Author Topic: More 'sturm and drang' about powertrails....  (Read 1942 times)

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More 'sturm and drang' about powertrails....
« on: December 27, 2012, 12:44:14 »
Some one posted this on FaceBook recently, and I just had to respond....

I’ve been geocaching since 2003 (userID Bluelamb03) and I’ve seen the sport evolve as more people join in the fun. Back in the beginning the trail pictured in the article would have had one or two geocaches on it, usually at the very top, or well off the trail. Now, with more people participating there has developed an ‘extreme geocaching’ style that challenges individuals to achieve extraordinary feats. Perhaps the challenge is to solve an incredible puzzle to get the cache co-ordinates, or accomplish a particular achievement like the ‘Fizzy 81? challenge, or perhaps the challenge is to find not just one cache on a trail, but every cache of 100 or more on the trail.

Regardless of whether there’s one cache or 100 caches on that trail they are essentially transparent to the person hiking past. They are hidden out of casual sight so they cannot constitute ‘litter’, and a “powertrail” by definition must have the caches close to the trail so they don’t contribute to the creation of new ‘social trails’. Unless you looked at a geocaching map, as pictured above, you wouldn’t know if you were hiking past two caches or two hundred.

Regardless of whether there’s one cache or 100 caches on that trail there will be people who will want them ‘banned’ or removed. If the usage of the trail doesn’t comply with their narrow idea of what is proper then they are against it. After all if 100 caches on that trail are too many, how many is just enough? Ten? Just one? If the current proximity guideline of 161 meters (528 ft) is too close, how far apart is far enough? Twice that distance? Ten times?

The number of people who want to hike that trail is pretty small, as A Lloyd pointed out in his comment “… a quick review of some of those caches (at least on the ridge line) are getting fewer than 10 finds per year …” which suggests to me that the claims that geocaching is destroying the pristine wilderness are exaggerations at best. After all the agency that maintains that trail is probably working hard to attract more people to their properties, advertising the wonders of nature, handing out maps of the trails and establishing trailhead facilities. They probably appreciate the extra traffic that geocaching delivers to their trails. If they don’t there are simple mechanisms for having the geocaches removed, aren’t there?

We've had our own debate about powertrails already: haven't we?

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