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Ministry of Defence - Change to geocaching policy


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Basically your suggesting that a Local Manager, despite knowing that his Senior Management has set a specific policy, should ignore that. And over rule his Senior Management?

 

Would you if you were in the position of being a Senior Manager, accept that of someone under you? It is just asking for the Local Manager to put himself in a position of facing Disciplinary Proceedings. And you feel that a Volunteer Reviewer, should aid in that?

 

Sorry but risking someone's job is not acceptable. And I am horrified that you would even suggest such a thing.

 

Deci

 

I am with you Deceangi. That isn't right.

 

If the ruling is no caches then it's tough but thats the ruling, please don't try and wriggle round it as it will probably cause more issues for us then accepting their current ruling on their land.

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Basically your suggesting that a Local Manager, despite knowing that his Senior Management has set a specific policy, should ignore that. And over rule his Senior Management?

 

Would you if you were in the position of being a Senior Manager, accept that of someone under you? It is just asking for the Local Manager to put himself in a position of facing Disciplinary Proceedings. And you feel that a Volunteer Reviewer, should aid in that?

You're either overreacting horribly, or haven't read my post.

I was never suggesting that the local guy should overrule his senior, so I don't know where you got that from. In fact I was suggesting that the cache owner ask him to check with his superior first if he's unaware of this policy. Otherwise, as I said, you have him at a disadvantage and it's unfair on him (or her!). And then, if permission is granted after the check: logically, the reviewer would allow publication. But probably would still err on the cautious side and refuse.

 

It may be that the senior guy has issued guidelines and said that they are discretionary. Or when the local guy checks, that the senior official decides to overrule the policy in this case. Or maybe the local manager considers the matter too trivial and makes his own judgement. I don't know, and I'm sure the reviewer wouldn't know either, so (logically) why would he overrule the land manager's decision?

 

If I was a land manager I'd be baffled that some unpaid "official" of a hobby club thinks that he knows my business better than I do: particularly when it seems to inconvenience his members!

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Basically your suggesting that a Local Manager, despite knowing that his Senior Management has set a specific policy, should ignore that. And over rule his Senior Management?

 

Would you if you were in the position of being a Senior Manager, accept that of someone under you? It is just asking for the Local Manager to put himself in a position of facing Disciplinary Proceedings. And you feel that a Volunteer Reviewer, should aid in that?

You're either overreacting horribly, or haven't read my post.

I was never suggesting that the local guy should overrule his senior, so I don't know where you got that from. In fact I was suggesting that the cache owner ask him to check with his superior first if he's unaware of this policy. Otherwise, as I said, you have him at a disadvantage and it's unfair on him (or her!). And then, if permission is granted after the check: logically, the reviewer would allow publication. But probably would still err on the cautious side and refuse.

 

It may be that the senior guy has issued guidelines and said that they are discretionary. Or when the local guy checks, that the senior official decides to overrule the policy in this case. Or maybe the local manager considers the matter too trivial and makes his own judgement. I don't know, and I'm sure the reviewer wouldn't know either, so (logically) why would he overrule the land manager's decision?

 

If I was a land manager I'd be baffled that some unpaid "official" of a hobby club thinks that he knows my business better than I do: particularly when it seems to inconvenience his members!

 

I more or less agree with all of that. Your last sentence is particular accurate! My only concern is that (as far as I understand) it was the MOD who approached the GAGB. Had it been the GAGB approaching the MOD (as a result of a localised ban or whatever), I could fully agree, but until we know WHY the dialog began in the first place, we can't be sure.

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I had to explain to him what a geocache was though, so I very much doubt that any of the other caches placed had sought specific permission.

Go back to the link in my post above and you will see that non CROW areas of Dartmoor does not require specific permission. Here was me thinking you had done your homework!!

 

If you had bothered to read my posts you would have seen that I'm not speaking about Dartmoor.

You are quite right. Please accept my apologies, I had wrongly thought you were part of the Dartmoor argument.

 

Haggis Hunter, you seem to be a very confused person and have jumped to many wrong conclusions.

 

For a start Puzbie appears to live in Surrey and places his caches on the Ash Ranges - he does not come from Dartmoor.

I believe I only jumped to the one wrong conclusion, and Puzbie pointed that out to me about 30 minutes before you decided to. Thanks for making sure I got the message!

 

Thank you so much for drawing my attention to the DNPA Geocaching Guidelines - I drew them up and got them accepted by all the necessary parties (the GAGB were NOT involved in this).

 

 

Well done I applaud you for writing such a document. Having read it myself it does leave me wondering what your argument actually is?

 

The two biggest Dartmoor Ranges are NOT CROW land they are common land and therefore the statement re CROW in the guidelines does NOT apply.

You have already had it pointed out that there is no common land, so I shall leave that point. However, for the whole thread you have been saying that MOD land belongs to the Duchy of Cornwall. Last time I checked he was Royalty, meaning 'his' land is not common. Who's getting confused now?

 

How dare you write "It really makes me angry when people state that the MOD are just about tolerated. I have seen and been the brunt of people like you, that don't like the military training because it gets in the way of your comfortable life. "

 

I fully support the use of Dartmoor by the MoD and nowhere will you find in my posts that I have said anything to the contrary. However, that is certainly not the view of everybody who lives on Dartmoor or who comes here for their holiday and find their access restricted. Nowhere have I said that I support that view, but it does very much exist.

PARDON? Up until this point your posts have alluded to the fact that you don't like the military on Dartmoor. At no point before my comments did you distance yourself from your comments stating that the MOD are just tolerated. I suspect you didn't think anyone would pick up on that comment, which you made three times before I commented on it. I think it is too late to back track on it now!

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How dare you write "It really makes me angry when people state that the MOD are just about tolerated. I have seen and been the brunt of people like you, that don't like the military training because it gets in the way of your comfortable life. "I fully support the use of Dartmoor by the MoD and nowhere will you find in my posts that I have said anything to the contrary. However, that is certainly not the view of everybody who lives on Dartmoor or who comes here for their holiday and find their access restricted. Nowhere have I said that I support that view, but it does very much exist.
PARDON? Up until this point your posts have alluded to the fact that you don't like the military on Dartmoor. At no point before my comments did you distance yourself from your comments stating that the MOD are just tolerated. I suspect you didn't think anyone would pick up on that comment, which you made three times before I commented on it. I think it is too late to back track on it now!

