Geocaching seeing spike in participation during pandemic
WINNIPEG -- Throughout the pandemic Manitobans have been looking for new activities to keep them busy during isolation.
People have done everything from gardening to home renovations, but another activity that is growing in popularity is geocaching.
Nathan Kachur, president of the Manitoba Geocaching Association, said compared to the three years before the pandemic, there has been a 30 to 40 per cent increase in people trying geocaching.
"It's a great activity and the fact that people are either discovering, rediscovering or just being more active doing it, is great news. It allows people to get out, it allows people to explore the province," said Kachur, who added it is COVID friendly.
Kachur said geocaching is a worldwide game where people use a GPS to find treasures that others have hidden.
They can range from large containers to micro finds. The larger containers have toys and trinkets that people can exchange for other items.
People can also log their finds on a piece of paper inside the cache as well as online.
Kachur thinks the longer people are locked up at home and the closer we get to consistently warm temperatures, the more they will look to try geocaching.
"I would really hope people would give it a try and get out and do something in this current situation."
He said for those who want to stay in Winnipeg there are more than 4,000 caches hidden and then there are thousands more throughout Manitoba if they want to leave the city limits.
Kristina Cummins has been geocaching since 2010 and said it is a great event to get her family outside.
"I still love going and finding more difficult geocaches and ones off the beaten path," said Cummins. "I enjoy doing it because you can do it alone, you can do it with others, you can do it with your family members, friends."
She added it is a great way to explore the outdoors.
"When it's beautiful outside it's a great thing to do and having very few places to go within the last year that were open that are fun, it was a great outlet."
Cummins plans to continue geocaching this spring and summer saying there are still a lot of places she wants to explore in the province.
In terms of any tips for those who are looking to start the activity, Cummins said safety is key when going out, noting that when you are in the wild you have to be aware of any animals and if you do it in the city you have to be cognizant of other people.
The province also has some tips for those heading to provincial parks for geocaching. If people want to hide items in the parks, they must first fill out an application that can be found online.
"Anyone out looking for geocaches is reminded to practice Leave No Trace and be Wildlife Smart. Geocachers should always be mindful of their surroundings," a spokesperson for the province said.
People are also encouraged to stay on designated trails so they don't get lost.
Kachur said if this is something that piques people's interest, they should download the geocaching app and create an account, and if they have any questions they can visit the Manitoba Geocaching Association's Facebook page and someone will be available to help.