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geoawareCA

The importance of land owner's permission

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I received an email today that I wanted to share with the EarthCaching community to show how important it is to obtain the land manager's permission for an EarthCache. I have removed references to the cache name to avoid singling out the cache owner in this case. This was not a negligent cache owner - they had clearly posted on the cache page that this was private property and the questions were to be answered from the roadside.

 

Since visitors were not actually going on to the property, I published it without the landowner's permission. For EarthCaches that feature caves in the USA, we usually take an additional step of contacting the National Speleological Society to see if there are any issues. Many caves are off limits in an attempt to avoid the spread of white-nose syndrome. Once again, since people were not required to enter the cave, I allowed the cache to be listed without permission from the NSS.

 

One of the issues that I had not considered is that the EarthCache was drawing extra people to this location. It is clear from the photos posted on the EarthCache page, that several visitors were ignoring the fact that this was private property and going to explore the cave.

 

This cache has been archived in accordance with the land manager's wishes.

 

geoawareCA

 

It has been brought to our attention that your web site is advertising a geocache located on our private property. The listing on your web site is: N XX° XX.XXX W XXX° XX.XXX - under the name xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx by xxxxxx. The National Speleological Society owns this property and we would kindly request that you remove any and all reference to our property from your web site. We have recently posted no tresspassing signs in an attempt to discourage tresspassers. Although we appreciate your web site attempting to create interest in our cave, we have noticed an increase in damage to our property. Vehicle traffic is destroying the flora that we have worked so hard to protect. Garbage and and vandalism continue to be a problem. The coordinates you have listed on your web site are on a narrow two lane Township road. However, there is no safe place to stop and or park and I think that is why we are seeing so much vehicle damage to our property. We own on both sides of this road. Our property is dangerous in that it is filled with sinkholes, caves, tunnels and mine shafts. We see recent evidence of off-trail excursions into our property. In addition to the cave, I fear that a person who visits your site may be unaware of the danger (even though we do have signs posted) and may be injured or even killed. We understand that the (cave) are well known landmarks and we do not want to turn away conservation-minded individuals who want to appreciate nature above and below the ground. However, we feel that it is in everyone's best interest to not draw any more unwanted attention to the (cave). Also due to a White-nose Syndrome (WNS) outbreak at the (cave), we are trying very hard not to have the WNS (an ailment that kills 1000's of bats) spread by humans. The State Department of Natural Resources has also posted warning signs in the area. Despite all of our signs and best effort to keep people out of the cave, several pictures on your web site were clearly taken from inside the cave's entrance.

 

We thank you for your coorperation in this matter. And once again, we respectfully request that you delete any and all reference to our property from your web site.

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The mention of litter & vandalism bugs me more than anything else they listed - NO EXCUSE for that. I guess the pictures prove it was geographers trespassing too - that is not cool either. Thanks for sharing and educating us to this.

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I received an email today that I wanted to share with the EarthCaching community to show how important it is to obtain the land manager's permission for an EarthCache.

 

Thanks for sharing the example. I am however a bit ambivalent about the example. It appears to me that having asked for permission would have resulted in a no answer. I know hardly any locations that are not nation-wide known where a lot of extra traffic is appreciated and where it can be guaranteed that there are no visitors that do not behave properly. (Actually, I do not know a single cache location that is sufficiently easy to reach where no problems can result and in many cases I am aware of at least one visitor that misbehaved.)

 

Cezanne

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Folks, aren't we all generalizing a bit and assuming a lot?

First, we cannot assume the geocachers have done the damage. Often cave locations are common knowledge and there is no proof that visits of geocachers are the problem.

Secondly, absent the photos, are we to assume that 'several' geocachers persisted in trespassing and doing property damage or was it a few? If there was photographic proof that geocachers did indeed trespass why not contact them and dole out the punishment there and not on the whole caching community? By the way, just when did the no trespassing sign(s) get posted? Was it before of after the visits were noticed?

As one post reflects, there is very much controversy in the WNS (White Nose Syndrome) issue. Many biologists feel there is absolutely no proof that humans have anything to do with spreading the disease. Also, the process of making caves off limits to humans has done absolutely nothing to deter the spread of the disease.

Finally, 'in order to get along often we go along' as the saying goes. I guess the reviewer did the proper thing, but maybe the real problem of trespassing geocachers has not been addressed. Geocachers who trespass give all of us a bad name and those who are guilty should be admonished. From the above account, it doesn't look like the real problem was addressed. Yes, one cache is gone, but who's to say those same geocachers will discontinue their illegal behavior. Has there been any contact with the offending cachers?

Thanks.

Edited by Konnarock Kid & Marge

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First, we cannot assume the geocachers have done the damage.

 

Certainly not, but geocachers are typically the only ones logging their visits. So only one offense typically suffices that if there is a geocache around that geocaching will be blamed anyway (this is a general remark - I do not know the specific case).

 

For example, in my area there are many caves - most of them are under special protection and entering them is illegal, but possible as the caves are neither locked in any way nor are any guards around. These caves are typically well-known among climbers, scouts, local people etc and are entered regularly despite the prohibition signs. The cachers are in minority with respect to the visitor numbers, but they are the only ones whose visits can be proved if there is a cache nearby and cachers mention their visit to the cave in their logs.

