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Stone Walls !?


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When Geocaching in New England it isn't unusual to come across some beautiful stone walls that appear out of nowhere. It's always nice to look upon them and wonder what animals they kept in or what people they were meant to keep out and always an amazment to think how much work and pride went into making suck a wall when, other than the wall, you are hard pressed to even see a rock anywhere. NH has gone so far as to make laws to protect such priceless things (ref: RSA 472:6, 231:158.IV to name a few).

 

So while I am examining my GPS and see I am getting close then look up and see a stone wall I always get the shivers. Today I was greeting with this: Standing in one spot this is a left view where there obviously was no reading...

 

2545664227_e5fe983c48_b.jpg

 

And turning to the right where there was a solid reading...

 

2546489324_f5fa7c2c92_b.jpg

 

Perhaps I am overreacting? With such a beautiful area this particular cache is in why pick such an obvious location to hide?

 

Was this stone wall like this prior to the cache? I highly doubt it as the right view had soil all moved around as well as moss damaged on those stones. But yet I read nearly 30 responses and all are happy with the find.

 

I have yet to add to this "Traditional Cache" because I don't know how much good I could actually say about it so instead I have posted here to get thoughts on if this should even be addressed.

 

Am I overreacting? I really would love some feedback on this topic. And I am not even going to start my thoughts of the cacher's who contributed to this.

 

As for me, I found the cache, logged it and left it in plain view.

 

Thanks for letting me rant.

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Start by checking out the 3 page thread called Stone Wall Caches.

 

To me, they look like a big rock pile, and don't have much redeeming value. To others they a priceless historical relic. I'm adamantly against caches placed in areas where the search causes the destruction of any resource, and has the potential to give geocaching a public black eye.

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NH has gone so far as to make laws to protect such priceless things (ref: RSA 472:6, 231:158.IV to name a few).

When there are laws in place to protect these walls, they should not be published. I would discuss it with the cache owner and/or the volunteer reviewer.

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Start by checking out the 3 page thread called Stone Wall Caches.

 

To me, they look like a big rock pile, and don't have much redeeming value. To others they a priceless historical relic. I'm adamantly against caches placed in areas where the search causes the destruction of any resource, and has the potential to give geocaching a public black eye.

Agreed - just a pile of rocks in the middle of nowhere to me.

 

I've stacked some rock in my day, who knows - maybe somebody will consider that "historic" at some point.

 

Point being though - if they are protected as historical - then caches should not be in them.

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Just a follow up-NH only:

 

472:6 Removing or Altering Boundary Markers. –

I. Any person who purposely commits or causes to be committed any of the following acts with regard to a boundary marker knowing it to be a boundary marker shall be guilty of a misdemeanor: defacement, alteration of location, or removal of a stone wall or monument, or a mark on a tree, made for the purpose of designating a point, course or line in the boundary of a tract of land or in the dividing line between towns.

II. The provisions of paragraph I shall not apply when a boundary marker is moved pursuant to:

(a) Mutual agreement between all landowners whose property lines are affected by the moving of the boundary, or

(B.) Authorization by government officials in order to more accurately place the boundary, or

© A finally adjudicated court order or decree, or

(d) A law that requires or allows the movement or alteration.

Source. 1983, 21:2, eff. June 11, 1983.

Edited by Slabcity Gang
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I've encountered numerous similar scenarios in the woods and there was no cache involved. These walls do fall over naturally thanks to tree growth, animal activity and weather.

 

It's quite possible that the fallen wall was there first and provided the cache owner with a convenient hiding place. I say that because I have a cache in the fallen section of an otherwise intact wall and if the OP or someone else saw it they might think that my cache is to blame for the wall falling. It isn't. The wall had fallen a long time ago.

 

Looking at the photo I see layers of dead pine needles on the rocks, which tells me that they've been in that state for some time.

 

Could the damage have been done by geocachers? Sure. But you are making wild assumptions. Why not contact the cache owner and discuss it with him? He may be able to set you straight, or he might be as

aghast as you and move the cache.

Edited by briansnat
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I have to agree with the suggestion to contact the cache owner. Often caches get moved to "better places" by well meaning cachers, and its current location may not be what was intended. The hint on the cache page leads me to believe the cache was intended to be found easily without tampering with the stone wall.

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Here in the UK, the local reviewers long ago implemented a local guideline (since documented by the local Geocaching Organisation - GAGB, item 14) that forbade using a dry stone wall as a location for hiding geocaches.

 

This has worked well and has helped on several occasions in getting landowner approval for caches on their land. These walls are often several hundred years old and despite appearances can be a fragile part of the landscape. The danger is not from the placing of the cache but from people removing stones during hunting for the cache. The walls can easily and rapidly be degraded by such activity.

 

As reviewers, if it were brought to our attention that a cache was in such a location we would require it to be moved or the cache would be archived. This sometimes led to complaints but in general cache owners understood the reasoning and were willing to comply for the general good of the sport.

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Cache owner has replied ( I contacted as I posted yesterday). They did put it in front of the stone wall covered by brush. It appears others took it for themselfs to relocate it "better" by putting it into the wall as it was clearly covered when I got there. He is going to look into the location, and he was very respectful to my coverage of this all.

 

And I agree some of the stones were clearly moved some time ago much prior to the cache being placed but the photo doesn't show, apparently, the more recent damage. I certainly would not have posted it this was entirely an act of God.

 

I think The Hornet makes a great point!

 

And when New Hampshire is involved, laws are in place, regardless, to protect these.

 

Thanks for all the input thus far.

