6 Tips for Finding a Geocache in an Environmentally Friendly Way
In Geocaching in Harmony with Nature (Part 1), we gave you tips and tricks on how to hide an environmentally friendly geocache. A wise geocacher once said: “If you hide a geocache, someone will come and find it.” So this time we want to take a look at how to be a Nature Lover when hunting for a geocache.
We asked the geocaching community, Geocaching HQ-ers and Volunteer Reviewers for their tip-top tips on being kind to nature when searching for a geocache. Then we combined all the great answers into this list:
Take a deep breath and enjoy the outdoors.
Come prepared. When planning for a geocaching trip, make sure to read the geocache description carefully. This way you’ll know the regulations and concerns for the area before you visit. Be informed about the seasonal changes in your area. Do not visit caves in which bears or bats hibernate during autumn and winter and do not 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.
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.
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. And here is something we think is genius: there are some geocaches with an extra compartment for trash bags geocachers can use to Cache In Trash Out (CITO) on their way back out.
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.
Only hug wooden bears! (Picture by miatabug)
Keep geocache owners informed. Let the geocache owner know if their geocache is damaged and could potentially be dangerous to animals or vegetation.
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.”
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!