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California’s first GeoTour

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Thanks for the response. I really appreciate it.

However, that was not the cache I was referring to. The cache in question is GC25RWX. I'm sorry that I was not specific enough in my question, as I thought it best at the time to leave the identifying information out.

The one you refer to is arguably on Milpitas city property and thus not really a problem. The one I am referring to was not on Milpitas city property.

Ah. This is on the Chamber of Commerce's property. The Chamber is working closely with the City of Milpitas, who have explicit permission.

 

We asked the CO of the now-archived-cache if they had explicit permission and did not get an affirmative response.

Edited by GeoToursHQ
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Thanks for the response. I really appreciate it.

However, that was not the cache I was referring to. The cache in question is GC25RWX. I'm sorry that I was not specific enough in my question, as I thought it best at the time to leave the identifying information out.

The one you refer to is arguably on Milpitas city property and thus not really a problem. The one I am referring to was not on Milpitas city property.

Ah. This is on the Chamber of Commerce's property. The Chamber is working closely with the City of Milpitas, who have explicit permission.

 

We asked the CO of the now-archived-cache if they had explicit permission and did not get an affirmative response.

I just sent you the coordinates of the actual cache and the names of the owners of the property which I believe is correct.

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The one I am referring to was not on Milpitas city property.

 

Just to clarify (since I Reviewed the original cache being referred to), the cache is on the property line between the CoC and the adjacent business. Judging from the maps, it seems like the most reasonable access is through the parking lot behind the CoC (i.e. it looks too narrow between the buildings, and an on-ramp to the freeway and presumably a fence block access on the other sides). I don't think the situation is as clear cut as you and others are portraying it.

 

I've had to Archive similar placements in which the cache is "bothering the neighbors" and needs to go to avoid unpleasant confrontations. I don't think the CoC will get unpleasant about it, but I think it's reasonable for them to ask.

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Ah. This is on the Chamber of Commerce's property. The Chamber is working closely with the City of Milpitas, who have explicit permission.

 

We asked the CO of the now-archived-cache if they had explicit permission and did not get an affirmative response.

 

OK, good. Now I understand better.

 

It does not appear to me that the CoC actually owns the property (because there is another business in the building, it seems likely that they rent the space) but I would expect that they could get the owner of the property to have the cache removed if they asked. I don't think that the cache was a "nuisance" as much as that it interfered with a geotour cache that was to be (or will be) placed at the CoC.

 

At any rate, it appears that GC did nothing improper in this case.

 

I would have preferred that the actual owner of the property make the request to have it archived instead of the city of Milpitas on behalf of the tenant of the property owner, but I don't see any wrongdoing on the part of GC.

 

As for the city of Milpitas, though.... my opinion of them in not exactly rosy.

 

Anyway, thank you very much for the response. I am very relieved that I can continue to tell others that GC really does care about doing the right thing.

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I think this GeoTour has been abysmally handled. Reading the posts, it appears clear to me that 100% of actual geocachers are on the side of the CO's whose caches were archived or forced to move, while 100% of Groundspeak lackeys are defending their corporate patron. It's all about money. Milpitas is paying them money so the existing CO's (and those who enjoy the caches of those CO's) are toast. The excuse that they are trying to bring the enjoyment of geocaching to a new generation (or new set) of geocachers is demonstrably false. The GeoTour caches are clearly poorly placed and in violation of Groundspeak guidelines. I don't blame Milpitas for this. I think it's clear they simply have no idea about geocaching; they're total newbies making newbie mistakes. Groundspeak and its reviewers could have avoided this whole controversy easily with a little backbone and a lot of tact when dealing with both the city and the CO's. I have not examined the geotour caches carefully, but if the posts here are correct, the geotour will actually be a turnoff and give the sport a black eye, both for existing geocachers and new people who hear about it from the tour.

 

As for the permission angle, that's a total red herring. Groundspeak is being disingenuous. In California, every activity that is not expressly prohibited by law is lawful on public lands. Unless Milpitas has a public written policy against geocaching on public that was passed with a chance for public hearing and agendized under the Brown Act (and it may, I don't know), then permission to place geocaches has been granted by state law. Case law is clear on this. Groundspeak knows this. Other public entities, like the federal and state parks and the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District, have such policies and geocachers have (almost) always followed them. In short, the caches were not removed because they failed to follow the guidelines; they did follow the guidelines with regard to permission unless someone can show me that published code or policy from Milpitas. They were removed to allow Groundspeak to make money.

