Four low-impact principles to follow while geocaching

As any experienced geocacher knows, there’s a lot more to the game than just finding caches and posting logs for your find. There’s also hiding and maintaining caches, engaging with your local geocaching community, and, perhaps most importantly, taking care of the geocaching gameboard aka planet Earth. Following low-impact principles helps outdoor enthusiasts lessen their impact on nature and preserves it for future enthusiasts to enjoy. Here are four principles to remember the next time you head out to make a find.

1. Know before you go
An important first step to a low-impact geocache outing is planning in advance. Before you head out, make sure you’ve checked to see if your destination has particular rules or regulations for visiting geocachers. Also consider planning your outing around times when there won’t be as many people at the location.

2. Stay on the trail
It might be tempting to create your own off-trail route to get to the cache’s coordinates, but the best path is the one that is already established. Stay on paths designated for walkers and hikers and, if you’re on a hiking trail, have your group hike in a single file line.

3. Practice your ABCs: Always Be CITO-ing
Cache In Trash Out (CITO) isn’t just a type of Event Cache, it’s also a lifestyle! Channel that CITO spirit and properly dispose of any trash or litter that your outing generates or encounters while on your search for a geocache.

4. Leave what you find
As you search for geocaches, leave the flora and fauna you pass as you found them and make sure to replace cache containers without changing their hiding places. The only exception to this rule is when you find trackables or SWAG in a cache. Trading SWAG and helping trackables continue on their journey is a practice you do want to follow.

For more information on low-impact principles for outdoor activities, check out the Leave No Trace organization. How do you preserve the geocaching gameboard?

Genevieve is a Marketing Associate at Geocaching HQ.