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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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    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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    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

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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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

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    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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    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

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Humphrey View Post
    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.
    All very sensible. The idea that caches could or should necessarily be banned in Church yards or SSSIs is absurd.

  17. #17

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    Hi Graculus,
    As a cacher who is relatively new to placing caches, I appreciate the comments you have made in the above thread, particularly about dry stone walls.
    Last week I visited a long-standing cache in N.Wales which was in a dry stone wall. Because this is an 'old' cache is it acceptable for this to remain or should it be reported/ removed?
    Apologies for adding to this thread but I appreciate your other comments above
    Fishy12

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mancunian View Post
    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.
    "My" approach is the standard Groundspeak one. Contrary to what you think, I would be the one dealing with any irate landowner or policeman (just as happens in the USA). You'd have a lot more time for reviewing caches as you wouldn't have to deal with landowners, merely pointing out to the cache owner that he assured you that there was adequate permission in place...

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishy12 View Post
    Hi Graculus,
    As a cacher who is relatively new to placing caches, I appreciate the comments you have made in the above thread, particularly about dry stone walls.
    Last week I visited a long-standing cache in N.Wales which was in a dry stone wall. Because this is an 'old' cache is it acceptable for this to remain or should it be reported/ removed?
    Apologies for adding to this thread but I appreciate your other comments above
    Fishy12
    If the cache is in a drystone wall mention it in the cache log, it is possible that the cache has moved there and the owner is unaware. If you think your log has been ignored consider a needs maintenance log as some owners may not read every log on their caches. If this doesn not seem to work then drop a line to the reviewer.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishy12 View Post
    Hi Graculus,
    As a cacher who is relatively new to placing caches, I appreciate the comments you have made in the above thread, particularly about dry stone walls.
    Last week I visited a long-standing cache in N.Wales which was in a dry stone wall. Because this is an 'old' cache is it acceptable for this to remain or should it be reported/ removed?
    Apologies for adding to this thread but I appreciate your other comments above
    Fishy12
    Hi
    Thanks for letting me know. We really don't like caches in walls as the wall can so easily be damaged during searches. As suggested post a note on the cache page alerting the CO (cache owner) to the problem. Please let me know the cache number so I can check (honest I won't bring my hammer down on the cache ).. Drop me an email to graculus <at> dalesinwales.co.uk (please note you need to put @ instead of <at>.

    Chris
    Graculus - Volunteer reviewer for Geocaching.com

  21. #21
    nobbynobbs Guest

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    it's not practical to expect our reviewers to be able to police the caches in this country, they have to rely on people telling the truth when they tick the box, and maybe understanding what the question really means, maybe changing it to " have you actually spoken to the landowner and received permission" would make more people stop and not just assume that because they have a right of way over the land they can leave anything they want to.

    The other alternative is the solution for the forestry commission lands like the new forest where someone steps up to liaise with the landowner for each cache involved. i have to contact the commission everytime a cache is placed which is after i've had to discuss it a bit with graculus and maybe the cache owner after finding out that it doesn't meet the criteria to be published.
    this would mean that every cache in the country would be checked on and vetted by a local trusted cacher who will make sure that all caches on their patch is legit and so on. do you really think we'll get that many people willing to act as cache police and the hassle that it involves from people who get very upset when you point out problems that they themselves caused?

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobbynobbs View Post
    it's not practical to expect our reviewers to be able to police the caches in this country, they have to rely on people telling the truth when they tick the box
    True.

    maybe changing it to " have you actually spoken to the landowner and received permission" would make more people stop and not just assume that because they have a right of way over the land they can leave anything they want to.
    If it said that, I wouldn't place any more caches through Groundspeak.

  23. #23
    nobbynobbs Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by agentmancuso View Post
    True.



    If it said that, I wouldn't place any more caches through Groundspeak.

    without meaning to start an argument. this is the root cause of many problems that are being encountered with negotiating the agreements. too many caches out there which don't have permission.

    This is an act that could be got away with at the outset and for many years when we had low media coverage, small numbers of cachers and caches and most importantly low levels of knowledge within the landowners. Even then we got some problems over the years but these problems have increased as we all know.

