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Geek & Sweet

Geocaching in B.C. Dramatically curtailed

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So the Ministry of Transport here in B.C. makes a compliant to Goundspeak and they react by doing the following:

 

"Due to a recent complaint by the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation, Groundspeak has asked that no roadside geocaches be published at this time. This means no caches by a highway, road, lane, pullout, intersection, traffic circle, median, highway rest stop, boulevard or any land or equipment that may be remotely considered owned or maintained by the Ministry of Transportation. There is a huge grey area here as the Ministry of Transportation has not yet told Groundspeak exactly which land they consider their right of way. Because of this, we must err on the side of caution.

 

This is not to say that your cache can never be published. The people at Groundspeak headquarters are working with the Ministry of Transportation to hopefully bring this debate to a satisfactory conclusion for everyone involved. I understand your frustration but please be advised that this is out of the reviewer's control. Everyone concerned is frustrated.

 

You have the option to move your cache to another area well away from any road or you may wait until the matter is settled. If you choose to wait, be advised that it is the government we're dealing with and there may not be any settlement for a very long time.

 

I'm temporarily disabling your cache to give you the option to move far from any road. If you do move it, please feel free to click the enable link by the top right corner of the cache page to submit your cache to the reviewer's queue once again."

 

One of the caches I was trying to get published was 80 meters from the road - just how far is far enough.

 

Further both these caches were on backroad gravel roads with little traffic.

 

Seems like an over reaction by Groundspeak but there is no doubt that it's their call as they have to concerned about being sued.

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It is frustrating waiting for the wheels of bureaucracy. We haven't come up against this yet as we tend to stick to parks and park trails, but I know it's getting in the way of a lot of hides.

 

Is it possible to find out yourself who maintains the gravel road? Is it a logging company for example operating under a TFL in the area or a municipally maintained road (local government not Province of BC)?

 

If it IS MOT, then I have been told that the distance requested by MOT is 100m, so you have 20m to go.

 

If it isn't the MOT, then add a reviewer note stating who owns or maintains that stretch of road and see if that helps. There are roads that are no longer in use (gated to vehicles or 'decommissioned') so if you hide on one of those, post a pic showing that it's no longer in use.

 

These are only personal suggestions; I've got no idea if they'll work, but it can't hurt to try. The Reviewers in BC are amazing and I don't envy them having this new challenge to add to their workload. If you give them as much info as possible where BC roads are concerned, then they are better equipped to assist in determining if your cache will get the thumbs up or not.

 

Helen

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Although we don't live in B.C., this is of interest...we are very concerned that, eventually, many of the bureaucracies that be will limit or regulate caching in many urban areas. Sadly, we recently had an incident where a home owner actually shot at some cachers who were searching nearby his property. The home owner was convicted of aggravated assault because one of the bullets ricocheted off a rock and hit a 13-year-old cacher in the leg. The local newspaper carried the story on the front page and the comments from the public were not too supportive of the geocachers. :unsure: The paper inferred the caches were on private property (which they aren't). The sad thing is that, as caching becomes more and more popular, then more and more muggles learn about it as well, and not all of them think it's okay. Part of that comes from some less-than-courteous cachers - those who tear up sprinkler heads and electrical boxes, trample flower beds without any regard to people's property, and block roadways, endangering traffic (as was the case in the original ET Highway in Nevada). It falls on us as cachers to participate in our hobby in a responsible way so we don't give the bureaucrats and the public anything about which to complain.

Hope the situation in B.C. gets resolved in a positive way for geocaching. What a shame.

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Sadly, we recently had an incident where a home owner actually shot at some cachers who were searching nearby his property. The home owner was convicted of aggravated assault because one of the bullets ricocheted off a rock and hit a 13-year-old cacher in the leg.

 

Wow. Hope he/she's okay.

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I miss the old BC, back when they clearly welcomed tourism. The new BC with its hotel tax, carbon tax, and now this... There are other places I can go.

 

yeap, same thoughts here

i would love to see all parts of this beautiful country but...how can i do so when an all inclusive in Mexico is cheaper than the flight alone to Vancouver? :blink:

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Sadly, we recently had an incident where a home owner actually shot at some cachers who were searching nearby his property. The home owner was convicted of aggravated assault because one of the bullets ricocheted off a rock and hit a 13-year-old cacher in the leg.

 

Wow. Hope he/she's okay.

Oh, yes...he is doing fine. He has a piece of a bullet which will remain in his leg for the rest of his life because it is too close to nerves to remove. He is still receiving treatment, but he is also back out caching! Thanks for the good thoughts.

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Interestingly, this issue is almost two months old, and still nobody can say for sure WHO said WHAT exactly.

 

http://www.bcgeocach...iewtopic&t=2353

 

I miss the old BC, back when they clearly welcomed tourism. The new BC with its hotel tax, carbon tax, and now this... There are other places I can go.

That was a really interesting read. Thanks for sharing it and I hope things work out for caching in B.C.!!

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I am saddened to hear that we may not have Caches along the highways. I dont mean we have to have them where its dangerous to park, but in the rest stops and pull outs? What harm is there in that? Or am I misunderstanding all this? When we take a long trip, either alone or with our grandchildren, stopping, getting out, grabbing a cache, talking about it and anticipating the next one keeps younger children excited and is less likely to distract parent drivers. I am an advocate for ROADSIDE Caches! And again I emphasis.....Safe pullouts, rest stops, side roads that go in a little ways. Maybe someone should point out to BC that a little diversion (Geocache in a safe place) goes a long way to keeping drivers safe!!

