Did you know there’s a geocacher’s creed? I didn’t know about it when I first started. In this episode I read what the creed is and break down the different aspects of it and what they mean to me.
– “Geocachers’ Creed“, geocaching.com
Cache Highlight: “Caddy Shack“
Believe it or not, geocaching has it’s own creed. I didn’t actually know about the creed when I first started geocaching. I actually learned about it after 135 finds and 2 hides when I was researching information for Episode 10: Geocaching Terms an Acronyms. So what is the Geocachers’ Creed and what is it’s propose? You may remember from episode 10, the creed is designed to help orient new players to the ethos of the geocaching community and to act as a help guide experienced players in questionable situations.
The creed reads:
When placing or seeking geocaches, I will:
- Not endanger myself or others.
- Observe all laws & rules of the area.
- Respect property rights and seek permission where appropriate.
- Avoid causing disruptions or public alarm.
- Minimize my and others’ impact on the environment.
- Be considerate of others.
- Protect the integrity of the game.
But what do these seven things mean? In reality, these things may mean different things to each person who reads it. However, I’m guess for the most part, geocachers would come up with similar meanings. Here’s what they mean to me.
Number one: Not endanger myself or others.
When finding a cache, this means not to go after any caches that I’m not equipped to do. If a geocache requires climbing or cannoning and I don’t have the right equipment or if weather and light conditions are not safe for what I need to do, then I need to move on maybe do that cache another day. It also means that if I have people with me like my son, that I’m not trying to take them anywhere they’re not able to do safely.
When hiding a cache, this means I need to keep others safety in mind. Partly it means I need to made sure I set my D/T ratings are set appropriately to the best of my knowledge. If for some reason, anything like climbing, cannoning or anything that may need special equipment for is required to reach the cache, I need to make sure that is indicated in the cache description so people can know ahead of time. It also means I just need to think, “Is this just not safe” when placing the cache. Is the area not safe? Is what is required to do not safe even with appropriate equipment?
Number two: Observe all laws and rules of the area.
Seems obvious but if it was so obvious then maybe it wouldn’t have been placed in the creed. I need to make sure I’m obeying all local, state, and federal laws but it also means following the rules of the cache location. If I’m hiding or finding a cache in a park, I need to adhere to the parks hours. If a permit is required to place a cache, I need to make sure I file for one. If a lake is posted as no swimming allowed, then placing an underwater cache is not going to work. And make sure you’re not on private property for any reason without permission of the property owner.
Number three: Respect property rights and seek permission where appropriate.
As far as finding a cache goes, for me this goes back to adhere to all laws are area rules as well as just being respectful. I shouldn’t be doing anything to cause a disruption to the local businesses, damaging property, or leaving trash behind.
If I’m hiding a cache, it’s all the same things as finding one with the addition of making sure it’s okay with management or park rangers or whoever is in charge of an area that it’s okay to be placing a cache. I need to make sure they understand what geocaching is and that it could bring more traffic to the area. Not only is it disrespectful to a business to place a geocache without permission but it could actually get geocachers in trouble if they’re not supposed to be there and it also makes the rest of the geocaching community look bad and could even get it band from certain areas if it’s a persistent problem.
Number four: Avoid causing disruptions or public alarm.
This goes back to being respectful and not causing any disruptions to a business or to anyone else at the part. Respect the property and the people in the area. It also means when hiding a cache I make sure the cache is clearly labeled as a geocache to avoid any alarm from a muggle finding a strange unaccompanied container. It also means my containers don’t resemble anything dangerous like a gun or a bomb or anything else that might cause someone to call authorities. Unique looking containers are fun to find but be smart about it.
Number five: Minimize my and others’ impact on the environment.
Geocaching should be done with the intent on leaving the area of the cache as you found it or in better condition. That’s why geocaching developed the Cache In Trash Out (CITO) initiative. I like to keep some small plastic shopping bags in my kit to use as trash bags. Then if I find trash in an area I’m caching in, I can clean it up.
A geo-trail is an unintentional path created by geocachers on the way to getting a cache. If you’re out finding a cache and you see a geo-trail starting to form, try taking a different route to get there.
Number six: Be considerate of others.
I’ve touched on this one some already. Be respectful of the people in the area of the cache. There’s really no reason that geocaching should get in the way of others enjoying the area. Yes it can be frustrating waiting for muggles to clear out so you can look for a cache, but they have a right to be there too. Geocaching shouldn’t cause a disturbance to those not playing a game.
Number seven: Protect the integrity of the game.
By adhering to geocaching rules and the other six points of the creed, all cachers can protect the integrity of geocaching and if we’re lucky, we’ll be able to share it with others.
The cache was called “Caddy Shack”
Cache ID GC31FRF
Difficulty rating 2, Terrain rating 1.5
The description read:
If you decide to Gopher this one be careful of the hazards.
No need to go on bridge. Please stay off island if geese or eggs are present
Please replace as found.
Use extreme stealth. This can be a high muggle area.
An average that can hold small trackables.
This cache is placed with the owners/managers permission.
The cache was placed at a local golf course. My first attempt to find it resulted in a DNF so when the CO reported that a new container had been placed, I was eager to avenge it. I was with my husband and son and we swung by to grab it on the way home. My husband stayed in the car while my son went with me to find it. In the front of the gold course, not far from the parking lot, was a small pond with a small island in the center. There was a small wooden bridge leading to the island. The coordinates led us to the main land side of the bridge. I got on my knees and looked under and found a large tupper wear container. I pulled it out, signed the log and replaced the container where found.
There were tons of baby tad poles in the water next to the bridge and my son and I enjoyed watching them for a few minutes. As we were watching them a staff member drove up in a gold cart and asked if we were looking for “that geo thing”. I told him that we were and that we had found it. The staff member was friendly but informed me that the owner didn’t want the geocache there. He said there was concern about liability if someone got hurt while looking for it. He said they had removed it previously and had tried to contact the owner with no cusecs. I told him that there was a place on the geocaching website where problems like this could be reported. I told him I would try to contact the CO and if I wasn’t able to get a response I would report it. He thanked me and we went our separate ways.
I noted the encounter in my find log hoping to keep other cachers from visiting the cache before action could be taken to remove it and sent a private message to the CO. I had decided to give the CO a to respond before reporting it to geocaching.com. I kept an eye on the cache activity and within a few days the CO archived it.
While it was not fun to cause a cache to be archived, in doing do so I observed three of three points of the geocachers creed, respect property rights, be considerate of others, and protect the integrity of the game. Even if I didn’t know about the creed when I did it.