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US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

A High-Tech Adventure Game of Hide and Seek

Snapshot : Geocaching invites a technologically savvy public into nature

Principal Investigators(s) :
Chavez, Deborah J. 
Research Location : United States
Research Station : Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW)
Year : 2012
Highlight ID : 101

Summary

Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity where the participants use a Global Positioning System, or GPS, receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to treasure hunting with containers, called geocaches, anywhere in the world. Geocaches are currently placed in more than 197 countries around the world.

Forest Service researchers examined the emergence of geocaching as a relatively new technology that is influencing the form and pace of engagement in outdoor recreation. They found that although challenge and skill are part of the adventure offered in geocaching, the draw for most people, regardless of age or whether they geocached as a solitary activity or with a group, was to enjoy outdoor scenery and nature. The researchers developed online support tools and guides to aid land managers in addressing the potential effects of geocaching on a natural setting. The information fulfills an important need to ensure this enticing game that gets Americans outdoors remains available well into the future.