Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1
Woodland Hiker

"Leave No Trace"

Recommended Posts

I recently started geo caching and am having a blast. But now I know why I'm seeing an alarming increase in little tramped trails going everywhere off the main trail. I'm especially concerned about 2 caches I recently looked for where they admitedly didn't get good coordinates for the hide, so, naturally, people are tramping all over the area because their arrow always points 150' back in the direction they just came from. Both of these places are eroding without our help. Seems like we of all people should be concerned for the impact on the natural environment.

Share this post


Link to post

It all depends on the placement of the cache. If they are far enough from the road and well hid then any ecological damage will be little to none. Of course there are some out there that are just dropped with out any planning and its those caches that give the bad impression. Its up to the owner to get it right for all to enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post

First, welcome to geocaching.

 

You're correct, we of all people should be concerned and the great majority of us are.

 

But now I know why I'm seeing an alarming increase in little tramped trails going everywhere off the main trail.

 

Are you absolutely CERTAIN you know why? Because of the caches I've found over the course of 2 years, I find that very rarely are there social trails from geocaching. More than likely, you are seeing animal trails. Occasionally, a cacher will take bad coords and it may cause folks to search a wider area then necessary. These instances seem to be few and far between and even then, any evidence of people searching for a cache is not something I would classify as damage.

Share this post


Link to post

Perhaps you live in a sensitive area. Around central Ohio, it's hard to do permanent damage. We should all be careful, but it takes a pretty steady stream of traffic to make a worn path. Deer make paths all the time, and groundhogs make those really low worn paths a lot, straight from the hold to the field. Paths are natural.

Share this post


Link to post
Because of the caches I've found over the course of 2 years, I find that very rarely are there social trails from geocaching.

 

Really? I see them all the time. And when the trail leads right up to the geocache and stops, then I don't really buy the animal trail theory. (And to be perfectly honest, I'd argue that most people using that theory are probably deluding themselves).

 

Now, I'm probably one of the least environmental gung-ho people here, but I've even been within sight of one cache and decided not to finish it, because it seemed like a pretty inappropriate place to trample through. (And for me to say that is pretty surprising.)

 

Heck, I've learned to look for the signs of people trampling the area to help find the cache.

Share this post


Link to post
Because of the caches I've found over the course of 2 years, I find that very rarely are there social trails from geocaching.

 

Really? I see them all the time. And when the trail leads right up to the geocache and stops, then I don't really buy the animal trail theory. (And to be perfectly honest, I'd argue that most people using that theory are probably deluding themselves).

 

Now, I'm probably one of the least environmental gung-ho people here, but I've even been within sight of one cache and decided not to finish it, because it seemed like a pretty inappropriate place to trample through. (And for me to say that is pretty surprising.)

 

Heck, I've learned to look for the signs of people trampling the area to help find the cache.

So what percentage of the 23 physical caches that you've found had social trails?

I'm not trying to pick on you but don't tell me I'm deluded.

 

A very small percentage of the caches I've found showed any significant signs that there had been people there. Maybe in your neck of the woods things are drastically different.

Which is actually, now that I looked into it, quite possible. Seems most of the caches you've found have around 100 finds or more. Here, we don't see nearly that amount of activity.

 

I'd be interested to find out what the average find count is in different areas, as well as the national average.

Share this post


Link to post
Because of the caches I've found over the course of 2 years, I find that very rarely are there social trails from geocaching.

 

Really? I see them all the time. And when the trail leads right up to the geocache and stops, then I don't really buy the animal trail theory. (And to be perfectly honest, I'd argue that most people using that theory are probably deluding themselves).

 

Now, I'm probably one of the least environmental gung-ho people here, but I've even been within sight of one cache and decided not to finish it, because it seemed like a pretty inappropriate place to trample through. (And for me to say that is pretty surprising.)

 

Heck, I've learned to look for the signs of people trampling the area to help find the cache.

So what percentage of the 23 physical caches that you've found had social trails?

I'm not trying to pick on you but don't tell me I'm deluded.

 

A very small percentage of the caches I've found showed any significant signs that there had been people there. Maybe in your neck of the woods things are drastically different.

Which is actually, now that I looked into it, quite possible. Seems most of the caches you've found have around 100 finds or more. Here, we don't see nearly that amount of activity.

