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Keith Watson

10 Meters Off The Path

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I have noticed discussions in the Parks Canada forum about implementing a 10 meter rule when placing caches. Although this sounds like a good plan in theory I was wondering how many people would actually respect this rule. I put forth two questions for all you good and evil cachers out there. This is assuming a correct reading from the GPS or assuming 9 meter accuracy and the GPS indicates the cache if more than 19 meters from trail to accommodate for any errors that may be present. Lets be honest here folks, no one is going to call the geo-police on you.

 

1) If you owned a cache that you knew was more than 10 meters off the trail, would you move it closer to the trail, archive it, or leave it as it is?

2) If you were hunting a cache and discovered to the best of your knowledge that the cache was more than 10 meters off the trail, would you go for it, or would you turn back?

Edited by Keith Watson

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I just placed a series of caches in the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. My GPS accuracy was good during the walk.

I placed a total of four caches in this series, all were placed in to highlight an existing Earthcache. The furthest cache from the trail was 10 feet and that was required on only one placement, three of these caches were placed within 6 feet of the trail.

It can be a good hide and still be easy on the park. I adjusted one cache description after reading the first finder logs to ensure the cache does not create a visible impact area.

I wll try and make all my park placements similar, within 6 feet of the trail. I will also try and use manmade features if they are there. In one of these caches I was able to use a section of the old trail just a few feet away.

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I think that it is important to also leave enough information to make it an easy find when placing in a park or any eco senitive area. Making something that is a tough hard search causes a lot more damage than a cache that can be found quickly.

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1) If you owned a cache that you knew was more than 10 meters off the trail, would you move it closer to the trail, archive it, or leave it as it is?

2) If you were hunting a cache and discovered to the best of your knowledge that the cache was more than 10 meters off the trail, would you go for it, or would you turn back?

We have only placed four caches so far, none of them could be considered evil hides... although we will be placing some hopefully soon that could be :laughing: Everyone of them so far has been within 10m of a trail of some sort. Weather it be paved, gravel or game trail.

 

If placing a cache withing a canadian park we would follow this guideline / rule. There are certain reasons for this... to ensure the enviroment isn't to heavily impacted by our hobby, to make it more accessible to families who are camping there. And to make it a somewhat easier find. These people may only visit once a year, they are paying to get into the park and the fact that our cache is there may be a deciding factor that they came to that particular park. I guess we would have very descriptive hints as well.

 

As a finder, I would probably be conscious of the guideline / rule. But may not follow it too closely as I may stumble furthur into the area than I realize during the thrill of the hunt. Our typical caching techniques would apply here as well though. We generally do not trudge directly towards a cache location (point to point). We look for a established trail or area that is less susceptable to damage to make our entry attempt.

 

That being said, if the area looked as though it was safe to walk through,... dirt or rocky ground as opposed to heavy plant cover. We might search furthur into the wilderness to attempt our find if we needed too, thinking that the hider might have done so as well.

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1) If you owned a cache that you knew was more than 10 meters off the trail, would you move it closer to the trail, archive it, or leave it as it is?

If the rules were put in place by the landowner, I'd move my cache closer to the trail. If no suitable spot could be found, I'd archive it. Rules are put in place to be followed.

 

2) If you were hunting a cache and discovered to the best of your knowledge that the cache was more than 10 meters off the trail, would you go for it, or would you turn back?

I would still try to find the cache. BUT, I'd inform the cache owner that their cache was hidden in a manner that was in contravention of the landowners rules, and that as a responsible cacher they should relocate it asap.

 

If a rule is put in place by a landowner, I'd expect everyone to respect the rule! If you find a cache that breaks the rules, contact the cache owner and inform them...they may not be aware of the rule! If they fail to do anything about the situation, contact the approvers. From a landowner perspective, it's the cache approvers who are the geocaching "police" and it's up to them to rectify the situation.

 

Of course, this only applies to caches listed on geocaching.com. There are other sites that have cache listings, and some of them may not be interested in respecting the landowners wishes. :laughing:

 

The silly thing here is this: Parks Canada ban caching because they think we're going off-trail and destroying the local flora and fauna. Their ban WILL stop caches being listed on geocaching.com (simply because the approvers must abide by the Parks Canada rules). BUT, Parks Canada CANNOT prevent caches from being placed in their parks, and listed on other sites that don't care about the rules.

