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WadleClan

Not Available in Winter

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A search has so far not helped me find this answer...

What exactly are the parameters on "Not Available in Winter"?  I ask because I cannot find a definition in the list of attributes.  Also, I've seen different reactions to people who post this attribute or people who ignore this attribute.  There is one series near me, where the CO states in the description, the caches are not available during a specific date range due to hibernating animals.  Fair enough.  I'm not so keen on the fact that they then post a shame page of those who ignore this, but I respect the limitations set. (No, I have never been listed on that page, as I read their description and followed their rules.)  It is VERY clear in the cache description there are months the caches are not available and why.  However, there are a number of other caches where I see this attribute crossed out, stating the cache is not available in winter.  The cache description does not state any limitations though.  I just looked at one cache to try and find and found this attribute.  I also noticed someone just found the cache and logged it yesterday (27 Dec.).  This is where the confusion comes in.  If the cache owner does not state anything in the description, how do I define winter?

Is it determined by it getting cold out and animals are potentially hibernating? (Then one must estimate if it is cold enough.)
Is it determined by snow because it will be too difficult or unsafe to find the cache or reach it? (Then winters with no snow, the cache is available.)
Is it determined by the official start of winter 21 December? (Then the cache must be available again starting 21 March regardless of weather based on date criteria.)
Or is this completely subjective and as the searcher, it does not matter whether I find the cache or not when the attribute is in place, if the description does not explain it?

In the case of the above mentioned cache, I wrote the CO and will await an answer.  However, this is not always forthcoming.  I am trying to keep to my daily cache goal, but I am getting more limited in the surrounding area and with so many caches now including this attribute, it's a little more difficult.  I also don't want to go against any official rules.  So just trying to get a clear answer (if there is one) to make sure all is friendly.  Thanks!

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The definition changes depending on where you live. 

The two definitions that I've seen for "Not Available":

1) In areas that get a lot of snow, it usually indicates that the cache might get covered in snow.
2) In areas that have seasonal access, it usually indicates that an area is close during the winter. 

And of course "Is Available" is the opposite of those two. 

Edited by igator210
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1 hour ago, WadleClan said:

What exactly are the parameters on "Not Available in Winter"?

It means that the cache owner thinks the cache should be found during other seasons. Beyond that, its use varies among regions, and even among cache owners.

 

1 hour ago, WadleClan said:

There is one series near me, where the CO states in the description, the caches are not available during a specific date range due to hibernating animals.

I would expect such a cache to use the "Seasonal access" attribute, and to be disabled during the hibernation/mating/whatever season. The "Not Available in Winter" attribute is used by too many people to indicate how much snow affects the search.

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One of our local specialities is a cache that has the available in winter attribute,  but has been disabled and the container retrieved for the past winters :)

 

Snow wouldn't hinder the search so that explains the attribute, but I'm not sure what the COs motivation for disabling it is. I guess freezing temperatures could either make logging it too easy for the COs taste, or too dangerous if it hasn't been quite freezing enough...

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Thanks!  I shall interpret this one as subjective.  I guess it really just depends on a case-by-case basis.

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In the Help Center Groundspeak suggests that it means the cache is placed above the snow line. 

 

 

Quote

 

Winter

  • Hide your cache above snow level or in a place that’s protected from snow coverage.
  • Add the “Available in winter” attribute to your cache page.
  • Place a pencil in the cache container. Pens can freeze in extremely cold climates.

 

 

Edited by L0ne.R
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3 hours ago, igator210 said:

The definition changes depending on where you live. 

The two definitions that I've seen for "Not Available":

1) In areas that get a lot of snow, it usually indicates that the cache is might get covered in snow.
2) In areas that have seasonal access, it usually indicates that an area is close during the winter.  

 

We get both conditions in our area.  Typically, if a cache has the Not Available in Winter it means that it's hidden near the ground.  Technically the cache *can* be found, and there is nothing to prevent someone from trying, but it's going to be more difficult if there is snow on the ground.

 

We also have many hiking trails and seasonal roads that are not maintained in winter.   Some of the city maintained trails are officially closed in the winter and one could potentially get cited for trespassing  if one attempted to find a cache along the closed trail.  Typically a CO for caches along closed trails will disable them over the winter.

 

As a CO I would allow a found it log in the first example, but might consider deleting a found it log for the second if an area where the cache exists is legally closed.  

 

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As LOne.R says, in Ownership after publication in the Help Center it is pretty clear on what available in Winter means.    :)

 - Not available is simply the opposite. 

