Last week, I asked what your thoughts were on geocaching in cemeteries. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can do so here. I have no idea where this last week went, making it Thursday already, but as promised, I am following up with my thoughts on the subject.
First, thank you to all those who shared their thoughts via the blog, on the Preservation and Place Facebook Page, and on Twitter (@museumnpreserve). I heard from geocachers and non-geocachers and from those in support of geocaching in cemeteries and those who were against it. Then there were others who held a reserved approval, so long as certain guidelines were followed by the hider and the finder.
If you are reading this and don’t know what geocaching is, briefly, it is an outdoor activity in which something(s) has been hidden inside a container (which can be of varying sizes depending on what is hidden-usually trinkets and a log where you can record that you found the cache). The GPS coordinates of the cache have been recorded online, usually with a clue or two, allowing people to find it. These people go out with a GPS device (or smart phone with such capabilities) in search of the cache and after finding it, they record that they were there in the log provided with the cache and may report back online that it was found. If there are items contained within the cache, people may take an item or leave an item in return. The cache is then returned to its hiding spot for others to find. I’m sure there is a much more poetic way to describe geocaching.
I myself have only been geocaching once, last fall in Dayton, Ohio with two of my friends. We found a few that day, and with beautiful weather, it was a great first experience. Our finds ranged from two larger caches and one micro cache, one of which contained a travel bug, which made its way back to Rhode Island with one of my friends.
Having given thought to the subject over the past week, I have to lean towards having reservations about geocaching in cemeteries, but as long as certain rules are in place I’m in support of it. Here are my rules:
- Definitely ask permission from who ever owns the cemetery before hiding a cache. Not everyone wants people tramping around in their backyard cemetery, and it is a good idea to safeguard yourself so that if someone does call the town or other gov’t owner about people “poking around,” someone there knows what is actually going on. Plus, it’s just a matter of respect.
- NEVER hide a cache somewhere that requires a headstone to be moved or manhandled in any way. Not only is it completely dangerous (there have been too many stories about people being hurt or worse by a stone falling down on top of them), but it is disrespectful to the person buried there and that person’s family, and it has the likely potential to harm the stone.
- NEVER hide a cache by digging a hole and burying it. So disrespectful, and kind of creepy.
- Don’t hide or find geocaches during the night. It’s a safety thing, for you and the stones. Also, many cemeteries are only open during daylight hours.
- Be respectful of what cemeteries are and realize that they are community places and family places. You may see others there visiting a departed loved one, be mindful of that.
- Just use common sense and follow the official guidelines too.
Overall, I think that geocaching is a fun activity partaken by those who respect the places where the caches are located. Of those I heard back from who do geocache in cemeteries, cemetery caches are their favorites because they often get lost admiring the history and beauty of these places and stones. I think it is good to get an appreciative audience into cemeteries and to care about these cemeteries, and if allowing geocaching in at least some cemeteries is one way to do that, then that is a good thing.
As always, I’m interested in what you have to say and I look forward to hearing from you.
On a separate note, this blog hit 1000 views yesterday, so thank you all for that as well.
Stay tuned, as I have a few blog posts lined up for next week involving a conference I attended, my latest antiquing find, and I promise to get back to the series on my local Main Street.