 

I am not back tracking at all. You seem to read into posts ideas that are not there at all. I have checked all my posts carefully and nowhere have I indicated that I don't like the military on Dartmoor - that's your invention and one which I totally refute. However, there is much opposition to the military here and that is a fact. I doubt if banning geocaching will make much difference, but banning letterboxing would cause far greater public reaction. There are probably 20,000 to 40,000 letterboxes on Dartmoor - most on the land used by the MoD. No one person knows where these are and they will continue to be placed and searched for, which rather destroys the whole MoD argument against geocaching, where there are only a few hundred at the most involved.

 

It's not worth arguing whether land is "Common Land" or not. As Brentorboxer correctly states "The term "Common Land" on Dartmoor means land which is owned by someone but grazed by several farmers that have the right to graze that particular common, a common could have as many as 20 "commoners" grazing their animals." The most important point here is that it is NOT owned by the MoD and is NOT CROW land.

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Interesting side issue. The GAGB posting linked to from the pinned thread talks about informing and canvassing done by them prior to negotiations commenced....I seem to have missed that. Or maybe the thread was here or on the geocaching facebook page and I just missed them both. Otherwise they informed very few people and canvassed an even smaller number...

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You have already had it pointed out that there is no common land, so I shall leave that point. However, for the whole thread you have been saying that MOD land belongs to the Duchy of Cornwall. Last time I checked he was Royalty, meaning 'his' land is not common.

 

Common land is a legal distinction, and most of Dartmoor is exactly that. Those with grazing rights over it are called Commoners and have a Commoners Council which is a truly ancient tradition.

 

Don't think that because it is owned by somebody removes commoners rights, it doesn't, and it is correct to call it common land even though your understanding may differ from the legal title, or for all I know, common land acts elsewhere in the UK.

 

Dartmoor is also a National Park - yet another legal distinction which not only protects land, but grants the public certain inalienable rights over it, incuding access and use for recreation, something I believe includes Geocaching.

 

The Duchy is just one such landowner on Dartmoor, albiet the biggest. MOD is another landowner, but it does not own all the land used by the MOD whose activities are leased and managed quite tightly.

 

This land is managed by a large number of people - the Duchy, Dartmoor National Park Authority (a council), but mostly by the commoners.

 

Further, Geocaching's ancester, Letterboxing - started on dartmoor and is still aggressively active. Letterboxing is identical to geocaching as far as the reasons for this ban go, but no mention of it has been made nor letterboxers approached, as far as I know. I've made their group aware of this ban and their response is "Even if MOD ban boxing, we'll carry on". It pre-dates the MOD's current leases by a long time on the moor.

 

The important thing, for me at least, is whether the Reviewers will accept the distinction between land OWNED by the MOD and land USED by the MOD. Throughout this, both Groundspeaks's rules, the GAGB and the Reviewers - AND the MOD themselves - have all consistently said "Land Owned". That is fine, the geocaching rules have stated clearly that caches are placed with the landowner's agreement. It's not possibly to reasonably argue against that. (Although I have sympathy for other MOD owned land elsewhere, and I do know the MOD own a lot of land and coastland - far more than just the training ranges - it includes housing estates, beaches, coast paths, entire villages - these implications don't appear to have sunk in yet)

 

The affect this ban would have on Dartmoor would be mitigated hugely and I suspect most Dartmoor cachers (including myself) would quieten down and accept the MOD-owned restricted areas as other no-go areas on Dartmoor where their private OWNERS have no-place agreements already registered with the GAGB.

 

I would like an answer from the Reviewers on whether the ban is for MOD owned land, as written by the MOD, please, so we can end speculation about the scope - this place is not the only one where it's being discussed fiercely!

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I suppose it's easy enough to see why the MOD don't want the potential conflict between their standard signs not to approach unknown objects, to mark their location and report them, and people scratching around looking for unknown objects. I'm almost surprised we haven't seen some wag think it would be a great camoflage to turn a deactivated shell into a geocache and leave it on MOD land.

 

As someone already said geocaching is a nice easy thing for them to police because for the sake of a quick scan on a web site they can see caches at a glance and it's easy enough to get them all removed with a single request. Hard to see how they could do that with a more underground activity such as letterboxing, presumably it takes more to find out locations of letterboxes than a £25 membership and a quick scan on a web site.

 

Sadly decisions like this don't bode well for the future of geocaching as a sport that's any fun at all. When wide open spaces that would support a decent sized hide are ruled off-limits to geocaching the inevitable result is going to be either the kind of virtual offset that takes you to a point inside the area leading to a final cache outside (and with an area the size of Dartmoor that means either huge hikes or virtual waypoints not very far inside the moor) or another step in the seemingly relentless march to decent sized caches disappearing to make way for more film pots behind signs.

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I suppose it's easy enough to see why the MOD don't want the potential conflict between their standard signs not to approach unknown objects, to mark their location and report them, and people scratching around looking for unknown objects. I'm almost surprised we haven't seen some wag think it would be a great camoflage to turn a deactivated shell into a geocache and leave it on MOD land.

 

As someone already said geocaching is a nice easy thing for them to police because for the sake of a quick scan on a web site they can see caches at a glance and it's easy enough to get them all removed with a single request. Hard to see how they could do that with a more underground activity such as letterboxing, presumably it takes more to find out locations of letterboxes than a £25 membership and a quick scan on a web site.

 

Sadly decisions like this don't bode well for the future of geocaching as a sport that's any fun at all. When wide open spaces that would support a decent sized hide are ruled off-limits to geocaching the inevitable result is going to be either the kind of virtual offset that takes you to a point inside the area leading to a final cache outside (and with an area the size of Dartmoor that means either huge hikes or virtual waypoints not very far inside the moor) or another step in the seemingly relentless march to decent sized caches disappearing to make way for more film pots behind signs.

