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edexter

Landowner Data Base Access

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      I'm based in Massachusetts but frequently cache out of state where I aslo place and maintain a number of caches.  I find I am more frequently asked to provide evidence of landowner permission in some regions than others so the implimentaion of policy appears to be different in different geographic locations.  This makes sense to me based on population density alone, but it also implies that Reviewers are in a position to be aware of areas where cache placement might be an issue and who has given permission in the past.  Lately, I've been asked not merely if I have permission but to document it by providing a name and phone number of who gave permission.  I assume the reason for this is so if there is an issue from a landowner The Reviewer can say "you gave permission to so and so, contact them."  So that means The Reviewer has a list of landowners or administrators who have provided permission in the past. If this is the case, then Reviewers should be encouraged to respond to the Question:  "who should I ask?' for permission, when they know the answer...

     Most of the caches near me are placed in placed in areas open to the public for a variety of activities (hiking, hunting, biking, boating) and getting specific permission for a cache is seldom needed or requested because it's clearly "ok".  Some privately owned properties have geocaching policies that they publish and some actively encourage caching but most are siient on the issue until asked.  Since the CO is entirely responsible for placing and maintaining the cache and following the rules, one area where a Reviewer, who has access to the details of many cache placements, could be of assistance, is in directing cachers to "who to ask".  What do ohers think?

edexter

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23 minutes ago, edexter said:

  Most of the caches near me are placed in placed in areas open to the public for a variety of activities (hiking, hunting, biking, boating) and getting specific permission for a cache is seldom needed or requested because it's clearly "ok". 

 

Are you referring to the "frisbee rule", where people assume that if other hobbies are allowed, this hobby "must be" allowed too ?   :)

We took months at meetings until a township would talk to us about this hobby (asking for permission...), and were very restricted on what they'd allow.

Within weeks people who never bothered to ask placed caches there too.  Some in sensitive areas we were told to stay away from.

 - We knew they never bothered because the park told us to take our carp and leave, and they don't allow caching there now.

When we ask for permission, we know who we talked to, and provide that info.  Sometimes we write it on the cache page too.  

Some areas here have an open, "other use" policy, and the Reviewers are aware of some of them. PA Game Lands is one.

 -  The other 2/3rds and another cacher actual made sure that this hobby was included in "other uses" in one area.  It wasn't clear before...

IIRC, providing a name & phone number happens when enough people have tried to skirt the "ask for permission" thing, embarrassing a Reviewer or two. 

One locally has to do that now, after getting caught with a cache clearly on an area that needed a permit, but the coordinates were on the other side of a tiny brook,  in an "other use" property.    ;)

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The Regional Geocaching Wiki is linked from the permission section of the guidelines. Relevant to your hiding

Florida

Massachusetts

 

In Florida, the names of individuals that I've dealt with have changed so often through the years  that it's better to just have the basic contact info for the management office.   I've dealt with 4 different managers at Hillsborough River State Park, 5  at Withlacoochee State Forest, 3 at county preserves, and I couldn't count  in the WMA properties. 

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I feel very confident that Greounspeak nor its volunteer reviewers have no "Landowner Database" as you envision, aside from the Regional Wiki that was cited earlier. As to why a reviewer is now asking for the contact information your specific landowner, perhaps there is an internal policy change for the reviewers, or maybe a new reviewer that doesn't 'know you' yet.

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16 minutes ago, Isonzo Karst said:

In Florida, the names of individuals that I've dealt with have changed so often through the years  that it's better to just have the basic contact info for the management office.  

 

Exactly.  Our town/townships may change supervisors every four years.  All don't have parks staff.  

Our township now has a parks director that's shared with two other townships  :)

An assistant manager on one property (who's not too fond of this hobby), has stated that things will probably "change" if/when he's the director.

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1 hour ago, cerberus1 said:

You're saying the Geocaching Regional Policies Wiki isn't good enough ?

Québec and Nova Scotia were I cache don't even have one...

 

Don't know why they don't. That would be useful because they have different rules about Canada Post.

 

Edit Nova Scotia just have a little something related to covid in the wiki

Edited by Lynx Humble
More info
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2 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

You're saying the Geocaching Regional Policies Wiki isn't good enough ?

 

When it comes to the Northern Territory, Australia one - yes, I would most definitely say that it isn't good enough. :P

 

I'm currently trying to create contacts with the local councils and land managers (not that there are many of them) and so far all I've gotten are automated "we've received your email" replies. I'll be moving up to phone calls and in person visits soon but figured I'd start with being polite first. On the plus side, one of the big three councils here has a "you can totally go geocaching on our land" page on their website ... though is quite silent on any guidelines for people who are looking to place caches. Maybe they think Groundspeak comes around and places them?

