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Cache it if you can

POSTED June 27, 2009 2:29 p.m.
You may have played pirates as a wee one in your backyard, digging up and burying hidden treasure. As an adult, you can relive those days of discovery by geocaching.
Geocaching is an activity that involves using a Global Positioning System receiver to navigate and find or plant containers, called geocaches, that contain a logbook or small treasure.
Presently, with an estimate of over 700,000 such caches all over the world, geocaching is one of the fastest growing outdoor recreation activities in the world.
Because of the popularity of the sport and it’s nature, the California State Parks became concerned about whether or not the searching and hiding of caches is causing damage to facilities or sensitive lands.
These concerns have prompted California State Parks to announce a set of geocaching guidelines this month. The California State Parks system has 279 units. Geocaching is appropriate within some units and inappropriate in others. Geocaching may be permitted at a state beach, state seashore, state park, state recreation area and state vehicular recreation area. It is typically not allowed in a state cultural reserve, state natural reserve, state historic park, state historic monument and state wilderness.
In sites where it is appropriate, caches may be allowed where they do not affect natural cultural and historical resources, visitor safety or other park users. However, they may not be buried, nor may vegetation, rocks or other features be marked or damaged in the process of placing, accessing or maintaining the cache.
Additional guidelines prohibit caches from being hidden inside or upon any state park facility or structure; permanently attached (glued, bolted or screwed) to any historic structures, monument, archeological, natural or geologic feature; or placed within 300 feet of streams, marshes or sensitive water features or more than three feet from a designated trail.
“We are asking that visitors follow our guidelines and respect these fragile environment to insure they survive for the benefit of future generation,” said Tony Perez, deputy director for operations for California State Parks.
For more information about geocaching, visit www.parks.ca.gov/geocaching and www.geocreed.info/.
To contact Fiona Chin, e-mail fchin@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.

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