 

Odd that it doesn't really cover heading to it though, and we've seen some COs including travel as well (for "not").  Safety I guess.

We figured that's what crampons, Korkers and trekking axes were for, and walking in snow's my favorite.

 - But an example would be a rock ledge that's always icy with snow, the cache is close to the edge, and the drop is 300'.

I'd expect to maybe see the "seasonal access" applied as well...

Others have "not" available on roadside, maybe even protected hides, but where tracks would readily draw other, non-cachers to it.

Some who placed in Summer didn't consider people caching year-'round, and because they don't cache in Winter, added the attribute.

 

Edited by cerberus1
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2 hours ago, WadleClan said:

Thanks!  I shall interpret this one as subjective.  I guess it really just depends on a case-by-case basis.

On the one hand, this attribute demonstrates the problem with trying to describe cache attributes with a trinary attribute. As with all attributes, the decision to use an attribute is inherently subjective. From the attribute itself, you will not be able to determine what about the cache led the CO to give it the attribute.

 

On the other hand, that's not what attributes are for. The purpose of the "not available in winter" attribute is clearer than many: don't look for this cache in the winter. The only reason to question why the CO doesn't want you to seek the cache in winter is because you're thinking about going around the instructions. No skin off my nose if you try to do that, but don't expect the attribute to help you know what to expect. If there's some flexibility, the CO should put in the description what to expect when seekers are OK even though not recommended.

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1 hour ago, dprovan said:

On the other hand, that's not what attributes are for. The purpose of the "not available in winter" attribute is clearer than many: don't look for this cache in the winter. The only reason to question why the CO doesn't want you to seek the cache in winter is because you're thinking about going around the instructions. No skin off my nose if you try to do that, but don't expect the attribute to help you know what to expect. If there's some flexibility, the CO should put in the description what to expect when seekers are OK even though not recommended.

Understandable.  I completely agree that it means not to search in the winter.  Where I am confused, is what is the definition of winter in this case.
In the cold? (My husband would then claim winter in late September when it drops below 16 C.)
In the snow? (That would be very clear to understand.)
From 21 Dec to 21 Mar? (That is also a clear parameter.)

I'm not trying to get around the attribute, just trying to clarify it, so I know when I may search for the caches.

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19 minutes ago, WadleClan said:

Understandable.  I completely agree that it means not to search in the winter.  Where I am confused, is what is the definition of winter in this case.
In the cold? (My husband would then claim winter in late September when it drops below 16 C.)
In the snow? (That would be very clear to understand.)
From 21 Dec to 21 Mar? (That is also a clear parameter.)

I'm not trying to get around the attribute, just trying to clarify it, so I know when I may search for the caches.

 

Not all things in life can be defined to absolute clarity. (Beauty for instance.) Some, in fact many things,  require things like intuition, experience,  judgement and reasoning.

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3 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

As a CO I would allow a found it log in the first example, but might consider deleting a found it log for the second if an area where the cache exists is legally closed.  

 

I don't agree either but it's against the guidelines to delete a found it log even if you can prove someone did it illegally.

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9 hours ago, dprovan said:

On the other hand, that's not what attributes are for. The purpose of the "not available in winter" attribute is clearer than many: don't look for this cache in the winter. 


And that is where region subjectivity creeps in. "Not Available During Winter" around me simply means in will get covered by snow, when it does snow. It doesn't mean you shouldn't look for it, but rather it will be much harder to find. "Seasonal Access" is a much better attribute to indicate that you might not be able to search at all during the winter. 

Edited by igator210
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2 hours ago, WadleClan said:

I completely agree that it means not to search in the winter.  Where I am confused, is what is the definition of winter in this case.
In the cold? (My husband would then claim winter in late September when it drops below 16 C.)
In the snow? (That would be very clear to understand.)
From 21 Dec to 21 Mar? (That is also a clear parameter.)
I'm not trying to get around the attribute, just trying to clarify it, so I know when I may search for the caches.

 

Well, the Help Center does say, "Hide your cache above snow level, or in a place that’s protected from snow coverage".

It's all about being able to find the cache, not whether it's technically "Winter".  

Whether you have enough snow to really need the attribute in the first place is more of an issue than the season.    :)

My cousin lives in an area that might get 4" of snow in one day, then it's melted n gone the rest of the Winter. No attribute needed.

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2 hours ago, WadleClan said:

Understandable.  I completely agree that it means not to search in the winter.  Where I am confused, is what is the definition of winter in this case.

