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balzaccom

Leaving a Mark

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We've become incensed at some of the recent news stories of idiots in our national parks and other natural places painting their names, carving their initials, stacking up piles of stones, flying their drones, or in some other way making sure that the rest of us won't experience the place in its pristine beauty.  We're happy to read that a few of them have been caught and punished severely--although not severely enough for our tastes.

 
We were mollified a bit by reading Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad, a story about his travels through Europe and the Middle East with a group of American tourists soon after the Civil War.  And he noted the same problem then.  In fact, many in his party were prone to not only carve their initials in the ruins, but also break off a bit of stone to take home...
 
"One might swear that all the John Smiths and George Wilkinsons, and all the other pitiful nobodies between Kingdom Come and Baalbec would inscribe their poor little names upon the walls of Baalbec’s magnificent ruins, and would add the town, the county and the State they came from—and swearing thus, be infallibly correct. It is a pity some great ruin does not fall in and flatten out some of these reptiles, and scare their kind out of ever giving their names to fame upon any walls or monuments again, forever."
 
Reptiles.  We're going to borrow that...

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26 minutes ago, balzaccom said:

painting their names, carving their initials, stacking up piles of stones

I don't think I would put "tacking up piles of stones" in the save category as "painting their names, carving their initials", as in some examples I have been very impressed by the art that has been created by the piles of rocks. But this might vary from place to place.

 

As for "painting their names, carving their initials", it's the same as dogs marking that they were there. Actually worse, as the dogs' marks are mostly less permanent. The rest of us don't know who these people were who ruined the area for others, but we do know they were low brow creatures of likely limited intellect, understanding and conscience.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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If you were a premium member,  there's a fun thread you'd be interested in about "painted rocks" in Off Topic.   ;)

We've had friends and relatives "introduced" to NPS laws for participating in what they saw others doing.

Some of our popular trails are being washed out, with many blaming ATVs and mountain bikes. 

 - Yet no one seems to notice that all the rocks that were in the ground, are now stacked with the many cairns that have sprung up along them.

No reason for them to be there other than the selfie ...  

"Look at me !",   "See what I'm doing !"   Sheesh...

 

 Was gonna say more but I've got to show everyone how wonderful my salad looks.  Beautiful, isn't it ?   :)

 

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4 hours ago, balzaccom said:

We've become incensed at some of the recent news stories of idiots in our national parks and other natural places [...] stacking up piles of stones

Huh... I've backpacked in places where the trail was marked with cairns (stacks of stones). It seems odd to classify "stacking up piles of stones" with painting, carving, breaking, and... Huh... flying drones is on the list too?

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Small cairns marking a trail are a different animal from the stacks of stones piled up in groups just for the fun of it.  Those latter not only clutter the landscape and ruin the sense of natural beauty, they also conceivably confuse anyone looking for a trail.   There are places in Yosemite now that are littered with these stacks...

 

And drones?  I'm guessing that you have never been on a quiet lake in the wilderness, only to have some clown show up with a drone and buzz around all afternoon--chasing the wildlife away and pestering the rest of us with needless noise.

 

If that's the experience you want, great.  Just don't confuse that with wilderness hiking.  Do it at a city park,

Edited by balzaccom
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 Stone cairns are not a new thing. Rocks piled up on mountain tops go back a long way for instance. As long as they don't cover the whole area I usually enjoy them and they add to the landscape.

Some can be sculptural. Three examples I find interesting and some parts sculptural: NZ, USA, Iceland (there was a cache under one of those piles of rocks). Not all will see it, but others do. At the NZ one several walkers stopped to to discuss them, and not a negative thing was said about them. They only took up one corner of the trail. The rest was mostly free of them; just lined with introduced trees.

But then tastes vary. I find wind turbines sculptural too (or at least the ones I am familiar with), but some people think they are a blight on the landscape. I can't think how they could see it that way. I believe it is the way we all look at things. I love finding sculpture in things. Natural rock forms can be sculptural too. Some people just see rocks. In cities I enjoy (better) graffiti. I even find some bad graffiti photogenic; even if I think the perpetrators of bad graffiti, if caught, should be made to clean it up. (Everything shouldn't be covered in graffiti, because that detracts from the good stuff; the artworks.)

Stone cairns above Queenstown.jpg

Stone sculptures on the bar at Bar Harbor.jpg

Cache is out there.jpg

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1 hour ago, balzaccom said:

Small cairns marking a trail are a different animal from the stacks of stones piled up in groups just for the fun of it.  Those latter not only clutter the landscape and ruin the sense of natural beauty

If you say so. I thought Goldenwattle's photos were beautiful.

 

1 hour ago, balzaccom said:

And drones?  I'm guessing that you have never been on a quiet lake in the wilderness, only to have some clown show up with a drone and buzz around all afternoon--chasing the wildlife away and pestering the rest of us with needless noise.

Are other motorized devices also problematic? Are any of them actually banned?

 

I've been camping along a peaceful river, when a wedding reception started up on the other side of the river. There are other people in the world. Sometimes they make noise.

 

Sometimes they stack a few rocks on top of each other.