 

I'd be interested to find out what the average find count is in different areas, as well as the national average.

Lets remember that the topic of this thread is still Leave No Trace.

 

A good thing to practice no matter how we feel it is being presented.

Share this post


Link to post

Of my eleven active caches, I can honestly say that there's only one that has a problem with a social trail. And as time goes by, this is actually becoming less of a problem because it has fewer visitors than it used to.

 

Then again, most of my woodland caches are WAY off the trail, so no two people take exactly the same path.

Share this post


Link to post

Shoot! I wish I lived in an area where people left social trails to caches. That would make this game a LOT easier. I can only think of one cache that I was pretty sure had a cacher-made trail, and it was through a hay field. And wouldn't you know I approached from the other side and only spotted it on the way out?

Share this post


Link to post

I see social trails all the time from geocaching. Less so the further from town you get. Speaking of town. Less so in town as well for true urban caches since the grounds are built for the traffic.

 

The thing about a cache is they are temporary. I have never seen a social trail that would not recover when the cache hits the bit bucket. There is a difference between a social trail that will recover in a few months when the cache is gone and a trail that won't ever recover without intervention.

Share this post


Link to post

Well welcome to geocaching and the basic lack of interest in environmental impact. Geotrails are one of the easiest way to find a cache. To think animals do this is a JOKE, I have never seen an wild animal mash down a 10+ patch of grass or throw rocks around.

If you look at past post to this issue your see that most geocaches are not very environmental aware. Now I am not a tree hugger and that man is as much of an animal as any thing in the woods and has as much right to be there but to deny geocaching does not have an impact is a FALSE assumtion and or statement.

I have seen so much damage most of it is imaterial as the grass will grow back or the leaves will cover the area next near but to say geocachers pay any attention to throwing around rocks branches etc is FALSE. Most people are so focused on find the cache they don't care what they do.

Okay this is harsh but so people lack of attitude. What I would challenge you with is when placing a cache to ask will this cause any envrionmental impact. When I place a cache I usually look for an area where not geotrails will form and minimal impact will occur. If I cant find it I move on and keep looking.

cheers

Share this post


Link to post

If i see where a path may be starting to show I will go up or down the trail a little and then leave the main trail so as not to add to the problem.

Share this post


Link to post

Out of the 200 or so caches I have found in FL several of them did have "social trails" from geocachers. It is the responsibility of the cache owner to place the cache where little enviromental harm will be done, and to also indicate on the cache page that no bushwacking is needed or no need to go off the trail. Although sometimes those who enjoy bushwacking will ALWAYS find the hardest way to the get to the cache.

Share this post


Link to post
Well welcome to geocaching and the basic lack of interest in environmental impact.  Geotrails are one of the easiest way to find a cache.  To think animals do this is a JOKE, I have never seen an wild animal mash down a 10+ patch of grass or throw rocks around.

I note you and the original poster are both in Colorado. Perhaps it's a local thing. I just don't see that sort of cacher spoor around here. The most common human trace I run into off-trail are beer cans, and I don't think that's us.

 

Of course, here on the rocky coast of the North Atlantic, it's pretty hard to tell when someone's moved a rock.

Share this post


Link to post
Although sometimes those who enjoy bushwacking will ALWAYS find the hardest way to the get to the cache.

I don't enjoy bushwacking, but I always seems to take that way to get to the cache. :) You know, the thorns and everything!

Share this post


Link to post
Well welcome to geocaching and the basic lack of interest in environmental impact.  Geotrails are one of the easiest way to find a cache.  To think animals do this is a JOKE, I have never seen an wild animal mash down a 10+ patch of grass or throw rocks around.

I note you and the original poster are both in Colorado. Perhaps it's a local thing. I just don't see that sort of cacher spoor around here. The most common human trace I run into off-trail are beer cans, and I don't think that's us.

 

Of course, here on the rocky coast of the North Atlantic, it's pretty hard to tell when someone's moved a rock.

