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#197503 - 01/23/17 08:43 PM Geocaching - boon to uber hikers?
dylansdad77 Offline
member

Registered: 03/12/14
Posts: 158
Loc: New Jersey
Hi All - I do a fair amount of light hiking trips for an experienced novice, day trips and a few short weekenders. My son is 8 and involved in cub scouts so he's been introduced to hiking from an early age. To help maintain his interest in the outdoors, I've introduced him to geocaching which, until recently, he has affectionately referred to "treasure hunting".

Recently, I've assumed a leadership role in his cub scout pack and introduced geocaching to all the boys (60+) and it has taken off in popularity. It appears that my goal of giving the boys more impetus to hit the trails has been achieved - but it also got me thinking...where does the hiking community land on geocaching? Technically speaking, it is littering. So I thought I would pose the question here to get some feedback.


Edited by dylansdad77 (01/23/17 08:44 PM)
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#197504 - 01/23/17 10:05 PM Re: Geocaching - boon to uber hikers? [Re: dylansdad77]
topshot Offline
member

Registered: 04/28/09
Posts: 241
Loc: Midwest
Seems to be OK as long as the managing authority approves it. There are several in the only designated wilderness area (part of Hoosier NF) in Indiana. While they may be OK with it, I don't know if other wilderness areas do. Out of curiosity, there are a few in the Wind Rivers.

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#197507 - 01/24/17 12:46 AM Re: Geocaching - boon to uber hikers? [Re: topshot]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6370
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I understand that geocaching is not exactly approved (even if not specifically forbidden) in many wilderness areas. It probably depends on the jurisdiction. I think that in many places, the Forest Service is still trying to find out what impact geocaching has before issuing any rules.

Of course, with a scout troop, you will run up against the limits on party size in wilderness areas. Those are specific, often different for each wilderness area, and in a very few popular areas, different for a part of a wilderness area. Out here in the Pacific Northwest, the most common party size limit is 12 persons. Sometimes it's 12 heartbeats, which means that dogs and pack animals are included in the limit. In at least one popular area, the limit is 6 (no dogs or pack animals allowed). Other places, I've seen a limit of 15-20 people. If a larger group is split, each part has to stay at least a mile from the other at all times, no going back and forth. This means you'll probably have to avoid wilderness areas altogether.

If you can find more leaders, I'd suggest splitting the troop (if all 60 come) into smaller groups, wherever you are. Less impact on the environment, and definitely easier to keep track of everyone!

In any case, a phone call to the appropriate ranger station when planning the trip to find out the rules for that specific location is a good idea.


Edited by OregonMouse (01/24/17 01:00 AM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#197508 - 01/24/17 06:22 AM Re: Geocaching - boon to uber hikers? [Re: dylansdad77]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 654
Loc: Upstate NY
As a scout leader myself, I would recommend doing these activities at the den level. Most cub activities should be done at this level. The entire pack would get together for large gatherings like blue and gold, or the final pinewood derby competition.
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#197510 - 01/24/17 01:49 PM Re: Geocaching - boon to uber hikers? [Re: OregonMouse]
dylansdad77 Offline
member

Registered: 03/12/14
Posts: 158
Loc: New Jersey
Sorry, should have been more specific in the OP. While the pack is 60+, our activities are den specific. We have 6 dens ranging from 7 - 14 boys each, and each den has created their own geocache at different locations at various county and state parks in the area.

While we do host a monthly pack-wide hike, which includes parents, siblings etc, our largest group to date is around 25 - usually we are in the teens.

My newest challenge is to get the smart-phones and hand-held GPS out of the kids hands. As these are usually quite necessary for geocaching, I am working with the adults to coach the scouts on heading and distance using a smart phone (which the scouts can't see) and they have to use a compass to navigate.
_________________________
Did you know that 83.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

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#197515 - 01/24/17 08:37 PM Re: Geocaching - boon to uber hikers? [Re: dylansdad77]
topshot Offline
member

Registered: 04/28/09
Posts: 241
Loc: Midwest
Originally Posted By dylansdad77
My newest challenge is to get the smart-phones and hand-held GPS out of the kids hands. As these are usually quite necessary for geocaching, I am working with the adults to coach the scouts on heading and distance using a smart phone (which the scouts can't see) and they have to use a compass to navigate.

So far I have used only map and compass to find the caches I've done. It does make it much more challenging! As such, I have tried only caches that I have some chance of getting a bearing from a known landmark (e.g., building, creek junction, tower, lake, etc).

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