The latest black eye for geocaching is the archiving of the ET Highway series of geocaches in Nevada. The claim to fame for this series was that it had over 1000 caches in the series. The loss of this series doesn’t really bother me from the standpoint of losing a power trail, the loss does bother me from how this will negatively affect geocaching in Nevada and elsewhere.
I listened to the Geocacher Podcast today and one of the cache owners of the ET Highway series read the message he received advising him the series would be archived. In that message he mentions that the Nevada Attorney General was involved. It is never a good thing for geocaching when officials at that level are involved. The cache owner was clear in what he was told but I don’t think we are getting the full story on why these caches were archived.
I’m sure it is true that there were close calls on the road. I also believe it’s very easy for a government to use safety as the public reason for making a controversial decision. Who can argue with safety? I have not found any of the caches along the ET highway but I have talked to geocachers that have. Typically the caches in this series are not far from the road. I wonder if the cache owners received permission from the Nevada DOT to place the caches where they did? When you read this post, Goodbye Geocaching ET Highway, written by a reviewer, you see that the number one recommendation to avoid issues is to get permission. I think the combination of safety and lack of permission is what led to this series being archived.
As geocachers we have to maintain good communication with all levels of government. It is one of the reasons I got involved with the Ontario Geocaching Association. By and large the kind of places we want to place caches will at some-point put other geocachers on government owned/managed land. We all know that we need permission to place a cache on private property. Getting that kind of permission is usually not too hard. On the other hand dealing with governments is never easy.
I”m sure the reviewers at geocaching.com will be a lot more sensitive to caches along highways. Some reviewers here in Ontario have been sensitive to this for some time. Thanks! Your diligence helps minimize the number of land manager conflicts we face.
My biggest fear for geocaching is that a few cachers that don’t respect proper etiquette will ruin it for the rest of us. If you care enough about geocaching to read this blog then you likely aren’t the kind of person that will cause problems for other cachers. The real challenge for all of us that do care is educating the people that either don’t know better or don’t care to do better.