If a cache is placed with any kind of folage, ie grass tall weeds etc... then a social trail will form. I have found caches with just folage a foot high or so. Last week end a area about 10 ft diameter was trampled down, yes I did my fair share of tramping but mostly I followed the trai of others, a week or so since the last find, to the area the cache was in. One of my first cache was along a canel and the weeds where about 6+feet high and I was suprised to see the trail through them. That is what made me aware of social trails after that I started looking for them to find a cache. My caching partner frequently finds a cache by following a social trail. I guess the only way you would not see them is if the cache is in a WalMart parking lot, or possible in a park. O' and I have seen them in Nevada and Utah as well.

cheers

Share this post


Link to post

I rarely see trails leading to caches and haven't seen any sort of damage, beyond a few bent blades of grass, sticks and maybe a few turned over logs. I've never encountered a compacted treadway that would indicate permanent or semi permanent damage. The few trails I've seen were similar to game trails.

 

Also, these trails often predate the cache. Cache owners usually take the path of east resistance when hiding a cache in the bush. This path is often an existing game trail. It may appear to some that the cache is the reason for the trail, when the opposite is true.

 

The few social trails i've seen that were probably cache related were where a cache was close to a trail. When they are close to a trail people tend to turn off at about the same spot and a trail can develop. I find that the further off the trail a cache is, the less likely that there will be any kind of social trail. When the cache is well off the beaten path its less likely that any two cache hunters will take an identical route, which spreads out impact and allows the area time to recover.

 

That being said, If you do encounter a cache that is having an effect and I have no doubt a few exist, you should let the owner know and if he takes no action, notify the listing website.

 

To think animals do this is a JOKE, I have never seen an wild animal mash down a 10+ patch of grass or throw rocks around.

 

Give me a break. Is trampled grass really damage? Two months after the cache is gone you'd never know it was there. Real damage occurs when the treadway is compacted and in over 400 cache hunts I've yet to see that once.

Edited by briansnat

Share this post


Link to post
I guess the only way you would not see them is if the cache is in a WalMart parking lot, or possible in a park. O' and I have seen them in Nevada and Utah as well.

cheers

Well, no, lots of terrain doesn't bruise easily. The most common bushwhack conditions I find in my local area are pine needles, big slabs of rock, and low, scrubby, brambly undergrowth. None of these show footmarks readily. Muddy conditions will, but there's not much ecological sensitivity about mud that I'm aware. The only times I've cached in grass that I can think of was the one farm I mentioned and some cemetary caches.

 

The latter are, of course, being discussed elsewhere.

Share this post


Link to post

Of the few caches we searched for, 1 had a serious problem. We never did find it but neither did several other people who like us I admit trampled a lot of ground down. But you know what? I learned a lesson. If I feel that coordinates are taking me off of a real path, in the future, I'll probably choose not to go. I'm not a tree hugger either, but I don't want to help goverment and enviromentalist be pissed at geocachers either.

Share this post


Link to post

I guess it depends where you are. I'm from the lush area of Oregon, where things grow back very quickly. So bushwacking in general doesn't do any damage that isn't repaired, and the caches I did there that were far off the trail didn't have any trails leading to them because you would walk 100 different ways to get there and you didn't really leave any tracks.

 

I now live in Cali where in the summer pretty much everything off trail is dried up weeds and grasses. It's very easy to leave a trail in dry grass, but I have to ask with the bazillion areas of dry grass in Cali, what's the overall damage done by a 300 foot trail?

 

I argee that in sensitive areas and preserves it's not right, but in many areas a social trail by deer or cachers, it's just another little trail in the millions of areas of land on the world.

 

It's true, to really leave no trace, we all have to stay home. And don't flush.

Share this post


Link to post

I've never noticed any significant 'trampling'. Of course, I haven't gone after any caches in the tundra, or some other place that takes like a thousand years for 1/4 inch of grass to grow back.

 

There's been a couple of times I've wished for a little bit of trampling so I could see where the cache was.

 

I think, for the most part, GC'ers do a very good job of leaving as little impact as possible. I think trying to stick the idea of leaving 'no' impact is unreasonable. But, any impact that we are leaving is probably not appreciably more than we would be leaving by simply recreating in the great outdoors with all the rest of the outdoorsy muggles.

 

--Chino

--'That wich we observe, we also change'

--Werner Von Heisenberg

Share this post


Link to post
...I have never seen an wild animal mash down a 10+ patch of grass or throw rocks around....