 

Its worse than you think.

 

Firstly, at the moment you can't post virtual waypoints in MOD area either.

 

Secondly, nobody seems sure what is and isn't MOD land. I placed a cache that was in MOD land. I was told by the reviewer that I couldn't do this, and supplied a link to MOD land.

 

The link he supplied me was this:

 

https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=http://www.follow-the-arrow.co.uk/overlays/mod_access_uk.kml&hl=en&sll=53.800651,-4.064941&sspn=12.165846,39.506836&t=h&z=6

 

So, I looked at that map, and saw that if I moved the final local of the cache 300m east, then the cache and all waypoints would be outside of MOD land.

 

I did this and resubmitted the cache.

 

This was my response (I've omitted any names because there is absolutely nothing personal in this):

 

Thanks for re submitting your cache and adding the additional information. As parts of this cache are still located on MOD land I'm not in a position to publish it even with the permission you supplied. As previously stated the GAGB are in negotiations with the MOD and until the final outcome is known no caches located on MOD land will be published.

 

Regards

 

I was flummoxed, so I resubmitted the cache with the following note:

 

According to your own maps, none of this is now on MOD land. Can you at least tell me which parts are giving you a problem, as until I know that I can hardly correct them.

 

My reply:

 

According to the OS maps (visit link) Both Stage 1 and the final are on MOD access land these are the two stages that are causing issues.

 

And the link in brackets pointed to a completely different map service, with different MOD boundaries.

 

http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=51.2986~-0.679516666667&lvl=16&sty=s&where1=51.2986,-0.679516666667#Y3A9NTEuMjk4NjAwfi0wLjY3OTUxNyZsdmw9MTYmc3R5PXMmZW89MCZxPTUxLjI5ODYlMjUyQy0wLjY3OTUxNjY2NjY2Nw==

 

Whats the next thing that will prevent me from placing this *!#?!% cache somewhere?

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Unfortunately we are up against government departments which are to lazy to put some thought into what rules they come up with.

Royal parks ban ,MOD land ban.

It's only a matter of time before a lot of council H&S enforcers start doing the same.

I was on one of the Dartmoor ranges a few weeks ago and looked under a rock for a cache and found a Letterbox.

Found the cache just near it under same rock.

You could pick holes in their argument all day.

Cranmere pool letterbox memorial , shall we rip it out.

A cache coords moved a couple hundred feet and new container placed for whatever reason.

Edited by moor to sea
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Cranmere pool letterbox memorial , shall we rip it out.

 

That's a good point. For the benefit of others who don't know the moor so well, Cranmere Pool letterbox is the oldest and first letterbox, first being placed as a glass jar at this site, which then was very remote, in 1854. The visitor books are kept at Plymouth Museum and survived its bombing in the last war.

 

And if I remember the inscription inside the book when I signed it a couple of years ago (incidentally, the trip that made me decide to buy a GPS as I almost got lost in a sudden and thick fog - in August!), said that the current concrete and stone enclosure was made by MOD Cadets from Devonport.

 

A certain irony in that.

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moor to sea and dartymoor, an excellent point. Presumably the MoD will mount a guard on their letterbox to make sure nobody goes there and signs it (or the nearby geocache). What a stupid mess this is :( Surely it must be time for some common sense to prevail, but which party is going to be first to admit that they have got it so wrong?

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From what we've been shown of the MOD statement, there's nothing to infer that virtual stages are a problem. So in the absence of any specific ban on these I'd have expected the default attitude to be that they are fine.

 

After all, in the unlikely event that a walker is approached and accused of inspecting a monument in a geocaching type of way (i.e. using a GPSr and perhaps taking notes), there's nothing that the MOD can point to to say that it's forbidden. I'm not sure why virtual stages are banned. That seems to have been agreed internally by geocachers only.

 

Physical stages are obviously a different matter; if you're found in possession of tupperware with intent to sign a log, then at the moment the full weight of the law will be brought down on you (unless it turns out to be a letterbox, in which case it's fine as long as it's not one listed on gc.com).

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The thing is, there is stuff we ordinary members can be doing to help matters. We can check existing caches on MOD property to make sure they are not breaking any documented byelaws (as opposed to this as yet undocumented ruling). We can emphasize cache-in trash-out, so that the areas surrounding caches are noticeably cleaner than other areas. When I was caching in Cyprus recently, I found a film roll that had been placed in a cache, which contained a plastic bag. It was a simple way of encouraging it, and it worked, I took a bag full of rubbish away with me and made a note online that the bag needed replacing.

 

But who do we report to? If I compile a list of any non-compliant caches in my area, I would need a method of reporting them, and there doesn't seem to be a "report this cache" option on the geocaching site.

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The thing is, there is stuff we ordinary members can be doing to help matters. We can check existing caches on MOD property to make sure they are not breaking any documented byelaws (as opposed to this as yet undocumented ruling). We can emphasize cache-in trash-out, so that the areas surrounding caches are noticeably cleaner than other areas. When I was caching in Cyprus recently, I found a film roll that had been placed in a cache, which contained a plastic bag. It was a simple way of encouraging it, and it worked, I took a bag full of rubbish away with me and made a note online that the bag needed replacing.

 

But who do we report to? If I compile a list of any non-compliant caches in my area, I would need a method of reporting them, and there doesn't seem to be a "report this cache" option on the geocaching site.

 

You have several options depending on how strongly you feel about a cache:

 


  •  
  • Send an email to the CO stating your concerns
  • Post a needs maintenance log on the cache which the CO will definitely see
  • Post a needs archive log on the cache which the CO and the reviewer will definitely see
  • Send a personal email to your reviewer stating your concerns.

 

However, do expect some wrath in return from some COs :(

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The thing is, there is stuff we ordinary members can be doing to help matters. We can check existing caches on MOD property to make sure they are not breaking any documented byelaws (as opposed to this as yet undocumented ruling). We can emphasize cache-in trash-out, so that the areas surrounding caches are noticeably cleaner than other areas. When I was caching in Cyprus recently, I found a film roll that had been placed in a cache, which contained a plastic bag. It was a simple way of encouraging it, and it worked, I took a bag full of rubbish away with me and made a note online that the bag needed replacing.

