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Looking For Your Opinion


kent1915
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Caches at Visitor's Centers. Several local cachers and I are in the process of putting together an event in the spring with help from our local Tourism and Visitor's Center. Now, I had permission to place a cache at the center and submitted it for approval.

 

It was not approved. Reason? Too commercial. Now here is where I am seeking your input. Tourism center sells nothing really. It exists to give away information on the community and surrounding areas. No politics, no religion, nothin heavy. My understanding of commercial in cache approval is something that would splash logos, encourage you to buy something specific from somewhere specific, etc. But, since this is giving away maps, travel brouchures, directories of all lodging, points of interest, etc. for all businesses and attractions, and parks and museums and bike trails and (on and on), what should I do different, or more specifically, what are your thoughts on this. I am appealing the decision... Please understand, I am not trying to whine or bitch about this, trying to understand from other points of view...

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Who operates the Tourism and Visitor's Center? I can see a distinction between, for example, something run by the Chamber of Commerce vs. something that is government owned and operated.

 

OK, so which one of the above is the "bad" one?

In MN, I think some are state owned/operated and some are community supported- but may still be Govt owned. They all have restrooms, and maps of all the available lodging, camping, etc (sites of interest)

Vending machines too......

 

So, Im curious where the commercial aspect comes into it? (or the subjectivity)

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I think this is a matter of where and how the cache is placed.

 

If it is placed outdoors in an open area or in the parking area, I see no problems with it.

 

If it's placed inside the building, then it forces visitors to interact with whoever is inside, which can be uncomfortable. If this was approved, then it sets a "new precedent" where people can point to the cache and argue "if it can be placed inside a visitor's center, why not <fill in the blank>?"

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Your typical visitors is like most people envision it. A place to stop and get some info on the community you are visiting. They are often staffed by volunteers, most of whom are elderly and know their community. They can tell you about all those forgotten spots off the beaten path that are well worth a visit, or tell you who has the best biscuits and gravy.

 

The entity behind them is usually either the local government or the chamber of commerce. The chamber exists for two reasons. To promote the business interests of their members, and to promote the community as a whole. The latter mission results in visitors centers.

 

Ignoring anything else a Chamber straddles the line but since they are not specifically a business promoting say carpet sales, I think the benefit of the doubt should go to the non commercial side due to a lack of a specific agenda beyond the promotion of the community in general. However if that isn’t enough, by the time you get to the visitors center the sole agenda is the promotion of the community for visitors and even though you may get a box of coupons at the door and see a pamphlet rack, you wont see any more commercialism than that.

 

When I did the legwork to get this cache approved the concern of the person in charge of the visitors center was for the welfare of the volunteers. They had specific concerns of who might come in and interact with their elderly volunteers. It took 6 months to earn their trust and get that approval. The cache has worked out well ever since.

 

Personally I think it should be approved. This kind of cache generates positive press for geocaching as a whole among the community members most likley to volunteer their time for other worthy causes such as the local trail foundation.

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For the most part - I don't see a problem as long as it is easily accessible. Many such centers exist to promote local business and to get folks to spend money and time in the area but don't promote any single business and generally just make information available to visitors in the form of pickup brochures.

 

Not any differnet than a lot of Rest Stop caches where the Rest Stop includes a visitors booth.

 

Devil on this is probably in the details of the placement or wording of cache page - and/or contents of the cache box.

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wow...what were the words of the approver in denying the cache placement?

 

Wouldn't that be a dis-approver? :( Perfect example why we should be calling them reviewers, not approvers. This one didn't get "approved".

 

To kent1915, if it's outside and off the walkway it might be okay (like someone suggested the Wal*Mart parking lot), but without knowing both sides it's hard to give an honest opinion. We don't know what the reviewer saw that made them question it.

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The cache is outside the building, off the walkway. You never have to see a soul or interact if you don't wish to. The only commercialism you see is the sign that says Tourism and Visitor's bureau.

 

Thanks for the input. Keep it coming...

 

Here are some examples of similar hides:

Near the picnic area of a rest stop/tourism Ctr

 

This one and This one

are at A MNDOT rest stop

 

Another rest stop with not just Two caches But even Three

at this MNDOT site

It seems there are several

 

Even tho these are mostly MNDOT "rest areas" many also serve as information/Tourism centers

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Even tho these are mostly MNDOT "rest areas" many also serve as information/Tourism centers

I opened each of your links, and none of the cache pages make any mention of tourism, nearby attractions, etc. They are just typical cache pages and don't appear to raise any issues. And most Wal-Mart parking lot caches make no mention of Wal-Mart other than perhaps to say that the cache is in Wal-Mart's parking lot. If the OP's cache is outside the building and makes no mention of the building's purpose, apart from saying it's at the such-and-such information center, then perhaps there'd be no issue with that one, either.