 

Cezanne

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Trespassers will trespass. What's to stop non-geocachers from finding 'neat' places from geocache listings, and abusing the area anyway? There's no guarantee that a 'safe' listing will avoid issues with private property. In a case like this, IMO, it's first up to the CO to decide if it's worth keeping out of respect for 1) nature and 2) the property owner, and if the PO contacts Groundspeak, I'm pretty it's then out of the CO's hands anyway. In their eyes, it's Geocaching that's attracting the attention, and no response and/or ignorance will just make matters worse between Groundspeak and the property owner.

So yeah, as much as it sucks, I think this was the only decent course of action. :( By the description of the posted area, it doesn't sound like the CO thought ahead very much about how cachers might go about completing the requirements. I guess if you place an Earthcache, just make sure it's entirely respectful to property and nature and encourages only the best behaviour if that could be an issue. *shrug*

Edited by thebruce0

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I am taking this opportunity to clarify several points regarding this issue. 1. The NSS does not own the property upon which the EarthCache was located. They own the property next door. 2. The complaint made to the reviewer stated falsely that NSS was the landowner. 3. It was stated in the EarthCache listing that visiting the NSS property was in no way a part of the logging requirements. 4. The NSS property is open to the general public.

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I am taking this opportunity to clarify several points regarding this issue. 1. The NSS does not own the property upon which the EarthCache was located. They own the property next door. 2. The complaint made to the reviewer stated falsely that NSS was the landowner. 3. It was stated in the EarthCache listing that visiting the NSS property was in no way a part of the logging requirements. 4. The NSS property is open to the general public.

 

Now given the profession of this individual, I'm inclined to agree w/the above statements. My question is given this solution are Earthcachers to be held responsible for all litter and trash at all ECs? Could NSS supply a property plat to support their claim? This seem a bit too much like a CYA approach to me...

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In the fourth paragraph of the Preserve's web site it is stated quite clearly that NSS does not own Arch Spring:

 

http://www.caves.org/preserves/tcp/tytoona.html

 

This information was provided to the reviewer in addition to an email from the manager of the Preserve verifying that Arch Spring is not NSS property.

 

Several of the points made in the complaint are bold faced lies.

Edited by davidelentz

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As Paul Harvey used to say, "now for the rest of the story". And dear folks, it seems like there is a rest of the story or at least another side of the story.

First question that arises is, was the EC owner contacted before the archive? If so, did politics or as GEO WALKER so politely speculated, "a CYA approach" play any role in the determination?

Maybe someone reacted too quickly. If NSS falsified their ownership claim, then the earthcache should be unarchived immediately if not sooner. Accepting that some trash was inconsiderately strewn about, no proof was presented that it was geocachers! As we said earlier, why punish the entire geocaching community.

Permission wasn't required from the NSS and it has nothing to do with the problem!

Thanks.

P.S. Please allow me an after thought. Just who in the heck is the NSS to post someone else s property and falsely claim their property was trespassed? If anyone has a black eye here, it seems like the NSS does! As we said earlier, it sounds like the EC needs to be unarchived and the NSS needs their hand slapped! :ph34r:

Edited by Konnarock Kid & Marge

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I think the only relevant portion of this discussion can be summed up by the following:

 

If your cache is reported by the land owner or land manager as being an unwanted intrusion, Groundspeak will respect their wishes, support their request and take action.

 

Link for reference:

 

Inappropriate or Non-publishable Placements

 

It seems to me that it would be far more productive to have a discussion with the individual that requested the Archival and see if there's some mutually agreeable outcome that could be reached.

 

Best of luck to the cache owner. Looks like it's a pretty cool place B)

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As Paul Harvey used to say, "now for the rest of the story". And dear folks, it seems like there is a rest of the story or at least another side of the story.

First question that arises is, was the EC owner contacted before the archive? If so, did politics or as GEO WALKER so politely speculated, "a CYA approach" play any role in the determination?

Maybe someone reacted too quickly. If NSS falsified their ownership claim, then the earthcache should be unarchived immediately if not sooner. Accepting that some trash was inconsiderately strewn about, no proof was presented that it was geocachers! As we said earlier, why punish the entire geocaching community.

Permission wasn't required from the NSS and it has nothing to do with the problem!

Thanks.

P.S. Please allow me an after thought. Just who in the heck is the NSS to post someone else s property and falsely claim their property was trespassed? If anyone has a black eye here, it seems like the NSS does! As we said earlier, it sounds like the EC needs to be unarchived and the NSS needs their hand slapped! :ph34r:

I thought that the NSS was a reputable orginization? <_< This thread brings up some interesting questions, but I don't think it was the intent of the OP to steer it in the direction that it has taken course. :ph34r:

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As the CO, I am least concerned by the use of a fraudulent ownership claim to get the EarthCache archived. I am somewhat more concerned by the attempt to restrict the use of the public roadway from which the spring is routinely viewed. Most disturbing, however, is the attempt to attack fundamental freedom of speech.

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I am somewhat more concerned by the attempt to restrict the use of the public roadway from which the spring is routinely viewed.

