Thursday, February 9, 2012

Geocaching is fun, but steps to take to be safe

Geocaching, it’s where the digital world and the physical world come together to create a unique type of treasure hunt.  Typically, the treasure hunt is created by unknown volunteers all over the globe that hide treasure boxes in various public places.  These treasure hunts can be a great way to experience the great outdoors, use GPS and a compass, and experience something new and different.  However, it can also cause safety concerns for those placing the treasure and those seeking it.  

The new treasure hunt, called geocaching, is fun.  All you need is a smartphone with GPS and time for an adventure.  But you can run into difficulties that can lead to safety issues.  For example, you are relying on a person you don’t know, to give you the correct GPS coordinates, to find a treasure and you have no idea what’s in it.  Theresa Payton explains what you need to know so you can be safe while experiencing your internet inspired treasure hunt.

1.  Law enforcement has reported lots of false alarms where citizens see a suspicious box hanging off electrical or water equipment.
2.  You are ultimately relying on strangers to tell you to go look for treasure and many of these geocaches are deep in the woods or remote areas of a park.
3.  The concern that geocaching desensitizes people and they stop reporting suspicious boxes because they assume it is a geocache.
4.  Geocaches are popping up in sites that are dangerous such as attached to road signs, water sources, or electrical/gas sources.

1.  Consider controlled geocache adventures.  Places like the National Whitewater Center have created their own experiences for visitors.
2.  If you see a suspicious looking box, don’t assume it’s just a geocache, please report it.
3.  Do not broadcast on the internet, in advance, that you are going geocaching and the sites you are going to.  Please always geocache with friends.  Safety in numbers!
4.  If you are hiding the buried treasure by placing a geocache, never attach it to water, gas, or electrical sources because you create a safety issue for yourself and others--and, you may be breaking the law
5.  Think first before you go galloping into the woods with an odd looking box, you may look suspicious and need to answer to authorities!
6.  Prepare in advance:  have your phone fully charged and/or extra batteries for the phone or GPS you are using.  Dress appropriately for the weather.  If you are going into remote areas, have items such as water and flashlights on hand just in case you get lost.  It’s also a good idea to have a big stick and a pocket knife just in case you need it.  Always have a first aid kit on hand or in the car.
7.  Consider a back up plan in the event you cannot get a cell phone signal.  Create a rendezvous point and specific time to meet.  Walkie talkies for your party can also be very helpful.

This is a hashtag term on Twitter meaning “Follow Friday” but also interpreted as a “Fun to Follow”.  Friday is a traditional day on Twitter to do a shout out for your favorite products, celebrities or other people you like to follow on Twitter.  You may see someone say, “You are true #FF” meaning “You are a true fun to follow for Follow Friday”.


Safe and controlled geocaching at the National Whitewater Rafting Center:

Geocaching website at:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service lists guidelines if you want to geocache at and tips for safe geocaching at:

1 comment:


    Just FYI