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I recently visited 2 "visitor center" caches. One required you to go inside and the cache was on the desk at the information booth and the other was along the walkway. On the one that required you to go into the center, the lady at the information booth actually put my info in a seperate book from the typical visitor book. I think they are actually trying to measure the impact that we make in the city. She was quite suprised we had travelled over 100 miles on a cold and snowy day to geocache and even offered me a free cup of coffee. The other cache outside a "visitor center" was another enjoyable stop. Although I was doing mostly park and grabs along the interstate while travelling, I spent about an hour talking to the lady inside (after I found the cache.) She was also suprised how far many of us travelled that look for the cache. She informed me on the area she lived in and suprisingly she made annual trips to my hometown for a festival.

 

I personally think these type caches are great. They give travelling cachers the chance to stretch their legs and if they decide to interact with the person at the visitor center, they show them that we could be making an economic impact in their community.

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If it's placed inside the building, then it forces visitors to interact with whoever is inside, which can be uncomfortable. If this was approved, then it sets a "new precedent" where people can point to the cache and argue "if it can be placed inside a visitor's center, why not <fill in the blank>?"

 

I just logged a cache that was inside the chamber of commerce. It was not at all uncomfortable. The people were friendly, and we got to ask about the passability of some local roads. No one tried to sell us anything.

 

So, there is already precedent for this sort of cache. Though, they say that you can't use an existing cache as justification for approving a new one.

 

This type of cache seems ok to me - even if it's inside. This makes for good cache that people with disabilties can do.

 

- bones

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There's the "traveler's aid" type, such as you will see when you cross a state border on a major highway. Free maps, advice on which roads to take, free orange juice (if the border you just crossed was Florida's), etc.

 

Then there's the "visitor's center", usually sponsored by the local municipality and/or businesses. You'll find post cards, t-shirts, and all sorts of chachkas for sale. These exist to help out the town and its businesses, not the traveler.

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I just logged a cache that was inside the chamber of commerce. It was not at all uncomfortable. The people were friendly, and we got to ask about the passability of some local roads. No one tried to sell us anything.

 

So, there is already precedent for this sort of cache. Though, they say that you can't use an existing cache as justification for approving a new one.

 

This type of cache seems ok to me - even if it's inside. This makes for good cache that people with disabilties can do.

 

- bones

I've logged such a cache, too, in Nevada, and it didn't bother me at all either. People at visitor's centers are almost always friendly (I've solicited their help in pinning down locationless caches before :( ).

 

I'm not interested in hearing both sides to this issue, but I do hope the details can be worked out for this cache. Even though precedent is not supposed to be used for justification, people still do it (but not in this thread) and I'm sure the reviewers rarely air out all the complaints they hear.

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For those curious, here is reason for denial. HOWEVER, I am not interested in venting my spleen, Brian is a good guy, and I appreciate his help. I am just looking for the views of others on this. That said, here is reason for denial.

###########################################

 

February 17 by WGA (2 found)

Kent,

Unfortunately this cache reads too much like a commercial cache, or a cache that solicits. From reading the cache page, it seems that the idea of the cache is to get people to come inside the visitors center.

 

Geocaching.com doesnt allow such caches. Here is a quote from the guidelines:

**************************************************

Commercial Caches / Caches that Solicit

 

Commercial caches attempt to use the Geocaching.com web site cache reporting tool directly or indirectly (intentionally or non-intentionally) to solicit customers through a Geocaching.com listing. These are NOT permitted. Examples include for-profit locations that require an entrance fee, or locations that sell products or services.

 

Solicitations are also off-limits. For example, caches perceived to be posted for religious, political, charitable or social agendas are not permitted. Geocaching is supposed to be a light, fun activity, not a platform for an agenda.

 

Some exceptions can be made. In these rare situations, permission can be given by the Geocaching.com web site. However, permission should be asked first before posting. If you are in doubt, ask first.

***************************************************

 

These types of caches have not been allowed in the past. I don't think the cache can be approved at this location.