    With more and more people knowing about the hobby either as cachers or owners of the land where people there will be more and more problems.
    people either start being more honest and actually get the permission or the number of problems will occur. This could very easily mean we lose the agreements that have been hard to negotiate.

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobbynobbs View Post
    ...the number of problems will occur. This could very easily mean we lose the agreements that have been hard to negotiate.
    A reasonable point, but I think it's worth reminding people that obtaining permission from a landowner doesn't mean that the cache is going to be trouble-free (from the point of view of permission and access). It just reduces the chances of problems, and if push comes to shove you can at least wave a bit of paper around which suggests that you made an attempt to do the right thing. So it's mostly about covering your own back.

    Without a disproportionate amount of admin there's no guarantee that any cache (in most areas) has adequate permission, despite what the cache owner might think. Cache permission is not an exact science!

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobbynobbs View Post
    without meaning to start an argument. this is the root cause of many problems that are being encountered with negotiating the agreements. too many caches out there which don't have permission.
    I take the point. I didn't mean to suggest that everyone else should feel the same, just that I would lose interest.

  26. #26
    nobbynobbs Guest

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    Obviously any cache can be found by people who know nothing about caching, or even by people who think that caching and boxing is defacing the countryside. These people can cause disruption whether or not permission has been obtained. I know of many instances where a cache has been picked up and taken elsewhere because the person didn't know what it was. Would have been too easy just to leave it.

    But these instances are just annoying for us. Caches placed without permission are very annoying for landowners. Wildlife trusts are a prime example, several of them will not allow caches at all no matter what because several caches were placed on their land by people without anyone bothering to speak to them. This has closed off large tracts of land and has also made our image worse. It's a fact that poor service/experiences will be passed on by word of mouth approx. 9 times more often than similar good experiences.

    I know it can be a pain to try and find out who the landowner is, to then try and negotiate a cache being placed, to make someone who has more important things to do with his time agree. BUT we must, we need to make it a requirement to get that permission. How many caches are being published per day in the UK? 100? how many of those have permission? less than 10. Follow this through and realise how many thousand caches there are already in place without any right to be there.

    Don't we want to be a respected hobby? one which is welcomed into the countryside as a force of good. Encouraged onto the moors and wildlife reserves.
    or maybe we want to allow the hobby to almost degenerate into quite a dull almost illicit thing to do. with caches not being allowed in all the best spots and being actively excluded from them.

    We don't have the right to place caches anywhere unless permission has been agreed.

  27. #27

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    Well, yes...but the point is that you might get permission and think that everything is now hunky dory. But as I've found myself, permission is granted and then quite quickly becomes worthless, without your knowledge.

    I would guess that half the caches which were placed with permission are now no better off than those where no attempt was made (so we're down to 5% now). One of mine was muggled a few weeks after placement, and a visitor had previously reported that security had given them funny looks as they retrieved the cache. So I suspected that the security men had later removed it.
    Checking with the manager, he had no knowledge of the cache despite me having discussed it most thoroughly with his colleague. So his security men didn't know about it either.

    I'm pretty sure that the current manager has no idea about it nowadays, but I'm not going to keep on checking every few weeks just in case the cache has been forgotten about again. There are cases where permission was granted, but by someone without the authority to give it. What use is that?

    One or two others of mine also had permission a long time ago, but the official at the time has moved on (I found out by chance, much later); and strange though it may seem, he never did get round to briefing the new hierarchy about the geocache situation. Even though I'm sure it should have been top of his list.

    However, I did still have the e-mails. So when another cacher mentioned the existing caches in the area to the new management and mentioned to me that they didn't seem to have permission, I was able to demonstrate that permission had indeed been granted (thus covering my back, as I said above).

    Despite me being quite happy to go through the permission hoops, sometimes things get out of proportion. Maintaining some sort of permission-renewal system might solve the problem. But really, in many cases all it is is a few extra people going for a walk along a footpath and signing the log in a tiny invisible box, accessed by leaving the path for a few feet. Or on a whim looking for a magnetised container behind an old fence. Do we really want to insist on all that admin for those trivial cases? If a cacher reasonably judges that there's never likely to be a problem at a particular site, then it's a bit over the top to insist on up-to-date paperwork. Although there are exceptions' for the vast majority of caches, if there's a complaint or a problem the cache just gets lifted and no-one dies...

