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Night Caching And Park Hours


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I've been thinking about this topic ever since I read EvergreenHikers post about his visit with several policemen. Today we had a cache go live that was clearly posted on the page and at the cache site that it did not open until 1000, FTF was before 0700. My concern is that things like these may get some concerned citizen to try to ban caching in their parks. By being in parks after hours or neighborhoods with flashlights. We are giving people who may be agianst us the ammo for our demise. Maybe if a cache doesn't say to cache it at night we shouldn't cache it.

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I think we should take matters into our own hands and physically remove any person we see in a park after hours. :D I mean, think about it. If geocaching will be banned because geocachers are in the park after hours, then anyone in the park after hours can cause the demise of geocaching. I don’t wear any special banner or sash that identifies me as a geocacher, so how will a passerby know that’s it’s the geocachers that must be stopped to bring peace and harmony back to their park? :D


It’s dark right now and I’d be willing to bet there are geocachers, perverts, teenagers, and good ole honest Ma and Pa Citizen in parks all over the country.


Some of us do have E&E training too you know... :D


Don't worry so much, go have fun! :D

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Hey… the number ONE reason the WSGA was started was to try to promote a good image of Geocaching to the State Park System and by trickle down, County and local parks as well. We have done a couple of night caches in the past and one of the thoughts that went through my mind was what do we say if someone reports suspicious activity and the cops show up. This is a stretch but it would be sad to see park signs that said…….


No Fires

No Alcohol

No Pets

No Bicycles

No Skate Boards

No Geocachers

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You can do a lot of caching at night without going into a park. In those cases, I figure it's fare game, but stealth, is important. If somebody happens to see you, despite attempts to blend in, and calls the cops, if you aren't doing anything illegal, no problem. Looking suspicious and breaking the law aren't the same thing.


I won't lie and say I haven't been in a park after hours, but I couldn't say that before I started Geocaching. I don't do it often. And I DON"T ADVERTISE IT either. I will say if the maps don't show the cache in a park, and it doesn't say park in the description, and no hours are listed in the cache description, and I drove to the cache site, I will probably find the cache.


Hi officer, I was in the park earlier today and realized, after I got home, that I left my GPSr here. I really didn't want to leave it here overnight, and I just found it as you pulled up.


I haven't used that, but it's there. (Thanks Criminal).

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No pictures, but I did have my brush with the men in blue.


I was actually house sitting many years ago, and because the friend I was sitting for failed to advise his neighbors, I had run into an event completely unexpected.


I just laid down for a nap after ensuring the house was in good order when there came a tapping on the door and the door opening up. I went to go see who was there and there was nobody at the door. So I poked my head out and looked to the left... As I was staring down the barrel of a .45 I heard his partner scrambling over the fence after spying around the back yard. Scared me in a very major way. All I saw was the weapon... it took a few moments to realize I was being asked some questions by an officer.

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I can't help but be reminded of NomadRaven and myself on Mercer Island in Luther Burbank Park to get "North from the Source". This was during the first Hot Potato game. South team was losing, and North had a very concentrated effort (well, by first game standards, anyway) of getting that potato moved quickly. Well, it had been placed just north of the boundary line (I-90) to be picked up the next morning and beginning its juggernaut into South territory.


NomadRaven and I had just come from my then-employer's Christmas party, and we had left early, bored. We're thinking of other things to do, and Raven informs me that the potato is down and relatively close, just up I-90 on Mercer. So we go out, get flashlights and batteries, and go for North from the Source.


Now, this was well after sunset and after the park's normal open hours.


Except that this was 2002, and King County had CLOSED a number of parks -- that is, closed 24/7 -- due to budget limitations. This was one of them.


If we were to follow such "park closed" rules for regular caching, if it were 2002, a lot of caches would be completely off limits for that whole year.


Now look. When I think of the concept of "people in parks after hours" as being a problem, I think hoodlums, teenage kids looking for a place to throw a drinking party, people looking for a place to do drugs, homeless people looking for a place to sleep, truck drivers looking for a place to dump bodies.


People holding cellphones looking for boxes is WAY low on the list, at least for me. I realize the public might not necessarily see that, at least at first, but the self-affirming fact is that we know we do positive things for these parks -- not just assure their use, but keep an eye on them, and even sometimes clean them up a bit. That's both before and after "hours."

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Ah, but how many of you have managed to keep a park OPEN well past park hours for a cache? :ph34r:


The organizing teams for last year's Halloween Radioactive event were finally pulling out of the park around midnight, when closing hours were 10PM. A park maintenance supervisor offered to give us the extra time so we weren't rushed to clean-up. We were still rushed, but his offer helped immensely.


I've posted it in other threads before, and I'll say it here again. When in contact with officers regarding your activities, be honest and up front with information. The more at ease you are at explaining your activities, the less likely you are to have a bad experience. It's deception that changes the treatment, as it's a two-way street.


