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Thread: Complaints about Geocaches

  1. #1
    Brentorboxer Guest

    Default Complaints about Geocaches

    I really think it is about time there was a complaints procedure for miss-placed geocaches on Dartmoor, I have spoken to several letterboxers who are also geocachers they all come across caches which should never have been approved. I have spoken out on numerous occasions about miss-placed caches, (all the caches I have complained about have been removed or re-sited) but there are still some out there that should be moved.
    Sometime ago I asked cachers on the forum not to put caches in church grounds, as I considered it not an appropriate place, I got a lot of negative replies. It is interesting to see caching in and around churches has been now banned!
    On the groundspeak forum a letterboxer Alan Wilborne, a month ago has complained about 2 caches both of which he considers miss-placed. He posted his message on the forum in good faith, some of the replies I consider rude, and all he was trying to do is help.
    I am wondering if this is the way UK geocachers deal with complaints, a few cachers get on the forum and “have a go” at the person who dares to criticise.
    By the way I agree with Alan both the caches he found, were in unsuitable sites, these two caches are not the only ones that need resiting.
    I was interested to read Kehotee’s interpretation of
    "Please remember that a user and National Park friendly letterbox is sited...in a natural hole or cavity away from archaeologically and ecologically sensitive sites”
    Which seems to be:
    Presumably archaeologically and ecologically sensitive sites are Scheduled Ancient Monuments and SSSIs respectively...

    Moving on from this I decided to email the DNPA to get the exact details of where we should or shouldn’t caching.
    Reply sent today from Andrew Watson [awatson@dartmoor-npa.gov.uk]

    Dear Margaret

    Thank you for your email. We ask people placing letterboxes or geocaches to carefully consider the suitability of a site for locating a letterbox/geocache. Sites should be avoided that are within rare bird nesting areas and on clitter slopes, and on other sensitive areas such as blanket bogs and mires. Dartmoor contains over 19,000 sites of archaeological interest, not all of these will be recorded Scheduled Ancient Monuments. These sites should be avoided in order to prevent damage or disturbance.

    Andrew

    ….and not a mention of SSSI, how strange, only conclusion I can come to is that it is a self imposed ban, no permission is necessary as long as you stick to the guidelines. So I gather the self imposed ban will be lifted on Roos Tor?

    Looks like it is back to the Letterboxing club guidelines

    Margaret
    Brentorboxer

  2. #2
    RuberyBlue Guest

    Default

    Perhaps UK reviewers could put a local (UK) escalation process in place with agreed time-lines for CO responses, archiving etc.

    Do GAGB have a responsibility as holders of the definitive land owner agreements to escalate and progress?

    It would be really useful if the Reviewers had access to 'Local Experts' who they can call upon in areas where the placing of caches can be problematical?

    As for the adverse responses on the GSP forum - it takes allsorts

    RB
    KRO!

  3. #3

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    Default

    Thanks for that, Margaret. Not only on Dartmoor, but in other sites we have found geocaches which are in inappropriate places. I have sited a couple near churches, but would not put them in consecrated ground. It only really needs a little common sense to look around before siting a cache to see what is in the area. We look at it from a letterboxing perspective also and follow that code.

  4. #4

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    Default

    Can you point us in the direction of the 'churches ban' rule.

    Many thanks

    Family_Moose
    He who hesitates is not only lost, but miles from the next exit.

    How Many Roads Must A Man Walk Down Before He Admits Hes lost?

    Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. - TS ELLIOT

  5. #5
    Brentorboxer Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Family_Moose View Post
    Can you point us in the direction of the 'churches ban' rule.

    Many thanks

    Family_Moose
    See Follow the Arrow website.

  6. #6

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    Default

    Caches on church property aren't banned. Indeed, they are often encouraged, in my experience, and quite rightly too. If carefully sited they can be of benefit to geocachers and to the church as well (which is why the clergy are so often keen to give permission).
    The only new rule is that for geocaching.com, explicit permission must be shown to exist, thanks to some thoughtless people placing caches without using common sense.
    As far as the complaints procedure; for geocaching.com all you have to do is e-mail the local reviewer with the details and leave him/her to look into it. They have a lot of caches to review and might not always realise (without a tipoff) that a cache is badly sited.

    SSSI's are not necessarily ecologically sensitive sites either, but can (and often do) include roads, car parks, housing, litter and all the accoutrements of urban life. They are merely areas of particular interest to the scientist, which can mean almost anything (although many are of ecological significance). So there may or may not be reason to be especially careful about cache placement, and certainly the designation shouldn't preclude the placing of caches.

