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Thread: Do You Need Landowner Permission To Place A Cache?

  1. #1
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    Question 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).

  2. #2
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    If you're on land where a cache has been questionably blessed by the land owner....it's you the cacher that is responsible for your tresspass, not the C.O..
    I'm just nuts about geocaching!!

  3. #3
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    For those who haven't seen it.....on August 29th it was published. "The New Hampshire Bureau of Trails said 12,000 acres of forest in the Ossipee Mountains region have been closed to the public due to irresponsible trail users."

    We've all seen many times where caches have been placed in sensitive areas, and the FTF cachers trample the whole area to find it. It doesn't help when someone's new to the game and doesn't have good equipment or understand proper and wise placement. Then it doesn't take long before the geo-trail is ground in to stay for a long time after it's abandoned. Such geo-trails are off-trail and against most trail use policies.

    Guess this story is a Huge reminder to us all to keep an eye out, and act ethically in our caching. The placement of a cache might be questionable....that doesn't mean we have to support that wrong. Most of us are great about helping to right the wrong.

    Learn to cache.... Love to cache...... Help others to learn.... Help others to Love it
    I'm just nuts about geocaching!!

  4. #4
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    I think permission is a great idea. That being said, I have not succeeded in getting permission for any of my caches. Should TPTB make it a requirement to obtain and post permission information on every cache page, I would welcome it. If anyone was questioned at a cache site the contact information would be right there. An added benefit is that is would help curb the haphazard hiding of caches.

    Some places are just plain tough tougher to find the land owners or a contact person. What gets me is people who hide a cache at a Fast Food restaurant or a shopping center or as Hollora mentioned the Nature Conservancy. Most of these types of locations have a decent route to someone in charge. Yes, it might take a while or a meeting or two, but it's not often hard to find someone in charge.

    Quote Originally Posted by squirrelcache View Post
    We've all seen many times where caches have been placed in sensitive areas, and the FTF cachers trample the whole area to find it. It doesn't help when someone's new to the game and doesn't have good equipment or understand proper and wise placement.
    Exactly! This is what I have been preaching for years! And it's not right to single out FTFers. Anyone racing cache to cache to get as many as possible has a better chance of doing damage to cache locations and make a negative impact on the sport. And then there's the people who have not been informed or just don't care about what impact they make. It can be FTFers, rally runners, or just any individual in a hurry for any reason. And, hiding in a hurry can make a person place a cache in an area that is not the best choice as well. While permission can't prevent the finders from making bad choices, it might slow down a hider enough to think over his cache location and what impact that location will have on the cache, particularly thinking about how other cachers who might not be thoughtful will access the cache - and ultimately what impact it will have on caching in general.

    If cache hiders took the time to fully think over their location and all the possible wrong ways cachers might access the cache and what the location would be like in all seasons and how the terrain might be impacted by all cachers in all seasons, everyone will benefit and permission might be less of an issue in many locations! But I will still promote getting permission.

    This is a good topic and relates to a poll I posted a while back. If you haven't voted there yet, please do! How many caches have you placed with permission?
    Last edited by brdad; 09-04-2009 at 06:19 AM.
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  5. #5
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    It's a great discussion topic, one that I hope generates some good discussion. Can you elaborate a little more on the Bangor Harbor Master reasons. Certainly I can appreciate and respect his position and decision, just would like to know more. The fact is, caching brings in people and raises awareness.

    And, how did the DOT discussion go?

    Quote Originally Posted by hollora View Post
    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.


    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).
    Everyone has the right to be an idiot at times. Just don't abuse the privilege.

  6. #6
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    I agree wholeheartedly with getting permission. Although I find it weird how FTF'ers and "rally'ers" as well as new cachers are singled out as destructive. I find that some cachers simply don't care, regardless of the number of finds they have. I think some of the new cacher are actually more conscientious of their actions than some of the veterans. Also, when I think in terms of damage at a cache location then the C.O. has to take some responsibility and not put a 5 hide in a sensitive area. Putting a micro container in a rock wall would be asking to have the rock wall torn down. Sticking a magnetic cache on an antique item is begging for people to climb all over it. Impact on an area isn't necessarily caused by one persons actions but can be cumulative from many cachers. The fact is those-who-think-they-cache-better than others are nieve if they think they leave no impact on an area. While my footsteps won't leave a dirt path to a newly placed cache, thousands of footsteps will. As a cache owner it would be my responsibility to one, not take advantage of permission given by allowing an area to be torn up and secondly to allow my fellow geocachers to enjoy an area by letting them know in the cache description what is expected of them when visiting.