 

So Parks Canada are NOT allowing (normally rule abiding) geocaching.com cachers access to their parks, but they ARE allowing cachers from other sites complete access, by virtue of the other sites not enforcing the rules.

 

Sorry...I think I went a bit off-topic.. :laughing:

 

-TT-

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If the rules were put in place by the landowner, I'd move my cache closer to the trail. If no suitable spot could be found, I'd archive it. Rules are put in place to be followed.

 

Well said TT!

 

1) If you owned a cache that you knew was more than 10 meters off the trail, would you move it closer to the trail, archive it, or leave it as it is?

 

All my caches have been within 10 or 11m of the trail. I don't like to go off trail any more than I have to and I don't want to take people off the trail. Actually, in my mind if you can hide a cache within 10m of the path and not have it "muggled" then it's a good hiding spot. Having to drag people 150m off the path to find a cache that is not necessary. Taking time to walk a bit farther to find a good spot is usually all that is needed.

 

For every step that I take off the path to find a cache, my appreciation of the cache is reduced. With a bit of creativity, you can hide a cache right next to the path and not have anyone find it at all. You've done that quite a few times Keith, with great success! Urban caches prove that time and time again.

 

With Parks caches I hope it would be all about the "Wow Factor" that the cache owner is concerned about. Taking me to a vista that I wouldn't otherwise have experienced. If there is such a place then most people would be concentrating on the view and you could probably find a spot to hide an unassuming cache nearby and say "stay on the trail 100m for a breathtaking experience". Force me to bushwack 150m off the trail and I won't be interested in continuing on the trail, I'll be grumbling about the bushwack and just want to get back to the car.

 

2) If you were hunting a cache and discovered to the best of your knowledge that the cache was more than 10 meters off the trail, would you go for it, or would you turn back?

 

I have spent the time and money to get to a cache (that was 100's of km from home) and I found it was far off the trail. I had come all this way and so I went for the cache but believe me, it's not memorable 'cause it was a good cache in a nice park. :laughing: It was an older cache placed before these concerns became a public issue but it has not been relocated. I'm not even sure if the owner is still caching, I never did check.

 

Recently I arrived in a parking lot and looked at the cache and saw it was a) on private land and b ) not on a trail. I turned around and drove out of the parking lot (much to the dismay of my caching partner that day). I later wrote to the cache owner because I was concerned. Some caches I have just refused to chase.

 

Edit: Dratted smilies messing up text.

Edited by Amazon Annie

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People, please stay on topic. This is not the Parks Canada discussion thread. I am also talking about main trails, not deer trails that may or may not be a trail.

Edited by Keith Watson

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So Parks Canada are NOT allowing (normally rule abiding) geocaching.com cachers access to their parks, but they ARE allowing cachers from other sites complete access, by virtue of the other sites not enforcing the rules.

 

 

Somewhat like our gun laws???

 

 

QUOTE=Keith Watson,Oct 25 2005, 07:29 AM

1) If you owned a cache that you knew was more than 10 meters off the trail, would you move it closer to the trail, archive it, or leave it as it is?

 

Move it closer to the trail. A high percentage of my favourites are a few paces off the trails.

 

QUOTE=Keith Watson,Oct 25 2005, 07:29 AM

2) If you were hunting a cache and discovered to the best of your knowledge that the cache was more than 10 meters off the trail, would you go for it, or would you turn back?

 

I would make that call based on the sensitivity of what I have to walk through/across once I've seen it whether there is a landowner's rule in place or not.

 

Olar

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Excellent topic Keith. The following are my opinions and observations.

 

1) If you owned a cache that you knew was more than 10 meters off the trail, would you move it closer to the trail, archive it, or leave it as it is?

