Well, unfortunately it has happened again. We’ve talked previously about geocaches being mistaken for bombs and it has happened again in Idaho. The cache was placed in a bucket under the base of a bridge. Honestly, I can see how emergency officials would mistake the bucket as a possible threat.
According to one of the geocaching.com founders this has happened “no more than five or ten” times. And there are currently close to a quarter million geocaches stashed around the world. Certainly a very low percentage but when the bomb squad comes with robots to detonate the geocache, things get expensive.
Geocaching has had other problems too; problems that prompted a partial ban in Canada National Parks. I can see their point too.
So where does this leave geocaching? I’m an avid geocacher and would hate to see more widespread bans on the sport. Maybe more education is the key to prevent people from putting geocaches in silly locations like under the base of a bridge. Perhaps geocaching needs to move towards more virtual caches. (Virtual caches are locations people find but there is nothing specifically hidden there.) Virtual caches are not always as fun as finding a well hidden cache in a tree knot-hole.
Maybe we just need to stop using “box” style caches and instead opt for something less suspicious looking. Perhaps a travel bug itself could become the new geocache. Or maybe encourage more “micro caches” like those that use plastic film canisters as the cache. Each of these types of caches would likely forgo a logbook and trinkets for trade, but that might be worth the cost of the sport.
So what do you think? It is hard to fault people for mistaking a geocache for a suspicious item and I suspect we will hear more stories like this in the future. Any good ideas to ensure a positive future for geocachers?