 

But who do we report to? If I compile a list of any non-compliant caches in my area, I would need a method of reporting them, and there doesn't seem to be a "report this cache" option on the geocaching site.

 

You have several options depending on how strongly you feel about a cache:

 


  •  
  • Send an email to the CO stating your concerns
  • Post a needs maintenance log on the cache which the CO will definitely see
  • Post a needs archive log on the cache which the CO and the reviewer will definitely see
  • Send a personal email to your reviewer stating your concerns.

 

However, do expect some wrath in return from some COs :(

 

I think if I contacted the CO they would just assume I was a nut, as I have no authority whatsoever.

 

The trouble with posting on the log is that everybody could see it, and it could end up giving the pro ban side more ammunition.

 

I did point out to my reviewer that one cache already in MOD land was an ammo box, but they didn't seem interested. In fairness, they may well have done something about it without telling me, but I certainly didn't hear anything more about it.

 

Thank you for offering some suggestions though. It would be nice if we could hear the opinions of some of the reviewers. And I am not talking about their opinion on the ban, I am talking about their opinion on us doing some housekeeping, as previously stated.

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"The trouble with posting on the log is that everybody could see it, and it could end up giving the pro ban side more ammunition."

 

I'm not convinced there is a "pro ban side". I believe that our problem here is mainly self inflicted - we seem to have shot ourselves in the foot! Placement of caches should be decided at local level, not at national level. It is the locals who understand the problems and should be allowed to deal with them locally. If a local MoD land manager complains to a reviewer the cache should be removed and no others placed. As we are hearing in this forum there is a vast amount of MoD land, much of which has no security consideration at all. A national agreement could never allow ALL caches, so therefore the alterative was to ban ALL caches. There is no compromise unless you allow local managers to decide for themselves and this is clearly what should be happening - and hopefully will happen here on Dartmoor.

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If you have a pro-caching local land manager I'd suggest putting him/her in contact with the GAGB so that he/she can be included in the negotiations.

 

This would hopefully result in the minimum of a local excemption from the ban for a defined area to be included in the national 'agreement' - which would allow us reviewers to continue to publish caches in that defined area.

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If you have a pro-caching local land manager I'd suggest putting him/her in contact with the GAGB so that he/she can be included in the negotiations.

 

This would hopefully result in the minimum of a local excemption from the ban for a defined area to be included in the national 'agreement' - which would allow us reviewers to continue to publish caches in that defined area.

 

That's a very simplistic approach which would almost certainly not work. The first step is to reach local agreement with the MoD, the land owner (mainly the Duchy of Cornwall) and the DNPA. All of these organisations work together closely anyway as their respective objectives and policies are already so interwoven. Once agreement is reached this can then be presented to the GAGB. The really annoying thing is that here on Dartmoor we already have this agreement in place which has simply been brushed aside by the GAGB without any consultation whatsoever.

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Suit yourself.

 

But as has already been made clear, a national ban by the MOD (presumably via the Defence Infrastructure Organisation) will trump a local agreement.

 

But this is totally the wrong attitude. We don't want local agreements "trumped" by a national ban. We want people working together to sort this mess out. This was not of our making and we all now have to waste a lot of time picking up the pieces. Geocaching and letterboxing are part of the process of promoting the Dartmoor National Park for both national and international tourism. This is not just about plastic boxes - it is at the very root of access to the National Park. Unfortunately nobody at the GAGB seems to grasp this and the damage that could be caused. You would be amazed at how many people from all over Europe come to Dartmoor for geocaching, etc.

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Well if the GAGB and Geocaching cannot reach a solution and this spreads to other areas of the geoverse .. local council areas ... national trust etc, then geocaching.com may become a collection of cobwebs on a dusty unused server somewhere and a pretty new thing will host all the caches, run by an organisation that does not give a sh ... dadgum what the MOD or anyone else have to say about it. Call me old fashioned but if something ceases to be fit for purpose ... it ends up ... tits up and people are very fickle if someone takes their toys away. It seems even in the short time we've been doing it there seems to be a low boredom threshold with the management. So they drag out crazy new rules and argue them to death, against the very people that pay for the service. I thought it was only shop assistance that acted like they were doing you a favour lately, I guess I'm wrong.

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Out of interest, whilst I'm patiently waiting for the reviewers to advise on whether they'll apply this to land managed as well as owned, I have a question for the GAGB.

 

Who at the MOD did the, ahem - let's be generous - "negotiating"?

 

What attempts did the GAGB make to authenticate that person and ensure it wasn't just a mischief maker? Or even that they had the authority to make such a decision on behalf of the MOD? (And as we've found out, it isn't publicised by the MOD within their own ranks)

 

Does anyone have a definitive list of the land affected? (Which depends on whether it applies to land owned, as per Groundspeak's rules). Bear in mind that the MOD own a LOT of land not used for active training. I've seen Graculus's, which I've pointed out is inaccurate for Dartmoor - but that doesn't include other land owned by them - which includes areas in cities, towns, entire villages, parts of the coastline and elsewhere.

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GAGB approached MoD after we were advised by a cacher that some caches had been refused permission by a local MoD organisation, after it had consulted the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). We received a copy of this mail stating that MoD were considering their policy towards geocaching but this first mail also stated that:

“Unfortunately we cannot, at present, give permission for any physical geocache to be placed anywhere on our estate. Whilst the MOD does operate a presumption in favour of public access on its estate, when compatible with military operations and training, we do not consider physical geocaches acceptable for local and national reasons”

 

Following this, our negotiations have been with the Access and Recreation team in the DIO who will own this policy. We have requested maps of the land affected. Negotiations are ongoing and we are working to identify land which may be suitable for geocaching (virtual stages and possibly physical caches). I presume that once the policy has been finalised by DIO, that they will circulate it to their land managers.

 

In the case of the Royal Parks and BT phone boxes, we were contacted after they had already made their decisions. This didn’t stop us trying and we have had some success in turning round such situations, for example the Forestry Commission New Forest.

