Jump to content

Put In An Awkward Situation Re: Permission


Recommended Posts

When I was planning my first placement of geocaches, I did the proper thing and emailed the Parks & Recreation Dept. of both cities I planned to hide in. I explained geocaching, told them I was planning to place some in the parks & please let me know if they are opposed, etc. etc.


After waiting to hear from them with no word, I placed the caches, thinking that since one of the cities had 15+ other hides, that permission had been obtained somewhere along the lines.


Recently, my kids & I were part of a story in the local paper about geocaching. Shortly after, I received an email from P&R from one of the cities & asked me to meet with them to "set up geocaching in ___."


Today I had lunch with P&R guy, who was amazed that there are 18 caches already hidden in their parks & they didn't know anything about it... seems no one else had bothered to ask permission before me... I'm just glad he was a very easygoing guy! :blink: Anyway, he's asked me to come to the next City Commission meeting & talk about geocaching & different rules/regs/aspects of the game that would affect the city & then hopefully they will provide a link to gc.com from their city website in a Geocaching Friendly section of the site.


So, how would you feel if a city official called & wanted to "set up" geocaching in their city & you had to tell them, "No problem... local geocachers have already set it up... with or without you!" :drama:


Happy Caching!

Lori V.


Link to comment

How do you know they didn't ask permission? You said they never replied to your request. We had a similar situation here in WV. The university has an experimental forest, that is also public land. Permission requests went unanswered. Finally someone in charge of the forest said no caches. Two of us here went to the top and finally explained things, now caches are allowed again. I think that is part of the game, educating the folks that give permission. I realize that doesn't answer the question, but it is my opinion.

Link to comment

Best thing to do is go in to the meeting with as much information as possible about the sport. tell them that there are several types of caches and they are placed in numerous places from in the woods to City parks, then mention the 18 in the city already.

I would also do your best to have all 18 found prior to the meeting so that you can identify thwm for the council members and tell them if they are in a safe location and in compliance with GC rules. This way they will feel that you are knoledgable and that GCing is not going to cause any problems for them. Maybe set up a demonstration and offer to set up a city cache at the local library maybe a TB hotel. This way they will feel involved and see how innocent the sport is.

Link to comment
I'm confused, you called/emailed them for permission. They never responsed...

then later someone from there contacts you after seeing an artical in the paper. And he/they? are suprized noones had contacted them for permission??


Apparently my email was being "delegated" to the correct person in P&R... it's not like they were trashing the email... it just took longer than *I* was expecting... not that I'm an IMPATIENT COW or anything... :drama: ... MOOO! :blink:


Happy Caching!

Lori V.


Link to comment

Just because one person in a local parks and recreation department doesn't know about the caches, don't assume no one else asked permission. There is one city where I have placed caches that I expect would be more or less the same.


I called in and asked for someone to approve an activity in the parks. I explained I wanted to talk about hiding a geocache. I got someone who sounded like the typical worker drone with little interest in the overall picture. I explained a cache and trading items. He asked something like, "So you'll be selling something there?" I said no, the trade items are just trivial little things, mostly to make kids happy, and it's all free. That made him happy and he said to go ahead.


However, from his attitude and questions, I'm sure he never wrote anything down. If he ever mentioned it to anyone else, I'm sure it was just comment about some weird "geothing." I doubt his memory extended past lunch.


I really wonder how often one person in an agency gives permission, but that is never recorded. I would not be surprised if many city rec departments would be surprised by the number of caches hidden where the hider dilligently got permission.


Probably the first thing you should tell the guy from the city to do is to educate his people a little and have all calls about geocaching (or hiding things) directed to a single person. And that person really ought to write something down. With more detail than "geothing."

Link to comment

First off, know that when public park systems do not make a policy many cachers find them fair game and place caches. It is public property, so all is OK if they haven't said no before. Usually when issues arise later it is because the park finds out and had no clue. Some get curious or worried, while some don't care. To the extent they ask why others never asked for permission, I would explain that there is a line of reasoning that public property for recreation is just that. It is taxpayer paid public property for recreation and geocaching is recreation. So people didn't think to ask, nor should they be expected to. They would not ask to go jogging there or play another recreational game etc. Of course be very nice and tactful. I was writing a bit more blunt just now. You likely have to soften it.


In general, give them positive information. Explain caching and the rules behind it. Many parks get concerned because they think caches will be buried or contain bad objects etc. Tell them about the listing guidelines and such. Maybe print those out and bring copies for them. Explain that it is a family activity that many enjoy and that it brings people out to their parks. Especially mention CITO! When I spoke to a park board that was making a cache policy, they loved CITO. At one point the question came up about fees for permits (they made a very easy to use permit system). Another board member moved that because of CITO activities and educational caches out there (there were some neat educational caches in the area) that no fee should ever be charged. That was agreed on by the board.


You can also find some good resources at Geocacher University. That has a brochure you can print to give them.


You might also check and see if you have a local organization that might help you. Often an officer or member of the organization would be happy to come along and talk as well. The presence of an organization can help a lot with parks.


