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Illegal Caching


Airsafety
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Hey Gang,

 

Today I received a log on one of my caches that indicated the find was made at night - 11:00 pm to be exact. The cache is located on private property in a wildlife sanctuary, which used to be a vast estate. The manor house is still in use as a residence and the sanctuary (as well as the cache page) is CLEARLY POSTED "Open from dawn to dusk".

 

Now, I happen to be good friends with the staff at the sanctuary and it took me 6 months to convince them to allow my two geocaches on the property. The relationship has been very positive for all of us - they welcome cachers during daylight hours 365 days a year.

 

Now the question: the last finder clearly violated the sanctuary's daylight hours policy, as well as the listing requirements on GC.com. Should I remove the log since they made the find without regard for the sanctuary and the thousands of cachers who play by the rules?

 

I am pretty upset about this... it took a lot of work to get this far and I would hate to see this sport discredited by those who don't give a rat's a** about anyone else... know what I mean?

 

What would YOU do if you were me?

 

~Airsafety

Edited by Airsafety
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I wouldn't affirmatively bring this to the land manager's attention unless you know they check the cache page regularly. Rather, if you are ever asked about this incident, you'll want to be in a position to demonstrate that you've done everything possible to guard against this problem occurring.

 

You've already stated the hours of operation (though they're buried a bit of the way down in your cache page). You've left a very clear note today on the cache page. You can point at those to show that you are being a responsible cache owner. Additional suggestions: Make the hours of operation and NO NIGHT CACHING more prominent in your cache description, through boldface, colored font, etc., and add a "Cache Attribute" for "not available at all times" -- it is the "24/7" icon with the diagonal "no" line drawn through it. I put that attribute on all my caches where the park is closed at night.

 

The remaining issue is what to do about the finder's log which was made in violation of the posted hours of operation. This is a close call. On the one hand, what's done is done, and a find is a find -- deleting the log doesn't change the fact that it happened, and you only tend to tick off people by deleting their logs. On the other hand, the finders were from out of town so they don't need to be your best friend at the next regional geopicnic, and they did break the posted rules and our general obligation to obey all applicable laws while geocaching.

 

Perhaps a good middle ground is to write the finder a polite but firm e-mail, expressing your displeasure with their behavior, and suggesting that they consider deleting or at least editing their log. I know that if I inadvertently broke the law, I would gladly give up an ill-gotten smiley face if that's the only consequences; it could have been worse.

 

You can then make your final decision based on the other geocacher's reaction. Assuming you were polite, if they write back and flame you, then deleting the log would be more appropriate. If they are contrite and apologetic, they could edit their log to apologize for what was hopefully an inadvertent oversight, and delete the stuff about how stealthy they were, sneaking around the grounds late at night.

 

My two cents. Thank goodness I don't charge by the word.

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I would vote to disable and remove the cache.

Many caches are located in areas that are closed after sunset.

heck I would venture to guess maybe 90 percent of all caches are

located in areas that are closed after dark.

 

While It is NOT the cache owners total fault if somebody disreguards the

posted times the area is open. and tresspasses looking for a cache. The cache owner MUST take some responcibility for placeing the cache and inviting others to search for it.

 

If you post a cache and invite the public to search for it, then you

have to expect that some will seach at any hour of the day or night reguardless of any times you have posted. You must also expect that people will search in places where the cache is NOT, and they very well may overturn rocks and such in thier search. If you are concerned with damage to the enviroment, property, or even concerned with strange people walking around the area, then by all means DONT put a cache there. you are only inviting trouble.

 

Im sorry, but YOU must take SOME of the responcibility for what happened because you caused it to happen. If you didnt put the cache there then they would not be there looking for it.

For your own piece of mind, and for the piecee of mind of the property owner, I would sudgest you disable and remove the cache.

 

scoobydooers

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Hmmm, following scoobydoers' logic, do I need to be proactive and archive nine of my caches that are located in parks with restricted hours of operation posted? I don't think so. My duty as a cache owner is to warn finders of the risks (quicksand, alligators) and of the rules (restricted hours, $5 entrance fee, day parking permit required, etc.) Airsafety has done his duty, and more so, through establishing a good relationship with the land manager. I wouldn't punish Airsafety, or geocachers who might legally enjoy his fine cache in the future, due to the actions of one person who disregarded the rules.

