant Conservation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, etc., doing on the ground work to restore habitat for federally listed species. I wonder what Forest Defenders, who hides behind an anonymous blog that isn’t even open for comments, has ever really done to protect natural areas.

How do you feel about geocaches in natural areas or about Forest Defenders?

Image courtesy qwrrty article via CacheAdvance

About Rich Owings

Rich is the owner, editor and chief bottle-washer for GPS Tracklog. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus.


  1. jstaff2 says:

    As a backpacker, hiker, hunter, mountain biker, dirt biker, fisherman, and GPS user, I generally haul out trash I come across if I can carry it. In the forest or national park setting I would consider something like these “geocaches” to be trash unless it were part of some kind of sanctioned USFS sign/kiosk or other designated area. If you want to ‘find’ something at a predetermined location, do what people did long before GPS and find a nice view to take a photo of.

  2. I mostly agree with you, although not on the including ATV riders and the like in this “broad coalition”. I don’t see how riding loud ATVs and Enduro bikes in the middle of the forest can in any way be related to preserving natural areas.

  3. K. Mayberry says:

    I read the article and the Forest Defenders Blog. They both give you thoughts ponder.

    If I understand it correctly, the “Defender” is removing only caches that are causing major damage? Since there is no way to comment, you cannot ask for clarification.

    I am fairly new to Geocaching and am enjoying it. We have already started taking our 3 year old grandson with us. I like the virtual and earth caches as much and more than some physical ones. From what I have been able to determine the placement guidelines for Geocaches are very precise. However, who verifies the guidelines?

    While going along the Blue Ridge area this past week, there were several that I wondered about since I could see a “clear path”. Obviously some people are not very aware of surroundings and the guidelines. There have been food items listed in some of the original cache placements (against rules and not smart due to animals). Perhaps more educating is needed to enlighten enthusiasts.

    I very much like the idea of bringing more kids and adults both outside to see what nature has to offer. However, there is a learning curve for anything, including introducing people to the environment. What they don’t see or experience, won’t necessarily be of value to them. “They” are the future guardians and protectors our environment. So educating them and encouraging them is needed.

    Thus the contradiction, education and enjoyment vs. impact or preservation. Doesn’t one thing have to exclude or include the other??

    Perhaps one solution for the blogger and the enthusiasts is providing free classes to introduce the “sport” properly.

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