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Please give me your opinion on my archived Cache!


Synthtcd
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Jagan242 and I placed a series of caches in the Jefferson National Forest in an area known as the Cascades. (cache in question is the first of three) They are placed along a rugged four mile hike that is typically frequented by experienced hikers and backpackers, it is a fairly remote location with the Appalachian Trail close by. Keeping this in mind, I spent several months slowly filling up three ammo boxes with practical gear for hikers. After allot of thought and effort in choosing the locations the caches were ready to go...or so we thought.

 

The cache reviewer has deemed these caches as impromptu "firestarter kits" and refuses to publish the cache or give any suggestions on how to fix the problem. The reviewer insists on having the name and address of a "national forest ranger" who authorizes the cache. (new policy?) Please let me know what you guys think, constructive criticism of the cache is welcome. Basically, do you think the cache contents are as inappropriate as this reviewer thinks?

 

Cache Description:

 

Park in the Cascades parking lot. Cross the bridge at the beginning of the lower trail to the falls. Take a right (SW) on a footpath and pass a campsite. Head uphill through the rocky land of chipmunks and find the largest rock of all, beneath which resides the king of the chipmunks.

 

There is a 3.00 parking fee required at the gate, and please be warned, the area is full of stinging nettles during spring and summer.

 

Original cache contents are as follows:

 

Firestarter Log

Fire sticks

Matches

Padlock

Rubber fish lure

Unused green dog collar

10 colored tea lights

 

Current Reviewer Notes: (Its best to read from the bottom up)

July 20 by Synthtcd (26 found)

Thank you for your concern, however the campfire and cooking materials included in the cache contents are not prohibited materials; therefore, they do not require further attention or authorization by the rangers.

 

July 20 by Dot Plotter (2 found)

Thanks for the detailed response. There has been no question about whether camp fires are allowed or not in the national forests, or in the general area of the cascades. The question is whether unattended fire starter kits were authorized by national forest rangers, and what their contact information was in the event Groundspeak Inc. is contacted for this information in the future.

 

Question remains, can you please post a reviewer note with the name and contact information of the person who granted permission for placement of this (and the other nearby) cache?

 

Thanks,

Dot Plotter

Volunteer Geocaching.com Reviewer

 

July 20 by Synthtcd (26 found)

In response to:

 

"Can you please post a reviewer note with the name and contact information of the person who granted permission for placement of a fire starter kit in the Jefferson National Forest? Seems very hazardous under the best of circumstances."

 

As per the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest rules, campfires are approved in this area, cooking with fire is encouraged by the USDA Forest Service at the provided fifteen picnic units with tables and grills. Anyone who has been to the Cascades is well familiarized with these facts, not to mention anyone who has been hiking on the nearby Appalachian Trail would be immeasurably grateful to locate a cache with potentially life saving fire sticks and matches as opposed to say...a McDonald's Happy Meal toy. As any experienced hiker would know the top safety items to bring on a hike are first aide kits and matches; to demonstrate this point I would refer to the USDA Forest Service's Top Ten Hiking Essentials- which include matches and lighters. This very informative article can be found with incredible ease at the provided link:

 

http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj/general_info/faq.shtml#fireworks

 

Furthermore, I feel obligated to defend my fellow geocachers against the comment which implies they are a "fire starter". I would like to think they are more inclined to use the provided firesticks to strike up a barbecue or campfire while exercising proper safety and responsibility.

 

July 16 by Dot Plotter (2 found)

Hi,

Can you please post a reviewer note with the name and contact information of the person who granted permission for placement of a fire starter kit in the Jefferson National Forest? Seems very hazardous under the best of circumstances.

 

Thanks,

Dot Plotter

Volunteer Geocaching.com Reviewer

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you're out of luck, dude.

 

the reviewer has discretion over the interpretation of the guidelines, and where contested, the reviewers will sometimes caucus amongst themselves.

 

given the general concern with wildfires AND the ban on lighters, it is reasonable to draw the conclusion that firestarter may not be acceptable. certainly permission granted by a ranger with jurisdiction would settle the matter, as would returning to the cache and removing the items of concern.

