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Environmental Impact


Team LegGoes
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I have noted that in some places where caches are hidden, some of the ground-cover and surrounding foliage is being damaged. :blink: This is happening in parks and on trails when searching for a cache. Some of this is I believe is being done by the younger cachers that are either not supervised or not shown how to handle the live foliage in the area. I feel we should all strive to protect our environment and keep it clean during our searches. If we can get this massage out to most cachers; just being aware may help us from being kicked out of areas because of misuse that might cause damage.

 

Thanks for hearing me out and happy caching to all. :D

LegGoes & Dr. Angel

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If it is in an environmentally sensitive area (like the desert) then definitely let the cache owner know. But I live in New England and have seen Mother Nature tear down buildings and break up and cover over old paved roads. Mother Nature will prevail over a few broken branches. But absolutely people should be careful, if nothing else so they don't give away the cache location!

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sheesh! it's not like we're burning down acres of rainforests just to go caching. if i'm in a sensitive area i use caution. if i'm walking on a cement path while watching kids on bikes, or kids running through the woods, i'm not going to worry about damaging a few stinging nettles or dandelions. if i do go off trail i always take a route that was walked through before. the deer execrement i usually find shows me that a person wasn't there first.

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I agree with many of these comments but don't know how to do multiple quotes in a forum post yet. I don't see this concern as being an environmental problem.

 

This condition is always site specific and seldom is irreversible damage done. Some states parks systems are considering policies whereby caches need to be removed after a certain period of time, like three years. It really depends on the rate of visits a cache gets though.

 

Usually where I see evidence of visits is in the "wild" areas of parks and open spaces. In these areas nature usually quickly reclaims the ground once the cache is removed.

 

Even with the high rate of cache placements over the past two years the amount of ground effected negatively by geocaching is miniscule and is often offset by trash removal.

 

It usually looks worse than it actually is.

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Caching is something we do - that's why we are here on this site. The site gives us general rules/guidelines for how to hide a cache and search for a cache. Some of these are clearly set out, some are implied - most are common sense. There have been many threads over the months on the subject and they all seem to me to come to the same conclusions - we, humans, have the same rights as animals, deer, beavers etc., to be there. The difference being, the animals live there, we are there for recreation. With all of that said, if we live within the guidelines, there is no reason why humans, animals and plants can not co-exist with each and all of us getting what we want and need from an area.

 

We have all seen the damage that can be done when some unthinking person uses an area as a dump site. That is not within the area of discussion here. If I happen to break a twig or two and if I happen to tread on a few tussocks of grass or what ever other plants, am I going to cry myself to sleep? Not on your life! However, I think that I am sensible enough to know the difference between going about my legitimate cache hunting business and rampaging through the forest destroying all in my path. There are degrees of what is referred to as damage. Some will see a broken twig and some bent grass as an environmental disaster. I have to say that those people should perhaps chose a different pass time.

 

On a slightly different tack - I always twitch a little bit when I see that expression 'Mother Nature'..... Nature is not your mother - nature really doesn't give a dadgum if you live or die! Hopefully, your mother does!!!

 

I watch where I walk in the forest and if there is another way to get 'over there' without stomping on some plant or other I will go that way instead. I don't carry a shovel or a machete when I go into the woods. I don't hammer nails into trees to hang caches from.

 

I don't believe that we were placed here to be a custodian of nature. Not as a prime directive anyhow. Despite that, it makes sense to avoid deliberate destruction of our environment. And, that is as far as I intend to go. Enjoy it and leave it so that it can be enjoyed again tomorrow. Environmental disasters are not as easy to cause as some people think - nature has a vast ability to look after its self. (I am not talking about open cast mining or nuclear bombs here!)

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Environmental disasters are not as easy to cause as some people think - nature has a vast ability to look after its self. (I am not talking about open cast mining or nuclear bombs here!)

 

Nature has an amazing power to recover from any damage. As a trail maintainer, I've witnessed hiking trails totally disappear after even afew months of neglect.

 

Where I live in NJ there are many thousands af acres of forest in my region. Most of this was once farmland as is evidenced by the countless stone walls we encounter in what otherwise appears to be a pristine forest. In fact there is more forested land in NJ now then there was in 1776.

 

I recently started exploring the numerous ancient iron mines in this area. They were once bustling centers, where the hillsides were stripped of trees to provide charcoal for the iron furnaces, huge holes were blasted into hillsides and dozens - and sometimes hundreds - of workers extracted ore and built roads to ship it. Most of these mines closed about 100 years ago. Yet now, but for a handful of historians, most people couldn't tell that there was a major industry operating in the area for 200 some years. To the eye it looks like a pristine forest.

