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First Placement Questions

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hey all, I think I have an interesting place for a cache but I want to make sure I do it right.


Description of the area.

This cache would be along a potential future county trail system. The county currently allows caches in their parks and along trails, they actually publish info on the county website about caching. The stretch in question is not currently in the county trails system. Its an abandoned rail line and proposed location of a current trail extension. I'm not concerned about getting permission for the location per-se.


My questions

Are caches approved without explicit documentation of approval? (I have never placed one before)

The cache location in surrounded by private land except for two, less than obvious, approaches (along the former rail line). Would a cache that requires a specific route to find be okay? Would I document that in the description or hints?


How about "underground" caches? The abandoned rail goes through a tunnel, I would like to place the cache in the tunnel or at the entrance to the tunnel. if I place it in the tunnel, in the middle, the GPS coordinates would be in the middle of the road above and about a mile drive from where you would need to enter the rail bed to get to the cache. Its impossible to get to the rail bed from the road above the tunnel due to undergrowth and steep grades.


Thoughts on this potential cache?



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Just be sure to document everything in the cache description. Get permission and note that you have it. If the reviewer wants proof then send it to them. However you decide to place the cache just make sure to include additional waypoints for good places to park and the best place to start your approach to the site. You can also mention the cache is not expressible from the near by road. Just be sure to read through the placement guidelines and make sure your cache falls inside them.

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Great advice from mpiltch. One thing to consider is gaining some degree of control regarding how folks make their approach. You could set your cache up as a multi, and/or a Wherigo, which would at least offer some guidance. Something else you may want to consider is to place your cache now, type up the page and uncheck the box saying it's active, holding publication until the trail system is open to Joe Public.


It looks to be a way kewl location!

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It depends on the area as to whether the cache will need written (or even oral) permission. In my area, one park system requires permission, the others don't. You can either ask one of your local reviewers up front whether you'll need to provide permission in order to hide the cache there, or just submit the listing and see if the reviewer tells you that you need to get permission. I would definitely make a point of saying that the rail is inactive.


It's no problem to tell people the route they need to take in order to access the cache (or, more importantly, the routes they shouldn't take). Don't do it in the hint (they may not even look at the hint ahead of time) - put it in the description, add a parking waypoint if you want (I appreciate them), and you can even add additional waypoints "the trail starts here," etc., if you like. Totally up to you. Some cache hiders purposefully don't tell you how to get to ground zero because "figuring it out is half the fun." It's your choice. But since it sounds like people might trespass in order to get to the GZ if they go about it wrong, I'd at least include info in the description telling them where not to go.


I think a cache inside a tunnel would be awesome! I've hunted for some at the outskirts of abandoned rail tunnels, but not inside. I'd hunt it in a heartbeat! Good luck with your hide!

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Okay, I think I'm going to just put things in the description like

"remember to stay off private property"

"you do not need to enter the cemetery to access the cache"

"come from the south"


or, I could be more clever and say

"no need to visit the dead" meaning don't go through cemetery

not sure yet.


The official trail is several years away.


Here are some more details

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenixville_Tunnel

tunnel is partially collapsed. (that's why I was thinking of a hide at the entrance)


I still haven't made it all the way to the tunnel! Its sooo overgrown along the tracks, there is no trail, and access from near the tunnel is impossible due to very steep walls on both sides of the tracks.




Thanks all for the input!

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I would take my cue for the permission issue from the county's site. What do they say there?

I saw that picture, and immediately thought PENNSYLVANIA!

Personally, I wouldn't try to put a cache in the tunnel. I would however, make it a multi-cache to:

A. Force finders to take a safe route to the cache.

B. Force them to actually go through the tunnel.

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Are caches approved without explicit documentation of approval? Usually no documentation of approval is required. However if the governing entity requires permission then yes, the reviewer will ask for proof of permission. The burden of proof depends on the park system. Some may want a permit number on the cache page. Sometimes all you need to do is state that you received permission from the governing authority. Bottom line is that if there is if the land manager has a policy that is known to the reviewer you will need to follow it.


