The Giant Stairs in Harpswell. Photo contributed by Raymond perry.

After months of consideration, the Harpswell Select Board approved a request to make The Giant Stairs an official earth caching geological site.

New York native and environmental teacher Raymond Perry made the request while visiting Harpswell in 2021. Perry said the board was hesitant because members were worried about increased foot traffic, overcrowding and parking access.

The Giant Stairs are a geological formation on Harpswell’s coastline that resemble a massive flight of stairs leading into the ocean.

“I tried to minimize the publicity of the place because of overcrowding. We didn’t even have it on town maps,” said Select Board Chair Kevin Johnson.

Johnson said the board had a change of heart once the land committee reviewed the proposal, putting the board at ease that risk of negative impacts was low.

Earth caching is a subset of the more popular geocaching, an activity in which people hide a small box containing trinkets and a log that people who find the hidden cache can sign after using a set of coordinates to track the box down. Earth caching is a version that’s meant to have less of an impact because it doesn’t involve leaving anything behind. Earth cachers simply find the site and take notes and answer questions about its features.

“All geocaches and earth caches must be approved and published on the geocaching sites,” Perry said.

Perry’s four Harpswell earth caches were published on July 13 and found by two visitors three days later. More information about the caches is available at

Perry said he prepared for his visit to Maine by researching several geological sites and said when he found the Giant Stairs, the search was over. When publishing an earth cache, Perry said his goal is to teach an interesting geological lesson and take visitors to someplace “really cool.”

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