"Mike Teague" <>
Sent: 10/26/2000 8:08:15 PM
"gpsstash" <>

Fw: Geocaching Targeted by Sierra Club

Ohhh great.. it was bound to happen!

Mike Teague -

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dave Ulmer"
To: "Mike Teague"
Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2000 4:14 PM
Subject: Geocaching Targeted by Sierra Club

> The article from the NYT was distributed by a Sierra Club list server, and
> they are studiing the game for action, I am told... Please copy to
> email list.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "David E. Bybee"
> To: "Dave Ulmer"
> Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2000 1:51 PM
> Subject: Article: What to Do With G.P.S
> ---------- Forwarded Message ----------
> From:,
> TO: Post List-SC-OA-GC,
> DATE: 10/26/2000 3:20 PM
> RE: Article: What to Do With G.P.S
> This article from
> has been sent to you by Don Pachner
> Andrew Johnson
> Andrew & David, I'm trying to send the article on geostashing...hope this
> goes through. Let me know whether you think Sierra Club should take a
> position on this increasingly popular sport...if it expands, it could
> imperil some ecologically fragile areas.
> Don Pachner
> Leader, Atlantic Chapter Outings Committee
> Chair, Lower Hudson Group Trails Committee
> Atlantic Chapter Webmaster
> Check out our web site at:
> Don Pachner
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> What to Do With G.P.S
> October 26, 2000
> EARLIER this month, Robert A. Casinghino took a walk in the woods. A
> student at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., he had driven into
> the Dutchess County countryside in an old Chevrolet that he had
> borrowed from his parents. He was seeking the perfect place to
> leave a two-gallon paint bucket with a modest treasure trove: a
> waterproof brass match case, a few packages of field rations, a set
> of camping utensils, a log book and a pencil.
> Mr. Casinghino found a pretty spot in a green thicket. ("It just
> felt right," he said later.) He then pulled out his bright yellow
> Global Positioning System receiver to record the precise location
> and drove home to post the location on the Internet.
> He was geocaching, the latest fad in the never-ending pursuit of
> ways to use sophisticated technology to accomplish useless things.
> Players leave caches and others find them, often hiking for hours
> and enduring physical hardships to do so. For hundreds of
> enthusiasts worldwide, this high-tech Easter egg hunt is something
> to do with gadgets they have bought but may not have much use for.
> "I got it, honestly, because it was just a neat toy," Mr.
> Casinghino said. "Unfortunately, I'm kind of a geek like that. I go
> for every gadget I can afford."
> That is one of the reasons he is so excited about geocaching, he
> said. "Now with this sport starting up," he explained, "I actually
> have a use for it and I don't have to look at people and say,
> `Well, I got it to play with.' "
> Since May, at least 120 caches have been hidden in 31 states and
> 13 countries, including Australia, New Zealand and Chile. "I'm
> amazed that it took off like it has," said Mike Teague, an early
> player from Vancouver, Wash.
> Mr. Casinghino, however, said that he had to work at convincing
> friends "that it isn't a complete waste of time."
> Caches (also called "stashes" by players) generally include a log
> book, a disposable camera and inexpensive goodies like backpacking
> equipment, batteries or beer. The game resembles an earlier game
> called letterboxing, which shuns yuppie toys for the romance of
> maps and compasses. But the key to geocaching is the love that
> gadgeteers feel for their G.P.S. devices.
> The Global Positioning System was developed by the Defense
> Department for the military. An orbiting network of 24 satellites
> transmits signals that can be picked up by receivers anywhere in
> the world; the devices determine location by using those signals to
> triangulate. They have been used for years by hikers, boaters and
> lovers of high-tech toys. The prices of G.P.S. devices continue to
> slide downward as their popularity grows; these days, a handheld
> receiver can be had for less than $100.
> Until this year, however, the military gave itself an advantage
> over any enemies who might use the same network of satellites by
> giving the system a form of technomyopia. Under a policy called