 

Dave - caching as The Wombles

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GAGB negotiations over the last few years. To name a few.

 

Royal Parks :mad:

BT Phone Boxes :mad:

MOD Land :mad:

 

They are the indeed the Lib Dems of caching. :rolleyes:

 

STOP bigging up yourselves. Please.

You do as your told. That ain't no negotiating. :blink:

 

Out of interest, whilst I'm patiently waiting for the reviewers to advise on whether they'll apply this to land managed as well as owned, I have a question for the GAGB.

 

Who at the MOD did the, ahem - let's be generous - "negotiating"?

 

What attempts did the GAGB make to authenticate that person and ensure it wasn't just a mischief maker? Or even that they had the authority to make such a decision on behalf of the MOD? (And as we've found out, it isn't publicised by the MOD within their own ranks)

 

Does anyone have a definitive list of the land affected? (Which depends on whether it applies to land owned, as per Groundspeak's rules). Bear in mind that the MOD own a LOT of land not used for active training. I've seen Graculus's, which I've pointed out is inaccurate for Dartmoor - but that doesn't include other land owned by them - which includes areas in cities, towns, entire villages, parts of the coastline and elsewhere.

 

What might be a more interesting answer, if by some miracle one from the GAGB comment in a uk geocaching forum that is open to all cachers, Who from the GAGB "negotiated" those failed agreements?

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What might be a more interesting answer, if by some miracle one from the GAGB comment in a uk geocaching forum that is open to all cachers, Who from the GAGB "negotiated" those failed agreements?

 

Matt, I tried to negotiate the Royal Parks. The other two aren't / weren't mine, and it's up to those people to comment if they wish.

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What might be a more interesting answer, if by some miracle one from the GAGB comment in a uk geocaching forum that is open to all cachers, Who from the GAGB "negotiated" those failed agreements?

 

Matt, I tried to negotiate the Royal Parks. The other two aren't / weren't mine, and it's up to those people to comment if they wish.

 

Thanks Dave I was wondering, perhaps you can now answer my question from the other thread now. You , as the GAGB, stated that you informed and asked people for their input prior to these negotiations....where, because I was surprised to have no seen them in this or the Facebook geocaching page. Please don't say it was just in the GAGB page/forum.

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GAGB approached MoD after we were advised by a cacher that some caches had been refused permission by a local MoD organisation, after it had consulted the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). We received a copy of this mail stating that MoD were considering their policy towards geocaching but this first mail also stated that:

 

<snip>

 

Thank you, appreciate the answer.

 

I am puzzled that you state that negotiations are ongoing, yet in the course of one day last week it was announced by a GAGB member that "This might be happenening." then "All caches are banned from all MOD land. The End." (Paraphrasing...) To those of us outside of the GAGB (yet who claim to represent me), you can imagine this was a shock as we hadn't heard of anything other than the local line by the MOD who have always been willing cooperators in this hobby.

 

I also still await my answer, whether from GAGB or the Reviewers as to whether this ruling affects owned land, but perhaps people are waiting for negotiations to cease. Although again, from the outside, "negotiations" in this sense means "GAGB tug forelocks and 'Yes Sir, anything you say Sir'". Maybe you have put forward the best possible arguements and put our case as strongly as it could and should have been - but I've got no idea. I'm just asked to trust an organisation I don't know well to present my best interests.

 

If the above reads like I've got an axe to grind with the GAGB, I don't. It just seems like you're the provider of bad news as a hobby I enjoy is made less enjoyable bit by erosive bit.

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Given GAGB's reported problems receiving a definitive map for MOD land, isn't a more pragmatic (and in my mind, realistic) solution something like;

Geocaches on MOD owned land must provide proof of permission. (Including contact name/number)

 

At least temporarily until this the MOD have made their decision and publicised it. This puts responsibility onto the cache owner and the MOD, and keeps communication channels open.

 

I believe this would extend Groundspeak's rules about implied permission with actual permission (such as already needed for some other sites), and I believe individual area controllers have a far more realistic view of the world than a pen-pusher in some MOD white tower who may or may not be acting with full authority of the MOD, which is a massive and straggling organisation from which clear policy is rare.

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In my experience of the supposed post MOD ban world, the map you have to rely on is the OS map provided by Bing. Provided it is outside of the red triangles the map uses to signify MOD land, you will be ok. Currently neither caches nor virtual waypoints can be placed within the triangles. I know this from personal experience.

 

To date, no local land managers have heard of any ban.

Edited by Puzbie
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GAGB approached MoD after we were advised by a cacher that some caches had been refused permission by a local MoD organisation, after it had consulted the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). We received a copy of this mail stating that MoD were considering their policy towards geocaching but this first mail also stated that:

“Unfortunately we cannot, at present, give permission for any physical geocache to be placed anywhere on our estate. Whilst the MOD does operate a presumption in favour of public access on its estate, when compatible with military operations and training, we do not consider physical geocaches acceptable for local and national reasons”

 

Following this, our negotiations have been with the Access and Recreation team in the DIO who will own this policy. We have requested maps of the land affected. Negotiations are ongoing and we are working to identify land which may be suitable for geocaching (virtual stages and possibly physical caches). I presume that once the policy has been finalised by DIO, that they will circulate it to their land managers.

 

In the case of the Royal Parks and BT phone boxes, we were contacted after they had already made their decisions. This didn’t stop us trying and we have had some success in turning round such situations, for example the Forestry Commission New Forest.

 

Dave - caching as The Wombles

 

If a local land manager says no, surely that should be enough. I think this practice of trying to over-rule the local land manager is asking for trouble.

 

Is there any form of timescale to this?

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Well if the GAGB and Geocaching cannot reach a solution and this spreads to other areas of the geoverse .. local council areas ... national trust etc, then geocaching.com may become a collection of cobwebs on a dusty unused server somewhere and a pretty new thing will host all the caches, run by an organisation that does not give a sh ... dadgum what the MOD or anyone else have to say about it. Call me old fashioned but if something ceases to be fit for purpose ... it ends up ... tits up and people are very fickle if someone takes their toys away. It seems even in the short time we've been doing it there seems to be a low boredom threshold with the management. So they drag out crazy new rules and argue them to death, against the very people that pay for the service. I thought it was only shop assistance that acted like they were doing you a favour lately, I guess I'm wrong.

