In the last year I’ve gone on a number of group geocache outings and invariable we run in to parking problems. Do you think about parking when you list your geocache? I suppose it won’t come naturally to you to think about parking if you don’t drive, much is it may not dawn on you that not everyone drives if you do. Here’s my collection of parking tips you should consider when listing your geocache.
First and foremost consider carpooling. If your cache is likely to be in an area that will attractive for group outings provide details on the best carpooling locations. I’ve found many times that there is limited parking at a trailhead. There may be a larger parking area a short distance away. Have most vehicles park there and carpool to the trailhead. You could apply a similar logic for linear trails where it makes sense to park vehicles at both ends of the trail. It’s helpful to provide child waypoints for parking at a number of sections on linear trails.
The biggest parking hassle when urban caching can be just finding the parking spot! If you are local to the area you are hiding your cache it is nice to provide suggestions on low cost parking or parking lots that tend to have spaces. I prefer to plan my day such that I remove as many time variables as I can. I don’t mind walking five minutes from a parking lot that tends to have space if it helps me avoid 20 minutes of searching for on street parking. The nearest parking spot is not always the best or even available. You can avoid parking hassles all together by taking public transit
Local parkettes typically do not provide their own parking lots. This means parking on the street. If you’ve ever cached on a Sunday morning in a residential neighbourhood you know how out-of-place your car can look. I’ve been stared down a few times when I getting out of my car. Those little boxes we carry in order to find geocaches are always trying to get us to go straight for the cache. Sometimes there is a parking lot around a corner or at a nearby facility that will do well to make your vehicle look less obvious. I have a cache along a nice suburban trail but there is no parking. The developers assumed you’d live in the neighbourhood if you were using the trails (they’d obviously never heard of geocaching). I prefer to bike these trails. For some reason cycling tends to draw less attention that parking. You also have to watch out for streets that only allow parking on one side. Adding this kind of info to your cache listing might make the neighbours less suspicious.
Roadside parking scares me to death. Unlike urban and suburban environments rural areas are not pedestrian friendly. That fence post might look like a great place for a cache but where will the cacher park? If roadside parking is the only option for your cache make sure there are good sight lines. There is nothing worse than coming over a hill and finding a car parked at the side of the road.
I’ve been to many trail systems in rural areas where there is no parking at the trailhead. Let’s leave aside the idiocy of that decision. If your trailhead doesn’t have parking you should suggest some suitable alternate locations. Perhaps it’s best to enter the trail from another location, even it means a longer walk to the cache. Getting outside is part of the fun for me at least.
I suppose because I’ve done these group outings I’m sensitive to parking issues. It is also helpful to use the negative parking attribute on your cache listing if parking is not available. More information is always better than less.