It means, "Don't look for it until spring." And before you ask, "spring" is that time when you say to yourself, "Oh, look, it's spring!" If you want a more specific time, you're not going to get it from an attribute. Read the description or ask the CO if it's that important to you to get it exactly right.

 

I don't ask that kind of question. If I'm going there for that one cache, I just make sure to do so no where near any time anyone might think of as "winter". If I'm in the area and deciding whether to look for that cache, I'll just see whether I can get to GZ, if so, I'll look for the cache, if I find it, I sign the log and claim the find. If any of those don't pan out, then I say to myself, "So *that's* what he meant by 'not available'," shrug my shoulders, and move on. If I really needed to know if the cache was available *now*, I'd ask the CO without worrying about what the tea leaves "not available in winter" mean.

 

2 hours ago, igator210 said:

And that is where region subjectivity creeps in. "Not Available During Winter" around me simple means in will get covered by snow, when it does snow. It doesn't mean you shouldn't look for it, but rather it will be much harder to find. "Seasonal Access" is a much better attribute to indicate that you might not be able to search at all during the winter.

Just to underscore your point about subjectivity: I would have interpreted these the opposite way: "not available in winter" means you're unlikely to be able to get there and shouldn't try and, furthermore, the CO doesn't promise the container will be there, while "seasonal access" to me suggests it's normally easy to get there, but it will be harder out of season, and the only problem is access: if you get there, the search should be as always. But that's based on nothing more than my personal reaction to those terms, and I don't have too much experience with "not available in winter" caches, so I might be entirely wrong about how either attribute is actually used.

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4 hours ago, igator210 said:

And that is where region subjectivity creeps in. "Not Available During Winter" around me simple means in will get covered by snow, when it does snow. It doesn't mean you shouldn't look for it, but rather it will be much harder to find.

 

"Seasonal Access" is a much better attribute to indicate that you might not be able to search at all during the winter. 

 

Yep, sorta the same here also.   :) 

Some COs  used to temp-disable their hides if they didn't want people looking for them with snow on the ground. 

Tupperware and other plastic containers mostly.    Most don't now.

A handheld metal detector comes in handy (we look for ammo cans then, not plastics), and recognizing surfaces now covered in snow might give a hint where you're looking. 

Even newbs we take out in Winter know what a snow-covered downed tree or overhanging rock ledge look like.    ;)

 

Our largest land owner in the state doesn't plow roads (and most parking areas) during the Winter, so depending on where you are, it's possible you'd have to park much further from the cache than normal, or depending on snow totals, bag it for another location entirely. 

"Seasonal access" fits if applied.   They'll still be there in Spring. 

 

Edited by cerberus1
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Got to admit it was rather mirthful when son broke through the ice on a shallow water feature in Amherst, N.Y. a number of years ago.

 

Yes the old guy and former easterner warned him ... butttttttt noooooooo. The testosterone overloaded young one who had only experienced California balmy winters learned a wet cold lesson.

 

Stopped looking at me as though I had three heads milli seconds after the "wet winter fun".

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Fun note about lamp post skirt hides in the winter. While you would think a lamp post in a parking lot is accessible year round, that lamp post just might be where they end up piling all the snow from the lot.

 

There have been a few times that I've approached a lamp post, only to turn around because there is a 10 foot pile of snow right at GZ. Depending on how bad the winter is, it could be closer to summer before all the snow has melted. 

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8 hours ago, dprovan said:

Just to underscore your point about subjectivity: I would have interpreted these the opposite way: "not available in winter" means you're unlikely to be able to get there and shouldn't try and, furthermore, the CO doesn't promise the container will be there, while "seasonal access" to me suggests it's normally easy to get there, but it will be harder out of season, and the only problem is access: if you get there, the search should be as always. But that's based on nothing more than my personal reaction to those terms, and I don't have too much experience with "not available in winter" caches, so I might be entirely wrong about how either attribute is actually used.

Regional and personal interpretations exist for sure. But that said, seasonal access is more versatile for this purpose as winter isn't the only reason a location might be inaccessible (e.g. islets during bird nesting season). And continuing with that example, I don't see seasonal access attribute as implying out-of-season access might be difficult, but rather that it might be outright illegal or at least unethical.

 

14 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

might consider deleting a found it log for the second if an area where the cache exists is legally closed.  

I remember not getting much sympathy when I suggested (a variation of) this being codified in the rules. As it is now, I guess the cacher could complain to the HQ to about the deleted log citing the "no ALR" rule, but by doing that they'd be admitting they broke the Groundspeak Terms of Use. It'd be interesting to see how that plays out.