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In fact, drones are prohibited in all National Parks, and all motorized vehicles are prohibited in wilderness areas---even chain saws.  I know that because I volunteer on a trail crew in a national forest wilderness area, and we are required to use manpower, not machines, even when we tackle huge logs. 

 

And while I understand that one person's art is another person's eyesore---Leave No Trace Principles require us to do just that:  leave no trace of our passing. 

 

Here's a quick summary of those--which are widely adopted in our parks and wilderness areas:

 

The Leave No Trace Seven Principles

 

The Leave No Trace Seven Principles are the bedrock of the Leave No Trace program. They provide guidance to enjoy our natural world in a sustainable way that avoids human-created impacts. The principles have been adapted so they can be applied in your backyard or your backcountry.

Note: click any of the headers below for a much deeper explanation on each principle.

Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
  • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
  • Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
  • Repackage food to minimize waste.
  • Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
  • Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
  • Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
    • In popular areas:
      • Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
      • Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
      • Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
      • In pristine areas:
      • Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
      • Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.

Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
  • Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

Leave What You Find

  • Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
  • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the environment. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
  • Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
  • Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.

Respect Wildlife

  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
  • Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
  • Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
  • Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
  • Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.

 

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1 hour ago, balzaccom said:

In fact, drones are prohibited in all National Parks, and all motorized vehicles are prohibited in wilderness areas---even chain saws. 

Well there you go. Problem solved.

 

Although I must admit that discussing chain saws while discussing laws about motorized vehicles sounds like the beginning of one of Jeff Foxworthy's redneck jokes.

 

1 hour ago, balzaccom said:
  • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

Oh, no! The last time we taught Winter Survival in my Battalion unit, we had the boys build a snow shelter. Good thing it wasn't in a Wilderness Area. :o

 

1 hour ago, balzaccom said:

The principles have been adapted so they can be applied in your backyard or your backcountry.

"Honey, I'm not shirking the yardwork. I'm applying the Leave No Trace™️ philosophy to our backyard."

 

Yeah, that's it! That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Edited by niraD
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Ha!  I keep trying that with the lawn...  Here's what happens when you can't use a chain saw in a wilderness area

Pn5K4ALpG8ETtmbzWzS1MVzkc61-ytqWJ_RicnByNVXQXAfjtiLOt_7HoJGJpEzm_7Ka_FdLHtWXGO7w-NNbmiOHq3RtKLa6X82_hDwi3l_TnezCFeMIyS4Pad3BseSOLsS-Q1cAoXT4O2HoSseR3nIcAtGrXY8Z1LgIS1h5JCXz8UThqcLB3WG9CrdlbPRV6PpuAgf8x6r5Z9IcGSnTwOUi-fvNIAAFL42IrNzZ_B-1R6nWYUol7UqAy42ZxmzgEnDhLacSIkpx5sInxjXwDbl9xIVXui1xQ5z4d8sWt4o_vQDqM7vqmgKSijldqIy_6YrqdKvqP3pV2CBpbkVFh34aUX9X1aFsFsnWUJI4dbUggPyM-DDRVQRMzjN8_IFp_sID0iA-fo39c8Db04P6vDLRHkfwgfzigTcFfEFsAW0MZITuh0mHqp6Q6ay0NEIFMem5FZk__keQhbXSzFBWIbaS4ATVTl_HLePG8DzV2PkQYVZnVjKM3M6f-J_-pYfP9Ge6QtEo6VA2iDpkeYT8_P4Ug9l7wvVdzklVbKGXw6Mi42656kxQt_acK9gtixAvirILrBU3T_ox-PtbdntzVyqGPtVjsqI0-puv-qYwIYKdHxI3n19CgMvtqdifXl6tdX6im1bXIuRgEG0QthnzTem8CAYgQMzjYw=w795-h596-no

 

Took five of us about six hours to cut this through on each side, wiggle it free (of course it jammed in place) and roll it out of the way.

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22 minutes ago, balzaccom said:

Took five of us about six hours to cut this through on each side, wiggle it free (of course it jammed in place) and roll it out of the way.

Fun.

 

There's a tourist steam train near us that has a long-term lease on a section of redwood forest. They are allowed to cut trees only when they fall across the track. But when the trees slowly lean closer and closer to the track, they have to move the track.

 

That seems daft to me. But that's the legal requirement specified by their lease, so that's what they do. In some cases, they do it repeatedly for the same section of track.

Edited by niraD
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7 hours ago, balzaccom said:

In fact, drones are prohibited in all National Parks, and all motorized vehicles are prohibited in wilderness areas---even chain saws.  I know that because I volunteer on a trail crew in a national forest wilderness area, and we are required to use manpower, not machines, even when we tackle huge logs. 

 

And while I understand that one person's art is another person's eyesore---Leave No Trace Principles require us to do just that:  leave no trace of our passing. 

 

Here's a quick summary of those--which are widely adopted in our parks and wilderness areas:

 

The Leave No Trace Seven Principles

 

 

The Leave No Trace Seven Principles are the bedrock of the Leave No Trace program. They provide guidance to enjoy our natural world in a sustainable way that avoids human-created impacts. The principles have been adapted so they can be applied in your backyard or your backcountry.

