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Replacing witness posts

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More often than not, the witness posts mentioned in the description are long gone. I've given a bit of thought to taking a yellow plastic tent stake and a bit of flourescent orange ribbon to mark where the witness post should be. Most of the marks I hunt are 20 to 30 feet off the road, in state forest land.


I'd never dream of trying to place a benchmark in the 'right spot' if it appeared to be moved, but since the witness posts are just indicators, and within a few feet of the mark, I think that being a few inches off from the original spot isn't critical.


Please share your thoughts.



N 39 54.705'

W 77 33.137'

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First of all being on state land, you may wish to consider that placing something other than an official witness post at a benchmark may be considered littering by your states parks and recreation officers. Depending upon your state, punishment may have even harsher penalties than disturbing a benchmark.


My own recomendation is to find out who "owns" the benchmark. This is usually imprinted on the mark in some way. Find out who that organization is in your area. For example a United States Coast and Geology mark may be handled by a County surveyor. A State Department Of Transportation mark may be handled by a township or county highway maintenance office.


Also if you find new witness posts next to other marks in the area, they may have a sign indicating whom the local contact for this agency is.


Once you have determined who should be contacted, let them know about the fact that this mark does not have a witness post as described, and offer to help them relocate the mark, or even reinstall a witness post.


If you are wondering, most witness posts that I have seen in MN are highway sign posts driven to the point where approx 3 feet are above ground, then a notice sign of some sort is posted to that post. I have seen this for both Highway and USCG markers.


If the description does not include a witness post, I personally recomend not installing one. Aside from the fact it can be considered littering, it may be hazardous in some locations. In states where wheat is grown, most posts that could be used as a witness post, if placed in a wheat field can caus hundreds to thousands of dollars worth of damage to harvesting equipment.



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Consider the following


you are not replacing a witness post, you are flagging.


survey teams flag all the time... so they can find field marks.


flagging tape is not made to last forever.


a witness post is made to last longer than flagging tape.


whatever you leave will not last as long as a witness post.


Thus... IF you really feel that someone is going to be there withen the life span of flagging tape, then flag it...


Othewise... an up-to-date description of how to get to the CP (that's "control point".. for those concerned with initials) is worth more than the flagging..




for some reason, I have recently developed a strange urge to pull over at flagging...


>Personally Responsible for the Recovery of .00217% of the Benchmark Database!<--watch this number!

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I don't see any harm in doing this on public land, but I really doubt that anyone would realize that a plastic tent stake was meant to replace a witess post, so I would not do it myself. On private land, any kind of stake or flagging could easily be mistaken for a property corner, causing confusion and possible conflict, so I would definitely not put any there.

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Most of the ones I have seen marked have a small flat wood stick 1 to 3 feet high with orange survey tape tied to the top. It is placed right at the marker so there is no confusion. Some have had US power squadron and the date written on them. Others appear to have been done by some kind of survey or construction team. In the woods I think this would last several years.

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