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Digging to uncover Benchmarks


outdoorsoccer
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Hello All,

 

  I tried to search for this topic in the threads, but the search function (at least for me) wasn't working.  Is it okay to dig around  an area to uncover a benchmark? I have went in search of 2 BMs and I am fairly certain of the location of one of them, the second one I am not that sure.    Would I be breaking any laws?   Thank you for your help.

 

  Take care,

 

                         ODS

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1 hour ago, outdoorsoccer said:

I tried to search for this topic in the threads, but the search function (at least for me) wasn't working. 

Is it okay to dig around  an area to uncover a benchmark? I have went in search of 2 BMs and I am fairly certain of the location of one of them, the second one I am not that sure.   

Would I be breaking any laws?   

 

Is the property yours ?   No ?  Then curious why you feel it might even be okay to dig into another's property.  

We see a lot of people who think because a "disk" is on a property somewhere, they're allowed to access it without permission.

If you're mistaken, as the property owner shows with his three sons, good luck saying you're "Fairly certain a benchmark's down in here somewhere."   :D

We can't bury geocaches  on "public" property (without permission from the landowner...) because of all the potholes that'd be partially filled 20' away from GZ. 

Seriously though, as if geocaching doesn't have it's issues with permission...

If you're fairly certain it's there, introduce yourself to the landowner, explain what the heck you're up to, and be honest if he asks if you work for the government.   

Realize he may tell you to leave too...

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13 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

 

Is the property yours ?   No ?  Then curious why you feel it might even be okay to dig into another's property.  

We see a lot of people who think because a "disk" is on a property somewhere, they're allowed to access it without permission.

If you're mistaken, as the property owner shows with his three sons, good luck saying you're "Fairly certain a benchmark's down in here somewhere."   :D

We can't bury geocaches  on "public" property (without permission from the landowner...) because of all the potholes that'd be partially filled 20' away from GZ. 

Seriously though, as if geocaching doesn't have it's issues with permission...

If you're fairly certain it's there, introduce yourself to the landowner, explain what the heck you're up to, and be honest if he asks if you work for the government.   

Realize he may tell you to leave too...

I don’t think it is ok to dig on someone’s property, but I have read logs of folks who said they dug out a BM after “locating it” after finding it with a metal detector or prodding stick.  But as they don’t provide any context of getting permission, I was just curious.

 The two BMs aren’t located on private property ( I am fairly certain...lol), but I am sure the land belongs to the town or a particular company/utility. The one BM that I am fairly certain has pictures from 2016 showing its location,  but must not be in use much as there is a layer of mud and green growth over where it is shown to be in the picture. It’s next to railroad tracks.  The other is at a public boat ramp.  I located a reference marker for it, but didn’t have a tape measure with me, but I measured the area off (using iphone...yes not accurate) and it puts it over an area covered with mud and rocks.    
  I guess I can mark them as unfound and leave a picture of the area? 
 

  Thank you for your response.  
 

  ODS

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It depends on the area.  I have often dug for bench marks in rural road right-of-way after probe and/or metal detector hit, sometimes just sweeping off a thin layer of vegetation, usually only a few inches down, but occasionally more. 

 

I have also been chased away a couple times while looking (not digging) in such areas by suspicious owners of adjacent land.  If it looks like a lawn or there are structures nearby, then you need permission.  Digging too close to active railroad tracks is very definitely a way to get in big trouble.

 

I once got permission to dig for triangulation station LE0530 out in a field and found the underground mark 27 inches down (surface mark long gone) after careful measurement from reference marks.

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30 minutes ago, Bill93 said:

It depends on the area. 

I have often dug for bench marks in rural road right-of-way after probe and/or metal detector hit, sometimes just sweeping off a thin layer of vegetation, usually only a few inches down, but occasionally more. 

 

I have also been chased away a couple times while looking (not digging) in such areas by suspicious owners of adjacent land.  If it looks like a lawn or there are structures nearby, then you need permission.  Digging too close to active railroad tracks is very definitely a way to get in big trouble.

 

Guess it really does depend on the area.   :)

Curious...   A right of way here allows utilities and road crews  access onto your property while servicing their equipment. 

 - It's not open to the "public".      That's different where you are ?   Thanks.  

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I’ve often dug them up in NYS forests. I can rationalize this behavior by reasoning that (a) camping is allowed anywhere in a state forest that is at least 150 feet from a stream, body of water, or trail; and (b) making small temporary excavations is a normal part of camping. OTOH using metal detectors is illegal in state forests, probably to discourage the inevitable digging that would ensue, so the legality of this activity is murky at best. The key point is that I always re-bury the marks and try to leave the area exactly as I found it.

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OTOH using metal detectors is illegal in state forests

Federal property as well.   Reason?  People are searching for and taking/stealing Artifacts and souvenirs, and  there are laws prohibiting taking anything whatsoever.    You so much as dig on federal property, especially any historic area, you could be arrested.    The Park Service was up in arms when someone removed foundations ruins in the local Nat"l Historic Park here, its federal crime even though is was just deteriorated stone and rubble, it was a valuable historic artifacts no matter what perceived value. 

Edited by Z15
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