Great post Scruff... definitely a topic that will be discussed for the ages!
I can't vouch for any power trail outside of the Trans Canada Trail Challenge Series that I was part of. I know for a fact that geo_canuck77, grafinator, ricknsheri and I took in to account most of the concerns that you brought up.
- We hid all of the caches generally 200-300m apart instead of the minimum 161m
- We hid 99% of the caches right beside the trail, where environmental damage should be held to a minimum
- Although we hid mostly "Smicros" as you call them (which are very durable and waterproof preform containers), we strived to ensure that each leg of the trail has at least 1 non-preform cache for travellers where possible
- The entire power trail is along a somewhat less travelled part of the Trans Canada Trail and away from any major urban centres
We've had TONS of positive feedback from finders. We've had finders come from hours and hours away to take on some of the legs. We've had people thank us for bringing them out to a trail that they had never been on before and that they probably never would have explored if not for the power trail. Overall, we're VERY happy with the reception that it has received and if anything, it has brought more focus to the existence of the Trans Canada Trail in the Chilliwack River Valley.
Ultimately, we understand that not everyone will like what we've done, however our power trail abides by all of the Geocaching.com guidelines, as well as the BC Parks Geocaching Policy, and was happily approved by our local approver without concern. The bottom line for us is that if you don't like it, don't do it... just put them on your ignore list and let everyone else enjoy them.
Lastly and for the record, we classify preforms as small containers because they are about 10x the size of a bison tube. I personally don't cache for the swag or the travellers... I cache for the adventure of finding the cache. As such, they are the perfect container for the caches that I place (which are usually in interesting and out of the way places).
and is not meant to negate or overshadow anyone else's opinion on the subject.
Thanks again for the post Scruff... it should make for an interesting conversation.