Re: [gpsstash] Reply to email I sent to Sierra Clubber
After reading Don Pachner's comments to Matt, If these thoughts are at all representative of Sierra Club members, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Sierra Club comes out in favor of waiting periods and background checks for new purchasers of handheld (read concealable) GPS units, eventually leading to registration and confiscation of all concealable GPS receivers and cable locks on the built-in GPS systems in cars and boats.
I get especially worried when I read terms like "human-powered boating" and "pure hiking".
Very, very scary.
Nuclear weapons have the capability to destroy all life on earth, if used properly. ----- Original Message ----- From: Matt O'Brien To: firstname.lastname@example.org Sent: Friday, October 27, 2000 10:59 PM Subject: [gpsstash] Reply to email I sent to Sierra Clubber
Thanks for writing to me. First, I'd like to know who gave you my name, as I don't think I've communicated with you previously. Since you've written to me personally, I'll send you a personal reply. This in no way reflects the official position of the environmental/outdoors organizations I volunteer with. I will send a copy of my reply to our list.
I fully appreciate what you say, and I have no problem with the game as you set it out in your email. I also have seen sports such as this expand in popularity and commercially as a fad in a way that the first participants never imagined.
The combination of commercialism, along with easy purchase of these GPS units, which are becoming more and more popular for activities other than pure hiking, camping, human-powered boating and climbing have the potential to make this a fad sport among those who do not share your concerns about environmental/ecological sensitivity.
I'm actually quite sympathetic to those who participated in this when selective availability was first disabled by the US Government, as a fun way to experiment with a new dimension of their GPS units. I would easily have done the same thing, if it were me.
My concern is whether the geocoaching people will proactively take the initiative to enforce these philosophical principals and standards you refer to below. I've seen what's happened in the mountain biking community here in the East, and, frankly, they blatantly break the rules and encourage erosion of hiking trails in environmentally sensitive areas (I've seen an unconcerned, organized group with 20 or more bikers pass by on an off-limits trail in the Hudson Highlands while working with a trail maintenance crew installing stepping stones to protect a wet area from erosion, when the biking trail was only a few miles away!). I've also witnessed the commercial expansion of ski areas in the East during the past 45 years in a way that has moved from sustainable low-cost family sport to unsustainable sprawl and environmentally inappropriate real estate development, along with environmentally damaging expansion or proposed expansion of the ski areas.
I'd be interested to know whether you and your organization would be willing to take this extra step to safeguard your sport into the future!
To: email@example.com Subject: Geocaching
My name is Matt O'Brien, and I am an avid outdoors person who happens to be involved in the activity of Geocaching. I have recently become aware of concerns you and other members of your organization have over this new form of recreation and thought I'd provide you with the perspective of someone who is involved.
Most, if not all of those involved in the activity are avid outdoors folk who enjoy using our GPS units in the field. We use them while camping, hiking, climbing, boating, etc. and find them, along with proper use of a compass, very useful. And, after having paid a small fortune for the units (typically between $150-$400 for a decent handheld model), we are always looking for new applications for them.
Along came President Clinton's directive to cease selective availability which enabled our units to become much more precise than they had been previously, which in turn, inspired someone to come up with this high-tech game of hide & seek. And, as George Mallory repied when asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, we are inspired to search out these hidden treasures "because they are there", and because it gives us yet another reason to visit the beautiful outdoors.
As a fellow outdoorsman, I understand your concerns that items placed in the forest (or anywhere), and/or those who search them out could be detrimental to potentially fragile ecosystems. And you are correct. But, I am genuinely concerned that many have been, and continue to, form preconceived notions of who we are and what we do, based solely on what they read in the article or on what they are reading on your bulletin boards.
Those of us involved have and continue to discuss issues regarding where and how we place our stashes, their contents, and potential for envirnmental damage by the stash or those who seek to locate it. We are well aware of the issues and are proactive in taking steps to avoid environemtental or ecological problems. Many stashes are located within short walking distance of parking, and along well travelled hiking routes. The notion that we are blazing trails or bushwhacking is ill conceived and incorrect. There are some stashes placed in fairly remote locations, but these too are along popular hiking routes. Still others are located within urban boundaries altogether.
In response to concerns that our stashes are 'litter', I can only say that litter is defined as something that has been discarded. Our stashes are not discarded, rather we fully intend them to be found and we, as owners of a stash, revisit them on occsion to ensure their integrity is maintained and neither they, nor their contents pose any threat to their surroundings. Most of us include a note which describes the object, it's purpose and it's contents. We also typically include a statement to the effect that we will come and remove the stash if it is in violation of any laws, rules, etc. or just plain unwanted. We do this for the enjoyment of visiting the outdoors with the added pleasure of a treasure hunt, ableit the value is in the enjoyment, not the treasure itself.
Many of us include our children when we search as it allows us the opportunity to introduce them to the great outdoors with an objective. It's a clean, wholesome activity which can be enjoyed with one's family. And in these times, anything that the family can do together is a wonderful thing. And in my case, my daughter is thrilled when we find the 'treasure'.
I encourage you to share my comments with your group in order to provide them with a better understanding of the activity and those who particpiate in it.
Thank you for your time and please let me know if you have any questions or concerns which I might pass along to my fellow geocachers.
The gpsstash page http://www.geocaching.com The GPS Stash Hunt page. http://www.triax.com/~yngwie/gps.html
GeoCache HQ http://www.braveheart.com.au GPS Stash Hunt FAQ : http://www.triax.com/~yngwie/stashfaq.txt To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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