 

the bottom line is that no Groundspeak reviewer will knowingly publish a cache that represents a likelihood to create problems, either real or entirely in the land manager's mind.

 

so yes, your reviewer is right in the money. perhaps s/he might not have used such a breezy tone, but hey. there's nothing out of line there.

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I have not hiked that section of the AT, so I am not familiar with the rules in Jefferson National Forest.

Matches and fire starters are prohibited items per geocaching guidelines. Since you tout them as potential life-saving equipment, it seems that your reviewer is willing to grant an exception with explicit permission from the local authorities. I should guess that the 'suggestion on how to resolve the problem' would be to remove any items prohibited by geocaching guidelines. As someone who has hiked half the AT, I always carry fire starting equipment for my cooking stove. And have never run short. I have hiked in drought conditions where the ban on 'fire of any sort, including cooking stoves' had just been lifted.

While your stocking of the cache is well meaning, it is in violation of the guidelines. I agree with your reviewer.

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Just so everyone is well aware, the StarterLogg is a compressed wood bar that is about 10 inches long. It is sealed in wax paper, contained in an ammo box. Just wanted to clarify so you weren't thinking of starter fluid or any such thing. Have read and re-read the guidelines and stand by my conclusion. These items are there to be traded out, placed in a hiker's backpack for later use. There is no stipulation that upon opening the cache one must immediately set fire to the contents. Do you really think your fellow geocacher would mis-use these items?

 

Regardless, I really appreciate the two constructive responses. I have an open mind for valid points and am in no way looking for more flamers. (no pun intended) Why not keep the discussion civil and well meaning?

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Why not just remove the firestarter swag? Is it really worth the hassle?

 

Same here, they sound like very well thought out placements and if the simple removal of a couple items that are not allowed by GC.com guidelines is all that it would take, a compromise may be in order. That section of trail is used by experienced hikers, so for the most part thay would have the knowledge to have these items with them, should they be needed.

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.... Since you tout them as potential life-saving equipment, it seems that your reviewer is willing to grant an exception with explicit permission from the local authorities. ...

 

Unless the park has a prohibition on that type of life saving equipment the ban is entirely Groundspeaks. Thus it would be Groundspeaks exception to grant. If the park does have a policy prohibiting that type of life saving equipment, then that's another thing.

 

Also Forest Rangers may or may not be the right person to grant any permission if it's needed. I'd not ask the City Police for permission to place a cache in the City Park. Rules enforcers are not normally the rule makers or the land managers. But I could be wrong. I'm not familair with the park.

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I have to agree with the reviewer on this one. I could say more, but I'm not in the mood to make more enemies.

 

 

 

...not at the moment, anyway.

 

oh, go ahead. it's so amusing.

 

:ninja: I was thinking something along the lines of blowtorches, hand grenades and potentially life-saving heart medication, but I figured I shouldn't blast someone on their first forum post. Let's lure them in with gentle talk first, then snare them in a one-on-one hot topic flame fest.

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Just so everyone is well aware, the StarterLogg is a compressed wood bar that is about 10 inches long. It is sealed in wax paper, contained in an ammo box. Just wanted to clarify so you weren't thinking of starter fluid or any such thing. Have read and re-read the guidelines and stand by my conclusion. These items are there to be traded out, placed in a hiker's backpack for later use. There is no stipulation that upon opening the cache one must immediately set fire to the contents. Do you really think your fellow geocacher would mis-use these items?

 

Regardless, I really appreciate the two constructive responses. I have an open mind for valid points and am in no way looking for more flamers. (no pun intended) Why not keep the discussion civil and well meaning?

 

If I'm thinking of the right thing, there is no groudspeak rule against it. Wood and Wax are both allowed in caches. (Think Candles and Wooden Nickels both of which are found in caches) When the guidelines say "flamible" they are referring to Lighter Fluid, Alcohol and generally Highly Flamible items. The matches though do qualify as flamible. Swap in something else that works (Flint and Steel, Magnisum Bar with Hacksaw blade attached etc.)