Neither have I. However I have found hundreds of game trails. And there are more than a few accounts of how bears have plowed up and turned over acres upon acres of prarie digging for camas roots.

 

It would be nice to know when a social trail is in danger of becoming something more. That's when it's time to archive the cache. However I have never seen a cache location that would not recover when the cache was removed. That's sustainable recreation and geocaching is fine in that regard. If a cache does prove to be a problem it can be removed.

 

A couple of years ago, if not longer I emailed one of our government agencies about how to tell when a social trail is becoming something that will take more than a few months to recover fully. They never replied.

Share this post


Link to post

I have a cache by a deer trail that's cut a foot deep and 18 inches wide down a steep highly erodable bank.

 

I have seen bears mash an unbelieveable area. I have seen areas where wolves have had lunch very thoroughly torn up.

 

One of my minor irritations is land administrators who think they'll minimize impact by restricting caches to a short distance off a trail. The further away it is the more possible routes there will be and the less chronic impact. We can still be careful no to make it worse.

Share this post


Link to post

As mentioned above trampled grass and a few rocks turned over IS NOT resource damage.

 

Rilling, soil movement, and compacted surfaces are a concern, but I have not seen any of these caused by cacheseekers. There have been caches placed near where these were already occurring from other uses, but the cache is blameless.

 

If anyone wishes to research resource impacts caused by simple use, go here and search the database. A whole library on what is resource damage, what is not, and what causes it.

 

http://leopold.wilderness.net/pubs.cfm

Share this post


Link to post

Can we see some pictures of the trampling? It's hard to visualize what is meant by trampling.

 

Like Nurse Dave, in and around Seattle it is pretty hard to trample anything down. If anything the foliage tramples on you. However, I have gone geocaching in over 15 states and I have never seen anything negative except for some mashed down grass. And on the hides I've gone on, the hider usually placed it off an existing side trail. Not very shocking but those are usually placed at the end of this already existing off-trail, so other than ancedotal evidence it sounds like a chicken and egg thing.

Share this post


Link to post

Cache placement has a lot to do with subsequent damage. We had a local micro that was well concealed in the vicinity of a large cottonwood tree with loose and peeling bark. A lot of searchers apparently came to the conclusion that the cache was concealed under the bark, and they pretty quickly stripped it. Now cottonwoods are hardly endangered, but the result was unsightly.

 

Take-away point is that cache seekers will behave in predictable ways--it's up to hiders to avoid creating a situation that encourages damage. Ironically, a practice that is generally encouraged--hiding a cache right off an existing trail--creates the most obvious cacher-use trails.

Share this post


Link to post

I just can't visualize a cache that involves any kind of hike at all to get so many visitors that it creates a permanent trail. From my experience, a cache planted in the woods will get a bunch of visitors during the first month. After that, it will get very few. I don't see this small am,ount of people being able to irreparable damage to the grass and weeds that they end up walking through.

 

Damage to trees and the like is a different story. I must disagree with your treatise that the owner is responsible for any damage done by subsequent seekers. If I place an urban micro next to an electronics store and a seeker of my cache breaks the window and helps himself to a TV, is it my fault?

Share this post


Link to post

You're right, sbell111, that the more hiking involved the fewer visitors a cache will get and the less impact they'll have on the surroundings.

 

However, I'm not saying the cache owner is responsible for damage caused by cachers. I am saying that it's possible to anticipate that some kinds of placements will encourage destructive searches.

 

I wouldn't imagine that placing a cache near an appliance store would induce a cacher to commit larceny as in your TV example, but I can easily imagine that placing a cache near a flowerbed would induce (some) cachers to trample the flowers.

Share this post


Link to post

I would say that in the majority of caches I have found in natural settings (not parking lot micro, etc.) it is possible to detect trails. The more recent or frequent the visits, the more apparent the trail. Often, I cannot spot trails until after I have found the cache, but quite often, I have been able to follow a social trail to a cache. I admit, I look for them, but I try to walk a bit to one side so as not to make the trail more obvious.

 

What is even more common than a social trail is a tromped-down area immediately around the cache. This is unavoidable with some hides.