Note: click any of the headers below for a much deeper explanation on each principle.

 

 

No chainsaws?  I like not hearing chainsaws echoing throughout the forest all day.  But I would not like manually chopping up a dead tree. :o

 

I attended a Geocaching Event where there was a speaker from “Leave No Trace”.  Many of us probably expected the principles of “Leave No Trace” to be contrary to Geocaching.  After all, we’re leaving trash all over the wilderness, cache containers, so there goes “leave no trace” already.

 

In fact, take the principles to heart, and it’s not only compatible with Geocaching, it greatly improves the situation.  The Seven Principles above are great ideas!  There’s a requirement for permission to place a cache anyway, and at that point, the land manager is in control of where the “trash” is placed, where it doesn't create problems.

 

I was surprised when I first started Geocaching to discover that the land and vegetation in a large area around GZ is destroyed by finders if the cache is tough to find.  I’m especially careful not to damage property, so I placed caches with the thought that visitors to a special area would treat the place with respect.  Wrong.

If they did, I could place much cooler caches.  I wish I could.

 

Recently I read about the rock cairns.  Many parks use them as trail markers.  But visitors to many places idly build rock towers as if they’re playing with sand castles.  Sure, they aren’t painted rocks or anything.  But once there’s a big enough mess of broken and piled things, the rules get more strict.  More fences are built.  You can’t get down to look up close at the fossils or rare plants anymore.  Now you can stick to the boardwalk, and examine some cool rocks in the visitor’s center.

 

 

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8 hours ago, balzaccom said:

Ha!  I keep trying that with the lawn...  Here's what happens when you can't use a chain saw in a wilderness area

Pn5K4ALpG8ETtmbzWzS1MVzkc61-ytqWJ_RicnByNVXQXAfjtiLOt_7HoJGJpEzm_7Ka_FdLHtWXGO7w-NNbmiOHq3RtKLa6X82_hDwi3l_TnezCFeMIyS4Pad3BseSOLsS-Q1cAoXT4O2HoSseR3nIcAtGrXY8Z1LgIS1h5JCXz8UThqcLB3WG9CrdlbPRV6PpuAgf8x6r5Z9IcGSnTwOUi-fvNIAAFL42IrNzZ_B-1R6nWYUol7UqAy42ZxmzgEnDhLacSIkpx5sInxjXwDbl9xIVXui1xQ5z4d8sWt4o_vQDqM7vqmgKSijldqIy_6YrqdKvqP3pV2CBpbkVFh34aUX9X1aFsFsnWUJI4dbUggPyM-DDRVQRMzjN8_IFp_sID0iA-fo39c8Db04P6vDLRHkfwgfzigTcFfEFsAW0MZITuh0mHqp6Q6ay0NEIFMem5FZk__keQhbXSzFBWIbaS4ATVTl_HLePG8DzV2PkQYVZnVjKM3M6f-J_-pYfP9Ge6QtEo6VA2iDpkeYT8_P4Ug9l7wvVdzklVbKGXw6Mi42656kxQt_acK9gtixAvirILrBU3T_ox-PtbdntzVyqGPtVjsqI0-puv-qYwIYKdHxI3n19CgMvtqdifXl6tdX6im1bXIuRgEG0QthnzTem8CAYgQMzjYw=w795-h596-no

 

Took five of us about six hours to cut this through on each side, wiggle it free (of course it jammed in place) and roll it out of the way.

 

That is no way to treat volunteers!  Stupid stupid stupid if they can't make exceptions. (Our parks even allow noisy things like helicopters for operational reasons, and yes, trail-maintenance chainsaws.)

 

Quit and find some organization that treats you better.

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On 7/12/2018 at 6:47 PM, Viajero Perdido said:
On 7/12/2018 at 10:13 AM, balzaccom said:

Ha!  I keep trying that with the lawn...  Here's what happens when you can't use a chain saw in a wilderness area

...

Took five of us about six hours to cut this through on each side, wiggle it free (of course it jammed in place) and roll it out of the way.

 

That is no way to treat volunteers!  Stupid stupid stupid if they can't make exceptions. (Our parks even allow noisy things like helicopters for operational reasons, and yes, trail-maintenance chainsaws.)

 

While I understand the prohibition, I tend to agree with VP about making exceptions for trail work.  I mean, imagine how much more trail work could've been accomplished if those 30 man-hours were reduced to 2 with the use of a chainsaw.

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9 hours ago, noncentric said:

While I understand the prohibition, I tend to agree with VP about making exceptions for trail work.  I mean, imagine how much more trail work could've been accomplished if those 30 man-hours were reduced to 2 with the use of a chainsaw.

Agreed. 

I could see if it was an area used for education, similar to a Quiet Valley   kinda thing,  but if you're a bit more free on people volunteering their time,  you'd probably see more helping.  :)

A cacher friend works a few weeks each summer with the NPS, and they simply don't do the loud stuff on weekends. 

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On 7/12/2018 at 9:10 AM, Goldenwattle said:

 Stone cairns are not a new thing. Rocks piled up on mountain tops go back a long way for instance. As long as they don't cover the whole area I usually enjoy them and they add to the landscape.