I've just looked through my list of caches and to be honest I got lots of caches that are more than 10 meters from the trail, and of course more that are within 10 meters of a trail (which is quite far off a trail in my opinion). To be honest I really don't see how it matters if it's right on a trail or hundreds of meters off a trail. Sometimes it just adds to the experience. I gave my opinion (and excellent solution) in the Parks Canada (or Ontario Parks) thread. Simply don't allow caches to be off trail, not even a meter. Put in some official box on a post out in the open n the trail that contains a logbook (sort of like a visitor sign in). I think it was suggested that caches should be within 4 meters of the trail (or maybe it was 10), well no matter how close to the trail you put it, there WILL be environmental damage and people WILL venture further into the woods to find it, either because they are having a hard time finding it or because their GPS is pointing deeper into the woods. And I will give a specific example...none of these, "I once went hunting for a cache..." (don't be scared to say the name). A good example was at the Spring Fling event in Barrie earlier this year. It was stated by the organizers that ALL caches were within 5 (I think that was the number) meters of the trail and that seemed to be the case, but I do recall specifically at one of the caches in that park (Provincial I might ad...oh no), that perhaps 20 people were trying to find one of the caches and they were having a hard time and the search seemed to go 20-30 meters into the woods, and I am sure it did a lot of damage to the environment. It was found eventually within 5 meters of the trail. Now do I think there was any permanent environmental damage done here? Probably not and I am sure in a month or two it looked all natural again, but the point is, it happened. I don't think it's a big deal, since I believe that mother nature is wonderful at regenerating itself over and over again. My Lost Tranquility cache is considerably off trail, and if I didn't go off trail exploring, I never would have found that neat spot. Well ok you can sorta say it is right ON some kind of barely defined trail, but it's not an official trail and you have to bush wack down a hill to get to it. And my Silver Peak cache, the trail stops when you reach the top of the mountain and the cache is hidden ON and UNDER rock, so absolutely zero environmental damage. Thousands of people even hike right by it every year and probably sit and stand right on the cache without realizing it is there.

 

2) If you were hunting a cache and discovered to the best of your knowledge that the cache was more than 10 meters off the trail, would you go for it, or would you turn back?

Of course I would go for it! What kind of silly question is that. lol. :laughing:

 

I find more often than not I am looking for the geotrail. Almost every cache we find, there is a geotrail leading to it, even if it is just 1 meters from the trail (3rd Reign in Mississauaga comes to mind...nothing wrong with the way it's hidden).

 

I think and I stress that in my opinion it is very important to have a very specific hint for the cache. The hint should basically hold your hand and guide you write to the cache. That being said, I would think that people would only resort to the hint when necessary, otherwise you're just spoiling your own enjoyment of the hunt. I try to make my hints very specific, so that you could even find it without a GPS if you got to the general area. No one enjoys leaving an area with a DNF and you would expect that as an owner of a cache you actually want people to find it and leave with a smiley on their face and on their log.

 

Also, Geocachers should be allowed to enter any Park for FREE. It's not enjoyable to have to pay $5 or $8 per person/car to just spend 30 minutes in a park. I'll usually pass it by and return another time to avoid paying.

 

Also, geocachers by no means are perfect. I am sure we have all at some point tresspassed, trampled trilliums, littered, not scooped their dogs poop, upturned every rock in an area because the hint said under a rock, enter parked without paying, entered areas after hours, trampled little sapplings, damaged trees, ripped moss off of rocks, etc.

 

And on the good side, I know we are constantly saying how CITO is a big part of geocaching, but to be honest, I have only seen 1 geocacher actually go out of his way to pick up trash while caching and while not part of a cito event. And I can only think of once where I actually took some trash out.

Lets be honest, if CITO was a big part of geocaching and our community like many say it is to the various Parks organizations, we would be cleaning the hundreds of cache areas we all visit, as many places where caches are hidden are littlered with garbage.

 

Lastly, do I think any of this is a big deal? Not really.

 

As I said at the start the above are just my honest observations. Others may see things differently, but I can back up everything thing I stated above with several examples.

Edited by res2100

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1) If you owned a cache that you knew was more than 10 meters off the trail, would you move it closer to the trail, archive it, or leave it as it is?