  7. #7

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Family_Moose View Post
    Can you point us in the direction of the 'churches ban' rule.

    Many thanks

    Family_Moose
    Churches and caching info

  8. #8

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Brentorboxer View Post
    <snip>
    ….and not a mention of SSSI, how strange, only conclusion I can come to is that it is a self imposed ban, no permission is necessary as long as you stick to the guidelines. So I gather the self imposed ban will be lifted on Roos Tor?
    Self imposed ban on Roos Tor - in this case the 'self' you are refering to is a local geocacher who informed me through a reviewer note on a cache submitted for approval that the rangers had said the cache could not be placed on Roos Tor. The 'ban' was not made by me (the reviewer) but by the DNPA rangers themselves. So if you want the 'ban' on Roos Tor lifted then contact the rangers. I did notice that you'd said in another caching related forum - and I quote - I have been in contact with <name removed> he is the owner of the cache on <location removed> he says he originally wanted to put his <removed> cache on Roos Tor, but was refused by the reveiewer, he has not personally been refused by the rangers. Please note I have removed the cachers name and the bold is mine. This is interesting because the reviewer note I have on the cache says otherwise. So someone is being economical with the truth here......

    Regarding the response from the DNPA about SSSI's. As they did not give specific locations for the areas they refer to: Sites should be avoided that are within rare bird nesting areas and on clitter slopes, and on other sensitive areas such as blanket bogs and mires I am not in a position to know where these sensitive areas are so will continue to to use the Natural England and MAGIC maps and consider any area 'sensitive' enough to be scheduled an SSSI as still requiring permission.

    Finally in response to your comment and others about a 'complaints' procedure. There is a very satisfactory one already in place. In the first instance contact the reviewer who published the cache (for Dartmoor that is myself) and ask that the cache/location is investigated. If you don't think that the reviewer has handled the matter to your satisfaction or you think the reviewer has acted inapropriately then you can always contact Groundspeak (who own geocaching.com) and make a complaint to them......

    Chris
    Graculus - Volunteer Reviewer for geocaching.com

  9. #9

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    Exclamation

    Sometime ago I asked cachers on the forum not to put caches in church grounds, as I considered it not an appropriate place, I got a lot of negative replies. It is interesting to see caching in and around churches has been now banned!
    Actually caches listed on Geocaching.com may be placed in Church Property or Graveyards with Permission. This has been in affect since July 7th 2008!

    Caches in Graveyards [Church or Stand alone], A change of Reviewing Policy within the UK

    The Post explains why the requirement for Proof of Permission was brought in. Since then I have personally published caches on such properties submitted by Reverends,and their spouses. I've just recently published a cache in a Municipal Grave Yard, with the full permission of the Manager of that Location!

    Deceangi Volunteer UK Reviewer Geocaching.com
    My post is my personal opinion and as such you do not have my permission to quote me outside of these forums!

    Dave
    Brenin Tegeingl
    Formerly known as Mancunian Pyrocacher on GC

  10. #10

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    Default

    To expand what my esteemed colleague has said. There are very few outright 'bans' on caches in the UK. Some landowners have 'banned' caches but you can certainly places caches in places like Railway Stations, SSSI's, Nature Reserves and ancient monuments. You just need get permission from the relevant authority
    About the only place we reviewers will refuse is caches in drystone walls hmy:

    Chris
    Graculus - Volunteer UK reviewer for geocaching.com

  11. #11

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Blorenge View Post
    Regarding the response from the DNPA about SSSI's. As they did not give specific locations for the areas they refer to: Sites should be avoided that are within rare bird nesting areas and on clitter slopes, and on other sensitive areas such as blanket bogs and mires I am not in a position to know where these sensitive areas are so will continue to to use the Natural England and MAGIC maps and consider any area 'sensitive' enough to be scheduled an SSSI as still requiring permission.
    Good post, and you seem to answer most of the queries. But on this specific point, it demonstrates the difficulty of reviewing caches now that the extra level of policing environmental issues has been added in to a reviewer's duties. Such things as rare bird nesting sites and clitter (scree/boulder) slopes may exist as much outside SSSIs as within. It all depends why the area was designated SSSI; this is not always to preserve sensitive areas. SSSIs are totally different from nature reserves.

