Jump to content

Geocaching Contact For Caver Issues


Followers 1

Recommended Posts

Grotto Ombudsman for Geocachers

 

In recent history geocachers and cavers have collided. To say the results at times were less than ideal is first rate understatement. Most often the conflict is between local geocachers and the local grotto.

 

The idea for an ombudsman position with the NSS was discussed. The idea is to give geocachers having problems relating to a caver group a contact to help work though the problems. Most conflicts involve people who are passionate about their hobby so a lot of emotions get involved. The ombudman can provide a perspectve from outside the local grotto and help both sides before too much carnage is done to both groups reputations.

 

It’s worth a try.

 

The email address to use is: geocaching-issues@cavescience.com

Link to comment

:) I have backed out of the cave caching arena for a while, because I think I have been damaging the relationship between cavers and cachers. I do not want to put a damper on things...However...

 

I hope others have better luck than I have had in the past trying to deal with Hazel. I have dealt with her twice and, She has been extremely polite and a joy to deal with, when we were trying to reach a compromise, however she has failed to hold up her end of the bargain in both cases. soon as I pulled my cave caches the communications stoped. In her defence there may have been extenuating circumstances I wasn't aware of. If she is still working on the situation I should have been kept informed of this, but I haven't been. I do not want to bring up the specifics of these cases, and start another flame war. I hope cavers and cachers can learn to co-exist, and I do hope this web address (for Hazel) is the key.

Good luck and thanks to Renegade Knight for the attempt to mend this situation.

Edited by Vader
Link to comment

I'm curious, is this ombudsman a cacher, or a caver, or both, or neither? I think that neither would be the most effective as long as the person understands both sides. If one side or the other, then you have problems unless the person is really level headed about things. Obviously both could work too, if the person didn't lean too much one way or another and understood both sides well. Also, both sides involved would have to respect the ombudsman's recommendations.

Link to comment

I think that the only way that this could work is if the geocaching.com approvers could and would use the ombudsman before approving a cache in such cases where they know that a cache is hidden in or near a cave. The cavers will already be offended and the battle will already be raging when and if a cache turns up at a cave where there are safety, conservation, or permission issues. In other words, the cat will already be out of the proverbial bag if one of their "secrets" gets out. The ombudsman could assist the approvers by getting the cavers to provide proof that a proposed cache was in violation of geocaching.com's guidelines in such cases where there are permission issues that are sufficent grounds to deny an apporval. Or, in such cases where the geocacher has every right to place a cache but might be conviced not to, the ombudsman could act as a go between and kindly explain to the geocacher that their cache maybe is not such a good idea and likewise explain to the cavers that safty and conservation issues aren't reason enough for geocaching.com to deny a listing. I, for one, do not care to hear any more of their "you can't go there because you will get hurt or ruin the cave" whines. If cavers can go there without special permission, so too can geocachers.

 

While I think that an ombudsman is a good idea, I think that an informal arrangement between the approvers and a member of the caving community in their region who understands and respects geocaching will work just as well and is probably a better way to go. I say this because I do not think that any mechanism could be created that would be foolproof and please all cavers everywhere. I think that there needs to be a more personal relationship on a local level.

 

Good luck, RK. I hope that the approvers will put that email address in their address book and use it.

 

For the record, I am opposed to putting geocache in caves. GPS doesn't work in there and caves are much more dangerous and fragile than they appear. People who don't know what they're doing have no business going in them.

Link to comment

Dear All,

 

I want to thank Renegade Knight for starting the 'ombudsman' idea – a better communication between cavers and geocachers has always been one of our goals, but we weren’t quite sure how to go about it.

 

Whether the ombudsman theory works or not, at least we’ve started down that path. Hopefully I can help in any capacity needed, although my main role will be to try and put geocachers in contact with other caver-cachers in their local area, so that they can get non-biased, local advice. Hopefully I can also step in when things get a little heated and be a moderating voice for cachers within the local caving community.

 

As a final note, I want to thank Vader for being patient with me: Vader, I spoke with those individuals this evening and they have agreed to your request – I’ve sent you a private email concerning this.

 

Many thanks and happy caching,

 

Hazel

Link to comment
I'm curious, is this ombudsman a cacher, or a caver, or both, or neither? I think that neither would be the most effective as long as the person understands both sides. If one side or the other, then you have problems unless the person is really level headed about things. Obviously both could work too, if the person didn't lean too much one way or another and understood both sides well. Also, both sides involved would have to respect the ombudsman's recommendations.

Cavess is a caver who sits on a geocaching commitee the NSS has. The balance of the committee has members who are caver/geocachers.

 

We will have to see how this goes. I don't expect a flood of contacts from the get go, so we have time to see how it's working.

Link to comment
If cavers can go there without special permission, so too can geocachers.

I don't know how many times it has to be said, but apparently it isn't getting through.

 

It depends on the particular cave, of course, but cavers do have to get "special permission" from those charged with managing the cave. The "if cavers can go there without special permission, so can geocachers" is a pretty weak argument.

 

Unless a caving group own the land with the cave, they are at the cave manager's mercy on whether cave access will be granted or not. Cavers don't have a special pass that lets them into any cave they wish.

 

It's up to the manager. If he/she thinks placing a cache will not cause problems, then they may allow it. It's that simple. Ask for permission from those in charge. If you're allowed, great. If you're denied, hide a cache somewhere else.