 

Actually, this is the key point in the argument. It is one thing to be driving down this road and see the spring along the roadside. It is a very different thing to post the coordinates on the internet and invite the world to come out and view this site. As we have already witnessed by the few visitors that logged this EarthCache, many will not resist the urge to go take a closer look.

 

A good analogy might be that your house is clearly visible from the road, but not everyone wants to place a geocache in their front yard. Do you want everyone knowing where you live? Do you want people skulking around your yard at all hours of the day and night tramping through your flower gardens, possibly peering in your windows? Some are ok with that, many are not.

 

The fact remains that the NSS are stewards of ALL caves in the USA. They have the final say on whether an EarthCache featuring a cave can be published or not.

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It is one thing to be driving down this road and see the spring along the roadside. It is a very different thing to post the coordinates on the internet and invite the world to come out and view this site.

 

That's true, but also is the end of almost all caches (virtual or phyiscal) at interesting locations.

 

On the one hand, no cache owner can guarantee that all cachers behave as they should and on the other hand, cachers will be blamed for everything that happens around a location once a cache is there. In my experience, cachers are not too different from non-cachers and the percentage of people who e.g. ignore a sign that says that driving is prohibited is about the same inside and outside of the geocaching community.

 

In the specific example in this thread, 22 visits do not seem to be that much. I am quite confident that at least as many non cachers have visited the area in the same period.

 

Cezanne

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It is curious that the complaint implies that the cave is off limits to the public. The Tytoona Cave Preserve's website goes as far as to post public visitation hours. Although the name of the complaintant has been withheld, it brings into question his or her actual knowledge of the Preserve's rules and regulations. I further question what right this individual might have to request that discussion or reference to the Preserve be removed from this website. I have recently offered to donate to the local chapter an extensive collection of photographs that I have made of the many unique formations within the cave system. These photographs were collected on diving expeditions that I made into the cave system several years prior to NSS acquisition of the property. As far as I know, this donation has been cordially accepted by the Preserve Manager.

 

I would suggest at this time that reference to the NSS property be removed from the EarthCache listing and the listing be reactivated describing only the Arch Spring resurgence which by the admission of NSS is not their property.

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I am somewhat more concerned by the attempt to restrict the use of the public roadway from which the spring is routinely viewed.

 

A good analogy might be that your house is clearly visible from the road, but not everyone wants to place a geocache in their front yard. Do you want everyone knowing where you live? Do you want people skulking around your yard at all hours of the day and night tramping through your flower gardens, possibly peering in your windows? Some are ok with that, many are not.

 

The fact remains that the NSS are stewards of ALL caves in the USA. They have the final say on whether an EarthCache featuring a cave can be published or not.

I would agree w/your analogy in that it refers to the rights of property ownership. Given the line of logic laid before us, if your next door neighbor insisted that you paint the exterior of your house pink. You then would have no recourse but to do so.

I'm sure the location of this cave was known long before the EC existed and the problems mentioned are neither new or recent.

So ownership of a property seems to be deemed irrelevant in this case? If the EC and the 6.8a purchased by this organization do not overlap and the EC notes no trespassing where then is the conflict? If you feel you have evidence of cachers trespassing why not address them directly rather than penalized those who follow the rules?

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Given the line of logic laid before us, if your next door neighbor insisted that you paint the exterior of your house pink.

 

Probably a more accurate analogy would be if someone abandoned an old junker car in front of your house. It's not on your property, however there are laws on the books that give legal recourse to nearby land owners if they wish to use it.

 

As the nearby land owner stated:

 

...we feel that it is in everyone's best interest to not draw any more unwanted attention to the (cave).

 

I think that being a good neighbor dictates that the Listing be Archived pending some agreement being reached between the NSS and the cache owner.

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I just finished reviewing the "access policy" section of the management plan for the Tytoona Cave Nature Preserve both on their website and from the printed brochure that is available at their on-site kiosk.

 

http://www.caves.org/preserves/tcp/mp-tcp.html

 

I would suggest that anyone following this thread do the same.

 

I believe the access policy does a good job of defining what activities the public is allowed to engage in on the NSS property.

 

Where things seem to get fuzzy is exactly what activities the public is allowed to engage in outside of the NSS property.

Edited by davidelentz

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I just finished reviewing the "access policy" section of the management plan for the Tytoona Cave Nature Preserve both on their website and from the printed brochure that is available at their on-site kiosk.

 

http://www.caves.org/preserves/tcp/mp-tcp.html

 

I would suggest that anyone following this thread do the same.

 

I believe the access policy does a good job of defining what activities the public is allowed to engage in on the NSS property.

 

Where things seem to get fuzzy is exactly what activities the public is allowed to engage in outside of the NSS property.

I read that this morning and there are a few conflicting sections, so NOW I'm REALLY confused over this issue??? I'm beginning to wonder if there is particular individual w/ a burr under his/her saddle?

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I'm beginning to wonder if there is particular individual w/ a burr under his/her saddle?

 

Actually, I didn't get that impression at all, judging from the letter quoted in the OP:

 

Although we appreciate your web site attempting to create interest in our cave,...

 

...we do not want to turn away conservation-minded individuals who want to appreciate nature above and below the ground.

 

They sounded very thorough, but direct, about their concerns, but slightly conciliatory. I've seen much worse, to be honest.