Some can be sculptural. Three examples I find interesting and some parts sculptural: NZ, USA, Iceland (there was a cache under one of those piles of rocks). Not all will see it, but others do. At the NZ one several walkers stopped to to discuss them, and not a negative thing was said about them. They only took up one corner of the trail. The rest was mostly free of them; just lined with introduced trees.

But then tastes vary. I find wind turbines sculptural too (or at least the ones I am familiar with), but some people think they are a blight on the landscape. I can't think how they could see it that way. I believe it is the way we all look at things. I love finding sculpture in things. Natural rock forms can be sculptural too. Some people just see rocks. In cities I enjoy (better) graffiti. I even find some bad graffiti photogenic; even if I think the perpetrators of bad graffiti, if caught, should be made to clean it up. (Everything shouldn't be covered in graffiti, because that detracts from the good stuff; the artworks.)

 

 

While they may look "artistic" to some people, carelessly making cairns is not a completely harmless thing to do. Official cairns are built with the intention of making sure hikers stay on the right path, and hikers who just build these for fun in random places of the trail can encourage an unsuspecting hiker to not stay on the designated trail. It only takes one seemingly harmless cairn for a careless hiker to find themselves off the trail.

 

Plus when you're moving rocks, you're contributing to erosion by exposing that soil, and potentially causing insects that burrow underneath to be without protection.

 

Some call it art, I call it graffiti; and like most graffiti, it looking nice to a few people doesn't mean it's not an eyesore for others.

Edited by CheshireCrab
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I agree, CC.  If you like stacking rocks, do it in your garden and allow your neighbors to ooh and aah.  When I go into the wilderness, I don't want to see your initials on a tree, you TP on the ground, or your stacked rocks on the horizon.  The only cairns I want to see are those put there by a trail crew to show people the way home.

 

And as noted on these boards, I do work with trail crews.  We demolish all unnecessary cairns because they can lead people astray.

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Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing than pictures.

 

Such an easy principle. To bad it´s to hard to follow for most of the people.

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On 11/20/2018 at 11:08 AM, DerDiedler said:

Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing than pictures.

 

Such an easy principle. To bad it´s to hard to follow for most of the people.

 

But how does that jive with geocaching?

In my experience most geocaches are not monitored and maintained.

 

Many people in the forums have argued that remote caches should be exempt from maintenance requirements, and exempt from 'community maintenance is not maintenance' guideline (if people can't find them they leave a plastic container that they brought with them, then never go back to monitor and maintain that container). I can point to 100s of examples of caches that never get a OM indicating that the owner is visiting and checking. And hundreds of caches that are monitored but not maintained, the CO archives the cache when the cache is too broken or goes missing, but does not go back to the site and does not retrieve the container. And 1000s of archived-by-a-reviewer caches with no indication that the broken cache was removed. 

Edited by L0ne.R
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2 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

Many people in the forums have argued that remote caches should be exempt from maintenance requirements, and exempt from 'community maintenance is not maintenance' guideline (if people can't find them they leave a plastic container that they brought with them, then never go back to monitor and maintain that container). I can point to 100s of examples of caches that never get a OM indicating that the owner is visiting and checking. And hundreds of caches that are monitored by not maintained, the CO archives the cache when the cache is too broken or goes missing, but does not go back to the site and does not retrieve the container. And 1000s of archived-by-a-reviewer caches with no indication that the broken cache was removed. 

Excuse me, but what!?

I do not recall such comments.  I do recall reading, and making, comments along the lines that regularly scheduled visits - like the annual visits that some cachers have suggested - should not be expected of "remote caches".  And I know several forum posters have stated that it's unreasonable to expect remote caches to be attended to in a 2-4 week timeframe, as would be more reasonable for urban hides.  But do say that they are exempt from maintenance at all?  Nope.  If there's a problem with one, then cachers should post NM's to let the CO know.

But I do not recall reading comments from forum posters that "remote caches should be exempt from maintenance requirements".  I would be pleased to be pointed to such comments.

 

Regarding the rest of your post, that I didn't bold, yes - unmaintained caches (whether remote or not) has been discussed in innumerable threads.  Other threads.  It's also been noted in those other threads that the examples you noted are not the norm across the globe.  It's unfortunate that the caching landscape is so messy in your region.

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Yes, you are right and its a shame.

I for my self are not that kind of guy. I try to leave no marks, take care for my caches and sometimes I remove cache trash. 

But I'm not the majority 

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21 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

 

But how does that jive with geocaching?

In my experience most geocaches are not monitored and maintained.

I think you do bring up an interesting question. Even though placing a Geocache requires land-owner permission, that is still leaving a mark when you put something inorganic out in the woods. A large portion of COs do not maintain their caches after they place them. It creates litter, especially if the container's contents are dumped out.  Plus, there's no telling if the idea of seeing what looks like trash out in the woods causes others to be a little less mindful of putting more trash out in the woods.

 

I know there is CITO 2-times a year to encourage trash pick-up, but is placing Geocache containers in the woods really any better than just tossing rubbish on a trail?