 

If I owned a cache that was 10 meters off a given trail (and I do) I would not have placed it there if there were immediate concerns about others finding that cache with disregard to nature. In other words, if I can see that people would be able to trample vegetation and snap tree limbs and disturb birds nests etc, I would not have placed the cache there in the first place. If the need ever arose for me to move and/or archive a cache because it were too far off the trail, I would do so immediately without hesitation.

 

The impact of a cache that is 10 meters off a trail in a Simcoe County Forest with a solid Pine Needle floor will likely be negligable. The same cannot be said for other areas that might contain small regenerating trees or Trilliums for example.

 

2) If you were hunting a cache and discovered to the best of your knowledge that the cache was more than 10 meters off the trail, would you go for it, or would you turn back?

 

If cache placement rules dictated that the cache I was seeking could NOT be more than 10 meters from the trail and if this was explained in the cache description, then I would stop seeking that cache.

 

Apart from placement rules, it all comes down to the terrain. Again, I would likely not think twice about broadening my search somewhat in a Pine forest where Pine Needles blanket the ground. I guess it depends on what kind of terrain I am faced with.

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I often quote my favourite William Shakespeare line before a response like this.. "Above all else, to thine own self be true"

 

So here goes

 

 

1) If you owned a cache that you knew was more than 10 meters off the trail, would you move it closer to the trail, archive it, or leave it as it is?

 

I do, and I think everyone in my caching area knows it, have caches that are beyond 10 meters off trail.

 

I have always considered the location for a cache. If it is obvious how to get to the cache site without disturbing vegetation then it is a valid location. If seekers might create a Geo-Trail, then I have two options. 1... Look nearby for another spot that is less likely to become a trail... or 2... relocate the cache slightly (within 100 meters) on a fairly regular basis, after determining things like number of visitors, log entries, maintenance visits and local vegatation.

 

Before anyone rolls their eyes and says "Yeah right" feel free to check out my cache pages. You'll see that I list the last date I did maintenance and also that I am archiving caches due to the length of time they have been out. Some I did maintenance on before I started tracking the dates, so in good conscience I couldn't 'guess at a date' and listed the placement date, as it wasn't an issue before.

 

While it is true that I haven't gotten to all of them, I am getting to many. And I often relocate caches as needed, even though it has cause people to search in the wrong spot... but they usually say "I didn't read the update, I had an old print out"

 

If you were hunting a cache and discovered to the best of your knowledge that the cache was more than 10 meters off the trail, would you go for it, or would you turn back?

 

You bet I would go get it. Unless I saw that the area was already very wet, or any other reason that I shouldn't walk there. If however, it is a forest area, then yes I would walk in. I think, like I have said before that it isn't where you walk, it's what you walk on. I would never walk on plants that I could avoid. I have never encountered a cache in over 500 that I could not get around the nature between it and me... (Ask Geo-Dog about my winding routes to caches to avoid areas that shouldn't be stepped on or in)

 

I can walk back and forth on my lawn every week cutting it, and in a week, you can't see my footsteps. There are many areas just like that in the woods, that can support being walked on. And there are some areas that simply cannot.

 

I don't think I would report back to the cacher if a cache was beyond 10 meters off the trail, but if a Geo-Trail is forming due to bad placement... I would send a message in a heart beat.

 

Know why? Not only does the Geo-Trail "advertise" to people to follow, it takes away the thrill of the hunt for the Geocachers seeking it. And a Geo-Trail cache is much more likely to be trashed by casual passers-by too.

 

:blink: The Blue Quasar

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I wanted to reply to a few of the things that people said as well.

 

TrimblesTrek  Posted on Oct 25 2005, 07:09 AM

 

If the rules were put in place by the landowner, I'd move my cache closer to the trail. If no suitable spot could be found, I'd archive it. Rules are put in place to be followed.

 

Totally agree with TT. (I don't believe in collecting any money from "Free Parking either"... RULES ARE RULES!)

 

Swifteroo  Posted on Oct 25 2005, 10:50 AM

 

If I owned a cache that was 10 meters off a given trail (and I do) I would not have placed it there if there were immediate concerns about others finding that cache with disregard to nature. In other words, if I can see that people would be able to trample vegetation and snap tree limbs and disturb birds nests etc, I would not have placed the cache there in the first place. If the need ever arose for me to move and/or archive a cache because it were too far off the trail, I would do so immediately without hesitation.