Edited by Renegade Knight
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What part of "Yes. I have read and understand the guidelines for listing a cache" was unclear to you? :ninja:

This part, it seems.

Explosives, fireworks, ammo, lighters, knives (including pocket knives and multi-tools), drugs, alcohol or other illicit material shouldn't be placed in a cache. As always respect the local laws. Geocaching is a family activity and cache contents should be suitable for all ages.

 

Original cache contents are as follows:

 

Firestarter Log

Fire sticks

Matches

Padlock

Rubber fish lure

Unused green dog collar

10 colored tea lights

 

Edited by Mopar
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Regardless, I really appreciate the two constructive responses. I have an open mind for valid points and am in no way looking for more flamers. (no pun intended) Why not keep the discussion civil and well meaning?

 

In all honesty, it did cross my mind to put fire-starting items in a cache. It's an easy mistake to make if you think everyone who finds the cache will be reasonable like yourself.

 

A geocacher is someone who happens to have a GPSr. I make no guarantees on anything beyond that, and I'm not always sure of that, even.

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This is a National Forest in a remote location in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The specific website for the area is this:

 

http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj/nrv/recreation.../cascades.shtml

 

The USDA regulates this area and not only permits the contents of this cache, but also encourages hikers to bring matches for use at the provided fire rings and grills. The link can be found here:

 

http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/gwj/general_info/faq.shtml#fireworks

 

I can certainly remove the items, just wanted to get some valid opinions on the matter first.

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So really I just need to remove the matches, could have avoided hours of research and debate if the reviewer just suggested this from the get go?if I had actually read the cache hiding guidelines like I agreed to do before hiding a cache.

Fixed it for ya.

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So really I just need to remove the matches, could have avoided hours of research and debate if the reviewer just suggested this from the get go?

It really depends on how the reviewer thinks about the guidelines. Fire Sticks sound flammable and they are designed to be burned. Ditto on the fire log. They just don't happen to be any more flammable than most cache contents. Some Fire Sticks may be more than just wax impregnated wood/paper/cloth. Those would be a problem. If your reviewer is thinking that intended to be burned is highly flammable...you may have to work on selling them or find a plan b. Like a Tinderbox.

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What part of "Yes. I have read and understand the guidelines for listing a cache" was unclear to you? :)

I agree 150% with Leprechauns, but, moreover, I personally suspect strongly that the original post is a troll post; I simply cannot believe that the post was written in full sincerity by a serious human in full possession of their faculties, and instead, I suspect that the original post was authored as a bizarre joke by some bored local Cascades-area geocachers on an otherwise-boring Friday night. Not a bad attempt! You almost got me! :ninja::D

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So really I just need to remove the matches, could have avoided hours of research and debate if the reviewer just suggested this from the get go?

 

don't jump all over your reviewer. even if s/he is wrong, wrong, wrong, it rarely yields good result.

 

at this point i believe you will have to remove the starter log and even the candles. maybe not, but that's my guess.

 

your reviewer has discretion regarding his or her understanding of the cache and the land on which it is placed. usually if you are able to satisfy the reviewer's concerns, you can get the cache approved. explicit permissions from a landowner will usually do the trick.

 

in any case, the guidelines are just that. this is not a legal proceeding and the guidelines are not carved in stone. one might think to ask the reviewer in question how the cche or its contents should be modified in order to be acceptable.

 

it is not incumbent upon the reviewer to suggest this. once again, your reviewer is a busy volunteer and making every effort to do the job well.

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Here's another idea... if you want to place those particular items in the cache, get permission from a park ranger like the reviewer requested. Except the matches, of course, because they clearly violate Groundspeak guidelines.

 

It probably wouldn't hurt to get permission from the rangers before hiding *any* object on land they control just as a matter of courtesy.

 

Just call (or even better, go visit!) the ranger's office and ask about their policy toward geocaches. If they're open to the sport, ask about your specific items and make sure you get a contact name and number. If they say yes to the items, you're golden. If they say no then the reviewer was right to not approve the cache until you removed those particular items.