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47 minutes ago, Lynx Humble said:

Québec and Nova Scotia were I cache don't even have one...

10 minutes ago, Unit473L said:

When it comes to the Northern Territory, Australia one - yes, I would most definitely say that it isn't good enough. :P

:D

Isn't a wiki an open-editing system that depends on others contributing to it ?

If you have knowledge of an area, it does say "If you have an update, email the community reviewer(s) listed."    :)

The Reviewers are at the top right...    

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10 minutes ago, Unit473L said:

I'm currently trying to create contacts with the local councils and land managers (not that there are many of them) and so far all I've gotten are automated "we've received your email" replies. I'll be moving up to phone calls and in person visits soon but figured I'd start with being polite first. On the plus side, one of the big three councils here has a "you can totally go geocaching on our land" page on their website ... though is quite silent on any guidelines for people who are looking to place caches. Maybe they think Groundspeak comes around and places them?

 

The local councils here are largely silent on the question of cache placement; they're under-resourced and have far more important things to worry about. Council reserves, especially "unimproved" bushland, that are zoned for public recreation are unlikely to need specific permission for any non-destructive public recreation activity including caching. In NSW, it's really only national parks (and other reserves managed by NPWS) and some of the more developed parklands like Sydney Olympic Park or Barangaroo that have a formal caching policy.

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3 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

:D

Isn't a wiki an open-editing system that depends on others contributing to it ?

If you have knowledge of an area, it does say "If you have an update, email the community reviewer(s) listed."    :)

The Reviewers are at the top right...    

Only the reviewers can edit it.

 

If they don't provide the bone it's a bit hard to put meat on it....

 

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1 hour ago, Lynx Humble said:

Only the reviewers can edit it.

If they don't provide the bone it's a bit hard to put meat on it....

1 hour ago, cerberus1 said:

:D

Isn't a wiki an open-editing system that depends on others contributing to it ?

If you have knowledge of an area, it does say "If you have an update, email the community reviewer(s) listed."    :)

The Reviewers are at the top right...    

 

Or are you saying that you offered an area to a Reviewer, and they never included it ?  Thanks.  :)

 

Edited by cerberus1

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8 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

 

Or are you saying that you offered an area to a Reviewer, and they never included it ?  Thanks.  :)

 

Like I said if the reviewers don't even put any of the rules they are aware of (the bone) why sending mine (the meat)? BTW I don't own any meat that the reviewer isn't aware.

 

Groundspeak should ask their reviewers to use and populate the Regional Wiki.

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To cerberus1:  Re: "Are you referring to the "frisbee rule", where people assume that if other hobbies are allowed, this hobby "must be" allowed too ?   :)

                           We took months at meetings until a township would talk to us about this hobby (asking for permission...), and were very restricted on what they'd allow.

                           Within weeks people who never bothered to ask placed caches there too.  Some in sensitive areas we were told to stay away from.

                           - We knew they never bothered because the park told us to take our carp and leave, and they don't allow caching there now."

      I hadn't heard of the "frisbee rule" but understand what you mean.  I'm actually refering to land use that is open to other hobbies such as hunting, fishing, and hiking which I consider equivilent to geocaching as they involve walking on the land while minimally disturbing it.  What you point out about getting permission and then having others not bother is the inverse of my point (other's didn't get [permission but I was required to) but it makes my point rather nicely:  Since a cache can't be placed without "The Reviewer" giving the "OK", that fact that you took the trouble to do so, and noted it, meant The Reviewer was aware of the land policy and who to contact yet they did not inform other cachers, nor follow the policy of the landowner which was known to them.  To me this is the same issue:  if The Reviewer is aware of a landowners policy then they should share that information.  The fact that contact people change all the time makes no difference.  They would supply what information they have and if it turned out to be dated, they could update it with the new info.  Sharing information on which office to contact even if who is changeable is an improvement over not sharing.  

edexter

 

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11 minutes ago, edexter said:

I hadn't heard of the "frisbee rule" but understand what you mean.  I'm actually refering to land use that is open to other hobbies such as hunting, fishing, and hiking which I consider equivilent to geocaching as they involve walking on the land while minimally disturbing it.  What you point out about getting permission and then having others not bother is the inverse of my point (other's didn't get [permission but I was required to) but it makes my point rather nicely:  Since a cache can't be placed without "The Reviewer" giving the "OK", that fact that you took the trouble to do so, and noted it, meant The Reviewer was aware of the land policy and who to contact yet they did not inform other cachers, nor follow the policy of the landowner which was known to them.  To me this is the same issue:  if The Reviewer is aware of a landowners policy then they should share that information.  The fact that contact people change all the time makes no difference.  They would supply what information they have and if it turned out to be dated, they could update it with the new info.  Sharing information on which office to contact even if who is changeable is an improvement over not sharing.  