 

In New England, we have lots of stone walls--many of them quite old. Once the borders for farmer's fields, they are now often to be found running through the woods. There is a very regrettable practice of hiding caches in these walls. This results in cachers going up and down both sides of the wall poking about and moving stones. This sometimes results in serious damage to the walls. When I realize that I am up against one of these loathsome hides, I find the social trail (it is always there), and walk along until I find the obvious spot where every successful finder has sat down to do their trading and logging. The cache will be within a few feet.

Edited by reveritt

Share this post


Link to post
Can we see some pictures of the trampling? It's hard to visualize what is meant by trampling.

Here's an example from Washington:

 

8f129cea-5eb1-499a-a844-db3dfd56212f.jpg

 

The area being searched is under/next to a waterfall with rocks covered with moss and ferns and such and took about 15 minutes of searching all around the area for the large group (the rest of the group was up nearer the waterfall) to find it. I doubt the vegetation (which filters the water) will grow back quickly.

 

A lot of us (that's my elbow :) ) were very uncomfortable with the cache placement. Though to be fair, it's an older cache and the newer caches don't seem to be as environmentally insensitive. Back when there were fewer cachers visiting a site it wasn't much of an issue.

 

I've also seen entire stumps reduced to almost nothing because a cache was badly hidden in one. I think the owner is definitely at least partially responsible for the damage done to the stump. A hide requiring you to move pieces of wood on a crumbly stump is going to damage the stump. And I of course care very deeply about stumps. :D

Edited by Stump

Share this post


Link to post
I would say that in the majority of caches I have found in natural settings (not parking lot micro, etc.) it is possible to detect trails. The more recent or frequent the visits, the more apparent the trail.

When I hide a cache I usually look for minor trails off a main trail to hide it and I used to think the geotrails were just that. But once I found a cache that had bad coordinates. There was a trail to these coordinates. Actually a better trail than the one to the actual geocache because there were a lot of DNFs! So it's obvious there is an impact from geocachers.

 

I can see a land manager getting upset about them but environmentally speaking most geotrails will have very little impact. Hard to get too worked up about a 40 foot geotrail when there's a 1/2 mile concrete trail right next to it.

Share this post


Link to post
To think animals do this is a JOKE, I have never seen an wild animal mash down a 10+ patch of grass or throw rocks around.

You've obviously never seen the damage feral hogs can do!

 

Hog Damage

 

That patch looks bigger than 10+' to me! :)

 

While we should be mindful of our impact and try to reduce it when we can, we're not the only animal leaving a trace out there. I've followed deer trails and decades old cattle trails to retrieve caches.

 

From: http://texnat.tamu.edu/symposia/feral/feral-10.htm

The feral hog's rooting and wallowing activities damage pastures, spoil watering holes and generally deteriorate riparian habitat. Feral hogs are persistent in their rooting behavior. They methodically work an area until they have depleted the food item of interest. Given optimum conditions (i.e., pliable soils) hogs can do considerable damage (Barrett, 1982). Because they attack at root level, they can decrease survivability of some plant species.

 

In addition to the damage done to pasture and seed crops, soil upheaval can also be a problem. Rooting can result in the creation of troughs and mounds which can lead to erosion and the undermining of structures. In areas of heavy rain, rooting can be responsible for considerable loss of soil through leaching and erosion. Where equipment, such as mowers and bailers, are dependant on level terrain, the creation of either mounds or troughs can have a detrimental effect (Wood and Lynn, 1977). In areas where drainage can be a problem the creation of troughs can lead to mud holes and bog areas.

 

Riparian habitat can be devastated by rooting and wallowing behavior. This is particularly true when drought conditions concentrate large numbers of pigs into a limited riparian area. Excessive rooting can damage the banks, deplete the flora, muddy the water and result in a silt-ladened benthic substrate (Scott, and Pelton, 1975). The viability of aquatic fauna populations can be depreciated by feral pig activities.

Share this post


Link to post
So what percentage of the 23 physical caches that you've found had social trails?

 

Nice. Yet another "you can't possibly know what you're talking about because you've only found XXX number of caches." Did it ever occur to you that this guy may use another caching site, may not log all his finds, or may simply have been hiking for years and recognizes things he sees regardless of how long he's been caching? I know people who have thru hiked the AT a half dozen times and have forgotten more about hiking than most cachers will ever know, yet have never gone caching - does that disqualify them from recognizing trails?