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The lesson here is that a land manager has the right to ask for an EarthCache to be removed. In North America, NSS also has that right for any cave as per the agreement it has with the EarthCache team.

 

There are many reasons that a land manager might want to have an EarthCache removed...and whether we agree with their reason or not, we remove the cache.

 

This thread is not a debate on the issue with this particular EarthCache...but rather to highlight to you all how the process works.

 

Thanks for sharing geoawareCA. Good lessons for us all here.

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The lesson here is that a land manager has the right to ask for an EarthCache to be removed. In North America, NSS also has that right for any cave as per the agreement it has with the EarthCache team.

 

There are many reasons that a land manager might want to have an EarthCache removed...and whether we agree with their reason or not, we remove the cache.

 

This thread is not a debate on the issue with this particular EarthCache...but rather to highlight to you all how the process works.

 

Thanks for sharing geoawareCA. Good lessons for us all here.

 

Thanks for sharing this w/us.

Now knowing that there is an exclusionary agreement between the Earthcache Team and NSS concerning areas in and near caves everything appears to fall into place. This is no longer a question of ownership or a lack of notification. Having a background in environmental compliance, I am well aware of statutes and regulations they are easy to follow. It is the exclusionary elements inserted into each, that cause confusion and raise debate, but none the less need to be followed.

Are there any other agreements that deviate from the norm, which we as EC generators need to be aware of, hoping to eliminate future confusion and debate?

Edited by GEO WALKER

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The lesson here is that a land manager has the right to ask for an EarthCache to be removed. In North America, NSS also has that right for any cave as per the agreement it has with the EarthCache team.

 

There are many reasons that a land manager might want to have an EarthCache removed...and whether we agree with their reason or not, we remove the cache.

 

This thread is not a debate on the issue with this particular EarthCache...but rather to highlight to you all how the process works.

 

Thanks for sharing geoawareCA. Good lessons for us all here.

 

Thanks for sharing this w/us.

Now knowing that there is an exclusionary agreement between the Earthcache Team and NSS concerning areas in and near caves everything appears to fall into place. This is no longer a question of ownership or a lack of notification. Having a background in environmental compliance, I am well aware of statutes and regulations they are easy to follow. It is the exclusionary elements inserted into each, that cause confusion and raise debate, but none the less need to be followed.

Are there any other agreements that deviate from the norm, which we as EC generators need to be aware of, hoping to eliminate future confusion and debate?

 

None spring to mind on a global or even continent level.

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Bottom line, the reviewer was mislead and not by the cache owner. Again, ownership has nothing to do with real issue since NSS doesn't own the land or the cache. Reputable organization don't mislead nor do their representatives lie!

Yes, I agree with the poster who said, "I don't think it was the intent of the OP to steer it in the direction that it has taken course." Yet again, I don't think the OP had all of his/her facts straight. This whole thing is not a lesson in permission from land managers. It is a lesson of when some distort the truth the innocent suffer the consequences. A lot of folks have egg on their faces with the exception of the cache owner. The EC should be unarchived and NSS national officials should be notified of the blatant falsehoods told by local members!

Admittedly, certain permission from land owners/managers is of paramount importance, but this whole discussion does nothing to argue the point!

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The lesson here is that a land manager has the right to ask for an EarthCache to be removed. In North America, NSS also has that right for any cave as per the agreement it has with the EarthCache team

 

Do I understand it correctly that these agreements mean that land managers of nearby land (not the land on which an EC is located) have this right and that the NSS has this right for ECs that do not ask for entering a cave?

 

If your answer is yes it would mean that one might need to ask for multiple permissions (asking all neighbours and managers of whatever interesting object might be nearby etc) and it somehow gets weird and pretty undoable.

 

Moreover, I cannot see any difference between an EC, a waymark or a challenge leading to a location of the type encountered in the example used by the OP. You have the power over ECs, but not over waymarks and challenges.

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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The lesson here is that a land manager has the right to ask for an EarthCache to be removed. In North America, NSS also has that right for any cave as per the agreement it has with the EarthCache team

 

Do I understand it correctly that these agreements mean that land managers of nearby land (not the land on which an EC is located) have this right and that the NSS has this right for ECs that do not ask for entering a cave?

 

If your answer is yes it would mean that one might need to ask for multiple permissions (asking all neighbours and managers of whatever interesting object might be nearby etc) and it somehow gets weird and pretty undoable.

 

Moreover, I cannot see any difference between an EC, a waymark or a challenge leading to a location of the type encountered in the example used by the OP. You have the power over ECs, but not over waymarks and challenges.

 

Cezanne

 

Here is my understanding of the situation…

 

If in NA you plan to develop an EC and it is on a property containing a cave or even near a property containing a cave NSS has the right to deny or remove that EC. Given the fact that this organization establishes committees any change in committee membership could possibly change the status of an EC. Regardless of how arbitrary and capricious the reasoning for denying or removing an EC may be, the EC Team, like it or not, is bound by this agreement. Im not sure if there are coexisting agreements w/ Waymarking and GS Challenges? Perhaps for them this issue has yet to materialize.