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The most important thing is to ask them nicely but firmly to change their log. They must take out any reference to being there at night. You should explain to them the same thing you explained here, that it took months to get permission and they trust you, yada yada... I'm sure they're reasonable and will change the log right away. If they give you a hard time send them another email explaining why you need to delete their log and they are free to log it again as long as there is no mention of their "night mission".

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How about adding a link to this thread in your e-mail to the cacher? It took me 6 months to find the forums after I started, and perhaps they oughta read the Leprechaun's post, he spoke very well on the subject if you ask me.

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Im sorry, but YOU must take SOME of the responcibility for what happened because you caused it to happen. If you didnt put the cache there then they would not be there looking for it.

 

The cache was placed with permission and the hours posted. The owner was the victim of the finder's callous disregard for the rules. I really can't take this mentality of spreading the blame around to include the victim. The responsibility lies solely with the person who deliberately broke the rules.

 

Personally I'd probably delete the person's log and tell him why. If he re-logs and removes the reference to trespassing, I'd then probably let it stand. No need to get into a delete/log war.

Edited by briansnat
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Suggestion: e-mail the cacher and confirm it was in fact 11 pm and not 11 am with a typo. Some people who work shift work or night shift inject the opposite of what the real suffix is. If it is, in fact, a violation, a log entry and/or e-mail would be appropriate along with deleting the entry. I would contact the people from whom permission was obtained, inform them of what happened and what actions you took. Your showing of responsibility by taking action and informing them (rather than not telling them) will show your dedication as well as those who "play by the rules." Good luck and good caching. Kane

PS I like Planet's idea of the link as well.

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Suggestion: e-mail the cacher and confirm it was in fact 11 pm and not 11 am with a typo. Some people who work shift work or night shift inject the opposite of what the real suffix is.

I appreciate that you're trying to give the finder the benefit of a doubt, but I think the following quote from the finder's log is dispositive of the issue:

 

Found this one at 11:00 PM, 110th cache find overall and our first in the state of Virginia. Crept around the property with GPSr and flashlight in hand. Found after about 5 minutes of searching in the dark.
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OK Gang,

 

Thanks for your input.

 

I have emailed the cachers asking for an edit to the log. If I don't see it in 24 hours, I'll delete it and they can try again. I think this seems fair.

 

In the meantime, I have updated the cache page with the aforementioned bold text and a non-24/7 attribute.

 

I don't think that this will be an ongoing problem, but I might just raise the difficulty a hair. When people see a 1/1, they figure it's a quick grab and to heck with the rules. In truth, it IS a quick grab, but the rules kind of have to be followed.

 

By the way Brian, let me know when you'll be here and I'll gladly take you with me on some cachin' madness. Speaking of which, you guys would prolly like my blog: Airsafety's Cachin' Madness

 

Best Regards to All and Cache Well,

 

~Airsafety

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Just had to comment ...

 

People work very hard to obtain the necessary permissions and place caches in some really awesome places. It is a shame that, like most things in this world, the illegal, unthinking actions of a very small group tend to result in policy and laws that restrict the the actions of the law abiding populace.

 

Just look at some of the efforts to ban caching Statewide in several state's parks ... the reasons given are the actions of a few ...

 

It doesn't take much for land owners to feel threatened and cut off access for everyone. And if I recall, the hours are clearly posted at the gate in this case ...

 

As a note, I agree with the action taken, if the log is edited, I would let it go and hopefully a lesson will be learned ... if not .............

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OK Gang,

 

Thanks for your input.

 

I have emailed the cachers asking for an edit to the log. If I don't see it in 24 hours, I'll delete it and they can try again. I think this seems fair.

 

In the meantime, I have updated the cache page with the aforementioned bold text and a non-24/7 attribute.

 

I don't think that this will be an ongoing problem, but I might just raise the difficulty a hair. When people see a 1/1, they figure it's a quick grab and to heck with the rules. In truth, it IS a quick grab, but the rules kind of have to be followed.

 

By the way Brian, let me know when you'll be here and I'll gladly take you with me on some cachin' madness. Speaking of which, you guys would prolly like my blog: Airsafety's Cachin' Madness

 

Best Regards to All and Cache Well,

 

~Airsafety

Another thing to keep in mind is that not everyone reads the cache page before attempting a cache. Especially 1/1 traditionals. It _IS_ possible that they never saw the hours listed on the cache page before finding the cache. Perhaps a mystery cache would be more appropriate if you think people coming in after hours could cause problems with permission to keep a cache there?

 

(Oh, and if I was looking at the right cache, it looks like they've already edited the log to remove the mention of what time they found the cache.)

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