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Perhaps the silliest thing about all this is that Milpitas is doing this to try to cash in on the Super Bowl crowd. Do they really think Super Bowl fans coming to the Bay Area are going to go geocaching in Milpitas? No doubt there will be a few geocachers among the fans, probably very few, but they're going to pick up caches that are near where they're staying or those that have a lot of favorites. Milpitas is out of the way geographically, has no scenery or interesting historic places of note, and is basically a bedroom community for Silicon Valley. When I was growing up it smelled of cow poop from miles around because of all the dairy farms. Milpitas means "little fields" in Spanish. The dairies are now gone. It has some high-tech firms there now, but they aren't tourist draws.

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I think this GeoTour has been abysmally handled. Reading the posts, it appears clear to me that 100% of actual geocachers are on the side of the CO's whose caches were archived or forced to move, while 100% of Groundspeak lackeys are defending their corporate patron. It's all about money. Milpitas is paying them money so the existing CO's (and those who enjoy the caches of those CO's) are toast. The excuse that they are trying to bring the enjoyment of geocaching to a new generation (or new set) of geocachers is demonstrably false. The GeoTour caches are clearly poorly placed and in violation of Groundspeak guidelines. I don't blame Milpitas for this. I think it's clear they simply have no idea about geocaching; they're total newbies making newbie mistakes. Groundspeak and its reviewers could have avoided this whole controversy easily with a little backbone and a lot of tact when dealing with both the city and the CO's. I have not examined the geotour caches carefully, but if the posts here are correct, the geotour will actually be a turnoff and give the sport a black eye, both for existing geocachers and new people who hear about it from the tour.

 

As for the permission angle, that's a total red herring. Groundspeak is being disingenuous. In California, every activity that is not expressly prohibited by law is lawful on public lands. Unless Milpitas has a public written policy against geocaching on public that was passed with a chance for public hearing and agendized under the Brown Act (and it may, I don't know), then permission to place geocaches has been granted by state law. Case law is clear on this. Groundspeak knows this. Other public entities, like the federal and state parks and the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District, have such policies and geocachers have (almost) always followed them. In short, the caches were not removed because they failed to follow the guidelines; they did follow the guidelines with regard to permission unless someone can show me that published code or policy from Milpitas. They were removed to allow Groundspeak to make money.

Well said, The Rat! I cannot agree more! :rolleyes:

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As for the permission angle, that's a total red herring. Groundspeak is being disingenuous. In California, every activity that is not expressly prohibited by law is lawful on public lands. Unless Milpitas has a public written policy against geocaching on public that was passed with a chance for public hearing and agendized under the Brown Act (and it may, I don't know), then permission to place geocaches has been granted by state law. Case law is clear on this.

 

I agree with you that the geotour was handled poorly. In general, Groundspeak should ask for adequate notice with time to work together with the caching community -- issues about coordinates, placement, type of containers and other things should be resolved to make a tour a good experience for all and local cachers are in the best position to advise about these type of things.

 

I do not want to get off topic, but I am curious about the citation for "what is not prohibited is allowed." I have seen agencies take the opposite position ("what is not allowed is prohibited') and specify activities that are permitted -- the often-quoted maxim "expressio unius est exclusio alterius." But I will do a Westlaw search when I have time. In any event, geocaching itself need not be named. In my area, every park or open space that I have checked has a rule or regulation that prohibits leaving property over a certain period (such as 12 hours) without permission or authorization -- usually so that they are covered if abandoned property needs to be removed. I would not be surprised if Milpitas had similar park rules.

 

Before assuming anything about the legality of leaving unauthorized containers on city property, it would be good to look at the park rules themselves. It was interesting to note that one of the main things that the Municipal Code covers is a prohibition against tree climbing. But the Code does not cover everything. There is nothing in the code that prohibits playing golf in recreational parks, for instance, so I ssume that park rules go into more detail.

 

Milpitas does have have a catch-all municipal code provision against leaving objects on city streets, sidewalks, and parks:

 

It shall be unlawful for any person to erect, maintain, place or leave any structure or other object (including, but not limited to, containers for the collection of newspapers for recycling) upon any public street, or sidewalk, or within the right-of-way thereof or within or upon any public easement or public property (including but not limited to public parks and landscaped areas) within the City of Milpitas.