Good luck to you! It sounds from their comment about maybe providing a link on their site that they are already thinking positive, so hopefully it will all be well and good! :drama:

Link to comment

Ther are any number of state and local agencies that have very simple Geocaching policies that will help assuage any concerns your local government types may have. This is the policy used by Texas State Parks. I'd also see if the folks at Texas Geocaching could help.


Not only would I emphasis the concept of CITO, if there appears to be some resistance, offer to plan one at a park of their choosing in exchange they allow Geocaching.


In Fall 2003 a county park system where I live found out about Geocaching and were very angry that caches had been placed without permission. Since then local geocachers have helped create a Geocaching policy, held three free Geocaching classes for local residents, and held a CITO. This year in the press release annoucing the Earth Day Festival when they listed a few examples of the activities that were available, Geocaching was one of them.

Edited by magellan315
Link to comment

Go big on the fact that there is a clearing house, Geocaching.com and that there is a reporting and listing approval process, there are guidelines and that there are people who monitor caches for condition and archiving and removal of caches that prove problematic is routinely done. Get them to suggest places where they don't want them placed, i.e. schools, police stations, highway bridges, etc. Bring them into the process.

Link to comment

You may find that using the brochure from Geocacher-U goes a long way in explaining geocaching to the parks. I'd also suggest leaning on the state/local club since there are people there who are likely well-versed in this sort of thing. Since it affects everybody, you would be wise to have people familiar with land-manager negotiations/discussions with you.



Link to comment
When I was planning my first placement of geocaches, I did the proper thing and emailed the Parks & Recreation Dept. of both cities I planned to hide in.  ...


Today I had lunch with P&R guy, who was amazed that there are 18 caches already hidden in their parks & they didn't know anything about it... seems no one else had bothered to ask permission before me...


Anyway, he's asked me to come to the next City Commission meeting & talk about geocaching & different rules/regs/aspects of the game ...



I fully understand your predicament! Just last week, I met with a Park Committee to receive official permission to list an Earth Cache in the park. Surprisingly enough, even though this park is host to the oldest cache in New Hampshire and is home to 9 physical caches, the park advisory committee had never previously been approached regarding formal permission to place a geocache in the park. (One of those other caches is a hide of mine, by the way, so I'm not just blaming others for the lack of advance permission requests!)


Using presentations assembled by other geocachers as a starting point, I put together a PowerPoint presentation describing geocaching, self-imposed requirements for geocaches, the geocaches in the park, and my request for listing the Earth Cache. My presentation included a satellite photo view of the park with each of the geocache locations plotted on the photo. I have also personally found each of the geocaches, so I knew where each is located.


The committee had been aware of geocaching in general terms and knew that the park was used for geocaching, but the committee members had never before seen a geocache container, did not realize that they were intended as permanent placements, and did not have any contact information if there were to ever be any future concerns regarding the geocaches in the park. They were particularly interested in hearing of the popularity of geocaching, seeing the locations of the geocache placements in the park, and realizing that geocaches had been in the park for over 5 years without their ever noticing any of them on their park cleanup days or other uses of the park. Even though they had never before been asked permission, the fact that the geocaches had existed in the park for so long without a deterimental impact upon the park was a very positive fact about the unobtrusiveness of the caches.


I would suggest that you suggest ways that geocachers can help the Parks and Recreation department. For example, at my recent visit, I mentioned the CITO activites of geocachers; the committee was also very interested in my sponsoring a CITO event in the spring to aid with annual cleaning of the park. (This will hopefully take place in April 2006.)


The committee was also interested in partnering with geocachers on a planned project to map locations in the park for emergency purposes (police, fire, and/or EMT response to 911 calls).


The committee did express concerns about the use of ammo cans as cache containers, stating that although they wouldn't ban the use of ammo cans, that they would prefer that ammo cans be replaced with clear plastic containers as appropriate, in order to avoid potentially "booby traps." I explained that I was not aware of any such problems with ammo can cache containers and that they tend to be a favorite container for many geocachers, as they are watertight, durable, and make a positive seal when closed.


Followup discussions with comittee members have resulted in one of the committee members suggesting additional earth cache locations, a possibility of organizing a "GPS Tutorial" with a local BSA council, and having geocachers monitor a few areas in the park for prohibited activities. In sum, a mutually beneficial relationship between geocachers and the park advisory committee is off to a good start.


Make sure that you are prepared for any possible criticism / concerns the Parks & Rec department may have. Present geocaching in a favorable light; show that geocachers have already anticipated possible detrimental impacts of geocaching, and have taken steps to minimize any possible negative impact, while encouraging environmental awareness and responsibility!


Best Wishes!

-- Solid-Rock-Seekers


PS: Another thing you may want to consider is to "team up" on this presentation with one or more of the other local hiders in the area.


PPS: If you have a high-speed internet connection and can send me an email with that email address, I'd be glad to send you a copy of the Powerpoint Presentation that I presented.

Link to comment

Thanks for sharing your experience, S-R-S! I'm not really nervous about the upcoming meeting, although I am going to try to recruit 9Key (are you there, Will? I'm about to email you!) to come as well, since I am relatively new at this.


I really appreciate the offer on the PP presentation, but we are a Mac family; does that matter, or is it sort of like MSWord documents that can be seen regardless of your computing platform?


Happy Caching!

Lori V.


Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...