Geocaching and Letterboxing in Washington State Parks have fallen victim to Anti-Caching. A person or group calling itself “Forest Defenders” has recently been destroying geocaches and letterboxes here in the Pacific Northwest. They have a blog which I will not dignify with a link to here, but if you want to read it, you can find the web address here in the geocaching.com forums.
If these people would use their blog to educate (one of their stated goals) about eco-sensitive areas and the specific types of plants, fungi and lychans to pay special attention not to disturb, I would be more inclined to value their opinion about geocache placement. I am always happy to learn new ways and change my behaviors to be a more responsible patron of the outdoors. But…
I think that these people might better serve the environment by sharing their points of view in an educational way rather than the destructive route they are engaged in. Geocachers share things. It’s the basis of what we do. We share knowledge of beautiful locations with each other by placing geocaches. We share knowledge of trail conditions, outdoorsmanship, safety considerations and much more at geocaching events. If these persons truly want to stop environmental damage done by geocachers seeking caches, then teach. The few who are taught will always forward the information to other cachers. Sharing knowledge with 64 Geocachers instead of stealing 64 geocaches, would go much further in the effort to change the current conditions in our Washington State Parks and the world.
Instead, they geocache freely. Signing some logs and using the services of geocaching.com to find many more beautiful and interesting places. Then appoint themselves as “defenders” of public property. Property held in trust for the benefit of all citizens and animals alike protected by trained professionals who have dedicated their lives to the service of the land, it’s people, its wildlife and remove other geocaches as they deem fit.
Letterboxing has been around for centuries. Geocaching 10 years. Both activities are known to all governmental agencies and park personnel. If the authorities and real “defenders” allow them and in many states actively encourage and engage in these pursuits, what right do you have to remove them?
Geocaching has many side benefits. The biggest one for me has been a dramatically increased awareness of the environment, its ecosystems and my effect upon them. It has changed the way I live everyday. In effect it has taught me to be a more earth-friendly consumer and has started me upon a path of green living. These changes take time, but the changes I’ve made have had a ripple effect into the lives everyone I know. And the ripples just keep spreading. Teaching changes the teacher and the student. I am now also learning more about living green form those very friends who, once influenced, took it a step further. The circle returns. This is educating.
But. These part time geocachrs/eco-anti-cachers do not teach, enlighten or foster support for their views with their actions. They destroy.
Doesn’t say much for them in my humble opinion.
“With All Sincerity”