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Just a follow up-NH only:

 

472:6 Removing or Altering Boundary Markers. –

I. Any person who purposely commits or causes to be committed any of the following acts with regard to a boundary marker knowing it to be a boundary marker shall be guilty of a misdemeanor: defacement, alteration of location, or removal of a stone wall or monument, or a mark on a tree, made for the purpose of designating a point, course or line in the boundary of a tract of land or in the dividing line between towns.

II. The provisions of paragraph I shall not apply when a boundary marker is moved pursuant to:

(a) Mutual agreement between all landowners whose property lines are affected by the moving of the boundary, or

(B.) Authorization by government officials in order to more accurately place the boundary, or

© A finally adjudicated court order or decree, or

(d) A law that requires or allows the movement or alteration.

Source. 1983, 21:2, eff. June 11, 1983.

I suspect that if that wall was ever a boundary marker, it hasn't been one in quite some time.

 

That being said, I am aware of a number of areas that have laws against disturbing stone walls. Of course, they all allow for the 'disturbance' for specific reasons.

 

BTW, I didn't see anything in your pics that convincingly made the argument that any damage was done by geocachers.

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...Am I overreacting? I really would love some feedback on this topic. And I am not even going to start my thoughts of the cacher's who contributed to this. ...

 

You are not over reacting. This is one of the examples of a bad hide. Finders should be treated like the lowest common denominator amongh them. Wich is to say they can't handle a stone wall hide and the cache should be somwhere else.

 

You should email the owner your concerns. Normally I'm for hiding the cache like you found it but in this case plain view helps with the problem of the LCD finder.

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Cache owner has replied ( I contacted as I posted yesterday). They did put it in front of the stone wall covered by brush. It appears others took it for themselfs to relocate it "better" by putting it into the wall as it was clearly covered when I got there. He is going to look into the location, and he was very respectful to my coverage of this all.

 

And I agree some of the stones were clearly moved some time ago much prior to the cache being placed but the photo doesn't show, apparently, the more recent damage. I certainly would not have posted it this was entirely an act of God.

 

I think The Hornet makes a great point!

 

And when New Hampshire is involved, laws are in place, regardless, to protect these.

 

Thanks for all the input thus far.

The problem with hiding it in front of a wall like that, is people are going to follow their gps and just assume that the cache is in the wall, even if it isn't. They're more likely to do more damage looking in the wall for a cache that isn't there, before they think of looking in the brush in front of the wall. Perhaps more damage than if the cache were really in the wall, because they may look longer. And even if a cache page says it isn't in the wall, not everyone reads those carefully.

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...Am I overreacting? I really would love some feedback on this topic. And I am not even going to start my thoughts of the cacher's who contributed to this. ...

 

You are not over reacting. This is one of the examples of a bad hide. Finders should be treated like the lowest common denominator amongh them. Wich is to say they can't handle a stone wall hide and the cache should be somwhere else.

 

You should email the owner your concerns. Normally I'm for hiding the cache like you found it but in this case plain view helps with the problem of the LCD finder.

 

I did 9 caches yesterday and of them 2 more were in stone walls and for no apparent reason (one in Vermont one in NH) and I agree they are "bad hides". The one pictured here was in a old 1773 cemetary stone wall no less and I saw no reason for it myself as there was nothing but woods behind it. Why not start in this location and proceed to the woods 10'-20+'? You still accomplish your goal of getting people to this cemetary and enjoying the old stones and more as the owner wanted?

 

2551104686_e54bd66014_b.jpg

 

I think I may make some stickers refering to the laws in NH and placing them in the caches as well as making the owner aware of the RSA's involved as well as leave them out of the walls, for the most part, so others will do no damage in finding them.

 

Thanks for all the input.

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... I think I may make some stickers refering to the laws in NH and placing them in the caches as well as making the owner aware of the RSA's involved as well as leave them out of the walls, for the most part, so others will do no damage in finding them.

 

Thanks for all the input.

If you do, I hope you reference some other law than you did earlier in the thread, because that one simply wasn't on point. Edited by sbell111
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From what I've seen all stone walls are not created equal. Some are practically works of art, very carefully assembled. I'm amazed how the builders were able to fit everything together so perfectly. Others are little more a long line of haphazardly piled up rocks. Some fall somewhere in between. I guess it depended on the skill of the builders, the amount of time they had and the reason for the wall.

 

The haphazard piles of rocks probably account for about 80 percent of the stone walls (if you can even call them walls) I encounter in the woods. I really don't see the big deal if a few stones are disturbed in these kinds of walls. Weather, trees growing through them and animals foraging for grubs in them do far more damage than a geocacher ever can. There are thousands of miles of this kind of wall in the northeast, so what if a few feet here and there are disturbed?

 

I'm not for wanton destruction of the things. We should take care to preserve them as they are a part of our past, but if a couple of stones fall out of place here and there it isn't the end of the world.

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Found this interesting article on the subject in reference to NH:

 

http://www.nh.gov/nhdhr/publications/docum...WallHandout.pdf

 

And if your in the mood grab a drink...pull up a chair and enjoy listening to the following: It starts off with someone building a stone wall but quickly turns to what we are discussing here.

 

http://www.nhpr.org/node/6079

Edited by Slabcity Gang
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That article sums up what I was going to mention. The law quoted earlier refers to walls that serve as boundary markers, not a wall around a pig or cow pen, or separating a pasture from a field on private property. The law really doesn't affect Geocaching, unless someone hides a cache in a boundary wall.

 

Now that I've said that, I will add that I would consider a dry stone wall (built without mortar, just shaped rocks stacked up) a "sensitive" location and would never hide a cache there. I would assume that cache seekers would, over time, locally destroy the wall in the quest for the smiley.

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