 

I do not know the geographical extend of their realm of influence, 500 feet or 5 miles, for a given location. Given a number of conflicts, w/the NSS Policy Document for this site and their insistence on removing this EC, in my opinion, I find them at the very least untrustworthy and will avoid having to deal w/them at all costs. Im not going to put forth the effort of creating an EC to have it die for the sake of an arbitrary and capricious demand somewhere down the road…

Edited by GEO WALKER

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If in NA you plan to develop an EC and it is on a property containing a cave or even near a property containing a cave NSS has the right to deny or remove that EC.

 

If it is on a property containing a cave I have been aware of this before, but not of the case when a cave is only nearby. It is also unclear (as you have already mentioned) as well what close means. That becomes important as this thread is originally about pointing out why it is important to obtain the land owner's permission while the issue here is not about the land owner.

 

So what are creators of ECs supposed to do? Make a research about all neighbours and ask them about their feelings about an EC?

The archival of this specific cache might have been the right decision (I cannot argue about that without having all details and without having been there),

but I feel very uncomfortable with what seems to be implied if cachers are asked to take this case as a kind of show case.

 

I do not a single location which is not world famous where everyone is happy with attracting additional attention to the location. So who is in the position to make an EC disappear by writing to the EC team that he'd prefer the EC to be removed? (I'm intentionally asking this question in a more general way than just about caves and the NSS.)

 

 

I’m not sure if there are coexisting agreements w/ Waymarking and GS Challenges? Perhaps for them this issue has yet to materialize.

 

I can hardly imagine as there are no rules whatsoever for challenges. The concept of having to ask for permission does not even exist there. Of course a group of people could flag a challenge they do not regard as appropriate. I was only referring to the "ask for permission issue".

 

 

Cezanne

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In discussion of the various issues arising from this archival, I wonder how many followers of this thread have by now realised that those who had ventured beyond my EarthCache and entered into the cave had in fact, done so in accordance with the rules posted in the Tytoona Cave Preserve land use policy? :blink:

 

http://www.caves.org/preserves/tcp/mp-tcp.html

Edited by davidelentz

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In discussion of the various issues arising from this archival, I wonder how many followers of this thread have by now realised that those who had ventured beyond my EarthCache and entered into the cave had in fact, done so in accordance with the rules posted in the Tytoona Cave Preserve land use policy? :blink:

 

http://www.caves.org/preserves/tcp/mp-tcp.html

 

I guess most will have noticed it - I can confirm only for myself. What I do not know however is whether the posted policy is up to date - can it be the case that the bat disease has changed the situation and the web page has not been updated? Have you been at the location recently and have checked whether it is true that there are signs warning about the disease?

 

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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Had there been a change in the official policy, I would expect there to be no delay in updating the web site. If no update had been made, I suspect a trespassing claim would not be enforceable.

 

Is it possible that the complaintant is creating a new set of regulations for members of geocaching.com and earthcache.org? :lostsignal:

 

Why does the access policy detailed on the Preserve's website differ from that which is implied by the complaint?

 

http://www.caves.org/preserves/tcp/mp-tcp.html

 

Would I be reasonable to expect a retractment of the complaint if the official website is not amended accordingly?

Edited by davidelentz

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Had there been a change in the official policy, I would expect there to be no delay in updating the web site.

If no update had been made, I suspect a trespassing claim would not be enforceable.

 

I have no idea what reasonable expectations one can make in North America. In my country, lots of web pages are unfortunately very out dated and

it often takes a long time to incorporate changes even if they are dramatic.

 

Is it possible that the complaintant is creating a new set of regulations for members of geocaching.com and earthcache.org? :lostsignal:

 

Could be. In order to check that we would need to have more details and in particular know if prohibition signs are present at the site.

 

Would I be reasonable to expect a retractment of the complaint if the official website is not amended accordingly?

 

Probably not because it appears to me that in case of doubt the EC reviewing team is rather inclined to archive an EC for which they receive a complaint than let it stand.

 

Cezanne

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Do I understand it correctly that these agreements mean that land managers of nearby land (not the land on which an EC is located) have this right and that the NSS has this right for ECs that do not ask for entering a cave?

 

I think I understand now why some might be wondering why the NSS has any say in this. Please note the following line from their website on the Tytoona Cave Nature Preserve:

 

The downstream portion of the cave system exits at Arch Spring.

 

The EarthCache was located at Arch Spring. The fact that they own the neighbouring land is not the issue here. It is the fact that Arch Spring is actually part of the cave system, therefore it still falls under the jurisdiction of the NSS.

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"It is the fact that Arch Spring is actually part of the cave system, therefore it still falls under the jurisdiction of the NSS." That was not the original issue. The importance of the land owners permission was the topic or the original issue. No arguments have supported the "original" issue and the archival was premature at the least or totally wrong at the most!

We didn't open this can of worms nor did the cache owner. Politics maybe?

Face facts, this whole thing began as a example of one thing, but grew into something far more. I feel for the reviewer because he was duped, but changing the subject doesn't help.

Please unarchive the EC.

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In fact, the coordinates of the EC are on a bridge owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from which Arch Spring, owned by a neighbor of NSS is to be viewed without physical access. Perhaps an easier example for some to understand might be GCMH1C, "Table Rock EarthCache." The logging requirements of this EC include viewing the Canadian Horseshoe Falls from a distance. :wacko:

 

I am, however, fascinated by the prospect of following Arch Spring downstream toward the Atlantic Ocean until reaching an acceptable distance from the NSS 6.8 acres to develop another EarchCache.