 

I'm not trying to pick on you but

 

Then why look up and post his cache count? Clearly to draw attention to his uninformed newb status, no?

Edited by ParrotRob

Share this post


Link to post
...Then why look up and post his cache count? Clearly to draw attention to his uninformed newb status, no?

The OP invited the research into his stats when he both explained that he was new and mentioned that he had seen an increase in casual trails caused by cachers. I don't think that one may be both new and experienced.

Share this post


Link to post
I've also seen entire stumps reduced to almost nothing because a cache was badly hidden in one. I think the owner is definitely at least partially responsible for the damage done to the stump. A hide requiring you to move pieces of wood on a crumbly stump is going to damage the stump.

I'm probably missing the sarcasm here, but is stump preservation something we really need to be concerned about? I mean, seriously, how many stumps are actually ruined by Geocaching??

 

Obviously we're talking about heavily rotted stumps.

 

GeoBC

Share this post


Link to post
Here's an example from Washington:

 

<image deleted>

 

...I doubt the vegetation (which filters the water) will grow back quickly. ... Though to be fair, it's an older cache and the newer caches don't seem to be as environmentally insensitive. Back when there were fewer cachers visiting a site it wasn't much of an issue.

 

I've also seen entire stumps reduced to almost nothing because a cache was badly hidden in one. ...I think the owner is definitely at least partially responsible for the damage done to the stump. A hide requiring you to move pieces of wood on a crumbly stump is going to damage the stump. And I of course care very deeply about stumps. :D

I have a couple of thoughts.

 

First, I don't see any damage, permanent or otherwise, in your pic. Also, you state that it is an older cache. If cachers were damaging the area and it has been going on for some time (and is not self-correcting), wouldn't I see damage? Further, since it is an older cache, isn't it reasonable to assume that it is getting fewer visits than it used to, thereby receiving less and less damage. :D

 

Second, I would not feel guilty if a rotting stump was damaged. :D

 

Finally, I'm sure many people are somewhat insulted by your insinuation that people who have been participating in this hobby for a while are insensitive to the environment. I'm sure that a search of the archives (or a visit to the wayback machine) will show you that you are quite wrong. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Second, I would not feel guilty if a rotting stump was damaged. :)

Erosion is definitely a concern. Granted you did not take the picture assuming it would become "evidence" of destruction, so I'll take your word for it since I can't really see much in the photo.

 

Regarding large groups, many hiking trails in my area only allow a certain number of folks per group to reduce the impact on the trails. I can understand this since it turns foot traffic into a trampling army. For this reason I try and discourage "cache machines" - but I can't stop them from happening nor do I think I have the right to. I'm sure that the folks who go on cache machines have learned how to do it properly to limit the impact.

 

As for stumps, in and around Seattle is stump heaven. It's an interesting note since the loggers did some significant damage in the last 100 years and nature seems to be reclaiming the land just fine. There should be some concern over general foot traffic, granted, but I expect that most geocachers understand this and limit their impact. I'm not too concerned about helping a stump rot faster, though. It quickens the nutrients for the circle of life.

Share this post


Link to post
I'm probably missing the sarcasm here, but is stump preservation something we really need to be concerned about? I mean, seriously, how many stumps are actually ruined by Geocaching??

It was just a joke regarding my name.

 

But a stump being destroyed does show that geocachers are not being careful when looking. The word trampling comes to mind.

Share this post


Link to post
... I am saying that it's possible to anticipate that some kinds of placements will encourage destructive searches....

That's a valid point. There are places I want people to look long and hard for a cache and places I want them to find it quickly and I factor in the location when I place the cache so the difficulty is appropriate. Every cache hider needs to keep this in mind, and if they do see undue wear and tear they need to pull the cache.

Share this post


Link to post
So what percentage of the 23 physical caches that you've found had social trails?

I'm not trying to pick on you but don't tell me I'm deluded.

