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Geocaching – landscape exploiting or preserving activity?

6.5.2016 Locus team Blog

Not just a game for kids

When I with my family began geocaching some six years ago we knew roughly that it’s about some game played outdoors looking for treasures with help of GPS. Perfect activity for kids, perfect for increasing attraction of our family trips. After the first humble expeditions  in search for hidden boxes in our neighborhood, when we looked at the thing in that really “adventure-for-kids” manner we started to realize another core aspect of this game – the caches are usually stored at places of obvious landscape and natural aesthetic value. In a nutshell, thanks to geocaching we got to beautiful places we hadn’t had a clue they existed. Of course many such attractions are tourist evergreens – chateaux, castles etc. But quite often we visited places that aren’t on maps at all – interesting view sites, rocks hidden in the woods, forgotten springs of fish ponds… Almost each cache is equipped by a listing where you can get further information about the spot – that makes geocaching a very useful activity for tourism and landscape education.

Not always positive effects

The more a man goes geocaching the better he learns to “read” the landscape, to recognize tracks leading to a treasure even without GPS. The first thing we  start to notice are the (geo)paths seemingly leading to “nowhere”, hides masked by material that would otherwise be somewhere else – for instance a heap of rocks among tree roots where leaves, pine needles, branches or tree bark would normally be… Polished spots in rocky areas, broken corridors in densely overgrown bushes… Unfortunately, cachers often in their seeking fever forget one of the basic terms of the proper geocaching – to maintain the country in its original state as much as possible. Therefore, we often come across places around the caches that look like they were dug by a herd of wild pigs. Or, in case of treasures hidden in historic buildings or ruins, gradual dismantling of walls. Worst of that, there are individuals among us who aren’t ashamed to drop litter when hunting. We shouldn’t forget that we are just guests in the country and in case of geocaching, when we want to preserve the fun for others as well, it’s a double rule.

Geocachers – landscape preservers

We can’t just take from the country, we have to give something in return – a group of geocaching enthusiasts from Ceska Lipa (CZ) realized. For three years they’ve been frequently hitting the road to go cleaning their favourite area around Svojkovsky waterfall. „Geocaching people around the whole country organize various activities from which some are called CITO events. They’re always about some idea how to help and where. Geocaching.com website list such events and then it’s up to the geocachers whether to participate,” explains Mr Frantisek Hanykyr from Bukovany in Ceskolipsky denik.

Kačeři uklízejí Svojkovský vodopád, foto František Hanykýř

Geocachers cleaning Svojkovsky waterfall, photo by František Hanykýř

CITO events (abbreviation of Cache In Trash Out) are held frequently all around the World and define geocaching also as an activity helping to keep the country clean. And not just within the events but as a general approach to geocaching – daily proper cacher’s activity.

Back to Locus

We’re happy that we can contribute with Locus to the geocaching development. Cachers find in Locus a versatile partner that not only displays caches above their favourite maps but can also navigate to treasures, notify acoustically  of an approaching cache, it enables offline logging via field notes and much more. Who hasn’t tried geocaching phenomena yet, you can do so with us! With Locus Map Free and basic Geocaching.com membership it costs nothing, you’ll start perceiving the landscape much more intensively and perhaps you’ll help with a good thing.

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sources: Českolipský deníkGeocaching.com

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