Do You Need Landowner Permission To Place A Cache?
In another thread, squirrelcache wrote, "I agree and think it would be very responsible of a C.O. to note the land manager and source for permission. Sounds like a new thread I thought about starting Just not sure I want to be the one to ruffle folks feathers."
Well, I will be the brave one to start a thread for this discussion. Some concerns have already been discussed on this site before. So - we will start with some of my 2 cents and feelings............
IMHO, the prudent thing to do is to obtain landowners permission. Granted, there are some truly public areas and public owned property where this may be hard to do. There is a difference between difficulty in doing it and just not bothering.
What we all stand to loose, by ignoring this basic courtesy, is the ability to put out caches at all. This has happened in many other states and in Maine, too (areas regulated by The Nature Conservancy, for example). When folks enter property without permission - be it private or public (intended for specific use), it puts others in jeapordy of loosing rights.
In other discussions, it has been suggested the cache owner (CO) of a cache, place information about permission in the cache page. Although not required by Geocaching.com, it is perhaps a good idea. Also a good idea to make sure if public land is used, and even by permission, that any rules are posted, i.e. Cemeteries in Maine by State Law it is illegal to enter after dark. Some parks have posted rules. Etc.
To publish an Earthcache you do have to provide information about who gave permission for the "cache" and contact information. This is interesting as an Earthcache has no physical container and usually no Geotrail. As with all caches, the person seeking the cache must access the land.
The definition of "public" may vary. I am not an attorney, like several on this site, but I do know common sense should prevail. Just because it looks public doesn't mean it is.
Not all "roads" in Maine are public just because your vehicle might be able to travel over them. There is a definition of "right of way" in this state. Just because it is not posted "No Trespassing" doesn't mean you can go across someone's land. Just because a place is “public” doesn’t mean it is ok to place a cache. The Bangor Waterfront is a good example of a public owned property where caches are not welcome. The Bangor Harbor Master has clearly said he wants “no caches” on his waterfront. Just a few examples for the stimulation of discussion.
So, what should we do if we are seeking a cache, it appears to truly be on private land and we may be trespassing? One thing might be, to just not finish seeking the cache? Or, do you find the cache, log it and then inquire of the cache owner? And what if they don’t know whose land it is on?
So many questions can be posed around a “simple” question. Should we seek permission before placing a cache? So let the discussion begin………..
PS - before asked, do I, personally have permission for each and every cache I have out? The answer is no. Of all the caches put out, it is less than 10% for which permission was not specifically obtained. These are all Guard Rail caches (of which I have had a discussion with Department of Transportation in Augusta regarding these and some I adopted).