October 22 – MANKATO – As geocaching grows in the Mankato community, more and more people are taking part in this outdoor pastime, tracking down hidden containers using a GPS system.
But twice a year, geocachers go the extra mile through an initiative called “CITO”.
This stands for Cache in Trash out, where participants not only meet at a location on the geocaching map to hide, but also pick up trash in the area around the cache.
On Saturday morning, a group of geocachers from southern Minnesota gathered at Reconciliation Park to help give back to the environment.
Organizer Guy Wass, who is part of a geocaching group called Otak, said the event was good for the town.
“It’s good for everyone. We can clean up the area a bit,” he said.
Wass himself is an avid geocacher, with around 170 active caches in the area.
He said the event not only benefits the environment, but also brings other geocachers together.
“That’s the main goal. But these people, they’re not all from Mankato. It also brings people together,” he said.
Dave Goplin, who lives just outside of New Ulm, is one of the participants from across the region.
He said CITO events are a great way to get to know other geocachers.
“We are geocaching and we have gotten to know the Otak group. Especially now that we are retired, it’s just an event to get together with people you know who have the same hobby, the same love of doing things,” he said.
Goplin said CITO events are a great way to leave the areas you hide cleaner than you found them.
“None of us should be polluting. It bothers me, I’ve seen people throw away their cigarette butts over the years,” he said. “We have trash cans. Just keep things clean.”
Although the city of Mankato did not participate in Saturday’s event, it will when the event returns in the spring.