 

Obviously it depends on the area. Some of the urban caches that I've done, like Old Fountain of Light, and Remember the Twins, obviously there's not an issue with it. Also the couple I found in utah along the pony express trail were in pretty rocky areas, and it'd be pretty tough to leave a trail there. But the there are definitely ones like Spartan Cache, and the physical ones along the blue water highway series that I've done where it's pretty noticeable. With Spartan Cache, I was walking along the main trail, and just where the gps indicated I'd have to leave the trail, there was a pretty conspicuous social trail that led right up to the cache and ended. The Blue Water Highway ones were pretty much off old railroad rightaways, and most of them it was pretty obvious when you got to the right spot, because that's where the bushes along the side of the railroad bed had been beaten back. (For that matter, there was at least one not-found there that it was obvious where the cache was too).

 

With Through the Lookingglass, the thing was posted so far back from the parking area, and the nature of the area involved a fair amount of wandering around amongst trees, trying to find the best path, so it's unlikely too many people would take the same path. (Quite frankly, it probably would have been a lot easier if a social path had developed, because I crossed that stream far more times than I should have had to :) ). Butteryfly Garden, one of the first ones I went looking for I felt was in a terrible location, because finding the cache meant trampling down the plants in the area that formed the butterly garden.

 

Nice. Yet another "you can't possibly know what you're talking about because you've only found XXX number of caches." Did it ever occur to you that this guy may use another caching site, may not log all his finds, or may simply have been hiking for years and recognizes things he sees regardless of how long he's been caching? I know people who have thru hiked the AT a half dozen times and have forgotten more about hiking than most cachers will ever know, yet have never gone caching - does that disqualify them from recognizing trails?

 

Eh, I'm relatively thick-skinned. And that list would indeed be all the caches I've done, except I guess for one outside Mesa Verde that I apparently never logged. And to be honest, I'm not saying that it's a huge issue in my opinion, just that it shouldn't be written off as it doesn't happen. I'm probably one of the least environmentally friendly people around here, but the concept of social trails is something that I've become aware of because of the problems it's caused with getting 4x4 trails shut down because of idiots that decide that they can go off the trails.

 

Now, if someone could only invent a way to create social trails through the mosquitos, so you can follow paths to not get eaten...

 

(Oh, and BTW, I'm not the OP, that seems to have gotten confused up above).

Share this post


Link to post
...I have never seen an wild animal mash down a 10+ patch of grass or throw rocks around....

Neither have I. However I have found hundreds of game trails. And there are more than a few accounts of how bears have plowed up and turned over acres upon acres of prarie digging for camas roots.

I guess neither of you has ever seen a deer bedding area?

 

As was pointed out, many cachers use existing game trails when placing a cache. One cacher in particular I know is an avid hunter. Many of his hides appear to be very hard to access. Rather then try and follow the GPS and bushwhack in the direct (and usually impossible) way, I scout several hundred feet up and down the trail looking for signs of a game trail. That technique hasn't failed me yet on his hides, several of which I have been FTF on so I *KNOW* the trail and trampled areas were not caused by geocachers.

Share this post


Link to post
...Then why look up and post his cache count?  Clearly to draw attention to his uninformed newb status, no?

The OP invited the research into his stats when he both explained that he was new and mentioned that he had seen an increase in casual trails caused by cachers. I don't think that one may be both new and experienced.

Sure they can. One can be a new cacher and an experienced hiker, can they not?

 

My point is that you can't draw conclusions about one's outdoor experience based on one's cache count.

Share this post


Link to post
So what percentage of the 23 physical caches that you've found had social trails?

 

Nice. Yet another "you can't possibly know what you're talking about because you've only found XXX number of caches." Did it ever occur to you that this guy may use another caching site, may not log all his finds, or may simply have been hiking for years and recognizes things he sees regardless of how long he's been caching? I know people who have thru hiked the AT a half dozen times and have forgotten more about hiking than most cachers will ever know, yet have never gone caching - does that disqualify them from recognizing trails?

 

I'm not trying to pick on you but

 

Then why look up and post his cache count? Clearly to draw attention to his uninformed newb status, no?

I thought I made it quite clear that that's not at all what I was doing. At least the person I was replying to understood that so I don't really get what your deal is. :)

 

I even conceded the fact that in Piper's area there may very well be a problem. I wouldn't know since I never cached there.

 

Which is actually, now that I looked into it, quite possible. Seems most of the caches you've found have around 100 finds or more. Here, we don't see nearly that amount of activity.

 

So yes, I looked up his/her profile so I could make an informed reply. My only point was that perhaps there was room for the possibility that he/she was wrong about how the trails were formed.