  28. #28

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    Good Grief Charlie Brown!
    I am just winding myself up to put out my first caches and reading all the above makes me wonder if it is going to be worth it. I had planned a series, based on a circular drive of my village, and had contacted the owner of the land for the first one as it will (would) be near a mobile phone mast.The others were going to be roadside types. Do I go with the "its only a small thing and not going to cause any probems", Or do I contact the owner of every field that the cache is going to be on the edge of ? Getting confused (dot com??)
    cheers
    Palujia
    Si vis pacem para bellum

  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Palujia View Post
    Good Grief Charlie Brown!
    ...and had contacted the owner of the land for the first one as it will (would) be near a mobile phone mast.The others were going to be roadside types. Do I go with the "its only a small thing and not going to cause any probems", Or do I contact the owner of every field that the cache is going to be on the edge of ?
    Only you will be able to judge whether that constitutes "adequate permission".

    The question is "will cache seekers be likely to encounter a problem with access, cause damage when searching, or cause a security/privacy issue if observed?". If the answer is "no", but later there's a complaint from the owner of the nearby field and it turns out that they have the rights to the actual cache site you could simply archive the cache and there's unlikely to be any further problem. It's not as if you've constructed a building there that can't easily be removed, and despite what some say I don't think you could be prosecuted for temporarily stashing a film pot in a hedge.

    The one next to the mobile phone mast looks like it could fall into the "security/privacy issue" category so I'd say that permission should be sought.

    In my opinion, contacting the other landowners would be disproportionate and might only serve to cause problems (also in my opinion, they'll be bound to assume that, if you've taken the trouble to write to them there must be more to it than a simple box in a hedge).

  30. #30

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    Thanks for that - The more I read the less confident I become. Luckily I live in a fairly countrified area (the only place of "secure" interest is the RAF Base at Brize Norton) So, as you say With just the first one - Which is actually not within the compound of the mobile mast - I shouldn't have too much trouble with the more roadside types
    thanks again
    Palujia
    Si vis pacem para bellum

  31. #31
    nobbynobbs Guest

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    Yes, it's a bit of a pain at times. yes, sometimes people forget that agreements are made. and yes no one dies from the lack of agreement.

    so let's not bother even trying. that does seem to be the attitude.

  32. #32

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    Not a bit of it. I am determined to get my caches out, come hell or high water ! Its just that I want to ensure I get it right. As a newcomer to the game I do not want to do anything to "Bring the game into disrepute" and encur the wrath of either the Powers that Be, or my seniors in the game.
    Furthermore Arf,Bark and Woof !
    Cheer up "Morgen is auch ein tag" (as they say in Outer mongolia)
    cheers
    Palujia
    Si vis pacem para bellum

  33. #33
    Bendos Guest

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    I'm a little confused about reviewers use of the Magic maps. I have had 2 caches archived recently (no I didn't check the magic maps first) that were in SSSI and an historic monument respectively. The first are some gardens along a seafront promenade. The gardens are interesting if not important (being mediterranean, oriental etc.) but fully accessed to the public and often vandalised by drunken yobbos. The cache was placed outside the gardens on the promenade (that would be the concrete path that hundreds use daily) and was really not intrusive on the SSSI. The second cache was a nano on railings surrounding a mosaic/information board on what was a roman circus that remains under the ground. When looked at the magic map for this the area designated included roads, pavements, a hockey pitch, fencing and even a showhome for the local housing development! (did they get permission first I wonder, lol) I understand that reviewers can only really go on the magic map but there must be a way to improve the system. Neither of these caches were intrusive and were in areas fully accessed by the public. It seems that by blindly following this system we are missing out on some really good cache hides. It just seems a pity to me. Also, getting permission has proved to be a nightmare for me. I tried the local council about some public area and got nowhere and am currently constantly ringing the ranger for a wildlife trust woodland who is always out and never returns my calls/emails. It's so frustrasting.