    Really, it's up to the reviewer to write to the local authority for any area in question and check whether public access to the cache site is compatible with the conservation status of that exact location.
    Otherwise, as you say, your are not "in a position to know where these sensitive areas are".
    Obviously, the exception is if there's a nature reserve or road or footpath at the cache location; then it's a no-brainer, but what if there isn't? SSSI status doesn't help at all.

    The only other alternative is to allow the cache placer to tick a box assuring the reviewer that adequate permission is in place. This does have the disadvantage that certain rogues will tick the box even though they have never obtained permission for a cache that they know to require it. In my view, any problems should be referred to the cache owner and the reviewer should archive the cache immediately if the situation appears to warrant it, only reinstating it after receiving suitable assurances.

    In my humble opinion, of course...

  12. #12

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Humphrey View Post
    Good post, and you seem to answer most of the queries. But on this specific point, it demonstrates the difficulty of reviewing caches now that the extra level of policing environmental issues has been added in to a reviewer's duties. Such things as rare bird nesting sites and clitter (scree/boulder) slopes may exist as much outside SSSIs as within. It all depends why the area was designated SSSI; this is not always to preserve sensitive areas. SSSIs are totally different from nature reserves.

    Really, it's up to the reviewer to write to the local authority for any area in question and check whether public access to the cache site is compatible with the conservation status of that exact location.
    Otherwise, as you say, your are not "in a position to know where these sensitive areas are".
    Obviously, the exception is if there's a nature reserve or road or footpath at the cache location; then it's a no-brainer, but what if there isn't? SSSI status doesn't help at all.

    The only other alternative is to allow the cache placer to tick a box assuring the reviewer that adequate permission is in place. This does have the disadvantage that certain rogues will tick the box even though they have never obtained permission for a cache that they know to require it. In my view, any problems should be referred to the cache owner and the reviewer should archive the cache immediately if the situation appears to warrant it, only reinstating it after receiving suitable assurances.

    In my humble opinion, of course...
    Dartmoor is a pain to review! The various Tors mentioned that are 'sensitive' are difficult to identify. When the rangers asked for no caches on Roos Tor I looked at Google Earth and drew as accurately as I could an area based on paths and walls around the Tor. I have no idea whether it is correct or not but it's the best I could do without a proper map from the DNPA. If I could get mapping information I can easily draw up overlays of these locations for anyone to use - but more importantly for me as a reviewer to use.

    Is it the Reviewers responsibility to check the location with the DNPA? No it isn't. Our job is just to review caches for publication using the guidelines (main and any local ones) nothing more than that. Re the comment above: The only other alternative is to allow the cache placer to tick a box assuring the reviewer that adequate permission is in place is already being done. When someone submits a cache for review they are telling me that they have 'adequate permission' to place it there. They ticked a box to say they read the guidelines so they are aware of this. If an agreement exists with a landowner then we review the cache against that agreement. For example, MAGIC shows all NT land in England. If a cache appears in such an area then the agreement says the NT must give approval first. So the cache owner is informed of this and the cache temporarily disabled. For Dartmoor I am using the Letterboxing code as that is the only agreement available. It is quite clear on most things (like no buried caches etc) but on the 'sensitive' land it is very unclear. For 'ancient monuments' MAGIC is very good but doesn't show all sites. The OS maps do show some additional ones but I'm sure neither show the 19,000 sites that the DNPA mention! So I do the best I can with the resources available. With the SSSI issue I would rather err on the side of caution and ask that the owner provides me with proof of permission than publish a cache that causes problems later.

    Of course caches get published that shouldn't be - and that applies all over the world, not just Dartmoor. But if the owner doesn't tell me their cache is buried in the middle of a stone circle and the map shows the area to be clear then I have to trust them - because they've assured me they've read the guidelines and have adequate permission - they ticked that box didn't they!

    People may not realise that quite a large part of our job is dealing with emails from concerned cachers (and landowners) about caches they've found that breach some guideline. We check them and if necessary contact the owners. If it is an extreme situation we may just archive the cache there and then before checking with the owner.

    If someone would like to contact the DNPA and get detailed maps of the sensitive areas, an agreement from them on how they want us to deal with SSSI's then this would make life easier for me and for people who want to enjoy the moor and go caching there.

    I hope provides some clarification of the difficulty of our job!