Edited by davidelentz

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I accept responsibility for publishing this EarthCache when it should not have been, but it still remains a land manager's issue. I should have sought permission from the NSS since they are stewards of all caves in the USA. By posting the coordinates for this cave on the geocaching.com website, we are drawing more visitors to the area.

 

Had we sought permission in advance, two things might have happened. They may have said no because they do not want extra visitors to the area, or they may have said yes, but with a list of conditions that would have helped them to manage the area. They may have asked the cache owner to list appropriate parking coordinates, they may have been able to put up their No Trespassing signs earlier to remind people that they must view this location from the roadside and they could have stressed the dangers of the area and the fact that the questions must be answered from the roadside. Then they could have monitored the site to make sure people were complying with their wishes.

 

This IS the reason that we ask for land manager's permission when placing an EarthCache. It allows them to address any concerns that they might have.

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I do not believe that the reviewer should accept any liability for posting the coordinates of Tytoona Cave when it is eight tenths of a mile from the posted coordinates of Arch Spring, the feature of the EarthCache. I agree with others who have posted on this thread that the issue arose from a fraudulent complaint.

 

I appreciate the reviewer amending the reason for archival. The original archival note read that the EC had been archived "at the owner's request." I asked that the note be amended to read "due to environmental issues." The original note implied that I had placed an EC on NSS property without permission. As a licensed and practicing land surveyor the original note was potentially defamatory since it implied that I was not able to determine basic property boundaries.

 

I am unclear, however, how my request for amendment of the archival note was spun into a lecture on obtaining permission of landowners.

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I do not believe that the reviewer should accept any liability for posting the coordinates of Tytoona Cave when it is eight tenths of a mile from the posted coordinates of Arch Spring, the feature of the EarthCache. I agree with others who have posted on this thread that the issue arose from a fraudulent complaint.

 

I appreciate the reviewer amending the reason for archival. The original archival note read that the EC had been archived "at the owner's request." I asked that the note be amended to read "due to environmental issues." The original note implied that I had placed an EC on NSS property without permission. As a licensed and practicing land surveyor the original note was potentially defamatory since it implied that I was not able to determine basic property boundaries.

 

I am unclear, however, how my request for amendment of the archival note was spun into a lecture on obtaining permission of landowners.

I agree w/the the above statement that the reviewer should not accept liability for the posting.

 

I also am certified / licensed by the Commonwealth [state] of PA, as a geologist, and agree w/the request to amend the reasoning for the archived EC.

Even though I agree w/the the defamatory nature of the reasoning behind the removal of the EC, from what I see there lays a greater concern. Most of us could agree that “ethics” is loosely defined and at times broadly utilized, particularly in the realm of violations. All it would take is an unfounded accusation from an uninvolved individual to place this man in an unwanted situation were he may have to address a violation of ethics. So for the sake of professionalism please correct the reasoning for the dismissal of the EC.

Grant this may or may not occur but… it doesn’t hurt to CYA...

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I accept responsibility for publishing this EarthCache when it should not have been, but it still remains a land manager's issue. I should have sought permission from the NSS since they are stewards of all caves in the USA. By posting the coordinates for this cave on the geocaching.com website, we are drawing more visitors to the area.

 

I believe that permission is important, if for no other reason than it allows land managers to monitor the site. And I believe in being a good neighbor, so if an adjacent land owner or manager raises an issue, then their concerns should be addressed.

 

However, as a private self-appointed organization, the NSS does not exactly act as stewards for all caves in the USA, rather part of their stated mission is to encourage effective stewardship. They "provide information that is useful to cave managers" and "encourage projects" to protect and restore caves. Therefore, they could post no trespassing signs on their own land, and manage it as they see fit, but not the earthache site in question unless they have legal authority to do so.

 

I understand, however, that the NSS has an agreement with the GSA that goes beyond being a land manager. The earthcache guidelines define this in broad terms: "EarthCaches developed around caves in North America" will be be screened by the NSS. Given their expertise with caves, this is an important contribution. It seems that this is now being interpreted to apply to a small part of a cave system that is simply observed from the outside. That is, perhaps, a broader mandate than many of us (including yourself) understood, so it is worth knowing.

 

This particular incident was confusing because the NSS mistakenly claimed actual ownership and based their objections on that. Short of any agreement with the NSS, there is certainly no negative responsibility to assume for having published this earthcache. The NSS itself states that Arch Springs is a "well known landmark" and lists it on their site. They invite people to seek permission of the landowner to enter the Arch Spring site, which certainly goes beyond anything stated in the earthcache listing. And the NSS recognizes that the entire cave system is "very popular" for recreational and educational purposes. The earthcache itself simply required people to view Arch Spring from a public road, so it did not go beyond established use nor did it directly affect NSS land.

 

Given its popularity, I am not sure how they identified the earthcache listing (and the 19 logged visitors) as a source of any problem, particularly as it relates to their land. At the very least, I do not think that either the perceived impact or the NSS reaction could have been anticipated when the listing was published, but I also wonder if the perception could have been mitigated short of archiving the listing. Ultimately, I am not sure what lesson can be learned from this.