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1 hour ago, CheshireCrab said:

 

I know there is CITO 2-times a year to encourage trash pick-up, but is placing Geocache containers in the woods really any better than just tossing rubbish on a trail?

 

I can attest to a cacher leaving a throwdown during a CITO event (and logging a find). The abandoned cache in the conservation area was missing with a row of DNFs and an NM. One of the attendees left a container. The cache was eventually reviewer archived for lack of response from the owner. The person who left the container never posted that they returned to remove their container. Sometimes CITO can be hypocritical (remove litter, leave litter). 

 

I’ve always assumed that part of the responsibility of a cache owner is not to leave litter or allow others to do so. To remove their container when they no longer want to maintain it. To check that the area the cache is hidden in remains in good condition with no harmful/destructive effects to the location because of the cache placement. Unfortunately there is little evidence (and little incentive)  for most owners to monitor, maintain and remove. 

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3 hours ago, CheshireCrab said:

I think you do bring up an interesting question. Even though placing a Geocache requires land-owner permission, that is still leaving a mark when you put something inorganic out in the woods. A large portion of COs do not maintain their caches after they place them. It creates litter, especially if the container's contents are dumped out.  Plus, there's no telling if the idea of seeing what looks like trash out in the woods causes others to be a little less mindful of putting more trash out in the woods.

I know there is CITO 2-times a year to encourage trash pick-up, but is placing Geocache containers in the woods really any better than just tossing rubbish on a trail?

 

Most peak baggers are aware of a summit registry somewhere.  Sometimes it might just be a can or pot at a cairn. 

I have summit registries logged twenty years before this hobby started.   :)

We haven't seen much neglect in caches since we steered to caches with terrain higher than 1.5...

We've met very few  "outdoors" people who don't know about geocaching these days.

We've introduce a lot of hikers to the hobby, and I feel if any had an issue with that container, someone would've said something. 

 

You seem to be confusing the twice-a-year CITO "souvenir day" with the concept/initiative. 

We CITO every day we're out, and have "cleaned up after others..." years before this hobby started too.  ;)

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5 hours ago, CheshireCrab said:

I know there is CITO 2-times a year to encourage trash pick-up, but is placing Geocache containers in the woods really any better than just tossing rubbish on a trail?

As cerberus1 mentions above, it seems you might not be fully aware of CITO.

There are souvenirs available twice a year, but CITO events occur throughout the year.  It just takes someone to organize one, just like it takes someone to organize a regular geocaching event.  For example, there is a CITO event next month in the area near the last CITO you attended.  No souvenir will be awarded for participating in that event.  It is just one of many CITO events that occur throughout the year.

 

 

5 hours ago, CheshireCrab said:

A large portion of COs do not maintain their caches after they place them.

2 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

Unfortunately there is little evidence (and little incentive)  for most owners to monitor, maintain and remove. 

It's comments like these that make me wonder what the true percentages are, in regards to how many CO's actively abandon their caches.  I say "actively" to exclude CO's that abandon caches for reasons beyond their control, like when they die.

My presumption is that it's really a minority of CO's that abandon their caches, but those CO"s have a lot of caches - so it's more noticeable.  10 CO's that abandon 1 cache each will not be "seen" as much as 1 CO that abandons 100 caches.  So it would be nice if cachers wouldn't paint "most" CO's with the same negative brush.

 

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34 minutes ago, noncentric said:

It's comments like these that make me wonder what the true percentages are, in regards to how many CO's actively abandon their caches. 

 -snip -

 So it would be nice if cachers wouldn't paint "most" CO's with the same negative brush.

Agreed.   I believe those "non-maintainers" are a minority as well, and am sure the site has that info. 

This is the Hiking/Backpacking  forums though, and curious if there is a "large portion", or "most" associated with maintenance and hiking/backpacking caches.  

One seems to regularly paint all cache with the same brush,  and we just haven't seen that.   :)

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40 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

This is the Hiking/Backpacking  forums though, and curious if there is a "large portion", or "most" associated with maintenance and hiking/backpacking caches. 

Not that I have seen.  I've come across several "lonely" caches that hadn't been found in more than a year and were bone-dry inside.  Most of these are regular-sized caches, since it's easier to hide larger caches in remote places, and use good containers and/or are placed in spots that shelter them from the elements.  Of course there are some where issues arise, mostly on the more popular trails and mostly moisture.  Most of those issues get addressed by the CO, or by other cachers that contact the CO ahead of time.

Despite their size, most of them were also devoid of swag that young kids would like. I don't think young kids are finding many of these caches, and adult hikers/backpackers may not want to add toys or crafts to the gear load they're already carrying.  I will sometimes leave small carabiners or lanyards, but usually just TNLN.

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17 minutes ago, noncentric said:

Not that I have seen. 