  34. #34

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    I appreciate your frustrations. If a cache is placed within the fragile walls of a Roman building I'm sure you'd agree that wouldn't be a good idea. The Roman building would show up on MAGIC with an orange boundary and cross-hatching so it is easy to see the boundary that has been scheduled and the reviewer can tell the person who placed the cache it would need moving (or permission sought). Now many sites like the one you describe are not visible, they are locations that may not yet have been excavated but are considered of importance to be scheduled and thus appear on MAGIC. So how can the reviewers differentiate between two scheduled sites, one an obvious ruin and the other an empty field? The answer is we can't so we apply the rule equally. If it is an archaeological or historic site and is scheduled then you either need to move the cache or seek permission (English Heritage schedule such sites in England, RCHMW in Wales and Historic Scotland in Scotland). So if one of these bodies were to give you permission for a cache in a scheduled site then that would probably be OK.

    The same thing applies to SSSI's (this has been discussed in these forums before). I agree that some SSSI's may be military training areas or just a field but some may be very sensitive locations. Again we apply the guidelines that permission needs to be sought for all SSSI's as we cannot judge how sensitive they are.

    In the case of the cache you mention in an SSSI. When you take the coordinates with your GPS and submit the cache we look at the location. If the coordinates are out and show it in the SSSI/SAM then we will query it. If for example you've placed it outside an area then add that information as a note to reviewer when you submit the cache.

    There is more information about this on my resource websire (link under my signature).

    Chris
    Graculus
    Volunteer UK Reviewer for geocaching.com
    UK Geocaching Information & Resources website www.follow-the-arrow.co.uk
    Geocaching.com Knowledge Books

  35. #35
    Bendos Guest

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    Thanks for the reply and I do appreciate you cannot make an informed judgement without actually going to GZ. That's my point. I know where the shaing is as I have had the magic maps linked to me by the reviewer. However, they do not give you the full picture. How is a cache more intrusive than a concrete path, railings etc. It just makes no sense. I just wondered whether there could be a better system because we are missing out on some really good locations.

  36. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bendos View Post
    Thanks for the reply and I do appreciate you cannot make an informed judgement without actually going to GZ. That's my point. I know where the shaing is as I have had the magic maps linked to me by the reviewer. However, they do not give you the full picture. How is a cache more intrusive than a concrete path, railings etc. It just makes no sense. I just wondered whether there could be a better system because we are missing out on some really good locations.
    Sorry but the system seem to work extremely well, when cachers actually obtain Landowner Permission. I've known CADW give permission for a Scheduled Monument. So has Scottish Heritage. CCW has given permission/approval for caches in SSSI's.

    I personally own a cache in a SSSI, which has Landowner Permission and Approval off CCW. By requiring Landowner Permission we avoid future issues.

    A few years ago, I attended a Event related to a Earth Cache, which at the picnic it was decided to as a group go and find local caches. One such cache was in a Hill Fort, there is a RoW running through the middle and on the ground there is nothing to see. As I did not have any cache details with me, I had no clue the cache was in a Hill Fort. The person who organised the event, happened to be the County Councils Geo Biodiversity Officer, who on returning to her office. Discussed the cache with the CC's Archaeologists. Who made a official request for the cache to be removed from the Hill Fort.

    The cache was not buried and was not doing any damage. In fact walkers are making more of a impact through the Hill Fort wearing out a trail.

    So even though a Reviewer had physically seen that the cache was causing no damage or impact on the location. The Landowner still required it's removal. That's one of the reasons why it's down to the Landowner to make a decision, not the Reviewer.

    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

  37. #37
    Bendos Guest

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    It's crazy though! What about the showhome that sits within an "historic monument" how the h**l is that less intrusive than a 1cm nano cache. It really makes no sense. That's my point. I could drop a can of lager on the "site" and it would probably be rusty before it is ever cleared up (if ever). I do wonder whether Pirate geocaches site will spring up! People hearing about caches via word of mouth and pirate websites being set up. It could happen.