 

Exactly.  The frisbee rule.  Not sure where you're going with this though, but since you picked me...

Every property we place on we've asked for permission. 

 - Even the ones you consider to be "open to other hobbies".  We know that's not always true.  :)

In this one case, we got permission for placement.  We were allowed to place there simply because we asked.

They never heard of geocaching. We believe we were an experiment for a hobby they were unaware of.

There was no "land policy" for a Reviewer to note to anyone else. 

We assume that all others simply checked the box that they had "adequate permission". 

 

Near us is a good-sized dam.  We have three caches there now.

I hike, hunt, fish, and rock climb the area, and take advantage of the frisbee golf too with nothing other than showing up.

All else allowed, the USACE requires permission for geocaching.  This is a "land policy" that our Reviewers are aware of.  

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On 10/23/2020 at 2:28 PM, cerberus1 said:

You're saying the Geocaching Regional Policies Wiki isn't good enough ?

 

Great post.  In one category of permission cases, this is the answer.  Most Reviewers keep the Wiki up-to-date with known land manager policies, often with links to the relevant website where the geocaching policy and application form can be found.

 

But there is another category of permission cases, for situations not covered by published land manager policies about geocaching.  These can be characterized as "exceptions to the Geocache Hiding Guidelines."  For example, if someone buries a cache on any property, then the Guidelines require me to confirm permission was given by the landowner, in order to make an exception to the Guidelines.  I do not know the name and telephone number/email address of every landowner.  I ask the cache owner to provide this information to me, and to edit their cache page to state that the cache is hidden with permission.  Until the cache owner does these things, I will not publish the cache.

 

Also, there is no master database of people who have given permission for cache placements.  The linked Wiki is the best resource for that.  Rather, information provided during the review process for an individual cache is preserved in the archived reviewer notes when the cache is published.  Those archived notes can be referenced if there is ever a question about that cache.  "Yes, Principal Smith, we understand your concern about the cache in the woods behind the school that the bomb squad visited today.  Please know that, two years ago, your predecessor Principal Jones granted permission for this cache.  Sorry that this information did not reach you as part of the job transition."

Edited by Keystone
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5 hours ago, Keystone said:

 

Great post.  In one category of permission cases, this is the answer.  Most Reviewers keep the Wiki up-to-date with known land manager policies, often with links to the relevant website where the geocaching policy and application form can be found.

 

But there is another category of permission cases, for situations not covered by published land manager policies about geocaching.  These can be characterized as "exceptions to the Geocache Hiding Guidelines."  For example, if someone buries a cache on any property, then the Guidelines require me to confirm permission was given by the landowner, in order to make an exception to the Guidelines.  I do not know the name and telephone number/email address of every landowner.  I ask the cache owner to provide this information to me, and to edit their cache page to state that the cache is hidden with permission.  Until the cache owner does these things, I will not publish the cache.

 

Also, there is no master database of people who have given permission for cache placements.  The linked Wiki is the best resource for that.  Rather, information provided during the review process for an individual cache is preserved in the archived reviewer notes when the cache is published.  Those archived notes can be referenced if there is ever a question about that cache.  "Yes, Principal Smith, we understand your concern about the cache in the woods behind the school that the bomb squad visited today.  Please know that, two years ago, your predecessor Principal Jones granted permission for this cache.  Sorry that this information did not reach you as part of the job transition."

Another great post. While I may have missed it there is the basic concept of respect for the property of others. If I have the desire to place a cache somewhere the onus is on me to find out who owns the property before I place my cache on it. It's just that simple. And on the topic of "public property" to the best of my knowledge all property in the United States is owned by someone - a private person or organization or a governmental agency. In some cases a piece of property is made available for public use for a designated purpose like a ball park, picnic area, etc. But someone serves as the manager or caretaker or steward of these properties, and they deserve the respect of persons using the property.

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3 hours ago, gpsfun said:

If I have the desire to place a cache somewhere the onus is on me to find out who owns the property before I place my cache on it. It's just that simple


Placing and finding geocaches is allowed by default in my entire country, provided the activity causes no disturbance or damage.* The regional wiki lists the known exceptions to the rule (e.g. restricted areas of national parks, railway bridges...). But the overreaching legal principle is that simply owning land does not grant anyone exclusive access to said land (or in other words, a forest is not considered private in the same way the immediate surroundings of an inhabited private residence are).

 

*Accounting for lazy parking and erosion caused by cachers makes this caveat fairly important, and your point about respecting the property of others applies.

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