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The part I didn't understand after thoroughly reading the guidelines... is the part that states that a lighter is the same thing as a match, or furthermore that matches are as volatile as explosives, fireworks, ammunition, or illegal drugs. There is no mention in the guidelines to compressed wooden logs, or fire sticks that are compressed cardboard and wood particles. Honestly guys...what benefit do you see coming from these flaming responses?

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So really I just need to remove the matches, could have avoided hours of research and debate if the reviewer just suggested this from the get go?if I had actually read the cache hiding guidelines like I agreed to do before hiding a cache.

Fixed it for ya.

 

In defense of the OP, the guidelines specify lighters and do not address matches. I can see where a reasonable person might think matches are OK even after reading the guidelines.

 

As far as firestarters, they are no more dangerous than if you were to put some dry bark in the cache.

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Anyways, I really appreciate the few people who took the time to give good advice and share their valid points. I'm in agreement that for the sake of the cache the items in question should be removed, certainly this isn't a sport for survivalists but a family oriented one. I'll take my highly explosive match book with me next time I fly American Airlines, since they at least permit them.

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Honestly guys...what benefit do you see coming from these flaming responses?

 

Hang around the forums long enough and you will see that there are some who get their jollies out of being rude and condescending to the rest of us.

 

Good luck with your cache.

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So really I just need to remove the matches, could have avoided hours of research and debate if the reviewer just suggested this from the get go?if I had actually read the cache hiding guidelines like I agreed to do before hiding a cache.

Fixed it for ya.

 

In defense of the OP, the guidelines specify lighters and do not address matches. I can see where a reasonable person might think matches are OK even after reading the guidelines.

 

As far as firestarters, they are no more dangerous than if you were to put some dry bark in the cache.

I agree - where does it say anything about matches and firestarter?

 

BTW, candles are a great firestarter, why aren't they banned?

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Synthtcd, you've obviously put a lot of time, thought and effort into this cache. Why not keep it just as you originally intended? If I'm reading the reviewer notes correctly, s/he asked for a contact person who allowed what they feel are questionable items. Since that particular park both allows and encourages these items, why not just provide a contact person? Seems that would be the easiest route. :ninja:

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I guess geocaching has outgrown the "guidelines". They have always been based on common sense, which as we all know isn't very common these days. All the hair splitting lately over things like what buried means or when they ban flammable items like lighters and fireworks did they also mean to ban matches which are technically single use lighters?

Some matches have a similar chemical make up as some types of fireworks. Matches are listed by the DOT as a class 4.1 hazardous material; that's the same classification as the modern smokeless powder used in firearms.

So, if they add "matches" specifically to the guidelines; do they mean safety matches, or just strike anywhere? How about storm matches?

 

Maybe it's time to ditch the common sense guidelines, and come up with a rule book like golf has.

Leave no room for splitting hairs. You could have an entire chapter on what buried means. Another 20 pages on banned items. Then there could be the ever-popular sections defining trespassing and defacing objects.

 

Like golf, a new and bigger book can be published every year. Like golf, Groundspeak could offer weekend-long workshops (for a fee, of course) on understanding the rules.

 

Yup, that's where things are heading.

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Suppose you replaced the burny stuff with stuff like a mini first aid kit, emergency blanket, water purification tablets (don't know how rustic that area is), moleskin, or the like? That way, you've satisfied the reviewer's issues, and you're keeping in line with the original theme.

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Synthtcd, you've obviously put a lot of time, thought and effort into this cache. Why not keep it just as you originally intended? If I'm reading the reviewer notes correctly, s/he asked for a contact person who allowed what they feel are questionable items. Since that particular park both allows and encourages these items, why not just provide a contact person? Seems that would be the easiest route. :ph34r:

 

I agree with Clan Riffster on this. If you have permission to place these caches then provide the requested info.

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I doubt that an unsupervised irresponsible child would be on that hike and accidentally find the cache and the matches. Isn't that the issue with matches?

 

How many times have we seen people mention that waterproof matches are good for swag?

 

In a local community park i see the issue. Up on a longer type- why does it matter?

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I doubt that an unsupervised irresponsible child would be on that hike and accidentally find the cache and the matches. Isn't that the issue with matches?