 

-------------

 

As one additional comment, the number of visitors drawn to this location should be put into perspective. The earthcachhe had two logged visits on the same day in September, one logged visit in August, two logged visits in July, six logged visits in June (including logs for the same group), eight visits in May (the initial rush to a newly published earthcache). I do not know how many of these people went to the NSS property after completing the earthcache. So whether it drew significantly more visitors to a landmark in a "very popular" area is less than clear.

Edited by geodarts

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I accept responsibility for publishing this EarthCache when it should not have been, but it still remains a land manager's issue. I should have sought permission from the NSS since they are stewards of all caves in the USA. By posting the coordinates for this cave on the geocaching.com website, we are drawing more visitors to the area.

 

I believe that permission is important, if for no other reason than it allows land managers to monitor the site. And I believe in being a good neighbor, so if an adjacent land owner or manager raises an issue, then their concerns should be addressed.

 

However, as a private self-appointed organization, the NSS does not exactly act as stewards for all caves in the USA, rather part of their stated mission is to encourage effective stewardship. They "provide information that is useful to cave managers" and "encourage projects" to protect and restore caves. Therefore, they could post no trespassing signs on their own land, and manage it as they see fit, but not the earthache site in question unless they have legal authority to do so.

 

I understand, however, that the NSS has an agreement with the GSA that goes beyond being a land manager. The earthcache guidelines define this in broad terms: "EarthCaches developed around caves in North America" will be be screened by the NSS. Given their expertise with caves, this is an important contribution. It seems that this is now being interpreted to apply to a small part of a cave system that is simply observed from the outside. That is, perhaps, a broader mandate than many of us (including yourself) understood, so it is worth knowing.

 

This particular incident was confusing because the NSS mistakenly claimed actual ownership and based their objections on that. Short of any agreement with the NSS, there is certainly no negative responsibility to assume for having published this earthcache. The NSS itself states that Arch Springs is a "well known landmark" and lists it on their site. They invite people to seek permission of the landowner to enter the Arch Spring site, which certainly goes beyond anything stated in the earthcache listing. And the NSS recognizes that the entire cave system is "very popular" for recreational and educational purposes. The earthcache itself simply required people to view Arch Spring from a public road, so it did not go beyond established use nor did it directly affect NSS land.

 

Given its popularity, I am not sure how they identified the earthcache listing (and the 19 logged visitors) as a source of any problem, particularly as it relates to their land. At the very least, I do not think that either the perceived impact or the NSS reaction could have been anticipated when the listing was published, but I also wonder if the perception could have been mitigated short of archiving the listing. Ultimately, I am not sure what lesson can be learned from this.

 

-------------

 

As one additional comment, the number of visitors drawn to this location should be put into perspective. The earthcachhe had two logged visits on the same day in September, one logged visit in August, two logged visits in July, six logged visits in June (including logs for the same group), eight visits in May (the initial rush to a newly published earthcache). I do not know how many of these people went to the NSS property after completing the earthcache. So whether it drew significantly more visitors to a landmark in a "very popular" area is less than clear.

 

Extremely well said!

Now isn't it time to forget the mistakes, rather they be errors or commission or errors of omission and unarchive the cache. Trying to make a lesson of the need to respect permission out of this example is like making a silk purse out of a sow's ear! It simply will not fly.

An awful lot of assumptions have been made and we all know what to assume means.

Thanks.

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I agree that the post by geodarts is particularly astute. It demonstrates a thorough study of the posts on this forum, the archived listing and the website of Tytoona Cave Preserve. Your vast experience in geocaching shines through as well. Bravo!

 

The reviewer is between a rock and a hard place, however. Geocaching.com does not have the resources to investigate the legitimacy of land ownership claims. I know from experience that a single property boundary dispute case will often last five to ten years and cost each party five to ten thousand dollars per year in legal fees. Most of these cases are dropped before they ever go to trial because one or both parties run out of money.

 

Imagine the scale at which geocaching.com could get involved if they chose to validate all claims of land ownership, legitimate or otherwise. The simple and in fact, only solution for such an organisation is to archive ANY listing if ANYBODY complains.

 

I certainly appreciate all who have showed me their support in this issue. We all need to be realistic, however. Geocaching.com is not going to back CO's in any property ownership disputes.

 

I would advise NSS the same as any clients that I perform land surveys for: Build a fence around the property that you actually own. Post it NO TRESPASSING. Stay off the land that you do not own. Respect the rights of others. Do not restict the legal use of public rights of way.

 

The weekend draws near and I have an EarthCache to develop. Take care, Dave Lentz :)

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This EarthCache is being archived due to environmetal concerns.

 

geoawareCA

 

This entry was edited by geoawareCA on Wednesday, 14 September 2011 at 12:38:42 UTC.

 

Thank You... You are a just person and a true professional...

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I agree that the post by geodarts is particularly astute. It demonstrates a thorough study of the posts on this forum, the archived listing and the website of Tytoona Cave Preserve. Your vast experience in geocaching shines through as well. Bravo!

 

The reviewer is between a rock and a hard place, however. Geocaching.com does not have the resources to investigate the legitimacy of land ownership claims. I know from experience that a single property boundary dispute case will often last five to ten years and cost each party five to ten thousand dollars per year in legal fees. Most of these cases are dropped before they ever go to trial because one or both parties run out of money.