 

There are close to a thousand caves in my two-country area. No one here feels it necessary to put physcial caches in them.

 

George

Link to comment

I understand the problem here. Many cachers are in it for the feeling of adventure and exploration (I can't imagine too many people get really excited about the McToys). Caves are a natural part of that... to the few who have the nerve, exploring a dark cave can be very exhilarating. It would only be natural for people to want to hide or find caches in caves.

 

Many caves are also a very delicate ecosystem. Just as we have rules with caching about staying on trails, not digging holes, etc, there are rules that need to be followed when caving. Unfortunately, these rules tend to be much more strict. With regular caching, if you step on a plant by accident, it'll grow back in a year. In a cave, if you accidentally break a rock formation, it'll grow back in 10,000 years. They can be VERY delicate.

 

Caves can also be very dangerous. If geocachers start frequenting caves, it'll only be a matter of time before one of them dies. Really. I speak from experience, as one of my friends almost died last year while exploring a cave (the geocache in it was secondary). As it was, he fractured his cheekbone and bashed up his head pretty good. If he hadn't had a helmet on, it could likely have resulted in his death.

 

As sad as it sounds, my recommendation is not to allow cachers into most caves without routing them through the local cave managers first. The managers can tell them what they need to know, get their vitals in case they go missing (or to notify next of kin), and to hold them responsible for possible damage while they're in there. For caves which aren't as dangerous or as delicate, this wouldn't be necessary.

 

Hopefully a good system can be worked out. Unfortunately for both parties there will be accidents along the way, and some people will be left feeling dissatisfied. But if both parties recognize this, and work hard to try and help each other out, then maybe a few more cavers will turn into cachers, and a few cachers will turn into serious cavers. Everyone will benefit.

Link to comment
It depends on the particular cave, of course, but cavers do have to get "special permission" from those charged with managing the cave. The "if cavers can go there without special permission, so can geocachers" is a pretty weak argument.

I think, George, that we are not actually in disagreement on this point and there is no arguement. If it is true that cavers must have special permission to go into a given cave, then geocachers would have to get permission also.

 

I like this idea of an ombudsman or similar arrangement because it is likely that the cavers will know better than geocachers and the admins what permissions are required for a particular cave and the surrounding area. Since we cannot always count on geocachers to seek and obtain proper permission, cavers can play an important role in helping the admins to enforce geocaching.com's permission requirements.

Link to comment

All,

 

Thanks for the great discussion, it looks like we're heading in the right direction. There are a number of cavers who are also reading discussions like this, and such positive steps can only help our respective goals.

 

With that in mind, postings such as that by '5 little bears' make me, and a great deal of other cavers, wonder why on Earth we bother.

 

Hazel

 

"Maturity is knowing when to be immature" - Randall Hall

Link to comment
All,

 

Thanks for the great discussion, it looks like we're heading in the right direction.  There are a number of cavers who are also reading discussions like this, and such positive steps can only help our respective goals.

 

With that in mind, postings such as that by '5 little bears' make me, and a great deal of other cavers, wonder why on Earth we bother.

 

Hazel

 

"Maturity is knowing when to be immature" - Randall Hall

Did you miss my little smiley face I was being sarcastic.Sorry if you took it serious.

It was not meant to upset anything or anyone. Besides we all know we can't burry caches.

Edited by the 5 little bears
Link to comment

I have too much dignity and respect to quote a certain previous post in this thread.

 

I only need to gently remind about how and why geocaching was banned in national forests. If that approach and attitude to problem-solving is applied to trying to change national forest problem for instance, I don't think it would get very far. Nor with cavers either.

 

Such a rather not-quite-well-thought-out verbal approach also hands the extremely anti-geocaching caver crowd nearly all the anti-geocaching weaponry they would need in just one easy quote. Whoops...

 

Kinda reminds me of this one radio interview I heard once with an "activist" in a certain cultural minority community. He claimed to be "working hard for his people" but man, the stuff he was blindly saying and planning... I really don't know how to repeat it without starting an amazing stinking controversy implying something resembing an implication that all folks of that culture are THAT extremely... lack of good judgment, shall we say. Basically I could immediately see how an outsider evil-genius wanting to oppress that minority could start paying that "activist" lots of bucks just to make sure he keeps talking - and thus effectively shoot everyone else in that culture multiple times in the feet in the process.

 

Always stay kind, look out for the long-term consequences and keep on an even keel... :rolleyes:<_<

Edited by Sparrowhawk
Link to comment

I want to thank Hazel for dealing with a situation, that had remained unresolved for the last few months. This situation concerning caches in caves has been all but resolved now.

 

This is a good idea and I'm glad to see this discussion on the board started by a Geocacher. If we can keep things civil and avoid ignorant or sarcastic posts then some day a compromise will be reached. It might not make both sides happy, but maybe just a little less unhappy. :mad:

Link to comment

I only need to gently remind about how and why geocaching was banned in national forests. If that approach and attitude to problem-solving is applied to trying to change national forest problem for instance, I don't think it would get very far. Nor with cavers either.

 

Nothing to add to the current discussion, but geocaching is not banned on National Forests. You are proabably thinking about the National Park Service.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Followers 1
×
×
  • Create New...