 

Very true, although sometimes I wonder whether a sport like geocaching would be better being a more underground activity rather than something hawked to everyone buying their new iDoodad as a new game to play for a few weeks until they get bored of it.

 

From what I can see the National Trust are supportive of geocaching, I've seen several caches where the page explicitly thanks the NT for permission to place it. Having all but given up on geocaching recently due to suffering a near-terminal case of "can't-be-bothered-to-look-for-wet-film-pots" I found a few in the Mendips these last few days and really enjoyed them. Among the best were caches on NT land, placed with permission.

 

Truth be told the freedom to walk for extended distances on land managed by the NT and made available to anyone to hike without charge gave me a reason to maintain my NT membership even though I don't visit properties that charge for entry often enough to justify it. If they want to keep nice spaces open for folks like me to go hiking I'll support them.

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Well, it all seems a bit left hand right hand here. And of course the consequences are quite huge. I remember years ago word reached us letterboxers at the time ... that Dartmoor was going to become a no go zone. Now remember this was word of mouth and needless to say I dont want to get embroiled in a row about facts. But anyway it was to become a no go zone and only driving through the moor was going to be available. Perhaps not even that unless you lived there. That the whole place was to become a very secure nature reserve and that only bus tours would be permitted to enter. Anyway, details and facts aside this died a very quick and laughable death. Understandably so. Then there was the one about the military being banned from using morters or any other explosive thing on the moor as it was destroying it. Fair enough and seems obvious. But then a study was commissioned and all the bomb holes had apparently become micro climates that would not have sprung into life had they not bombed or blown holes in the moor. This has a bit more substance because I remember seeing it on the news.

 

Anyway the point is clearly it is the impression that the GAGB have no teeth. And I am drawing that conclusion and my next from not only this forum. They are also not respected. I am not going to get drawn into a stupid row about it. When people start slagging you off it matters. End of. No polictical slant on it. It matters and it is clearly not what is wanted nor required. If not it bleedin should. If you claim to represent "us" you should represent us. The first I heard of this was on here. Which is a slight worry regarding your influence. And reading the various threads, no one seems to be banging your drum. Not great is it.

 

Anyway the point I am trying to make is that neither of the above situations came to anything because of the press. Involve the press. Or the news organisations. MOD refuses to allow something which are tenants of the military "teamwork" and "physical exercise". I dont think it will progress much further if put in that light. And erm ... anyone can go to the press. But please dont just carry on doing what you are doing. Because, and I do have some experience in this, you wont get anywhere unless you make it MUCH more public than you are.

 

MOD - GEOCACHING - Not In My Back Yard!

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Whats the next thing that will prevent me from placing this *!#?!% cache somewhere?

 

Just hide a film pot behind a sign somewhere and all will be fine.

 

No it won't. Not if it or one of its waypoints is on MOD land.

 

I finally got the cache published, incidently. I managed to find a final location near enough to the rest of the cache (it was a multi) that wasn't in MOD land. Its a nice large tupperware container with some decent goodies in it. Hopefully it won't soon fill up with a bunch of Hawkins Bazaar 25p rejects, but who knows...

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Anyway the point I am trying to make is that neither of the above situations came to anything because of the press. Involve the press. Or the news organisations. MOD refuses to allow something which are tenants of the military "teamwork" and "physical exercise". I dont think it will progress much further if put in that light. And erm ... anyone can go to the press. But please dont just carry on doing what you are doing. Because, and I do have some experience in this, you wont get anywhere unless you make it MUCH more public than you are.

 

^ This.

 

GAGB - you claim to represent me and every other UK cacher, this is what you should be doing IMO.

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Having just read up on all this... Maybe it is so obvious that no one has bothered bringing it up, but in addition to being a problem for people living and/or caching in the areas owned by the MOD, this could be a very dangerous precedent. Especially this part: "National Security - It is not appropriate to encourage people to leave or conceal (marked or unmarked) packages on any part of the MOD estate as it contradicts all security procedures and could lead to false security alerts."

Is it appropriate to encourage people to leave or conceal things anywhere? Of course not... So suppposing the Metropolitan police decided that, given the reasoning above, caches pose a security risk? Are we possibly looking at the begining of the end here? Large bans not only on MOD lands but also in cities and towns? Maybe I'm just being pessimistic, but having been approached by the police 3 times over the last 2 years, I realize that sometimes we do act suspicious, and leaving concealed things under benches in a busy city center indeed can be considered quite dodgy...

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Having just read up on all this... Maybe it is so obvious that no one has bothered bringing it up, but in addition to being a problem for people living and/or caching in the areas owned by the MOD, this could be a very dangerous precedent. Especially this part: "National Security - It is not appropriate to encourage people to leave or conceal (marked or unmarked) packages on any part of the MOD estate as it contradicts all security procedures and could lead to false security alerts."

Is it appropriate to encourage people to leave or conceal things anywhere? Of course not... So suppposing the Metropolitan police decided that, given the reasoning above, caches pose a security risk? Are we possibly looking at the begining of the end here? Large bans not only on MOD lands but also in cities and towns? Maybe I'm just being pessimistic, but having been approached by the police 3 times over the last 2 years, I realize that sometimes we do act suspicious, and leaving concealed things under benches in a busy city center indeed can be considered quite dodgy...

 

The really bizarre aspect of it is when agreements exist with the Metropolitan Police to allow caches in areas like the SW1 area of London and yet the Royal Parks ban geocaching in Richmond Park "for security reasons". If you wanted to cause a stir, maybe make a big bang that would make the prime time news, and you had the choice between blowing something up within sight of Whitehall and Buckingham Palace, or you could blow up a dead tree stump in the park, it's pretty obvious you wouldn't go for the park. But the result is that spaces that could hide caches worth looking for are being closed and we're being left with more and more places to hide a film pot behind a sign.

