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Geocaches near Airports


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I have placed a Geocache 0.5 mile away from the Heathrow airport (LHR) boundary. The cache is not listed as it is too close, see comment below.

 

As this cache is located near to the airport boundary, I am unable to publish this cache. This is due to the risk of causing a security alert.

 

This prohibition came about after Senior Police Officer responsible for security at a Airport , was made aware of Geocaching after contact was made with him regarding the placement of a cache close to the boundary of the Airport.This Officer made a request that no geocache be placed near to the boundary of the airport, which resulted in the ban on geocaching around the airport boundaries.

 

We have also been contacted by Police, regarding caches place under the Flight Path at Airports, as these locations are now becoming a security issue.

 

 

We now have a situation where Police based at Manchester Airport have applied a Geocaching Exclusion Zone around the Airport Boundary. Currently they are reviewing extending the Boundary of this Zone. As such we now have to be extremely careful in regards to caches placed near all active Airports.

 

I am temporarily disabling your cache until you are ready.

 

How far away from the boundary do I need to be.

Edited by TheRedboxx
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How far away from the boundary do I need to be.

 

Sounds like you're asking the wrong people. That's a local question probably best directed to the area reviewer.

 

On the subject...

 

Things have gotten a bit dicey for cache owners near Denver International Airport the last few months as well. This event happened in April.

 

Denver Police, three officers in SUV's, asked me to log a very important message for all cachers around the DIA area. After being detained, fingers laced behind head, legs spread, frisked, and ID checked, I explained geocaching to them; they said what with terrorists it isn't wise to be doing this kind of suspicious looking activity around an airport. They seemed particularly concerned about Irondale Rd (88th), 96th Ave, Quency, 112th Ave, and 114th Ave, so I will post this message on those caches on those roads. Also they wanted me to log that trespassing on DIA property is against the law. Live Wire 77 and I out finding 44 caches in the rural area north of DIA. My appreciation for the officers doing their job in a professional manner. Mice have made their home in and around the container, do not handle with bare hands. tftc sl

 

Since that event several caches that border the Airport property, but aren't on it, have been archived. I should note that the cache mentioned here was NOT on DIA property and that was confirmed.

 

Since DIA encompasses 54 square miles, that a lot of frontage road where it's unwise to place caches. Also, last year some (once county) roads near the airport got huge "Do Not Trespass" signs causing some caches to be archived as well.

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In general there is no set rule regarding distance from an airport. With a major international airport like Heathrow the distance will certainly be farther than it would with a small regional or municipal airport. A cache in the flight path will likely need to be farther away than one that isn't.

 

Apparently in your area there is a "exclusion zone" defined by the police so you do have a set distance. Your reviewer would probably know what it is.

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I found a cache last weekend at the Portland (OR) International Airport that was attached to the chain link fence that separated the main runway from the public. But it was also in the parking lot for one of the major hotels that are next to the airport. There are quite a few caches around the airport here. Since it is located in the city, if they were to not allow caches in the approaches, it would eliminate a good portion of the suburbs for geocaching. I'm surprised that there hasn't been an incident similar to Denver's here, but maybe that's a trade-off for having an airport so close to the main city.

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I found a cache last weekend at the Portland (OR) International Airport that was attached to the chain link fence that separated the main runway from the public. But it was also in the parking lot for one of the major hotels that are next to the airport. There are quite a few caches around the airport here. Since it is located in the city, if they were to not allow caches in the approaches, it would eliminate a good portion of the suburbs for geocaching. I'm surprised that there hasn't been an incident similar to Denver's here, but maybe that's a trade-off for having an airport so close to the main city.

 

Wow... Based on prior experience with getting stuff approved in New York, there's no way in hell any of those would've been approved here.

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I think that this is happening more often - both the reaction of the authorities, and the requests to shut down areas adjacent to airports. In my area there was a cache archived because the park it was in was directly next to the end of the runway (just a small lake that you could launch a boat in from the park was all that separated the boat landing from the end of the airport fence next to the runway). That park was closed at the specific request of Homeland Security.

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If they were to close the flight paths in the approach to the airport here, that would shut down a good portion of the city.....

 

We have also been contacted by Police, regarding caches place under the Flight Path at Airports, as these locations are now becoming a security issue.

 

I wonder if this piece is what actually caused the reviewer to deny your hide.

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Good read - Ive been pondering placing a micro/small just off a gravel road (North/South bound road) that crosses in front of our littles towns airport runway (2000 people in Winsted, MN)

My two year old and I park there and watch the planes take off and land, which is quite a bit with the skydiving company running out of the airport

So I pondered placing a birdhouse cache on a wood post that is maybe 20ft off the gravel (fun container though)

Ive pondered contactiong the city and airport people, but Ive always been hesitant as the whole security issue w/it

 

Think I will just maybe do a waypoint and hide the container nearby... save myself a lot of issues

 

Racettes

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I'm one of the UK reviewers and run the resource site quoted above. In the UK we have an ongoing terrorist threat which is currently Severe which means a terrorist attack is likely. This has been the situation for some considerable time now and the police and military security are on the alert. This means increased security including patrols around major airports (civil and military), military bases, government buildings.. the list goes on.

 

Regarding airports specifically. The police at a major northern England airport were called in when someone was reported acting suspiciously about 2 miles from the airport itself but under the flightpath to the runway. They were geocachers, they explained what they were doing and everything was fine but it does illustrate exactly how serious 'suspicious' activity is taken.

 

So what defines 'suspicious' activity. I denied a cache quite close to an airport boundary fence which was a public footpath* and popular with dog walkers. But therein lies the reason geocachers can be 'suspicious'. A dog walker is doing exactly that, walking; moving along the path. They may stop briefly but would still generally be moving. A geocacher is likely to stop - possible for some time. Going in and out of trees, kneeling down, peering behind fences posts. This is not normal behaviour and it is this that might attract the attention of police/security.

 

What boundaries do we have around airports? With Manchester airport we have been given a boundary which I've drawn up in Google maps. We don't have such a precise area for other airports so we have to use our judgement. It is never the opinion of one reviewer, we discuss caches with problems amongst ourselves in a private forum and it is our collective opinion on whether a cache can or cannot be allowed. Of course any cache owner can appeal against this decision directly to Groundspeak if they so wish. So you may very well find a cache that appears close to an airport yet someone else may get theirs refused. I cannot give a precise definition of what constitutes a safe boundary around an airport.

 

*A public footpath in the UK is normally a path where the public have the right to walk even if it is on private land. It is a 'public right of way'. Not all footpaths have this status though.

 

Chris

Graculus

Volunteer UK Reviewer for geocaching.com

UK Geocaching Information & Resources website www.follow-the-arrow.co.uk

Geocaching.com Knowledge Books

Edited by Graculus
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