  38. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bendos View Post
    It's crazy though! What about the showhome that sits within an "historic monument" how the h**l is that less intrusive than a 1cm nano cache. It really makes no sense. That's my point. I could drop a can of lager on the "site" and it would probably be rusty before it is ever cleared up (if ever). I do wonder whether Pirate geocaches site will spring up! People hearing about caches via word of mouth and pirate websites being set up. It could happen.
    If by "pirate sites" you mean other geocache listing sites (other than geocaching.com), these already exist in UK. Opencaching (although very small compared to geocaching.com) has been steadily gaining in popularity. When listing a cache on Opencaching there is a link to the GAGB Cache Guidelines. Hopefully Opencachers will give them full consideration when placing their caches. There's also Terracaching and Navicaching.

    Problems may arise in the future if caches on other sites with 'more relaxed' guidelines cause problems with landowners. The landowners are unlikely to differentiate between caches listed on different sites - To them they're all simply geocaches and so any 'fall out' will probably affect all geocachers, whichever sites they use for listing caches.

  39. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bendos View Post
    Thanks for the reply and I do appreciate you cannot make an informed judgement without actually going to GZ. That's my point. I know where the shaing is as I have had the magic maps linked to me by the reviewer. However, they do not give you the full picture. How is a cache more intrusive than a concrete path, railings etc. It just makes no sense. I just wondered whether there could be a better system because we are missing out on some really good locations.
    A better system? I understand what you mean but going back two years to when I became a reviewer all we had was the Ordnance Survey map which isn't really accurate enough when it comes to ancient monuments and doesn't show SSSI's. Since that time we've got the MAGIC map and the Wales equivalent CCW. So at least we know where such locations are now with a greater degree of accuracy. Doesn't help though when your new cache gets temporarily disabled by us because it is in an SSSI hmy:.
    As my colleague has said the various authorities are usually very good about giving permission but you do get the odd case where your initial enquiry to them is dealt with by someone who makes the automatic response of 'No' and it's downhill from there

    Chris
    Graculus
    Volunteer UK Reviewer for geocaching.com
    UK Geocaching Information & Resources website www.follow-the-arrow.co.uk
    Geocaching.com Knowledge Books

  40. #40

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    The problem with an SSSI isn't the fault of the reviewers, it's more that the SSSI definition is very wide, and SSSIs are often very big. Generally, there's no land within an SSSI that is so sensitive that a geocache would cause any harm (or at least, no more harm than anywhere else). SSSIs aren't areas of extra sensitivity, they're just areas of interest to the scientist (as you can guess by the name!). That's why you'll find rubbish dumps, car parks, roads, housing developments (etc.) within SSSIs. As long as activities don't interfere with the scientific interest, they will be allowed.

    However as there are some areas within some SSSIs that could be unsuitable; and as SSSIs are nicely mapped and defined, reviewers can easily argue that they have no information about the cache site except that it's within an SSSI. And they have no information about the SSSI, except its boundaries. So it could be that the cache interferes with the scientists' interests in the area. They don't know, and they assume you won't know either unless you ask the manager of the site.

    So the placement has to have written permission details. Even though you might know that it's actually stuck on a lamppost at the side of a busy road, the reviewer can't go on your assurances in such cases and has to assume that it's actually going to cause distress to the SSSI manager.

    I can understand your frustration, as in some circumstances this will seem quite ludicrous; but until the system is improved we have to live with it.

  41. #41

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    This is a news story of a prosecution English Nature brought against motorcyclists who damaged an SSSI. It's a few years old but illustrates the legal protection the sites have. I'm not saying a bunch of geocachers would cause anything like this type of damage..... but if two or three went off the path onto the heath on mountain bikes looking for a cache then potentially they could. This is why we ask for proof of permission.

    Chris
    Graculus
    Volunteer UK Reviewer for geocaching.com
    UK Geocaching Information & Resources website www.follow-the-arrow.co.uk

  42. #42

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    Yes, I'd agree that the bikes were certainly interfering with the scientists' interest there!

    ...but notice that this area was not just a SSSI, but also subject to a Nature Conservation Order. Hence the prosecution.
    Presumably, if there had been a cache inside the area (with permission), English Nature would have been obliged to contact the cache owner when applying for the Nature Conservation Order - is that how it works?
    Last edited by Happy Humphrey; 18th May 2010 at 02:45 PM.

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