Posted by: geonarcissa | June 11, 2009

My response to the Cleburne Times-Review geocaching article.

The original, highly biased article can be found here.

I’ve written to the author, Matt Smith (msmith@trcle.com):


I’ve just read your piece about geocaching in local cemeteries, and I was very disappointed that you didn’t approach any local geocachers to give their side of the story. The characterization of geocaching and geocachers in the story seemed biased and unfair. Geocachers abide by a comprehensive set of guidelines in order to protect the surroundings we use for our game. One of the reasons cemeteries are popular places for geocaches (not just in Texas – all over the world) is because they are interesting, beautiful, and with much to teach us about local history. The placement of a geocache in a cemetery is done with full appreciation of what a cemetery is and what it stands for.

While I understand that cemetery caretakers see a lot of vandalism and general disrespect, blaming geocachers for that is extremely unfair. In addition to other guidelines, we practice a code of ethics known as CITO – “cache in, trash out.” Most of us try to leave the surroundings near a geocacher in BETTER shape than we found them. The accusation that geocaching is related to cemetery vandalism is insulting and without foundation.

That said, Groundspeak (the company that runs the geocaching.com website) and local volunteer geocaching reviewers have, in my experience, always been very quick to respond to the concerns of land owners and property managers. It’s also not difficult to sign up for a free account in order to find the listing for an offending geocache and contact the owner. I suspect that the cemetery caretakers you’ve quoted in your story are exaggerating their effort to reach the geocachers responsible. And are they certain that the geocaches weren’t placed with permission? It may well be that these volunteers are removing game pieces and interfering with geocachers who have already gotten permission to use that space.

Geocachers are, generally, quite sensitive about the way we’re portrayed in the media. A story like yours can be absolutely devastating for our reputation, making it extremely difficult for us to work with land managers to keep our game allowed in public spaces. I would like to see you contact some local geocachers to find out more about the game from our perspective. If you’d like, I can help put you in touch with some geocachers in the area.

I encourage all of you to write to the author of this piece to let him know that you’re displeased with the way geocaching is characterized in this article. His email address again is msmith@trcle.com


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Responses

  1. I checked on the story today…glad to see so many geocachers speaking up 🙂 Loving the comments!


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