    Just because we get permission to place a cache doesn't mean that we have the right to destroy the area. I placed one cache (with permission) and was told explicitly that if the damage became noticable that the cache would need to be removed. One would not even need a GPSr to find that cache, of course the cacher would be required to read the description. As a responsibly Cache hider I put this cache far enough off the road to discourage those who think this would be a quick find. On the other hand, a recent series that was put out also was done responsibly. One can now do 100 plus caches in one day without being coined as destructive. That C.O. acted responsibly and thought out each hide well. His series has been met with great enthusiam.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRF View Post
    Although I find it weird how FTF'ers and "rally'ers" as well as new cachers are singled out as destructive.
    That was not quite the statement I made or was trying to make. My claim was that anyone, including myself is more likely to (intentionally or unintentionally) cut corners or make bad errors in judgment when they are in a hurry. Working construction I see and have this happen to me on a regular basis.

    That does not mean that there are not people who take their time and make the same errors, and it does not mean that there are not people who move swiftly that make few errors.

    And regarding new cachers - they generally make mistakes from being misinformed or uninformed. Older cachers generally make mistakes from being sloppy and they often take the sport for granted.

    Regardless, this part of the conversation has less to do with actual topic of this thread other than to point out that requiring permission for a cache might give a cache hider more time to consider the impact cachers of all types and styles will have on his chosen location.
    Last edited by brdad; 09-04-2009 at 09:27 AM.
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  8. #8
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    Now that I have an additional cup of coffee in me, and having looked at Brdad's poll, I've had an opportunity to consider the topic. I think there are a large number of cache placers, who are experienced cachers, have been involved in the activity longer than a few months (more like years) and are quite responsible in how they participate in this activity whether it be placing a cache or seeking a cache. Where appropriate, they seek permission from landowners or the managing agent. They include this information in the cache description, for example.

    But it seems in the past year, there have been a number of caches placed by relatively new participants that have exploded on the geocaching scene. The excitement they have for geocaching is admirable and one that I can appreciate and still have. However, I can't help but think when multiple new caches are being placed daily, several days in a row, it must be quite an ordeal obtaining landowner permissions. Certainly my comments are not directed to any one cacher or to any one geographic area. Living in central/eastern Maine and working in southern Maine, I have several notifications set up for new caches in the area I work, live and travel so I see this across the state, the exception being northern Maine, most likely due to demographics.

    At the risk of being redundant and repeating myself, with caching and cache placement comes responsibilities. Land owner permission is just one of these responsibilities. We'll leave the others to another thread, another day.

    Finally, I'd like to comment on Brdad's poll. Unfortunately, the majority of members who contribute to this forum and participate in the community are responsible cachers. With that in mind, I think these are the respondents and as such, the results are weighted and not representative of cache placement across Maine. That said, please, please, please keep on doing these polls, stats and the seemingly endless bits of information you do. It is so helpful.

    Well, this is really the first "opinion" post (for the most part) that I've done since joining GCM.org. Probably best that I return to "ears open, mouth closed" mode.
    Everyone has the right to be an idiot at times. Just don't abuse the privilege.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pm28570 View Post
    Well, this is really the first "opinion" post (for the most part) that I've done since joining GCM.org. Probably best that I return to "ears open, mouth closed" mode.
    No, keep up with the comments, this site is only as good as it's members and the more input we have on any topic the better!
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  10. #10
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    We went to Eustis last year to do some of the new caches put out along with the old.
    At one GRC 2 car loads of cachers from Canada, down for the event showed up at the cache we were doing . We were signing the log in the car. We told them we had it and one of them came to the truck to get it. We left and went to the next one , before we finished signing it, They showed up right behind us again. We gave them the cache and went to the next, MOOSELOOK. A full size cache a little in the woods. We walked in around the sand piles and headed up the "trail" area.
    Yup, They they were pulling in and Ran from the cars up and over and around and the group went running by us through the woods. They were still looking for it when we got to GZ and within seconds Bubba said , found it. Just as he reached for it , one of the group stepped infront of him to reach for the cache. Bubba stepped on the cache and said, I found it , I'll go through it first. Bubba is the calm one. I would have shoved him on his a_ _.
    We signed the log and gave them the cache and turned to go back to the truck, Within seconds 3 of the Canada group Charged passed us racing each other back to their vehicles. Some may have noticed the trampled areas around there at that time.
    They really made caching there that day unenjoyable , so we left.

    And before anyone gets their Granny Panties in a giant wadd......

    They WERE from Canada and I don't know their names or I wouldn't have used the term Canadian Cachers, AND , I am not acusing Any Canadian Cachers of Anything. I'm just referencing to the " Rush and Trample" approach we saw that day. I have never seen it before or again.!!

    Opalsns

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