Crowcachers

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One thing to pay close attention to, is the fact that the request not to publish new roadside caches is exactly that, a moratorium on the placement of new caches of that type. It does not so far as I have seen have any effect on existing roadside caches at this time.

I scanned the listings in our section of the Kootenays and have not seen any that have been disabled or archived under this request... So that is unlikely in the near term. It will take the full investigation and discussions to be completed.

 

This week I was travelling (caching a bit too) and took the time to stop and see Tourism offices I've got on good terms with. The general feeling I got is that THEY didn't like what they were hearing about this... from a tourist attraction point of view. Most felt that it was just standard gov't CYB proceedure... due diligence to see if there was an undue hazard involved.

 

If it is a hazard situation they are concerned about, can it be long before they ban scenic overlooks and rest areas outside of service centers and towns... not to mention cars and trucks from the highways, as well as bicycles and pedestrians. We won't even visit the idea of free roaming animals (wildlife, owned by the gov't) that are a clear hazard to highway users and tourists alike.

We will also have to have highways guaranteed safe from all natural hazards as well... rockslides, mudslides, avalanches, flooding, snow and ice, fog etc. Can't have people at risk you know... :rolleyes:

 

The incident that triggered this was tragic on many counts, but the end result will likely be a set of modified guidelines re the placement of such caches... and some thinking about what constitutes acceptable risk. The test of the situation should be not be that a Geocacher crossed the barrier, but a person crossed the barrier, and then fell. No one knows exactly what was happening at that time... I haven't heard any details that say whether the cache was found or not before the incident... he might have been answering nature's call or simply looking at the view etc. Give them time to sort it out. Last time I looked there were almost infinite 'approved' locations still available away from busy highways etc.

 

Doug 7rxc

Edited by 7rxc

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I had not heard that someone was at risk.

Me, personally as a Geocacher, wont put a cache in any spot that would put me or another person at risk. Nor will I go after a cache that I feel is a danger to my physical abilities.

Anyone who travels BC highways has to marvel at the thoughts of the powers that be to keep the people safe. LOL

I wonder when the last time anyone in the decision making dept has driven the Blueberry Paulson Pass? There are high cement barricades on the uphill side of the road. I believe that this is to prevent rocks from rolling on the road. This makes me feel Very safe.

NOW.....on the other side of the highway where there are 300 foot drops. To prevent US from going over in some of that horrible fog is a 3" lip of ashfault.

 

Just commenting!!!

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Interestingly, this issue is almost two months old, and still nobody can say for sure WHO said WHAT exactly.

 

http://www.bcgeocach...iewtopic&t=2353

 

I miss the old BC, back when they clearly welcomed tourism. The new BC with its hotel tax, carbon tax, and now this... There are other places I can go.

We did vote to get rid of the HST, so some taxes will go down. Come back soon now, y'hear!

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Has there been any updates to this situation?

 

Between this and the requirement of a Discovery Pass for WA State Parks, my geocaching options have become quite limited.

 

Fuzzywhip

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Has there been any updates to this situation?

 

Between this and the requirement of a Discovery Pass for WA State Parks, my geocaching options have become quite limited.

 

Fuzzywhip

 

There was a note on BCGeocaching back in June 2012 in the 'MOT Meeting' thread on their forums that says that an interim policy was in place pending a final document... basically it says that Geocaching rules for caches would be in force with a few modifications until the final document was published.

 

I'm sure that I saw a posting on these forums somewhere but haven't found that one again or anything else recently.

 

Hope that helps! Lots better than all the pass fees elsewhere, but they will try to get what they can.

Mostly, our ban was about safety issues along highway property and right of ways, not money. BC still likes Geocaching and supports it from what I've seen and heard.

 

Doug 7rxc

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I believe this came about after a cacher died going after a cache near the roadside. I can't remember the exact details - a fall? I am not 100% sure, but the request to stop roadside caches came soon after the event......

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The BC Highways issue has been settled many months ago and published on the BCGA site.

 

Since I am the person that negotiated the policy with BC Highways I know exactly what happened and when.

 

This DID NOT come about because of the cacher from Idaho that fell over the guard rail in the Kootenays.

 

This did come up as a result of some cachers trying to place caches along a highway and were rejected by the reviewer. The caches appealed and lost. The cachers then went to the local highways office and asked for permission and were denied. They then went on a witch hunt and pointed to many caches in the area and the local office took offence and issued a letter (email) to Groundspeak banning caches along highways. Since the letter was from a Official BC Highways Office it was taken to be Official policy.

 

The reviewers had their own interpretation of the ban and implemented it. This would include ALL roads in BC and a cache could be no closer than 50 m from a road. Effectively this would mean that no new caches could be placed in any populated area of BC.

 

I thought the new rule was absurd and contacted my local Member of the Legislature (MLA). I had an answer within 4 days of this and given the name of a Minister of Highways person that would handle the file. Later the BCGA agreed to represent them at the meetings.

 

The Minister's rep was a cacher and this helped a lot.

 

In the end all letters were rescinded and Groundspeak Policy is back in place.

 

Yes there is to be a webpage of what is a highway and we are still working on that. There is to be a common policy between BC Highways and BC Parks. Still working on that.

 

BC Highways would like to see guardrail caches banned. A letter has been sent to Groundspeak but Groundspeak replied they are reluctant to do this because it is a world wide game. Highways doesn't want to get into telling them what they should be doing and just banning such caches but would rather see Groundspeak take a pro-active approach to this. I would agree that a proactive approach would be better. I have been told had the cacher that fell to his death been a child or teenager that went over the guardrail the outcome of the policy would be totally different. This was one reason why Groundspeak was asked to ban guardrails.

 

Hope this helps answer some questions.

 

Phil

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