 

Plus, who are you to comment with only 29 finds??? :D:D:D I'M KIDDING!!!

Share this post


Link to post
...Then why look up and post his cache count?  Clearly to draw attention to his uninformed newb status, no?

The OP invited the research into his stats when he both explained that he was new and mentioned that he had seen an increase in casual trails caused by cachers. I don't think that one may be both new and experienced.

Sure they can. One can be a new cacher and an experienced hiker, can they not?

 

My point is that you can't draw conclusions about one's outdoor experience based on one's cache count.

I completely agree that a person can be brand new to caching, yet be an avid and experienced hiker. But to qualify a statement like:

Really? I see them all the time. And when the trail leads right up to the geocache and stops, then I don't really buy the animal trail theory.

 

I would think that a good cross section of cache finds would be needed for that to be considered accurate. All I wanted to know is, what percentage of his finds were found at the end of a social trail, and how can he be certain those trails were from cachers. Also the fact the Piper expressed he/she was "probably one of the least environmental gung-ho people here" might indicate he may not be able to recognize a game trail from a human trail.

Share this post


Link to post
Can we see some pictures of the trampling? It's hard to visualize what is meant by trampling.

Here's an example from Washington:

 

The area being searched is under/next to a waterfall with rocks covered with moss and ferns and such and took about 15 minutes of searching all around the area for the large group (the rest of the group was up nearer the waterfall) to find it. I doubt the vegetation (which filters the water) will grow back quickly.

I doubt you guys squishing some ferns and moss did enough damage to effect the filtration of the water in that ecosystem. Big picture is what you have to look at. Everything leaves a trace, but does that trace impact the big picture? 6 months from you being there, a big tree falls over 5 feet up hill, the rains wash all sorts of mud from the roots into the stream, the bird living in it has to find a new home. 6 months from then, is there still any impact?

Share this post


Link to post
Robespierre 

Posted: Jun 13 2005, 11:17 PM

Perhaps you live in a sensitive area. Around central Ohio, it's hard to do permanent damage. We should all be careful, but it takes a pretty steady stream of traffic to make a worn path. Deer make paths all the time, and groundhogs make those really low worn paths a lot, straight from the hold to the field. Paths are natural.

The area I was visualizing is about a mile from my house on the extreme north end of the city limits behind our one shopping center just north of the drainage ditch which keep the swamp low enough so it doesn't flood. There is no geocache in this area, and it gets especially few visitors. I've walked there twice, and that's probably a year's worth of traffic. Because it is so isolated, the wildlife is free to be natural. There are no trails here except what groundhogs leave straight from the hole to the feeding ground, and deer trails from the deeper areas out to feed on crops. The two caches are on the opposite side of the drainage ditch right along the city's maintained maintainance path which is needed to keep the ditch trimmed back and to keep access to the large pipe which passes through. My point: paths are natural. Even where people do not go there are paths. If rutting deer tear an area up it will grow back within weeks. Last time I was back there I had to wade through weeds 3' high to get to one cache, and in a few days you won't be able to tell I was there. That cache doesn't get visited more than once a month. Perhaps your territory is different, but we don't have a lot of endangered weeds around here. That wonderful jewelweed is very common and very fragile on a plant-to-plant basis - but as a wildflower it is indistructable. It marches on! And it's good for stings and rashes.

Share this post


Link to post

In a lot of the open space parks in the SF Bay area, they lease out the land to cattle ranchers and let the herds roam to keep the dried grass short and cut down the fire dnger. You have to scare the cattle off the trails. Some of the caches in the park I was in Sunday are right off the cattle paths. In fact I had to double back for a cache, because cattle were about 10 ft from it. They make an infinitely greater impact than people.

Share this post


Link to post
In a lot of the open space parks in the SF Bay area, they lease out the land to cattle ranchers and let the herds roam to keep the dried grass short and cut down the fire dnger. You have to scare the cattle off the trails. Some of the caches in the park I was in Sunday are right off the cattle paths. In fact I had to double back for a cache, because cattle were about 10 ft from it. They make an infinitely greater impact than people.

Not to mention the smell. Woo! Nothing like a heard of cattle on a 90 degree summer day.

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1

×
×
  • Create New...