 

Perhaps that would count since a container might be called an object -- I would not want to test that or any separate park rule one way or the other, nor discuss its potential application here. There are some things that it is better not to argue. In any event, I would not describe permission as being a red-herring but am curious about the cite.

Edited by geodarts
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It's all about money.

I agree with everything you've said except this. The fact is the Milpitas geotour has been very popular, so if we ignore the problems with setting it up for a moment, it was an excellent addition to the geocaching landscape, and my guess is that's the main reason GS supported it, not the money. Alas, the geocaching landscape in Milpitas was already really good, so it's not as clear the geotour improved things when taking everything into account. And, of course, no telling whether the geotour caches will be as well maintained as the caches they displaced.

 

I also think there's a good case, in general, for displacing existing caches for a geotour, but there's no excuse for doing it like this. GS definitely should have insisted Milpitas get some local expert advice, and I think most of the displacement problems could have been solved by giving the 0.1 mile rule a little leeway. Overall, I think it's a shame that a very nice geotour started out by leaving such a bad taste in everyone's mouths.

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dprovan, I agree that it is possible that Milpitas has rules or regulations or municipal code that covers the permission aspect. I really don't know. I said as much in my original post. I disagree, though, about the money. I still think that is the sole reason Groundspeak approved this. It's a shame it has happened this way. This is a wheel that has already been invented, and invented correctly. Several people have pointed out that the Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) did it exactly right, reaching out to the geocaching community and using existing geocaches for their geocaching passport and preserve circuit. They had no trouble finding local cachers with well-placed, popular geocaches who were willing to give ownership over to the district and in many cases, continue to maintain them (or other cachers were willing to take over maintenance). Milpitas had plenty of well-placed and well-maintained popular caches. I believe most of the locations Milpitas wanted to bring people probably already had suitable caches and COs who would have worked cooperatively to make their caches available for the Geo-tour. Groundspeak should have explained this to Milpitas. My personal experience with Groundspeak, though, is that if there's money in it for Groundspeak, they will do whatever it takes for the bucks even if it hurts the sport.

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I think The Rat is right, it is mainly about the money. I've seen some numbers bandied about on the forums. GeoTour setup, $5,000, $10,000 or $20,000. Not sure what each rate gets you. Then, $2,500/yr. Using the low end numbers, GeoTours have made at least $300,000 for GS. $5,000 setup for 60+ GeoTours, and ignoring the annual recurring fee.

 

Skye.

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I disagree with The Rat that it is all about the profit motive. The dollar amounts here are really not that large and I don't believe Groundspeak is doing Geotours merely for the money.

 

Aside from that, however he is right on. In particular, I agree with him that the permission angle is a red herring. It's important to keep in mind that even if the caches had previous written permission from the City of Milpitas, the city explicitly revoked that permission for caches that would interfere with their geotour. In other words, the existence of permission would have had no effect at all on the outcome: the caches would still be archived.

 

The behavior of the City of Milpitas throughout this entire episode has been execrable. The city has never reached out to any of the cachers affected; they have relied on Groundspeak to deliver the archival messages.

 

Yes, you read that correctly. Despite the uproar in the caching community over the way this event was handled, the City of Milpitas has not had the basic decency to reach out to those whose caches it bulldozed.

 

As a result, claims by the City of Milpitas that this whole debacle is a result of its inexperience with caching, etc., etc. don't pass the most casual smell test. In my opinion, this affair is a clear-cut case of municipal arrogance and overreach.

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I disagree with The Rat that it is all about the profit motive. The dollar amounts here are really not that large and I don't believe Groundspeak is doing Geotours merely for the money.

 

How much money are we talking about here, how much did GS charge the city of Milpitas to set up this GeoTour for them? :unsure:

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As a result, claims by the City of Milpitas that this whole debacle is a result of its inexperience with caching, etc., etc. don't pass the most casual smell test. In my opinion, this affair is a clear-cut case of municipal arrogance and overreach.

Honestly, My impression is that they don't know enough about what they're doing to have any idea what the side effects would be. Did anyone attend the nearby event that city representatives were supposed to attend? Did that provide any insights? Do they really have horns, spiked tails, and forked tongues?