 

How many times have we seen people mention that waterproof matches are good for swag?

 

In a local community park i see the issue. Up on a longer type- why does it matter?

 

Its about keeping land managers happy. All it takes is one land manager who feels any item could create a legal liability and they ban Geocaching in every property they are responsible for and encourage their peers to do so as well. I've seen it happen. Land managers develop bad perceptions about Geocaching and it becomes impossible to undo the damage.

 

Matches and lighters are banned for the same reason knives are and caches where holes are dug. To keep the land managers happy. All it takes is one self righteous individual to screw it up for everyone.

 

And by all means please show me where people have said waterproof matches makes good swag.

Edited by magellan315
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Just so everyone is well aware, the StarterLogg is a compressed wood bar that is about 10 inches long. It is sealed in wax paper, contained in an ammo box. Just wanted to clarify so you weren't thinking of starter fluid or any such thing. Have read and re-read the guidelines and stand by my conclusion. These items are there to be traded out, placed in a hiker's backpack for later use. There is no stipulation that upon opening the cache one must immediately set fire to the contents. Do you really think your fellow geocacher would mis-use these items?

Therein is the problem, there's really no control over the next person to find the box. Maybe they'll be a reasonable responsible person who won't set the place on fire, or hurt themselves with sharp objects.... But theres no way to be 100% sure of it.

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Just so everyone is well aware, the StarterLogg is a compressed wood bar that is about 10 inches long. It is sealed in wax paper, contained in an ammo box. Just wanted to clarify so you weren't thinking of starter fluid or any such thing. Have read and re-read the guidelines and stand by my conclusion. These items are there to be traded out, placed in a hiker's backpack for later use. There is no stipulation that upon opening the cache one must immediately set fire to the contents. Do you really think your fellow geocacher would mis-use these items?

 

Your error is in making the assumption that only a geocacher will find this, and not a troubled 13 year old with chip on his shoulder, who's off exploring on his own from his parent's campsite. I'm sure nothing bad could happen with that scenario. :ph34r:

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Anyways, I really appreciate the few people who took the time to give good advice and share their valid points. I'm in agreement that for the sake of the cache the items in question should be removed, certainly this isn't a sport for survivalists but a family oriented one. I'll take my highly explosive match book with me next time I fly American Airlines, since they at least permit them.

 

On 8/1/07 they are going to allow lighters again too.

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Its about keeping land managers happy. All it takes is one land manager who feels any item could create a legal liability and they ban Geocaching in every property they are responsible for and encourage their peers to do so as well. I've seen it happen. Land managers develop bad perceptions about Geocaching and it becomes impossible to undo the damage.

 

Matches and lighters are banned for the same reason knives are and caches where holes are dug. To keep the land managers happy. All it takes is one self righteous individual to screw it up for everyone.

 

And by all means please show me where people have said waterproof matches makes good swag.

I think you misunderstand what i am saying.

 

I completely agree with keeping land managers happy. That does not appear to be the issue here.

 

Matches are not banned. If you think they are please show me.

 

If you really are insistent on the waterproof matches look it up. Several people recently have been purchasing them at target for swag.

Link to comment

Anyways, I really appreciate the few people who took the time to give good advice and share their valid points. I'm in agreement that for the sake of the cache the items in question should be removed, certainly this isn't a sport for survivalists but a family oriented one. I'll take my highly explosive match book with me next time I fly American Airlines, since they at least permit them.

 

On 8/1/07 they are going to allow lighters again too.

 

More likely because the TSA was spending four million a year to dispose of them.

Link to comment

Its about keeping land managers happy. All it takes is one land manager who feels any item could create a legal liability and they ban Geocaching in every property they are responsible for and encourage their peers to do so as well. I've seen it happen. Land managers develop bad perceptions about Geocaching and it becomes impossible to undo the damage.

 

Matches and lighters are banned for the same reason knives are and caches where holes are dug. To keep the land managers happy. All it takes is one self righteous individual to screw it up for everyone.

 

And by all means please show me where people have said waterproof matches makes good swag.

I think you misunderstand what i am saying.