Now about park hours. Have I violated them? Yes. There have been occasions that I either didn't notice or misread the park hours and saw them only after coming out of the park. Oops. Other times I've found caches on the fringes of a park, to where one would question whether or not you were actually IN the park. One in particular I approached from an adjacent canal and not through the park directly.


I wonder what public perception would have been like pre-9/11 if Geocaching were as popular then as it is now. Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it?

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I believe I am the cacher that found that first to find at 7am when the cache page posted it was open at 10.


I want to say a couple of things about it.


First, myself and the other guys I geocache with have some of the greatest times caching at night. Gives a whole new outlook on finding a cache.


Second the park in question that was open at 10am...well I work right across the street, I have a cache of my own just down the street from this cache...I know this park, I knew exactly where it was when I saw it posted. I dont think I did anything wrong going in early knowing that it wasnt a park that really "closed" was close to the parking lot that you could see your car, and it was light out.


I think the biggest thing for all cachers is to use common sense. If I thought that I would cause an issue in any way I wouldnt have gone. I KNEW it wouldnt be an issue. Besides if people were to initiate a ban on night caching in parks you would still have idiots (believe it or not there are idiots in geocaching) out doing stuff they are not supposed to be doing. I have no doubt that I will have a run in with a police officer some day and I also have no doubt that when I explain myself they will think it is cool and let me on my way. Show respect, be honest and smile and you are on your way.


I dont always night cache or more acurately early morning cache but I go to work early and sometimes I like to cache before work and before it is light out. That is my decision and I will use common sense when doing so.


SO with all that I proudly take credit for that FTF at 7am for that cache.



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I don’t wear any special banner or sash that identifies me as a geocacher, so how will a passerby know that’s it’s the geocachers that must be stopped to bring peace and harmony back to their park?

You're not wearing the WSGA sash?! :D


You truly are an outlaw.

:D I think that all geocachers should have brands on their foreheads, to mark them for what they are. However, since there are so many varieties of us, the greatest problem would be to select an appropriate symbol. Any ideas out there?


:D With regards to the hours one should be in a park, that should be dictated by common sence. Most parks operate on the premis of Dawn to Dusk, while others spell it out boldly at it's entrance.


:) If you choose not to abide by the rules, I hope you have a better excuse than "I'm just a geocacher..." for the cop who stops you, wanting to know what you're doing.


:) Therefore, let your conscience be your guide, or be prepared to tell a big fat lie!

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Hi all,

As the guy from the Park District (Tualatin Hills Park & Rec. District) who has been promoting Geocaching for the last couple years I thought I'd add my 2 cents about caching after dark.


I monitor the Geocaches in our District with an eye toward safety, so I try to keep on top of things like caches in the midst of poison-oak bushes or too near steep streambanks. I also try to be aware of impacts to the natural areas (which, from what I've seen, Geocachers are aware of this and try hard not to do too much bushwhacking through the woods). In both cases, I've received great cooperation from the Geocaching community when I've noted a potential hazard or an area getting too impacted.


All of our parks are closed at dusk as a precaution against bad stuff happening to good people. The bad stuff may be as minor as tripping over a root in the dark or as major as being accosted by an after-hours drunk (or worse!). It's wise to remember that there's lots of people that use the natural areas to do stuff that is against the law and these people may pose a risk to a Geocacher that innocently 'finds' them in the woods, especially at night. From my point of view, I would hate to see the good name of Geocaching be hurt by an incident completely unrelated to the fun activity, except that the Geocacher was at the wrong place at the wrong time.


So as a word of caution, I recommend AGAINST seeking caches in urban parks after dark.


Kyle Spinks (Kyle S - THPRD Guy)


THPRD, Beaverton, OR

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I've always thought there should be a legally notable geocaching permit, so no geocacher with the proper ID can be ticketed or harrased by law enforcement.

:)  :)  :lol:

I agree!

I really wanted to make GEOCachers happy and give ya'll a fun place to hunt by placing my one box in Fricks Lock Village.


I tried to go to Fricks Lock Monday and do some research. It is an abandoned Ghost Town on the Schuylkill River in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Its called Fricks LOCK cause its the #50 Lock on the Schuylkill River Canal System, but its defunct. Across the river adjacent to Fricks Lock is the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant. Which is probably why the town is a Ghost Town.


Click For Much Too Big To Post Picture

This is as far as I was able to get, as I was warned yesterday that I could get a stiff fine if I was found on the property, but I had to see for myself!


Pre-9-11 I'd have probably been allowed to walk there no problem. Not now!


Oh well, Ill ask my informant where she hid her car to walk back there, cause I now NEED to go back there. But I wont be parking a cache there.

Although as you said I do think we should get "Special Permits" cause we are happy lil sprites, that mean no harm!


More Later!



Edited by Preesi
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