About 20 people gathered on Sunday at the Claybanks River Trailhead to attend a geocaching Cache In-Trash Out (CITO) event. CITO events are where geocachers get together to take a positive action for the environment by cleaning up garbage.

Geocaching is a rapidly growing sport that involves using GPS coordinates to find hidden containers. Some containers hold treasures for trading and travel bugs.

“The geocache people picked up garbage right from Claybanks Park right to the bridge at Voght Park,” said Coun. Dave Baker who came out and spoke to the group. “It was kind of a kick-off for the geocachers. It was good just to see the residents out there picking up garbage. It looked like they were having a good time.

“The geocaching events really bring people into the community and into the hotels and the restaurants. It’s relatively inexpensive and the whole family can do it. It’s good exercise, out in the open.”

The City of Merritt Recreation Department sponsored the event by providing a dumpster, garbage bags and gloves for participants to use.

“Cachers came from Ashcroft and Kamloops, but the majority were from the Merritt area,” said Yvonne Lord, event co-organizer. “Several newcomers to this growing sport attended, and two geodogs accompanied their owners. The youngest cacher was about five years-old and the oldest were grandparents.”

There were draw prizes given, and cachers exchanged stories and travel bugs (a kind of treasure that is not kept but travels from cache to cache).

“The cachers then spent about three hours picking up trash from the Claybanks beach area and the river trail,” said Lord. “Three new caches were published this morning within the CITO event area that the cachers also searched for. One of them is Merritt’s first earthcaches, a kind of cache that includes geology information.”