Sunday, June 10, 2007

More about power trails

There certainly are a few passionate people who don't want to let go of power trail caches. Some of them seem to think this is all about MY decision. I don't see it that way. It's a Groudspeak thing. [Please see the guidelines.] It would be pointless for me to weigh in officially on the arguments that a few geocachers have voiced, because I'm not the one making the rules. Groundspeak has voiced its displeasure and preference about having power trails approved. As a volunteer reviewer, I am required to abide by Groundspeak's guidelines. And when you click the "agree" button on their web site, so are you.

However, I will say that personally [emphasis on PERSONALLY], I don't see why requiring a series of power trail caches to be set up as a multicache takes anything away from the sport. That way, geocachers still have a bunch of new caches to find and new and interesting locations to view. Plus, there's the added benefit that if it's a multicache, the trail isn't "locked up" by one geocacher's power trail because of the 528-ft. spacing guideline. Therefore, the trail is open to cache placement by future geocachers. That leaves room for the growth of our sport instead of an entire stretch of trail being monopolized by one geocacher.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Okoboji 2007

We spent Memorial Day weekend at our annual family reunion on West Lake Okoboji. The weather was good overall. Most of our outdoor time was spent in kayaks, but we also took time to walk over to a nearby geocache called Venice, Iowa by Davy Duck, which we found fairly quickly.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Arggggh! Not another power trail, please

The phenomenon of so-called "power trail" caches began within the past year, and now this invasive cache type has found it's way to Iowa. Power trails are when a geocacher hides caches every 528 feet or slightly more along a trail -- just far enough to meet the .1 mile cache separation requirement. The guidelines don't prohibit power trails, but they do comment on them:

The reviewers use a rule of thumb that caches placed within .10 miles (528 feet or 161 metres) of another cache may not be published on the site. This is an arbitrary distance and is just a guideline, but the ultimate goal is to reduce the number of caches hidden in a particular area and to reduce confusion that might otherwise result when one cache is found while looking for another. On the same note, don't go cache crazy and hide a cache every 600 feet just because you can. If you want to create a series of caches (sometimes called a “Power Trail”), the reviewer may require you to create a multi-cache, if the waypoints are close together. A series of caches that are generally intended to be found as a group are good candidates for submission as a single multicache.

We didn't have any power trails in Iowa until a few weeks ago when I approved the LOBRI Trails in Muscatine, after geocachers LOBRI wrote to me to request that their series be approved so they could "draw attention to geocaching" in Muscatine in advance of an upcoming geocaching event and so they could take a local newspaper reporter on a cache hunt. Even though Grounspeak discourages power trails (see the guideline excerpt above) I decided to approve this series. Evidently that power trail or others outside of Iowa inspired other geocachers to create their own power trails. Now several more have been submitted.

Because of what's written in the guidelines, I'm going to begin questioning geocachers who submit power trails -- asking why they can't be set up as multi-caches instead. If there is no good reason, they can expect that their power trail cache will not be approved.