+1

Maybe I didn't explain myself clearly, but other than the very old cookie tins (later replaced with ammo cans), we haven't seen "most", or  even a "large portion" of distant caches with issues either.    :)

Merely curious if one who keeps expressing this feeling of "mass non-maintainers" would even be satisfied if TPTB said otherwise.    :D

 

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Since I feel like some feel that my arguments are exaggerated and perhaps false,  I will provide examples. I expect that I will be told that for every example I can provide there are an equal (maybe greater) number of monitored remote caches out there. Even if the ratio were 70/30 (I think it's at most 50/50) where there is evidence on the cache listing that the owner is monitoring and maintaining their listing and cache and it's location,  the point is that there *are* a lot of abandoned containers out in remote areas where the owners do not observe the "Leave no trace"  outdoor principle.  

 

https://coord.info/GCT5EX Cobble HIll Terrain 4.5

Near the peak of a mountain near Lake Placid, New York

Hidden by someone who lists their current location as Texas. Current finds show that this appears to be where they reside now. 

Hidden in 2006. 

In September 2011 a NM was posted. "Cache log and contents are wet."

Last indication that the owner was monitoring the cache was in August 2012. "Thanks to the last two finders with helping with the maintenance of this cache."

The cache owner doesn't live in the state, and didn't retrieve their cache or adopt it out before they moved. 

 

-----------------------

 

https://coord.info/GC219EA  HikingUpward - Sky Meadows - High Meadows

Near a peak, in Sky Meadows State Park, near the Appalachian Trail in Virginia.

The owner stopped logging on to the site in 2015. There are 3 active NMs, no OMs. 

This is what the logbook looks like:

 

c001b8df-cc4a-4120-9a5e-190e5b005065_l.j

 

---------------------

 

Skyline Nation "Crazy Horse" 
by TheCaptain&Wiggles | GC4FQVK | Alberta, Canada 

T4 Near the Canadian Rockies.

The cache owner last logged in 09/10/2017
They placed this cache in 2013 when it appears that the CO lived in the area. 

In 2014 their next (and last hide) was in British Columbia as well as all of their subsequent finds. 
They did not remove this cache when they moved.
The cache owner has never posted an OM or note to their cache page. No indication that they ever monitored the cache or are currently monitoring their cache. 
 
--------------------
 
Northern Ontario, north of Thunder Bay 
Canyon Trail 
by YQT | GC2N2XY | Ontario, Canada 
T4
Hidden in 2010.
The CO appears to have been an active owner until 2013/2014, after that I don't see CO Notes of OMs posted on their caches. 
2 of 8 cache hides were archived by reviewers. No indication that the owner removed those caches. 
2 were archived in 2012/2013 by the owner because the caches had gone misisng. 
This cache is in good shape, but there is no indication that in the past 8 years, the owner ever went back to monitor the cache, or is monitoring the listing. 
----------------
 
 
Let me know if anyone would like more examples. 

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Yes - for every example you posted, I can provide numerous counter-examples, but that would be an entirely different thread and we'll never cover the millions of caches out there.

 

In summary, yes - there are some abandoned caches out there. The community has been given tools to address them, either publicly through cache logs or privately by contacting Reviewers directly.  Heck, they could even remove the caches if they really wanted to go that route and be like the environmental crusaders that hate geocaching. But what constitutes "a lot" and how does it help the hobby to proclaim that "most" CO's will just throw their caches out there without every taking care of them. Why not put that negative energy into coming up with solutions to the perceived problem?

 

I'm not seeing how "abandoned" caches in remote areas is different from "maintained" caches in remote areas, when it comes to LNT.  If someone thinks that geocaches violate LNT principles, then does it really matter whether those caches are maintained or not?

 

 

43 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

Since I feel like some feel that my arguments are exaggerated and perhaps false,  I will provide examples. I expect that I will be told that for every example I can provide there are an equal (maybe greater) number of monitored remote caches out there. Even if the ratio were 70/30 (I think it's at most 50/50) where there is evidence on the cache listing that the owner is monitoring and maintaining their listing and cache and it's location,  the point is that there *are* a lot of abandoned containers out in remote areas where the owners do not observe the "Leave no trace"  outdoor principle. 

Feels like this is going to take things OT, but I'll play along this once and try to keep it brief:

(1)  Another cacher noted, in 2013, that they will be watching and maintaining the cache for CO - who is unable to address issues due to "health issues". The cache has been in fine shape ever since. It would probably be easier for the CO to adopt the cache to the other cacher, who did maintenance in 2013, but the cache hasn't needed more maintenance since 2013 and has been found regularly without any issues, so not sure what the problem is.

(2)  The photo you posted is from 2 months ago, and the finder didn't add an NM. My guess is that all the finds after the 2-year-old NM hasn't 'activated' the CHS or the CO missed that single NM email and has been seeing finds, so just forgot about it. The earlier NM's seem inapplicable because the cache was replaced after those earlier NM's, so no maintenance would've been needed. The CO should've cleared the NM attributes.

(3)  I don't see an unaddressed problem with this cache. Is the only problem that the CO hasn't publicly declared their intentions, in regards to travel or maintenance plans.