 

Imagine the scale at which geocaching.com could get involved if they chose to validate all claims of land ownership, legitimate or otherwise. The simple and in fact, only solution for such an organisation is to archive ANY listing if ANYBODY complains.

 

I certainly appreciate all who have showed me their support in this issue. We all need to be realistic, however. Geocaching.com is not going to back CO's in any property ownership disputes.

 

I would advise NSS the same as any clients that I perform land surveys for: Build a fence around the property that you actually own. Post it NO TRESPASSING. Stay off the land that you do not own. Respect the rights of others. Do not restict the legal use of public rights of way.

 

The weekend draws near and I have an EarthCache to develop. Take care, Dave Lentz :)

Good advise, keep up the good work. Some of my favorite EC's are caves, and many have been archived. Check out my photos of Gap Cave/Soilders Cave. http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=8c87db23-a932-4e3a-bd78-02613035dac7

Thanks for posting your side of the story. :D

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I agree that the post by geodarts is particularly astute. It demonstrates a thorough study of the posts on this forum, the archived listing and the website of Tytoona Cave Preserve. Your vast experience in geocaching shines through as well. Bravo!

 

The reviewer is between a rock and a hard place, however. Geocaching.com does not have the resources to investigate the legitimacy of land ownership claims. I know from experience that a single property boundary dispute case will often last five to ten years and cost each party five to ten thousand dollars per year in legal fees. Most of these cases are dropped before they ever go to trial because one or both parties run out of money.

 

Imagine the scale at which geocaching.com could get involved if they chose to validate all claims of land ownership, legitimate or otherwise. The simple and in fact, only solution for such an organisation is to archive ANY listing if ANYBODY complains.

 

I certainly appreciate all who have showed me their support in this issue. We all need to be realistic, however. Geocaching.com is not going to back CO's in any property ownership disputes.

 

I would advise NSS the same as any clients that I perform land surveys for: Build a fence around the property that you actually own. Post it NO TRESPASSING. Stay off the land that you do not own. Respect the rights of others. Do not restict the legal use of public rights of way.

 

The weekend draws near and I have an EarthCache to develop. Take care, Dave Lentz :)

 

I have been leery from the beginning and have said so. We have been sympathetic to your cause from that beginning, but I am sorry to differ on one point. When you say, "Imagine the scale at which geocaching.com could get involved if they chose to validate all claims of land ownership, legitimate or otherwise. The simple and in fact, only solution for such an organization is to archive ANY listing if ANYBODY complains." Where we differ is on two points. First, we are the customers of geocaching.com not the NSS. Secondly, while admittedly it would be hard to check every claim of land ownership, in this case couldn't the reviewer checked with you before taking the archive action? There are a lot less ECs than other types of caches. We assume you would have furnished the same evidence of the NSS's false claims to him as you did us. Maybe , just maybe the EC wouldn't have been archived if this would have been done.

Thus, no one would have their noses out of joint other than perhaps the NSS and egos wouldn't be so invested and a permission lesson wouldn't have needed to be turned into an "environment" lesson!

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I did furnish the same ownership evidence to the reviewer that I have posted on this thread. In addition, I forwarded an email from the Tytoona Cave Preserve manager dated 9/13/11 in which I specifically asked if NSS had purchased the Arch Spring property. His answer was no.

 

If the reviewer had contacted me prior to her archival of the listing, I would have agreed to remove any and all references to the NSS property.

 

We do pay geocaching.com for services. They provide them at terms which I presume we agree to by clicking, "I agree..."

 

Thus far, we have enjoyed unrestricted freedom of speech in this discussion. I do fear that may be placed in jeopardy by whatever terms may be in the agreement between NSS, GSA and geocaching.com.

 

My EarthCache notwithstanding, I hope to survive this discussion with both my freedom of speech and my membership to geocaching.com intact. I reference the 203 EC listings linked at the bottom of the most recent post by Mannville Possum Hunters.

Edited by davidelentz

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Your reference to THE 203 earthcaches..........................well, sorry, but i just won't go there. That'a another sad story. We still feel that mistakes were made and your EC should be unarchived. Thanks and don't be too discouraged.

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Your reference to THE 203 earthcaches..........................well, sorry, but i just won't go there. That'a another sad story. We still feel that mistakes were made and your EC should be unarchived. Thanks and don't be too discouraged.

Yes, my point was to show you some of my best EarthCache photos. It just so happens that the listing is archived. That is my Little Possum behind DMflyer and KK there in his log. That was a great EC event there in the Park. I also have some more really nice cave photos on this site from other EC's and one of a unlisted "guest book" that was placed in a cave around 30 years ago when I was a member of the NSS. I'm still a Cave Rat, and take my kids caving. We toured some caves in our local Park this year, but they were closed last year due to WNS. Some Tennessee State Park caves are still closed. So truth be told, I know about the NSS and do NOT support them. They make Laws for places that are not their property, and I am happy with our State Cave Laws. NSS would bat gate every hole big enough to crawl in if they had their way.

 

http://img.geocaching.com/cache/log/af0cbf09-7a2d-4efb-ba58-6f16c2355f27.jpg

Edited by Manville Possum Hunters

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