 

Personally I find caching in wide open spaces to be a lot more fun than looking for yet another micro behind a junction box or a sign or some such. These days I can't even be bothered with most of the micros around town, sometimes I wonder why I even bother downloading pocket queries unless I'm headed out of town to an area where I might be able to take in a nice walk and incidentally find a few boxes.

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leaving concealed things under benches in a busy city center indeed can be considered quite dodgy...

Indeed, and the solution is obvious: don't leave caches in such places (Wetherby town centre, for example). Caching can be carried out without causing suspicion, and in my opinion is best enjoyed, when the caches are placed in the countryside.

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after reading all of this thread... i have a question... I understand that placing a cache on MOD land is a no go... but how close or far does a cache need to be placed to be considered safe... for example if i placed a cache outside a business but accross the street is MOD... does that mean that i cant place a cache there??? what if i placed the cache on a busy hiking trail that sits next to MOD land...

 

if that's the case that a cache cant be placed within 100, 200, 300, 1000 feet of MOD land then i know for a fact that alot of caches in the Thetford area that needs to be relocated...

 

and that's what im trying to get at... at what distance or condictions is it considered OK to place a cache Near MOD land???

 

thanks,

 

mat

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The ruling at present is that caches will not be permitted 'on' land owned or apparently 'managed' by the MOD. Elsewhere (as in your example of across the street) it is down to geocaching guidelines. Land owners permission etc and therefore nothing to do with the MOD. There is a slight wrinkle in that despite being asked several times the MoD has yet to present a map showing all of its interests. And this will never happen because they like to keep secret - that which they own. So while some land will be obvious - military bases, installations which are MOD controlled but 'on the quite' will not be disclosed. Quite ironic really as this on its own poses a higher security risk lol. But anyway the reviewers have the final say so. So provided you abide by geocaching guidelines when placing a cache and the reviewers are happy - you are A OK.

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after reading all of this thread... i have a question... I understand that placing a cache on MOD land is a no go... but how close or far does a cache need to be placed to be considered safe... for example if i placed a cache outside a business but accross the street is MOD... does that mean that i cant place a cache there??? what if i placed the cache on a busy hiking trail that sits next to MOD land...

 

if that's the case that a cache cant be placed within 100, 200, 300, 1000 feet of MOD land then i know for a fact that alot of caches in the Thetford area that needs to be relocated...

 

and that's what im trying to get at... at what distance or condictions is it considered OK to place a cache Near MOD land???

 

thanks,

 

mat

 

I know from personal experience that as long as it isn't MOD land, you can have a cache or a waypoint there. So it can be 1cm away from MOD land and it will be allowed, provided the OSM map says the land isn't MOD.

 

I still can't believe how eager GAGB and the reviewers have been to enforce this "ruling", as nothing yet seems to have been officially announced or even decided.

 

Regarding Thetford, existing caches are not affected (yet). This ruling only governs the placing of new caches.

 

As I have said before, it is a monumental pain, as it means I cannot even include a waypoint to a parking spot if it is on MOD land. This is proving challenging to the geocachers looking for my cache.

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I know from personal experience that as long as it isn't MOD land, you can have a cache or a waypoint there. So it can be 1cm away from MOD land and it will be allowed, provided the OSM map says the land isn't MOD.

 

I still can't believe how eager GAGB and the reviewers have been to enforce this "ruling", as nothing yet seems to have been officially announced or even decided.

 

 

Whether it's on MOD land or not is not relevant - the only thing that matters is the OS Map.

 

I've just walked out (total 10 miles) to a disputed cache on Dartmoor. It is definitely NOT in the MOD range. I have taken photos of the cache and of the range poles and have also taken GPS readings of the range poles. But even with this definitive proof the UK Reviewers will not publish the cache because according to the OS map it is in the range. The OS maps where never intended for this purpose, they were intended to indicate approximately where the ranges are. The range poles are clearly the definitive boundary of the range and ONLY that information should be used.

 

I think that everybody agrees that GAGB have let us down very badly with regard to the MOD ban. They have clearly over-reacted and jumped the gun with regard to the ban. What I don't understand is why the UK Reviewers treat GAGB as their masters instead of Groundspeak? GAGB are not part of Groundspeak and clearly are not representing the interest of UK cachers, so why do the UK Reviewers treat them as god?

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I think that everybody agrees that GAGB have let us down very badly with regard to the MOD ban. They have clearly over-reacted and jumped the gun with regard to the ban. What I don't understand is why the UK Reviewers treat GAGB as their masters instead of Groundspeak? GAGB are not part of Groundspeak and clearly are not representing the interest of UK cachers, so why do the UK Reviewers treat them as god?

 

Agreeed... The reviewers volunteered their serviced to Groundspeak and should only be answerable to them. The ban on placing caches on land that is managed or owned by the M.O.D. should only be put in place if and when someone from the M.O.D., who has the authority do do so, contacts either a reviewer directly or contacts Groundspeak and informs them of the ban.

The fact that some nameless person, who may or may not have that authority, has told the someone in the G.A.G.B., who definitely have no authority to implement a ban, that caches are no longer permitted is totally irrelevant and should be ignored until such time as the above condition has been met.

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I think that everybody agrees that GAGB have let us down very badly with regard to the MOD ban. They have clearly over-reacted and jumped the gun with regard to the ban. What I don't understand is why the UK Reviewers treat GAGB as their masters instead of Groundspeak? GAGB are not part of Groundspeak and clearly are not representing the interest of UK cachers, so why do the UK Reviewers treat them as god?

 

Agreeed... The reviewers volunteered their serviced to Groundspeak and should only be answerable to them. The ban on placing caches on land that is managed or owned by the M.O.D. should only be put in place if and when someone from the M.O.D., who has the authority do do so, contacts either a reviewer directly or contacts Groundspeak and informs them of the ban.

The fact that some nameless person, who may or may not have that authority, has told the someone in the G.A.G.B., who definitely have no authority to implement a ban, that caches are no longer permitted is totally irrelevant and should be ignored until such time as the above condition has been met.