(4)  I don't see an unaddressed problem with this cache. The CO logged a TB visit in mid-2013 and logged an OM/TB-drop 7 years ago. Maybe they, as I think most CO's that are not forum regulars, don't see any reason to log OM's or Visits to their caches if there aren't any problems with them. They are still active cachers, so I don't see any reason to assume that they wouldn't take care of the cache if something was wrong with it.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, noncentric said:

how does it help the hobby to proclaim that "most" CO's will just throw their caches out there without every taking care of them. Why not put that negative energy into coming up with solutions to the perceived problem?

 

 

Fair point.

I think GCHQ could be more proactive. For instance,

  • Requiring COs to log an OM yearly indicating that they feel their cache is available and in reasonable shape. (They don't have to visit the cache, they can conclude based on past logs and photos that the cache is likely in reasonably good shape). 
  • When archiving a cache, require COs to indicate that they checked the cache location to verify the cache container is missing and/or they have removed their broken container or removed any throwdowns. All they need to do is add a check box statement to the archival step.
  • If active cache owners have a proven track record of abandonment they cannot submit more caches until their "cacher health score" goes above a required score. (I realize many COs will just start up a new account, but then again many COs probably won't bothered).
  • Make it clear that if a CO moves from an area they are expected to retrieve their caches, or adopt their caches out.. 

But if they were to do any of the above, they might lose a lot of members. Which means they would lose a lot of money. So I doubt it would ever happen. 

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6 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

I think GCHQ could be more proactive. For instance,....

 

Seeing as it's close to Thanksgiving, your response reminded me of a similar scenario (in three part harmony):

 

Quote

I Proceeded down the hall, gettin' more injections, inspections, detections
Neglections, and all kinds of stuff that they was doin' to me at the thing
There, and I was there for two hours three hours four hours I was
There for a long time goin' through all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly things
And I was just havin' a tough time there, and they was inspectin',
Injectin', every single part of me, and they was leavin' no part untouched!

 

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14 minutes ago, noncentric said:

(1) Another cacher noted, in 2013, that they will be watching and maintaining the cache for CO

 

 

Why hasn't the CO officially adopted out their cache to this unofficial adopter? But if they did, that cacher lists their location as Arkansas. And for the past year all of the unofficial adopter from Arkansas' cache finds have been in Alaska. So I don't think they'll be doing any more maintenance, nor should they officially adopt the cache since they no longer live in the area.  If the CO's health problems started in the past 4 years, when they stopped responding to reviewers, why hasn't the CO put out a call to ask someone to adopt their caches. 

 

Quote

not sure what the problem is.

 

It supports my claim that many COs do not adhere to the "Leave No Trace" outdoor wilderness principle. And many cachers don't see a problem with it. 

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17 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

Why hasn't the CO officially adopted out their cache to this unofficial adopter? But if they did, that cacher lists their location as Arkansas. And for the past year all of the unofficial adopter from Arkansas' cache finds have been in Alaska. So I don't think they'll be doing any more maintenance, nor should they officially adopt the cache since they no longer live in the area.  If the CO's health problems started in the past 4 years, when they stopped responding to reviewers, why hasn't the CO put out a call to ask someone to adopt their caches.

It would be better for the CO to adopt it out. It sounds like the unofficial adopter knows the CO personally, so maybe they just agreed to work things out this way?  That unofficial adopter has been caching in the area (NY,  Vermont) every North American summer in 2018, 2017, 2016, ???  I didn't go back any further in their history.  Looks like they visit the area regularly.  I'd rather be optimistic and hope that if an issue arises with the cache, that the adopter (or CO) will take care of it.  If an issue arises and they don't respond, then I'll call it an 'abandoned' cache.

 

 

17 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

It supports my claim that many COs do not adhere to the "Leave No Trace" outdoor wilderness principle. And many cachers don't see a problem with it. 

But don't ALL CO's violate LNT principles?  I mean, even if a CO checks on their cache every month, they are still leaving something out in the wilderness. Right?

 

 

 

Edited by noncentric

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16 hours ago, noncentric said:

But don't ALL CO's violate LNT principles?  I mean, even if a CO checks on their cache every month, they are still leaving something out in the wilderness. Right?

 

There's a lot of false ideas about LNT, and the literal message from others is popular when they have an agenda.

 

On topic, the LNT section on rocks piles for no reason "cairns" for example, their own site says, "At Leave No Trace we are not asking you to always be on the hardcore end of the spectrum. However, we are asking you to take responsibility for your actions and do your best to understand the impacts they may have on the surrounding ecosystem."

 - They're actually hoping that folks will remove them at some point, and return rocks where they came from.  Good luck with that...

Look at their FAQ for an understanding that LNT  isn't literal.

 

If it's "sorta" alright to remove rocks from the ground, leaving a hole where it was, now creating a pocket for erosion to change the area, what's a cache do?

Nothing.  The container just sits there.

We already have some areas that only allow caches temporarily (2 or 3 years) so a "geotrail" doesn't become a permanent thing.

One we're aware of, the park has let one sit for some time.