 

Ditto! That, to me is the right answer.

 

res2100  Posted on Oct 25 2005, 10:47 AM

 

I think and I stress that in my opinion it is very important to have a very specific hint for the cache. The hint should basically hold your hand and guide you write to the cache. That being said, I would think that people would only resort to the hint when necessary, otherwise you're just spoiling your own enjoyment of the hunt. I try to make my hints very specific, so that you could even find it without a GPS if you got to the general area. No one enjoys leaving an area with a DNF and you would expect that as an owner of a cache you actually want people to find it and leave with a smiley on their face and on their log

 

and

 

I know we are constantly saying how CITO is a big part of geocaching, but to be honest, I have only seen 1 geocacher actually go out of his way to pick up trash while caching and while not part of a cito event. And I can only think of once where I actually took some trash out.

Lets be honest, if CITO was a big part of geocaching and our community like many say it is to the various Parks organizations, we would be cleaning the hundreds of cache areas we all visit, as many places where caches are hidden are littlered with garbage.

 

The HINT topic is right on the money... and I will be doing that ASAP to mine... probably after I'm done my other stuff tonight.

 

As for the CITO, I see what Res is saying quite well. I CITO from time to time, but not as a practice. Sometimes it is overwhelming to do it at some spots. But if I see something that I can handle, then I do something about it. Often CITO is result of something I can do when I am out doing maintenance at my own caches. I CITO those every time I do maintenance, probably because I am thinking about fixing things, and honestly I want mine to be viewed as great locations... and garbage spoils that. I should be that way when seeking other people's caches too, sounds like a good New Year's Resolution :blink: . But from time to time, Logger (who is far more CITO minded than I am) will pull stuff out.

 

I know that was off topic, but a topic as good as this one is deserves to be expanded to cover the other aspects of proper cache placement and searching.

 

Amazon Annie  Posted on Oct 25 2005, 07:55 AM

 

Actually, in my mind if you can hide a cache within 10m of the path and not have it "muggled" then it's a good hiding spot. Having to drag people 150m off the path to find a cache that is not necessary. Taking time to walk a bit farther to find a good spot is usually all that is needed.

 

For every step that I take off the path to find a cache, my appreciation of the cache is reduced. With a bit of creativity, you can hide a cache right next to the path and not have anyone find it at all.

 

I had not considered that, and it is a great point. Geocachers are out for a relaxing walk normally, not a bushwack or even a cross country event. With the exceptions of a few of my Blue Box caches, and of course GHMCMC01 I think mine are all fairly close to the path, and if not it's only due to necessity.

 

Apples 2 Apples  Posted on Oct 25 2005, 07:04 AM

 

As a finder, I would probably be conscious of the guideline / rule. But may not follow it too closely as I may stumble furthur into the area than I realize during the thrill of the hunt. Our typical caching techniques would apply here as well though. We generally do not trudge directly towards a cache location (point to point). We look for a established trail or area that is less susceptable to damage to make our entry attempt.

 

That is very honest of you, and I bet that you are far from the only ones, myself included. I too have forgotten that a cache description said "6 Meters" from trail, or "Handicap Accessible" only to end up beyond those paramters. And it only takes a few times till you learn that lesson. I agree that people should list that the cache is not beyond X number of meters from the trail, but not necessarily state the exact distance. As in, if it is 2 meters, they could still say "Within 10" or "Between 0-10 Meters" to make the seeking a little more of a mystery. Saying "1 Meter from the PVC drain pipe, under the three grey rocks" spoils it too. That would be a better hint than description.

 

:lol: The Blue Quasar

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I have noticed discussions in the Parks Canada forum about implementing a 10 meter rule when placing caches.

10 metres off-trail? The rule should be less than 4 metres. Four metres might be too much.

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Please stay on topic. This thread is not to debate weather or not there should be a distance, why, or by how much. Only if the rule did exist, would or have you gone that far to find a cache.

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