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Underground caches - still waiting for an official response

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As an answer was not forthcoming, to my question regarding the new rule concerning culverts, mines, adits, caves and underground quarries (that can be seen here), before the topic was locked. I’m asking it again here, with the hope that someone, from the powers that be, can give me the courtesy of an answer.


I’ll recap the main points:



The farcical part of this new rule was pointed out:


The Landowner, and Access Rights Holder, in many cases are different, That comes from personal experience, of organising events, underground. And from a cache published around 2006, where the Cache Owner, had obtained Permission off the Landowner, yet it turned out that the Land Owner had no Legal Rights, in regards to the Underground Facility, so could not Legally give Permission for the Placement of the Cache. Which was refused Permission, by the Access Rights Holder, even though the Underground Facility was not Gated. The whole affair turned very nasty!


Their excuse for introducing this new rule is, supposedly, bat preservation. But, these points were raised by someone who actually does professional bat surveys:


Whilst I commend the consideration for bats, what about bats roosting and hibernating in trees. All the UK bat species use trees as habitat, 3/4 are known to roost in trees and quite a few live exclusively in trees (in holes, behind bark, in bird/bat boxes). Will there be similar proof of permission required for any cache which risks disturbing them? What about under bridges as well, which also get used by bats?


I must have been one of the first to find out about these new rules (read as: fall foul of), as I had an underground cache rejected within a few hours of this topic being published. I re-submitted the cache, explaining that I’ve been in the small tunnel three times & have seen no bats. Plus, there’s evidence that the local kids use the tunnel, which would definitely deter bats from roosting there. Despite my assurances, about the absence of bats, the reviewer rejected it again & will not publish it until I provide the contact details of the landowner.



As the reviewers know full well that the vast majority of COs just won’t be willing to spend the time & effort tracking down the landowner, in order to try & get their permission - for something that they (in the majority of cases) can’t actually give permission for. I think that this rule has been introduced solely to make it extremely easy for the UK reviewers to reject any new underground cache. Especially as ‘bat preservation’ clearly isn’t the real reason for this new rule, & providing the contact details of the landowner appear to accomplish nothing.


I’m sure it isn’t just me who’s thinking this is just a thinly veiled excuse for effectively putting a stop to any new underground caches in the UK. Would someone, who was instrumental in creating this new UK rule, or even a Groundspeak spokesperson, like to say anything regarding this matter, that might lead us to believe the contrary?

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I questioned 2 of my more experienced bat ecologist colleagues (both with various levels of bat licenses). Whilst they were impressed that bats were being considered they thought it a little heavy handed and, like me, odd that there was no mention of bats in trees and structures (buildings/bridges). They commented that whilst there is a slight possibility of bats being encountered whilst caching it's minuscule and pales in to insignificance compared to the number of bats which get disturbed in buildings and trees during development.


They were also a little confused about the consent required from land owners as the vast majority of surveys we do are to determine if there bats present for landowner. If a landowner hasn't had one done they will generally be unaware and so can't give informed consent. How does this protect bats?

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The guideline update (guideline, please note, not a rule as people mistakenly call it) simply requires you to get permission. We require proof of permission for lots of different locations; nature reserves, sites of special scientific interest, scheduled ancient monuments etc. This is because we do not have the knowledge to know if these locations could be damaged by geocaching. Geocachers would not necessarily have this knowledge either unless they happen to be the landowner/manager etc. So if you get permission we will happily publish the cache.


It's already in the guidelines so it shouldn't be a surprise.


Wildlife and the natural environment are not harmed in the pursuit of geocaching.

Geocaches are placed so that plant and animal life are safe from both intentional and unintentional harm. In some regions geocaching activity may need to cease for portions of the year due to sensitivity of some species.

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Thank you for a response.


You have reiterated that permission is needed. You don't explain why the UK reviewers felt the need for an update, that specifically targets underground locations, when the same wildlife you are supposedly concerned with, inhabit other locations that are more likely to be visited by cachers. Do you have the knowledge to know if these other locations could be damaged by geocaching? Nor do you address any of my other points. So I still maintain that this new rule has only been introduced to effectively put a stop to any new underground caches.


(guideline, please note, not a rule as people mistakenly call it)

It sounds like a rule to me, because it’s mandatory for me to provide you with the information you ask for - if I want an underground cache to be published. There is no flexibility in that fact whatsoever - guidelines, by definition, allow flexibility.

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