QUICK TIPS FOR RESPONSIBLE GEOCACHING

Here are some crucial tips to minimize impact on the environment when geocaching in the great outdoors!

CACHE PLACERS

  • To minimize environmental impact– don’t place food items in a cache, bury it, or hide it in sensitive areas.
  • photo via geocaching.com
  • Familiarize yourself with restrictions and prohibitions in your area before you decide where to place a cache.
  • The National Park Service (NPS), for example, has strict geocaching regulations. Obtain permission first before leaving a cache on NPS lands. (Where can I geocache on federal land?)
  • Do not burry a cache in the ground.
  • Build a relationship with local land owners or land management agencies, to ensure minimal impact of cache placement.
  • It is the cache owner’s responsibility to maintain the cache and the surrounding area. If a cache’s area is impacted, confer with the land manager on how you will mitigate the impacts and seek their advice as to whether to relocate the cache.
  • Never place food items in a cache.
  • Avoid modifying the environment when hiding a cache.
  • Avoid placing caches in sensitive habitats including wetlands, caves, steep slopes, cryptobiotic soils of the desert, tundra and seasonal nesting or breeding areas.
  • Do not place a cache in areas officially designated as “Wilderness Areas,” Wild and Scenic River Corridors, or near historic, cultural, archeological or paleontological sites. (What are Wilderness areas?)

CACHE SEEKERS

  • Practice the “lift, look, replace” technique. If you lift a rock to look under it, replace it exactly as you found it.
  • Use maps to find a route that will minimize impacts. Note waypoints during your journey to assist you on your return trip.
  • Understand that distances can be deceiving. Know the difference between beeline distances (a straight line) versus actual distance of travel. Your app may tell you you’re a mile from a cache, but there could be streams, cliffs, sensitive areas, or obstacles in the way. It’s your responsibility to find the safest route with the smallest impact.
  • Use the “track back” feature on your Global Positioning System (GPS) unit rather than flagging and marking trails.
  • Keep in mind that geocaches should be hidden, not buried, so digging is unnecessary and damaging.
  • If you notice a path has started to wear in the vicinity of a cache, notify the cache owner via email.
  • Practice the “lift, look, replace” technique. If you lift a rock to look under it, replace it exactly as you found it.
  • After you’ve finished searching for a cache, the area should look as though you were never there or better than when you arrived.
  • Buddy up with two or three geocachers, reducing vulnerability if you have an accident or breakdown.

BOTH SEEKERS AND PLACERS

  • Cross streams only at fords where the road or trail crosses the stream.
  • In areas without trails, spread out in open country. Spreading out, rather than following each other’s footsteps, disperses impact and avoids creating a new trail. If possible, travel on hardened surfaces such as gravel, slick rock or in sand washes.
  • If traveling by vehicle, stay on designated roads and trails.
  • Cross streams only at fords where the road or trail crosses the stream.
  • Be a geocaching advocate by carrying a small trash bag to pick up litter along the way!

MORE RECREATION TIPS

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