 

Now I'm not condoning placing a cache next to a spotted owl nest, or in a patch o endangered plants, but for the most part any "damage" caused by a cache is temporary

Edited by briansnat
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We should completely ban wildlife as well. Most of the critters out there have 4 legs? That is twice the damage!

 

Ah, yes, here we go again...

 

And those people before me who threw all that trash around made a much bigger mess than my coke can and candy wrappers does. So I'm cool...

 

Personally I think the advice to contact the cache owner if you feel there's too much trampling going on is the best way to go. As others have mentioned, not every environment is equally sensitive. Off-trail tramping in alpine regions might take decades to heal, the same level of use on the east coast or the Olympic Peninsula will disappear almost immediately.

 

Let the owner know. Responsible folks will take action if necessary.

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We should completely ban wildlife as well.  Most of the critters out there have 4 legs?  That is twice the damage! 

 

Ah, yes, here we go again...

 

And those people before me who threw all that trash around made a much bigger mess than my coke can and candy wrappers does. So I'm cool...

 

Oh MY! I never realized. ;) Looks like we'll have to clear cut the area and start from scratch. :bad:

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i'm trying to restore my neighborhood to the condition it was in about 150 years ago....

 

right now it's full of annoying trees, nature trails, climbing venues and a golf course where once there were mills, smithies, quarries and not a tree in sight. you used to be able to stand on the steps of the baptist church and look clear through the notch, but now all that's left of the church is a callar hole and there are too many trees in the way.

 

all the stores are closed, the buildings have been razed, and now when i want a pint of ice cream, it's a 20 minute drive. there used to be stores downtown! they still call it downtown, but now it's just a 4-way stop with 2 dead end arms between a pasture and a beaver pond.

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Nature will repair most damage that we do to plants and grasses. You mow your grass and that keeps coming back...right?

 

However I wish people wouldn't smash every spider or kill every snake they see. This is really a true impact on the enviroment. It's not that I'm fond of either, but I do realize their purpose in the grand scheme of things.

 

El Diablo

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Nature will repair most damage that we do to plants and grasses. You mow your grass and that keeps coming back...right?

 

However I wish people wouldn't smash every spider or kill every snake they see. This is really a true impact on the enviroment. It's not that I'm fond of either, but I do realize their purpose in the grand scheme of things.

 

El Diablo

Is it OK if I keep mashing spiders? I don't 'do' too many but I am officially classed at partially disabled coz of a bite from a spider and I really NEED to mash them. :bad::bad:;)

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I'm glad for all the comments on this subject. The problem I seen was a cache hidden in a tree, hung like a x-mas ornament and branches have been broken and bent to the point that a clear area has been exposed. This is damage that should not have happened and was below the actual hiding plase of the cache, I am maintaining this cache for the owner and the damage occured with in the first 5 finders. that is why I sent the origenal notice.

 

Thanks and happy caching :rolleyes:

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We have only requested a cache be moved due to a social trail forming once. The trail had developed through a landscaped area at a train station. Other people were actively trying to keep their flowerbed planted, and geocaching was being counter-productive to that. I emailed the owner, he moved it within a couple days.

 

Per the GC guidelines caches are not supposed to be placed in sensitive ecological areas (careful, definition of "sensitive" varies from your point of view here), right? If we're worried about the impact only a few people would make, soil compaction or that certain lichen that only grows on the...well, you get the picture, don't place. The kicker: it's relative to what HUMANs consider sensitive. Otherwise, all the inflammatory, 4-legged discussions come out.

 

Don't some discussions here seem to assume that wherever a cache is placed, you're going to get the major-attraction-type trails? When you get 100,000 visitors a year you have to start thinking about your social trails. If you want the next 100,000 to see the same thing this year's crowd did. For 100 visits a year? Despite the apparent "pressure", it's hardly a mosquito bite on Mother Nature's butt.

 

The thing that gets right beside me is the schoolboy-type damage, where you grab a live limb next to the trail as you walk by and try to pull the limb off, twisting and breaking it, leaving an ugly little bit for all to see. Does it impact the environment? Not really. Is it ugly and infantile to me, a human? Yes. So which one are we really talking about here? Impact to us, or impact to nature? Not the same. Down here we see a lot of the deplorable ugliness left by the illegal dumping of a thousand 4-wheeling rednecks that came before us. But as far as "impact" to the "environment"...unless there is something toxic in there, Mother Nature doesn't really even notice, much less "care".

 

However this is Texas not, say, Rhode Island, and things could be really really different there...but that's how it seems to be here.

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What do you mean by all this great damage? If cachers are going around and trampling rare plants or little trees or something, that's one thing...

 

But if you're talking about flat grass or dead weeds... a few snapped twigs here or there... then I think you're a tad off your rocker.

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