Actually, the person is not nameless (Richard E Brooks, Senior Environmental Advisor (Access and Recreation), Defence Infrastructure Organisation) and the GAGB have not imposed a ban (they can't as they don't list caches). Groundspeak (via the reviewers) have imposed the ban based on the information forwarded to them by GAGB. As I understand it, the MOD contacted GAGB and told them of the ban. GAGB tried to negotiate, but were not able to get them to change their mind. I do agree they should fight harder in situations like this - the MoD is not the same as a private landowner, it is "owned" by us. I respect that they have a job to do, but the job title of the contact (Access and Recreation) acknowledges they also have a responsibility to share, where practical, the vast tracts of land they use.

 

The easy option for the MoD was to say "ban all caches" without even specifying where. However, we shouldn't let them get away with the easy option. In this case I do think we should be tougher, to not simply accept what they tell us but challenge them to justify it and be suffciently awkward that a blanket ban is no longer the easiest option for them.

 

Most importantly we should require them to be explicit about which areas they would like banned.

 

As I see it there are 2 risks they might be concerned about - that of packages being left near sensitive areas such as barracks, and that of searchers setting off unexploded munitions. The first could be dealt with by limited exclusion zones round such locations. The second could be dealt with by requiring caches not to be camouflaged as munitions - tupperware type containers should be OK because as far as I know there are no guns that fire tupperware rounds - bear in mind we are looking only at the additional risk caused by caching over other activities that are allowed.

 

Rgds, Andy

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As I understand it, the MOD contacted GAGB and told them of the ban. GAGB tried to negotiate, but were not able to get them to change their mind. I do agree they should fight harder in situations like this

 

From a recent post on the GAGB forums

 

"There is a meeting with the MOD scheduled for later this month"

 

so the GAGB haven't given up, and being optimistic it I would hope that if the MOD are prepared to attend a face to face meeting about it then they're open to negotiation, so hopefully they can come up with a sensible compromise.

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As I understand it, the MOD contacted GAGB and told them of the ban. GAGB tried to negotiate, but were not able to get them to change their mind. I do agree they should fight harder in situations like this

 

The GAGB has a face to face meeting scheduled for later this month.

Edited by Jacaru
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I think that everybody agrees that GAGB have let us down very badly with regard to the MOD ban. They have clearly over-reacted and jumped the gun with regard to the ban. What I don't understand is why the UK Reviewers treat GAGB as their masters instead of Groundspeak? GAGB are not part of Groundspeak and clearly are not representing the interest of UK cachers, so why do the UK Reviewers treat them as god?

 

Agreeed... The reviewers volunteered their serviced to Groundspeak and should only be answerable to them. The ban on placing caches on land that is managed or owned by the M.O.D. should only be put in place if and when someone from the M.O.D., who has the authority do do so, contacts either a reviewer directly or contacts Groundspeak and informs them of the ban.

The fact that some nameless person, who may or may not have that authority, has told the someone in the G.A.G.B., who definitely have no authority to implement a ban, that caches are no longer permitted is totally irrelevant and should be ignored until such time as the above condition has been met.

Actually, the person is not nameless (Richard E Brooks, Senior Environmental Advisor (Access and Recreation), Defence Infrastructure Organisation) and the GAGB have not imposed a ban (they can't as they don't list caches). Groundspeak (via the reviewers) have imposed the ban based on the information forwarded to them by GAGB. As I understand it, the MOD contacted GAGB and told them of the ban. GAGB tried to negotiate, but were not able to get them to change their mind. I do agree they should fight harder in situations like this - the MoD is not the same as a private landowner, it is "owned" by us. I respect that they have a job to do, but the job title of the contact (Access and Recreation) acknowledges they also have a responsibility to share, where practical, the vast tracts of land they use.

 

The easy option for the MoD was to say "ban all caches" without even specifying where. However, we shouldn't let them get away with the easy option. In this case I do think we should be tougher, to not simply accept what they tell us but challenge them to justify it and be suffciently awkward that a blanket ban is no longer the easiest option for them.

 

Most importantly we should require them to be explicit about which areas they would like banned.

 

As I see it there are 2 risks they might be concerned about - that of packages being left near sensitive areas such as barracks, and that of searchers setting off unexploded munitions. The first could be dealt with by limited exclusion zones round such locations. The second could be dealt with by requiring caches not to be camouflaged as munitions - tupperware type containers should be OK because as far as I know there are no guns that fire tupperware rounds - bear in mind we are looking only at the additional risk caused by caching over other activities that are allowed.

 

Rgds, Andy

 

I have cached on and off MOD land for years, indeed I am an employee!

 

I think the DIO may have some misconceptions - I don't know of Mr Brooks but he may have come from a different area of the old Defence Estates organisation after the most recent reorganisation

 

1. Geocaches are identifed as such and left in an exact (well, within 20 feet or so) position which the MOD has access to. There is absolutely no danger of them being mistaken for anything else. The land manager could easily request a mapped listing of geocaches, decriptions even photos for his security staff who could also be present when they are placed.

2. Geocachers can easily respect super-sensitive areas - all they need is to be told. Those areas should be off limits to the general public anyway

3. If there is a a real danger of unexploded munitions there should be NO public access to the area anyway.Saying you can come in but don't touch anything is a total cop out IMHO. MOD knows which areas are live firing areas - the rest of pretty safe, the worst you might find is an unexploded thunderflash or smoke grenade - far worse is sold openly in November to the yobs around my house.

4. On my local ranges I suspect the land manager has far more issues with dog mess and litter plus burned out BBQs than geocaches - they may be regarded as 'litter' by some, but it is 'maintained litter' and carefully placed with the owner's knowledge.

5. If DIO is adamant can we not request a pilot programme in a less sensitive area and see how that goes?

6. A range of well-intentioned, motivated, centrally coordinated and navigationally aware people going around MOD land should be recruited to help DIO in its land management role. I would be happy to assist in reporting some of the reprobates I see (with photos times and places!!!)

Security in iteself is not enough - JSP440 (the bible) requires judgement in its application and not just blanket bans as they actually can be more dangerous as they engender a fasle sense of security

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