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8 hours ago, humboldt flier said:

Got to admit it was rather mirthful when son broke through the ice on a shallow water feature in Amherst, N.Y. a number of years ago.

 

Yes the old guy and former easterner warned him ... butttttttt noooooooo. The testosterone overloaded young one who had only experienced California balmy winters learned a wet cold lesson.

 

Stopped looking at me as though I had three heads milli seconds after the "wet winter fun".

My family is in the Amherst area and I have experienced many a Buffalo winter and studied off Lake Ontario, so another area equal.  Yeah, winter has a VERY different meaning there than where I live now.  Also even more different than winter in California. :-D

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12 hours ago, igator210 said:

Fun note about lamp post skirt hides in the winter. While you would think a lamp post in a parking lot is accessible year round, that lamp post just might be where they end up piling all the snow from the lot.

 

There have been a few times that I've approached a lamp post, only to turn around because there is a 10 foot pile of snow right at GZ. Depending on how bad the winter is, it could be closer to summer before all the snow has melted. 

 

A long time ago I found a cache that was placed at the top of one of those parking lot snow piles.  Obviously it didn't last long, but winters are long here.

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Anything can be “Available in winter”, it just may take more effort.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glacier_Girl)

Perhaps the definition “Available in winter” should be changed to “May require snow/ice removal”

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On 12/29/2020 at 4:07 PM, Capt. Bob said:

Anything can be “Available in winter”, it just may take more effort.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glacier_Girl)

Perhaps the definition “Available in winter” should be changed to “May require snow/ice removal”

 

That's not true in the case of cache located in place that are legally closed to public access during the winter, or do you consider a cache to be "available" even requires breaking the law to find it?

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13 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

 

That's not true in the case of cache located in place that are legally closed to public access during the winter, or do you consider a cache to be "available" even requires breaking the law to find it?

 

Yes,  I feel that "Available in winter" only refers to physical access. "Seasonal access" refers to the legality of access, i.e. the park is closed in winter.

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Don't think of that Snowflake as meaning available in winter. I know that is its description. Think more that it is winter friendly and a snowflake with the red slash as not winter friendly.

Winter friendly means up a tree or above snow. Not winter friendly it is on the ground or highly likely to be buried by snow.

Here a few years ago a new cacher tried disabling his not winter friendly hides till spring. They got archived for being disabled too long.

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12 hours ago, Mn-treker said:

Here a few years ago a new cacher tried disabling his not winter friendly hides till spring. They got archived for being disabled too long.

 

A bit off topic, but the archival was likely more due to a lack of communication between the new cacher and the reviewer.  If the reviewer KNEW the disabling was due to the weather, and would resolve itself in warmer weather, the caches would likely NOT have been archived.  Reviewer archivals I have seen have been due to NO COMMUNICATION from CO's.

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Posted (edited)

Loosely connected - some cache containers would be damaged by the cold. My semaphore diffusal pair GC88TVK have outer combination padlocks that I didnt think would hold up to the weather since they are at ground level and Pocatello's weather would cover them.

 

Last winter I contacted the reviewer and disabled for 3 months and brought them home for maintenance. But this year i'm leaving them out to see if they can handle it. 

Edited by CheekyBrit

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We still call "(not) available in winter" (not) winter friendly. Here, that makes more sense.  "Not available" is very absolute, when I can't think of a case where "Not available in winter" actually describes the cache location -- which isn't covered by the Seasonal Access attribute. Around here the AIW attribute has always implied winter friendliness.  If a cache is "not available" it should technically be disabled, but of course a CO isn't necessarily required to disable an inaccessible cache (but it is helpful to do so).

 

Oh the other hand, "not available" doesn't necessarily mean inaccessible either. A cache hidden under 5' of snow would, to most people's understanding, be unavailable. The snow is the barrier. But someone resourceful may well find a way to access the cache despite the snow. In that case 'not available' could still be a valid descriptor.

 

It just goes to show, as mentioned above, that the attribute can be extremely subjective and regional. Use them and understand as best you can in the context of your local region/community. *shrug*

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5 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

We still call "(not) available in winter" (not) winter friendly. Here, that makes more sense.  "Not available" is very absolute, when I can't think of a case where "Not available in winter" actually describes the cache location -- which isn't covered by the Seasonal Access attribute. Around here the AIW attribute has always implied winter friendliness.  If a cache is "not available" it should technically be disabled, but of course a CO isn't necessarily required to disable an inaccessible cache (but it is helpful to do so).