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As a result, claims by the City of Milpitas that this whole debacle is a result of its inexperience with caching, etc., etc. don't pass the most casual smell test. In my opinion, this affair is a clear-cut case of municipal arrogance and overreach.

Honestly, My impression is that they don't know enough about what they're doing to have any idea what the side effects would be. Did anyone attend the nearby event that city representatives were supposed to attend? Did that provide any insights? Do they really have horns, spiked tails, and forked tongues?

 

No city representatives showed up at the event, though they had previously said they would attend.

 

I have several reasons for my position about the culpability of the city:

 

  • They were reportedly advised to contact local cachers for assistance in setting up the tour. They did not do so.
  • The city has never reached out to any of the affected cache owners.
  • As far as I know, the city has never reached out to the local caching community in any way. Nor has it responded to public comments about its handling of the situation.
  • The city explicitly revoked any permission for existing caches that would interfere with the geotour.

 

I would expect that if, as the city claims, the issues were a result of their inexperience, they would at a minimum have reached out to those cachers whose cachers were removed with some sort of apology. That the city has not seems good evidence, from my point of view, that they don't consider that they have done anything wrong and are uninterested in trying to ameliorate the situation.

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Did Groundspeak, at the request of the City of Milpitas, archive a cache that was not on City of Milpitas property?

A cache was was archived to make way for a City of Milpitas cache that has not yet been published: GC69DBG. They were about 58 feet away from one another. It is within the City of Milpitas boundary. The image below is from County of Santa Clara's Parcel Map.

 

0cbcd5a8-5095-4a07-947e-a1e503035fde.jpg

 

Whoa! My house is in the City of Milpitas boundary. My house is my private property. There is a cache in front of my house. Based on this fact pattern, does Groundspeak believe that they have the right to archive my cache on my private property because it is within the City of Milpitas boundary??? The cache in question that was archived due to the geotour is on private land regardless of what city it resides within.

 

Groundspeak - please explain why this cache on private property was archived.

Edited by BearTerritory
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Hello BearTerritory, the cache that was archived to allow the publication of GC69DBG is in a City of Milpitas Park.

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This thread is very near being closed. Fair questions have been raised (and answered.) However, there has also been name calling, inflammatory behavior, and more. If you want to talk about the GeoTour here, feel free. But continued antagonistic postings will not be permitted.

 

Please keep this in mind (and also maybe check out the forum guidelines) before posting further in the thread.

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I think The Rat is right, it is mainly about the money. I've seen some numbers bandied about on the forums. GeoTour setup, $5,000, $10,000 or $20,000. Not sure what each rate gets you. Then, $2,500/yr. Using the low end numbers, GeoTours have made at least $300,000 for GS. $5,000 setup for 60+ GeoTours, and ignoring the annual recurring fee.

 

Skye.

Another vote for the Rat's overview. The local caching community in Milpitas also seems to share this view including the COs impacted. We are actively working with them on communications locally. Groundspeak's responses on the other hand have been unsatisfactory IMHO. The cacher commenting may just be a little too far out of the affected area to care about developing relations with the City of Milpitas, so it is easier to attack then to understand. The local community is very interested in proactively working out issues at a local level.

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Hello BearTerritory, the cache that was archived to allow the publication of GC69DBG is in a City of Milpitas Park.

That is not the correct cache. In fact this cache is not even an active listing, archived or not.

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Hello BearTerritory, the cache that was archived to allow the publication of GC69DBG is in a City of Milpitas Park.

That is not the correct cache. In fact this cache is not even an active listing, archived or not.

When you quote a post that deals specifically with GC69DBG, you should not be surprised to hear follow up information relevant to GC69DBG.

 

There is another cache that's been explained; it is on or at the border of the Chamber of Commerce property.

 

If there are other caches you are asking about, please ask specifically and respectfully.

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Hello BearTerritory, the cache that was archived to allow the publication of GC69DBG is in a City of Milpitas Park.

That is not the correct cache. In fact this cache is not even an active listing, archived or not.

When you quote a post that deals specifically with GC69DBG, you should not be surprised to hear follow up information relevant to GC69DBG.

 

There is another cache that's been explained; it is on or at the border of the Chamber of Commerce property.

 

If there are other caches you are asking about, please ask specifically and respectfully.

GC25RWX - This has been confirmed to be on private land. It was considered close enough to a City building to be archived. It would be good for the community to better understand the reasons behind this archival. Thanks.