The cache location in surrounded by private land except for two, less than obvious, approaches (along the former rail line). Would a cache that requires a specific route to find be okay? Would I document that in the description or hints? There is no requirement to specify a route that will keep people off private property, but in the interest of being a good neighbor it is a good idea. Either make it a multi that would require that cachers follow a specified route, or post trailhead coordinates and mention that the other routes are off limits in your cache description


How about "underground" caches? It's a requirement that GPS use be an integral part of the hunt and accurate coordinates are provided. If you can somehow manage to fulfill those requirements with an underground cache then it is perfectly fine

Edited by briansnat
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Another Pennsylvania geocacher hid a multiple stage cache with one container inside an old train tunnel.


Seeing your picture immediately reminded me of that older cache, hidden way back in 2002 and requiring nine miles on a bike if done from one parking spot. Here's the view at the tunnel location, which will give you an idea of how "your" trail will look once all the work is finished:




So, the guy who hid that ancient cache became Pennsylvania's first volunteer cache reviewer six months later -- meaning there's nothing wrong with a properly placed cache inside a converted train tunnel. It's fun! This one has multiple stages to discourage finders from accessing the tunnel area from a nearby residential neighborhood high on a hilltop. The posted coordinates are for parking at the closest safe and legal access to the tunnel. You might benefit from studying that cache design.


If I were reviewing your cache I would want to know more details about the exact current status of the rails to trails project. Since the trail isn't open yet, I'd want to know that it's cool with the land manager for people to be geocaching in this area. Think ahead, too, for how your cache design will hold up once construction activities begin. Finally, be sure you satisfy the required element of GPS use as an "integral part of the hunt" if a cache is hidden in a tunnel where GPS use isn't feasible. There are several ways of doing this, including use of coordinates for another stage of the cache, requiring a projection from known coordinates at a tunnel portal, and locating the coordinates from on top of the hiding spot in the tunnel.


Thank you for working on sharing this cool spot with fellow geocachers. It's an ambitious first placement. But, "Elves Been Workin' on the Trail Road" was my fourth placement, and it's still going strong nine years later!

Edited by Keystone
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Okay, the cache went in today and is awaiting approval. It was actually my first official visit to the tunnel entrance because my previous attempt was aborted due to heavy underbrush and improper footware. Yes, trash out. The old rail bed is in a ravine about 40' below the road above. The trash came from the road, it couldn't have been carried in. It took me a bit over an hour to actually find the tunnel entrance, 20 mins to walk out to where I parked. I put in parking coordinates, from there it should be easy enough. I also shot some video (no spoilers) and may post that as well. it really is a neat spot.

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A few thoughts ( I guess more for clarification for any future hiders rather than yourself).


If there is private land nearby that makes for an obvious route to the cache, then make it obvious on the cache page that it is private property and shouldn't be crossed. Make it obvious that there is a planned route to the cache, how long it is going to be and that it should be followed. Posting relevant waypoints like parking should also make it easier to show where you should be going.


If a cache is inside a tunnel, remember that a few meters of solid dirt above you won't make for good GPS signal, so give a clear description of where the cache will be from a relevant point - probably either a waypoint at the tunnel entrance, or by placing the GZ there with a note that it will be a short trek further to the exact location.


One thought on the posters cache here - if the tunnel you have used is currently abandoned, but it earmarked for a future trail, remember that you will have to 'control' your cache appropriately if/when work goes ahead - ideally by disabling it and collecting the cache before workers move in to be replaced after, and accepting the risk that if workers move in to clear the area without your knowledge, your cache is likely to disappear when work starts and the hiding area gets cleared, and need replaced with a new one when work is done.

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Little note for anyone else considering hides along former train routes: Normal active train tracks in the US are private property. For abandoned tracks you should do some research to find out who you need to get permission from. (In some areas an old train route, with the tracks removed, may have reverted to the owners of the adjoining property.)

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