 

Oh the other hand, "not available" doesn't necessarily mean inaccessible either. A cache hidden under 5' of snow would, to most people's understanding, be unavailable. The snow is the barrier. But someone resourceful may well find a way to access the cache despite the snow. In that case 'not available' could still be a valid descriptor.

 

It just goes to show, as mentioned above, that the attribute can be extremely subjective and regional. Use them and understand as best you can in the context of your local region/community. *shrug*

I've found a couple of caches buried in the snow - but then I'm a mountaineer used to winter travel (ski/snowshoe) and digging in the white stuff (snow caves, snow analysis pit for avalanches, etc.).  It does help if the cache is by something that is obvious in the snow (like a tree) - finding a low stump hidden under snow is a lot of digging sometimes ... Yikes!  I have to dig a 20' diameter pit?!? :o

 

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19 minutes ago, The Jester said:

Yikes!  I have to dig a 20' diameter pit?!? :o

 

Ive had my share of those. I actually cut my hand on a beer bottle shard in the snow digging by hand last week. Never did find that cache. I'm a first responder and an undertaker so the blood was no issue, kept everything sanitary and all that jazz.

 

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3 hours ago, CheekyBrit said:

Ive had my share of those. I actually cut my hand on a beer bottle shard in the snow digging by hand last week. Never did find that cache. I'm a first responder and an undertaker so the blood was no issue, kept everything sanitary and all that jazz.

 

 

I carry tools like these - saves on wear and tear on skin:

 

Product image forProduct image for blue

And moves a whole lot more snow easier...

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9 hours ago, CheekyBrit said:

Ive had my share of those. I actually cut my hand on a beer bottle shard in the snow digging by hand last week.

 

Yep I've done that a couple of times now. Amazing how much the cold numbs the feeling so you don't notice it until you see the red outside your body on something it doesn't belong...

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On 1/4/2021 at 4:05 PM, CheekyBrit said:

<...>   I'm a first responder and an undertaker <...>

 

 

 

And there's no inherent conflict of interest?

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On 12/28/2020 at 2:00 PM, Lynx Humble said:

I don't agree either but it's against the guidelines to delete a found it log even if you can prove someone did it illegally.

 

And if the cache isn't legally accessible then it should be disabled, in my opinion.

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1 hour ago, TeamRabbitRun said:

 

 

And there's no inherent conflict of interest?

That's too funny. I chuckled on that one for a while. I am a first responder as a required qualification for one of my jobs as an outdoor instructor doing field trips since a lot of places we go we are 50+ miles from medical care, but I carry that training mostly in case I find someone injured while outdoors.

But you have sparked my curiosity so I looked it up:
In S.E. Idaho, anyone requiring funeral care that isn't already connected with a funeral home gets assigned to the 'funeral home of the month' on a rotating basis across the various ones in the state so if someone tried to conflict those interests, it wouldn't work very often for them thankfully. It'd have to be someone with no assigned funeral home AND be during the month of their funeral home's assignment.
That was off topic and that full answer should hopefully satisfy that side conversation. Back to the good stuff, availability in winter!

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6 minutes ago, CheekyBrit said:

That's too funny. I chuckled on that one for a while. I am a first responder as a required qualification for one of my jobs as an outdoor instructor doing field trips since a lot of places we go we are 50+ miles from medical care, but I carry that training mostly in case I find someone injured while outdoors.

But you have sparked my curiosity so I looked it up:
In S.E. Idaho, anyone requiring funeral care that isn't already connected with a funeral home gets assigned to the 'funeral home of the month' on a rotating basis across the various ones in the state so if someone tried to conflict those interests, it wouldn't work very often for them thankfully. It'd have to be someone with no assigned funeral home AND be during the month of their funeral home's assignment.
That was off topic and that full answer should hopefully satisfy that side conversation. Back to the good stuff, availability in winter!

 

Yes, the end of the side topic - and thanks for putting yourself in harm's way as a F.R., whatever the reason.
Respect.

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6 hours ago, bflentje said:

 

And if the cache isn't legally accessible then it should be disabled, in my opinion.

Because that will prevent someone from trying to find it.  :rolleyes:

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10 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

Because that will prevent someone from trying to find it.  :rolleyes:


Disabled caches don’t appear on the App, so it would at least stop App-only users.  And it does send a clearer message to those who wish to listen.  I could quite easily miss an attribute (whether Available in Winter or Seasonal Access), but I’m more likely to spot a change in status.

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18 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

Because that will prevent someone from trying to find it.  :rolleyes:

 

Your eyeroll doesn't intimidate me. Of course disabling a cache won't stop some. But if a cache is legally unavailable then it should still be disabled.

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