 - As many distant caches, it doesn't have enough visitors to present an issue.  :)

 

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I researched more into this, and am a bit swayed on the issue; However, I'm still on the edge of both sides of the argument. Looking into the LNT website, they wrote several Geocaching articles . The overall opinion is favoritism towards Geocaching, as long as hiders make sure to keep several items in mind:
 

Quote
  • Properly planning for your geocaching outing by having the items or equipment you'll need to safely enjoy your adventure. Also, if placing a cache, making sure it's legal in your area. 
  • Being conscience of where caches are placed (durable surfaces) and thinking about how traveling to and from a cache can cause trampling, erosion, etc. 
  • Having the necessary knowledge/equipment to deal with trash, litter and human waste. 
  • Considering impacts of geocaching to both plants and animals. 
  • Being mindful of other visitors who may also be enjoying the same areas as you. 

 

That being said, this debate on Geocaching being environmentally impactful has been a long discussed topic. I felt that the Wilderness.net best outlined the overall problem with Geocaching in their National Forest Geocaching Regulations policy proposal. Specifically, when Geocaches are left unmaintained, the negative impact they cause:
 

Quote

Geocaches are essentially private property left on public land. It is considered abandoned property after a certain time limit. Some consider these caches to be litter. Some sites are never visited and never picked up. Overtime some cache containers can loose their integrity, allowing moisture to damage their contents. Animals can discover, open and scatter contents of the caches.

 

While there are policies placed on a national level, it seems like the final decision for National Parks is left up to the individual park. Some parks find it to be mutually beneficial to include Geocache containers, despite the notable impact they cause, so long as they are carefully monitored by park staff. Others completely prohibit them as they are considered abandoned property.

 

I think most National Parks already have the best practices in mind for Geocaching, but I feel this problem extends beyond National Parks. Regardless of how many abandoned caches are left out there, when one is unmaintained it just becomes carefully placed litter.

 

Which makes me ask the question, how long should a Geocache be left unattended before it is considered abandoned? The policy proposed by Wilderness.net wanted to categorize Geocache containers the same as abandoned personal supplies and propose that leaving them unattended for more than 24 consecutive hours classifies them as litter.

 

I personally think that checking it every 24 hours is way too much. However, with some Geocache containers being left in remote places where logs are spread out months apart, I don't think waiting until a string of DNFs is sufficient to warrant a Cache Owner to check the container's condition. There should be something more clearly defined on how often a container is checked on by the Cache Owner.

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50 minutes ago, CheshireCrab said:

I personally think that checking it every 24 hours is way too much.

Yeah, for anything but a front-yard cache, that's way too much.

 

FWIW, I know someone who got STF (Second To Find) on a remote backpacking cache. Her STF came years after the FTF.

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14 minutes ago, niraD said:

Yeah, for anything but a front-yard cache, that's way too much.

 

FWIW, I know someone who got STF (Second To Find) on a remote backpacking cache. Her STF came years after the FTF.

 

Did the owner ever go back?

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22 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

Did the owner ever go back?

No idea. As far as I know, the cache is still out there, waiting for a Third To Find.

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2 hours ago, CheshireCrab said:

That being said, this debate on Geocaching being environmentally impactful has been a long discussed topic.

Yawn....heard that argument my entire life. Makes me wonder how they reconcile geocaches and summit registers without their head exploding. If it’s not geocaching it’s climbing, mountain biking, equestrian, goats or llamas. Some people are just grumpy and need something to complain about I guess. 

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5 hours ago, Touchstone said:

Yawn....heard that argument my entire life. Makes me wonder how they reconcile geocaches and summit registers without their head exploding. If it’s not geocaching it’s climbing, mountain biking, equestrian, goats or llamas. Some people are just grumpy and need something to complain about I guess. 

That's similar to how I see it as well.   Not the way they play so it's wrong.

We were told in the 90s bolts replacing pitons in climbing was going to ruin that hobby. 

Folks still look at mountain bikes as the ruin of trails, when the tracks are obviously from atvs/utvs. 

The newer one here is "electric assist" mountain bikes.   "Terror on the trails !"  

 - Figures, just as my beat knees could use one...  :)

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On 7/13/2018 at 12:51 AM, balzaccom said:

all motorized vehicles are prohibited in wilderness areas---even chain saws

I doubt that's the rule worldwide in National Parks.

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Hmm...  I was a trail maintainer for ten years.  Carried out a lot of garbage.  Mostly water bottles.  Underwear.  Beer bubbles.  Shoes.  Beer bottles.  Alcohol is illegal in that park.  Other major problems: ATVs ruining the trails.  And that's a major problem.  They are not permitted.  That doesn't seem to stop the ATV riders.  "This is not a bicycle friendly trail."  "You're not allowed to ride bikes on this trail."  

Problems with geocaches as litter seems very minimal compared to water bottles.

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16 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

??

Are they mountain bikes?

 

Four-wheeled off road motor vehicle.  The kid who complained about the trail not being bicycle friendly was on a 'No Bikes Permitted' trail.

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Hello guys! Being from Czechia / Poland borderline in Europe it is interesting insight in US National Park system and visitor behaviour there.
Same troubles here. But the chainsaws, I have seen them utilized in National Parks, but they do have to use biodegradable oil. Especially piles of rocks. I always tear them down.
Cheers & keep up the good work B)

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