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I have a random question which i would like your views on. I wont be offended by any answers i get - i am genuinely curious as to your views.

I am a Geocacher. For anyone who doesnt know what this is, it basically is a treasure hunt with the use of GPS systems. There are over 1 million Geocache boxes around the world all logged onto a GPS system, which we go out and hunt for. They are usually some kind of waterproof box which contains a log (for you to log your details and date you found it) and sometimes some little gifts for kiddies (think xmas cracker type stuff). It’s all just good fun really. We do it to get us and the kids out and about and the kids get so excited to find them. It takes us on walks and adventures we would probably never have discovered without it. The boxes obviously have to be pretty well hidden so that a non-geocahing member of the public is unlikely to stumble across it.

So here is my question: do you consider the placing of these boxes littering? There is a UK environmental group who have started to hunt out the boxes and destroy them. I had never thought there would be such an issue, but it has made me wonder if im doing the right thing?

if the boxes are used over and over again i wouldn’t consider it littering, sounds like a great idea to me, I think there are some people who take things too far in the pretence of being ‘enviromentally friendly’. I wouldn’t worry.

Wandermob
SAHM to Tillie 21/09/2007 and Ivy 31/08/2009.

The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think - rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men.  ~Bill Beattie

Sounds like some people have too much time on their hands.  If they are THAT concerned about environmental impacts of things, I’m sure there are better ways of making a difference!

I have heard of geocaching, have not engaged in it myself but we have friends that do if we are out together.  On a visit to friends in dartmoor a few years ago we went for a walk around one of the tors.  There were several geocaches located in that area, some were large and I felt rather obvious, I had thought that geocaches were meant to be discreet.  They were creating or contributing to litter problems in the area as folks, sadly, seem to find it acceptable to drop litter if there is already litter on the ground. 

Otherwise it has always seemed to me a good way to get people out walking, enjoying being outside, with a bit of fun added to your day.  I would have thought that who ever is doing it, is likely to be breaking the law, the cache must belong to someone, and if they don’t like the idea if geocaching are they not better off discussing it rather than taking matters in their own hands?  I am sure there are lots of places that dialogue could take place, blogs, websites?

If they are really serious about the environment I would have thought that there are more important issues that should be bought to light?

Thank you for your views. I think there were concerns over general litter being dropped a while ago, so most Geocachers are encouraged to pick up litter as they are hunting. Yes, the boxes are used over and over again - some have been in place since the beginning (almost 12 years ago). I think the problem with the environmental group is they are now trolling the internet and being quite abusive towards Geocachers. You are right though, the boxes do still belong to the Geocacher who placed it originally and the destroying them on purpose is criminal damage - the police are aware and have become involved around the UK.

The issue for me is. is what you do illegal and I assume it isn’t so there shouldn’t be a problem with you continuing. I don’t see it as vandalism if it is well hidden as long as people do not leave litter behind as they go. As someone else posted I am sure there are more useful things these people could be doing if they are concerned about the environment.

To be honest I think there are far bigger things to worry about ie, animals choking on plastic bags, people dumping toxic waste, mass coorporate take over, pesticide use.  The list goes on.xxx

I have to say, it depends on how well kept they are….letterboxing on dartmoor has definately become littering. The boxes are often left topless, full of soggy paper, and a pen, plastic and in unsuitable places they get blown around the moors. They are litter. If the boxes were stronger with a lid, and kept in places they werent in the way, my views may change, they also frequently have two or three in the same sight which is daft and makes the place look untidy, living so close to the moors it does distress me when we find lots of soggy paper and plastic.
If geocaching is different i.e. being safely secured, in weather and animal proof containers then I would say its fine I would just hate it to go the way of letterboxing.

the other issue of course is that geocaching can increase footfall in areas that cannot cope with it.

I think its rather complex, not unlike wind turbines. Hopefully it can open a dialogue with the geocaching community?

Thank you all for your views. I’ve never heard of Letterboxing - will have to do some googling! My experience so far of Geocaching has been positive so far as littering goes - there never seems to be litter around where the boxes are and we pick up as we walk. Most of the boxes we have found have been tuperware boxes, so a good seal which animals cant get into and weather resistant.

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