 

Sorry,

 

[view this log on a separate page]

 

 

February 13 by kent1915 (208 found)

Hi-

It is outside near the front door behind some shrubs in but not easily seen as you walk by. There is an overhang overhead. It is not buried and is exposed to the elements. Hope this helps. If you need more info, please feel free to email me at smitheke

Thanks for your help and all you do to make this game/sport thing work!

 

Kent

[view/edit logs/images on a separate page]

 

[upload an image for this log]

 

February 13 by WGA (2 found)

Hello,

Can you give me some more specifics on how the cache is actually placed. Looking at the aerial photos, it places the cache in the middle of a building. Is the cache actually in a building? If not, please give me the specifics on the cache's exact placement.

 

Thanks,

 

[view this log on a separate page]

 

 

February 11 by kent1915 (208 found)

Bug drop to start.

[view/edit logs/images on a separate page]

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How about sharing your cache description? There is a big difference between the following two cache descriptions.

 

"Wal-Mart Micro #863

 

Just another skirtlifter in a parking lot. Bring your own pen and have fun!"

 

"Wal-Mart Micro #864

 

Located at America's premiere retail superstore, with a branch open in this prime location since 1989. Stop in and visit with the friendly greeter. A great place for trade goods and cheap hiking and camping supplies. No matter what you may need during your geo-travels, Wal-Mart's got it all! The cache is located in the parking lot, designed to get you right to the front door."

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(ratings out of 5 stars. 1 is easiest, 5 is hardest)

Difficulty: Terrain:

Large Lock-n-Lock at the Chippewa Valley Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Permission to Place granted by Pam H. Director of Marketing.

 

In addition to thousands of caches within 100 miles of Eau Claire, the Chippewa Valley has so many tourist attractions it is not funny. The Tourism and Visitor's Bureau is around to help visitors make sense of it all. This cache is conveniently located near several other caches, easy access to interstate for TBs who want to rest, or near information for tourists who want to cache and check out the valley. Happy hunting!

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(ratings out of 5 stars. 1 is easiest, 5 is hardest)

Difficulty: Terrain:

Large Lock-n-Lock at the Chippewa Valley Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Permission to Place granted by Pam H. Director of Marketing.

 

In addition to thousands of caches within 100 miles of Eau Claire, the Chippewa Valley has so many tourist attractions it is not funny. The Tourism and Visitor's Bureau is around to help visitors make sense of it all. This cache is conveniently located near several other caches, easy access to interstate for TBs who want to rest, or near information for tourists who want to cache and check out the valley. Happy hunting!

 

That's it? I don't see any issue at all and have seen/done/heard of caches that are MUCH more commercial.

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If you took out the first two sentences, I think it would rub the reviewer more the right way! :cute:

 

Happy Caching!

Lori V.

TeamVilla5

 

I agree. It sounds like an ad for the Chippewa Valley. Let people discover what a great place it is for themselves and they might put it in their logs.

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Yes I firmly believe that the reviewer is correct. To me your cache page does seem to be about business and too commercial. Drop the first two sentences, NEVER mention someone by name unless it is a memorial cache,

I do think the reviewer should have offered for you to change the wording before denial,; but resubmit wi9th new words, I also believe they could have assisted you with this part or at least suggested what they were looking for.

 

Say something like this:

 

The Chippewa Valley, is always up to something FUNN and we want to share it with you! This cache will surely do just that. You'll find lots to do no matter what your interests. This cache is here to help you enjoy our beautiful community. We want to make certain your stay is FUNN and will leave you wanting to come back for more.

 

Now go ahead and resubmit the cache, be sure to again say that the cache is outside and who gave permissin in the notes to the reviewer. ( That is the place for your first two sentences) I seriously doubt that a cache page that reads like the statement above would be denied.

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February 13 by WGA (2 found)

Hello,

Can you give me some more specifics on how the cache is actually placed. Looking at the aerial photos, it places the cache in the middle of a building. Is the cache actually in a building? If not, please give me the specifics on the cache's exact placement.

 

Thanks,

 

Reading that, It sounds to me like the problem is not with the description, but with the placement. The reveiwer is concerned because his aerial photos make it appear theat the cache is in the middle of a building.

 

Kent,

 

I live in Boyd. If you think it would help, I would be willing to meet up with you sometime and check out the cache placement. I could re-verify your Coords, and give independednt verification that it is or is not placed in the building.

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Doc- I resolved that. There was an overhang, that the cache is obscured by. The concern was more commercialism, not the location.

 

HOWEVER< after review by gc.com and some changes to wording I made, it is on track to be reviewed. Thanks for all who replied. It is sometimes nice to get neutral views on things.

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