    Chris
    Graculus - Volunteer Reviewer for geocaching.com

  13. #13

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Blorenge View Post
    Is it the Reviewers responsibility to check the location with the DNPA? No it isn't. Our job is just to review caches for publication using the guidelines (main and any local ones) nothing more than that. Re the comment above: The only other alternative is to allow the cache placer to tick a box assuring the reviewer that adequate permission is in place is already being done. When someone submits a cache for review they are telling me that they have 'adequate permission' to place it there. They ticked a box to say they read the guidelines so they are aware of this.
    I fully sympathise with the difficulties, although in my opinion they are mostly self-inflicted. For instance; although the cache owner ticks the box, the reviewer will ignore this in many cases (as you go on to detail above). So the reviewer then takes it upon him/herself to check the land status and if the cache appears to be in certain areas will not take the cache owner's word for it that adequate permission has been given. So the "already being done" part of your reply is not always true!

    As far as sensitive land on Dartmoor is concerned, I don't know how you identify this at all without studying the exact placement. It could be that a cache is fine placed at the side of a particular boulder, whereas ten yards away it would be regarded as on a "clitter slope" so shouldn't be allowed. But no map is going to give that level of detail; only the cache placer will have the ability to check. You can only make sure that they are aware of the local guidelines and then be ready to act on any complaints.

    As we seem to be taking Dartmoor Letterboxing guidelines as a local pointer, perhaps the Letterboxing "reviewer" (if there is such a thing) would be a starting point for further help? If there is no such person, it would also indicate that I'm correct to suspect that cache reviewing is being overdone in this area.

  14. #14
    Brentorboxer Guest

    Default

    Sorry not to get back to you sooner, I’ve been letterboxing this morning on Roos Tor, a new walk has just gone out in the area!! Incidentally for anyone how doesn’t know Roos Tor, it has a military flag pole on its summit, it was flying today which means no one can go into the area north of the tor, this area is in an SSSI, why should we as letterboxers be careful when the army and playing their war games in the same area, I kept on hearing the bangs and seeing smoke bombs. Any wonder why I am sceptical!
    I have complained to the reviewer about caches, but it is a waste of time he refuses to remove them, using various excuses.
    The only circumstances they are removed from the site is when I have contacted the land owners.
    Which surely can’t be good publicity for geocaching?

    I have written to Groundspeak explaining the problems we have on Dartmoor.

    I am extremely surprised that a reviewer would put a ban on an area just on “hearsay” an email to the rangers for conformation wouldn’t take long.

    I think the best option and one I would advise any Dartmoor Cacher to do is to just move the cache take a new GPS and photo of the site and send it to the cache owner, its far less hassle that way than dealing with a reviewer. If the cache owner doesn’t like it, well that’s hard luck they shouldn’t have put it there in the first place.

    If the reviewer can’t cope with reviewing all the caches submitted and emails regarding caches, why don’t they get some more reviewers to help out?

    This is my final say on the matter, if anyone has anything constructive to say to me, you may contact me though my profile.

  15. #15

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    Default

    I'd just like to thank Brentorboxer for finally admitting in public that she actively interferes with other peoples caches. Even when she has no idea whether the placement has Landowner permission.

    Also I would suggest she re-contacts the person she quoted on another forum. Who informed her that a Reviewer had banned his cache. Given that this person was the source of the information on the ban. So basically she is stating that he has given us hear say, contradicting her post on the other forum blaming the Reviewer for the ban.

    It is up to a cache owner to Obtain Permission. Some Landowners have a set procedure to obtain their permission. Given that if we did not check the status of the location of the cache. How would we know if a cache is placed on such land. Especially when a high percentage of cachers haven't a clue who owns a piece of land. Even if that Land is owned by the Woodland Trust/FC or NT. So please forgive me if I and my colleagues continue to check, and apply requests for proof of Landowner Permission.

    HH it is very easy for you to take your stance over just publishing any cache and not checking the status of who owns or if it is designated. Because at the end of the day, your not the one who has to deal with the irate Landowner or who has to deal with the complaint by the Police.

    Our approach has been proven to work, as we are very lucky in that we have to deal with so few Landowner complaints. Your way we'd never review new caches, for dealing with Landowner complaints.

    Oh and the Designating Authority, can not give permission for the placement of a cache in a SSSI. That comes directly from Natural England, who state that Permission is needed off the Land Owner. Given that they state that, I believe that as the Designating Authority does not state Adequate Permission can be assumed. We are correct in asking for Proof of Permission for SSSI's

    Deci
    My post is my personal opinion and as such you do not have my permission to quote me outside of these forums!

    Dave
    Brenin Tegeingl
    Formerly known as Mancunian Pyrocacher on GC

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