Happy New Year! Welcome to 2012!
I've had a busy month, and wasn't able to accomplish much on the site. I did post some photos of the Wreaths Across America program's efforts at Ft. Logan on the Facebook page, so, if you missed them, it's a great place to visit.
If you didn't submit your story for the book project honoring the former caretaker of Riverside Cemetery in Denver, Cliff Dougal, you still have time! If you would like to submit a story Cliff told you, or tell one of your memories of Cliff, please use this submission form.
Geocaching in Cemeteries
Since 2000, when GPS units started becoming more affordable and sophisticated, a new hobby emerged where people hid items and challenged others to find them using their handheld GPS devices. The hobby became know as "geocaching."
The traditional cache is a water-proof container holding a log book and a pencil, as well as some simple, inexpensive items. The finder signs the log, and may take one of the trinkets, as long as her or she leaves one of similar or more expensive value. Some caches include "travel bugs" or "geo-coins," which are meant to be picked up and taken to another location and left. These items have tracking IDs on them, so that the original owner can chart their progress around the globe.
Some caches are more complex, and have multiple stages or puzzles involved with finding the final container, which has the actual cache.
As would seem inevitable, cemeteries became a common site for caches to be left, which has not been without controversy.
While most people who leave caches in cemeteries have been respectful, a cache in Tennessee, which required digging near a headstone, led to a statewide ban on putting caches in cemeteries. The same is true in South Caroline, and a county in Texas.
For people interested in placing caches in cemeteries, it's best if you don't put them near headstones, as the headstones are actually private property, owned by the families who placed them. Additionally, it's best to avoid any sort of digging. Find a spot that is on the outskirts of the cemetery, or ask permission with the cemetery management to place it in a public area.
Other sorts of caches, called "virtual" caches are also a good idea for cemeteries. These are things like finding a date on a headstone, which can be logged with a simple photograph, instead of by signing the log book.
Given the amount of difficulties our historic cemeteries already face with vandals, geocaching can be both a benefit and a risk. The benefit is in making people aware of local history and encourage people to explore these historic sites. The risk is in inviting people to an area, where they might unknowingly cause damage.
Here's some great tips from an organization called Tread Lightly, on how to be a respectful member of the geocaching community.
There are about 1.5 million caches around the world. Sites like Geocaching.com serve as places for people to learn about caches, whether they be traditional or more complex puzzles. In Colorado, there's a list of over 300 caches just of treasures to be found in the state's cemeteries.
Some of you might know that I've got a background in game and puzzle design, and I've been entertaining ideas of creating some cache-puzzles of my own. Are there any readers out there who have a geocaching hobby? I'd love to hear from you on things you like about hunting for treasures of all sorts!
Around the Web
A recap of the Wreaths Across America efforts in Monte Vista at Homelake Cemetery. Also, one talking about the same event at Ft. Logan National cemetery.
The plans for the Pikes Peak National Cemetery are still proceeding.
A nice review of preservation efforts in Woodland Park. This effort is being spearheaded by one of the researchers involved with a similar project on the Florissant Cemetery.
Find us in Facebook!
More pictures! More discussion! More cemeteries! Introducing a new way to keep up with all the Colorado-Cemeteries.com news, and even talk about the site with other "fans."
Missed an Issue?
Don't fret! All the issues of Grave News can be found online at: http://www.colorado-cemeteries.com/Grave_News-backissues.html