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GC25RWX has already been addressed in prior posts (#52 and #54, up above on this second page). The posts are from Geocaching HQ and from Nomex, the publishing reviewer for the archived listing.

 

I will second what Nomex said. When a cache is just across a boundary line and the neighbor complains about it, odds are that HQ will archive the listing. That occurs for a different reason (it's unwise to stand on principle and put geocachers at risk of getting yelled at by an angry neighbor... or worse). I saw that happen in my review territory just this week. But the analogy is helpful to understand the basis for what happened with GC25RWX.

 

Here, the Chamber of Commerce wanted to have a cache on their property as part of the GeoTour and the cache on the border of their property was archived because confirmation of permission didn't occur.

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GC25RWX has already been addressed in prior posts (#52 and #54, up above on this second page). The posts are from Geocaching HQ and from Nomex, the publishing reviewer for the archived listing.

 

I will second what Nomex said. When a cache is just across a boundary line and the neighbor complains about it, odds are that HQ will archive the listing. That occurs for a different reason (it's unwise to stand on principle and put geocachers at risk of getting yelled at by an angry neighbor... or worse). I saw that happen in my review territory just this week. But the analogy is helpful to understand the basis for what happened with GC25RWX.

 

Here, the Chamber of Commerce wanted to have a cache on their property as part of the GeoTour and the cache on the border of their property was archived because confirmation of permission didn't occur.

Thanks to Nomex for the explanation.

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Milpitas is out of the way geographically, has no scenery or interesting historic places of note, and is basically a bedroom community for Silicon Valley. When I was growing up it smelled of cow poop from miles around because of all the dairy farms. Milpitas means "little fields" in Spanish. The dairies are now gone. It has some high-tech firms there now, but they aren't tourist draws.

 

I wondered if someone else would mention this. I lived for over 30 years, at various locations within 20 miles of Milpitas going back to 1960. Someone expecting to visit some nice locations because it's part of a Geotour is very likely going to be disappointed.

 

 

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I wondered if someone else would mention this. I lived for over 30 years, at various locations within 20 miles of Milpitas going back to 1960. Someone expecting to visit some nice locations because it's part of a Geotour is very likely going to be disappointed.

The logs unfortunately indicate this is the case:

New Caches = 15

Total Finds = 387

Favorite Points = 10

Favorite Percentage = 2.58% :yikes:

Edited by The North Star
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I wondered if someone else would mention this. I lived for over 30 years, at various locations within 20 miles of Milpitas going back to 1960. Someone expecting to visit some nice locations because it's part of a Geotour is very likely going to be disappointed.

The logs unfortunately indicate this is the case:

New Caches = 15

Total Finds = 387

Favorite Points = 10

Favorite Percentage = 2.58% :yikes:

We all know it's just about the numbers anyway. Case in point, what exactly is the attraction of the ET Highway? Pretty flat featureless stretch of highway running through the middle of Nevada. I'm sure it's amassed hundreds/thousands of favorite points by now. Give it time. Someone will find something to like about it. Like one of our old timers in the area used to say, "if you hide it, they will come".

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I wondered if someone else would mention this. I lived for over 30 years, at various locations within 20 miles of Milpitas going back to 1960. Someone expecting to visit some nice locations because it's part of a Geotour is very likely going to be disappointed.

The logs unfortunately indicate this is the case:

New Caches = 15

Total Finds = 387

Favorite Points = 10

Favorite Percentage = 2.58% :yikes:

We all know it's just about the numbers anyway. Case in point, what exactly is the attraction of the ET Highway? Pretty flat featureless stretch of highway running through the middle of Nevada. I'm sure it's amassed hundreds/thousands of favorite points by now. Give it time. Someone will find something to like about it. Like one of our old timers in the area used to say, "if you hide it, they will come".

No, I'm sorry, but that is not the correct conclusion to make about this geotour. Complain about how they did it all you want, but the Milpitas GeoTour has good quality caches, not just someone sprinkling leaking film canisters around town haphazardly as you seem to be implying. They've made some newbie mistakes like bad coordinates and not considering landscaping damage in their placements, but they did not scrimp on the quality of the containers or the thought behind the locations. If anything, I think the favorite rate is a little low because the tour's attracting a lot of basic members and because so many premium members are upset about it displacing established caches.

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