I was up geocaching around the Altaconey River in the Nephin Begs last Sunday with my Kelly’s Kettle, having just located a pretty easy cache nearby. Feeding small twigs into the kettle, I began to wonder what Leave No Trace’s (LNT) opinion might be of both the kettle and, indeed, geocaching as a pastime.
I was confident of what LNT would say about the Kelly’s Kettle and other similar products, for the simple reason that I use it properly and do not leave a trace behind me.
Use it properly ? What does that entail ? Well, I don’t break twigs or pine cones off trees, but use what is already on the ground. And I don’t lie the kettle on ground that might get burned or scorched, but use rocks or sand, where there is some. And I don’t discard the burnt materials afterwards, but pack them away.
I was much less sure about geocaching.
Why ? Because, even if I come across a geocache, pay my respects, maybe do a swap of what’s in it for something new, nevertheless, this is still a (typically) plastic item in the natural environment – an imposter, if you will.
So here is the reply I got from Boulder, CO, USA, with which I’m happy :
WHAT IS THE CENTER’S STANCE ON GEOCACHING?
The Center views geocaching as a fun and worthwhile recreational pursuit when done in accordance with land management agency regulations and with Leave No Trace in mind. As the popularity of geocaching has exploded over the past few years, land managers in many areas are seeing more impacts related to geocaching. However, because of geocaching, more and more people are enjoying the outdoors. Both people placing caches and people seeking caches need to research current regulations on geocaching for the areas where they wish to partake in this activity.
The Center also has geocaching-specific information at https://lnt.org/road-wisdom-geocaching/.
Thanks again for your questions. We appreciate the dialogue.
All the best,
Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
PO Box 997
Boulder, CO 80306
P: 303.442.8222 X109
Read here about Leave No Trace training, of which I am a registered provider.