> selective availability, encryption was used to degrade the signal
> for most users, ensuring that while the military would be able to
> pinpoint locations within a few yards, most civilian devices would
> have a built-in imprecision of about 330 feet.
> On May 1, President Clinton announced that he was ending selective
> availability, bringing the accuracy of devices for users worldwide
> down to within several feet. Mr. Clinton predicted that the
> benefits would be plentiful. "For example," he said, "emergency
> teams responding to a cry for help can now determine what side of
> the highway they must respond to, thereby saving precious minutes."
> Of course, hobbyists had other plans. Two days after Mr. Clinton's
> announcement, Dave Ulmer, a G.P.S. enthusiast from Beavercreek,
> Ore., posted a simple suggestion at alt.geo.satellite-nav. He
> wrote, "Now that S.A. is off, we can start a worldwide Stash Game."
> There would be just one rule: "Get some stuff; leave some stuff."
> In a telephone interview, Mr. Ulmer said he had bought a receiver
> for snowmobiling. But he immediately grasped the fact that shutting
> off selective availability meant that "for the first time in the
> world, you could just be given coordinates and find a small object
> on the planet Earth."
> The next day, Mr. Ulmer announced that he had left a stash near
> Portland, Ore., and gave the coordinates. Mr. Teague read the
> notice and found the cache on May 6.
> "I was hooked in right there," Mr. Teague said. "I had actually
> found something with my G.P.S." (The five-gallon plastic bucket
> contained software disks, a can of beans and a slingshot.) Mr.
> Teague, in turn, buried two caches in the lava mounds and fields
> near Mount St. Helens.
> Within days, caches were popping up around the nation, with a
> quick- and-dirty Web site ( to keep
> track.
> The geocachers say that there is more to finding a cache than
> simply following an arrow on a screen. Getting to the caches can
> involve strenuous climbing and hiking, and then a little looking
> around. In doing so, they happen upon great natural sites and
> vistas.
> Jeremy Irish, a Web site designer in Bellevue, Wash., who
> maintains the leading site for the game,, found
> one of Mr. Teague's stashes one of eight that he has hunted down.
> "There were bugs all over the place," he said. "But it was worth
> it."
> Mr. Irish said he hoped that his polished site would promote the
> game through corporate sponsorship of expensive caches true
> treasures. But, he said, the real fun he derives from the game is
> "tricking eggheads to go out there and do some hiking to seek out
> these caches."
> Getting the tech set to trek outdoors is no small feat, Mr.
> Casinghino said. "The people I live with here at Marist, and
> especially the people online, they're all hard-core computer
> users," he said. "When they're not at class or at work, they sit in
> front of their machines all day. There's this mind-set that if you
> can't do it with a good computer, it's not worth doing."
> Mr. Casinghino said he chafed at that. "You can't do everything in
> life sitting in front of a monitor," he said. "You have to go out
> to do stuff."
> Mr. Casinghino experienced the culture clash on Slashdot, a Web
> site where the geekerati discuss technology, popular culture and
> issues of the day. A brief article about geocaching was met with
> scorn.
> "This sounds like a very good idea for people other than me,"
> wrote a participant in the discussion. "It's not like I am going to
> travel a couple of hours (at the least) to go rooting through
> someone's garbage."
> Another wrote: "I'm not opening no bucket someone left somewhere,
> thank you very much."
> Mr. Casinghino stands up for his hobby. "I get a lot of `Why
> bother? What's the use? Go out, find a bucket, write your name on a
> piece of paper, leave? It's a waste of time,' " he said. "The same
> can be said of just about anything. Why sit in front of a computer
> 24-7? Why read this book? Why watch that TV show?" This is
> recreation, he said. "And Sometimes recreation is supposed to be a
> waste of time."
> Mr. Ulmer, however, said he had moved on. "I have no problem with
> geocaching," he said. "But it just got a little old to me, finding
> a bucket full of goodies."
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