 

I completely agree with keeping land managers happy. That does not appear to be the issue here.

 

Matches are not banned. If you think they are please show me.

 

If you really are insistent on the waterproof matches look it up. Several people recently have been purchasing them at target for swag.

 

There is no difference between lighters and matches, they are both used to start fires. Just because a few people have been placing waterproof matches as swag does not make it acceptable.

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Your error is in making the assumption that only a geocacher will find this, and not a troubled 13 year old with chip on his shoulder, who's off exploring on his own from his parent's campsite. I'm sure nothing bad could happen with that scenario. :ph34r:

I see the scenario but...

 

I cold leave a newspaper in a cache and it could be used to start a fire too. Otherwise it is totally benign, like the starter log.

 

I could leave a screwdriver in a cache and it could be used as a weapon too. But if not wielded as a weapon- it is totally safe.

 

Where do we end with the "what ifs"?

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I guess geocaching has outgrown the "guidelines". They have always been based on common sense, which as we all know isn't very common these days. All the hair splitting lately over things like what buried means or when they ban flammable items like lighters and fireworks did they also mean to ban matches which are technically single use lighters?

Some matches have a similar chemical make up as some types of fireworks. Matches are listed by the DOT as a class 4.1 hazardous material; that's the same classification as the modern smokeless powder used in firearms.

So, if they add "matches" specifically to the guidelines; do they mean safety matches, or just strike anywhere? How about storm matches?

 

Maybe it's time to ditch the common sense guidelines, and come up with a rule book like golf has.

Leave no room for splitting hairs. You could have an entire chapter on what buried means. Another 20 pages on banned items. Then there could be the ever-popular sections defining trespassing and defacing objects.

 

Like golf, a new and bigger book can be published every year. Like golf, Groundspeak could offer weekend-long workshops (for a fee, of course) on understanding the rules.

 

Yup, that's where things are heading.

It's the same reason that we have so many laws and so lawyers. :( History has already proven that getting the masses to use common sense is like herding cats. :ph34r:
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Although the cache contents are well intentioned, I have to agree with many of the posts before me. The fire-starter materials may be legitimate hiker materials, and indeed may be needed, they should be removed with or without special exemption to Groundspeak guidelines or permission of a Forest Service ranger.

 

We all know that caches occasionally get muggled, with no rhyme or reason to cache selection or location. I would have concern that if the cache is accidentally discovered, the materials could be used in an irresponsible manner which causes loss of life and habitat. Yes, a fire can be used to signal and heat, but in the wrong hands it can be dangerous.

 

I would suggest covering the bases on this aspect by replacing the materials in question with thermal blankets (which can also be used as a cover in rain) and small hand mirrors or similar for signaling, and perhaps first aide kits. Also, perhaps a package or two of water purification tablets, always needed when lost or in trouble.

 

I like the idea of supply caches for your hides, particularly along the trail in a remote area. Occasionally, even an experienced cacher/hiker may find they had an "oversight", and forgot to grab something or stop and refill something in the rush out the door. Or, after helping someone else along the trail, may need to borrow from cache to continue their trip. Excellent idea!

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Your error is in making the assumption that only a geocacher will find this, and not a troubled 13 year old with chip on his shoulder, who's off exploring on his own from his parent's campsite. I'm sure nothing bad could happen with that scenario. :ph34r:

I see the scenario but...

 

I cold leave a newspaper in a cache and it could be used to start a fire too. Otherwise it is totally benign, like the starter log.

 

I could leave a screwdriver in a cache and it could be used as a weapon too. But if not wielded as a weapon- it is totally safe.

 

Where do we end with the "what ifs"?

 

The end to the what ifs comes when we deal with the issue at hand. Not a theoretical discussion of something that has not happened yet.

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There is no difference between lighters and matches, they are both used to start fires. Just because a few people have been placing waterproof matches as swag does not make it acceptable.

Many people will disagree with you there.

 

They are similar and have similar uses though.

 

They are not specifically mentioned.

 

So what is the difference bewteen lighters and matches, hmmmmm, I know they both can be used to light a fire and that is their only use.

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