Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 24
TinSparrow

South Carolina Legislation Meeting

Recommended Posts

Special Laws Subcommittee Meeting on April 13, 2005

 

First of all, let me start by stating that these forum messages are read by many people, not all of them Geocachers. Over the past ten days this fact has been indicated to me directly from a variety of people including State employed archeologists and State Representatives and their assistants.

 

To all of the non Geocachers who have returned to this topic one more time, I want to wish you all a hearty welcome.

 

My remarks are summarized and may not reflect some of the finer detail. I have tried to describe the various positions and stances as accurately as possible. If anyone reading thi is aware of a mistake that I have made, please let me know. Any mistakes are entirely my own.

 

The second subcommittee meeting was held today, and before the meeting several of us had the chance to meet with the State Archeologist at his request. In the subcommittee meeting last week he stated his full support for the legislation. In the past week he's had contact with Geocaching.com and perhaps other Geocachers, and he wanted to offer an amendment to this legislation. Instead of an outright ban, he was totally in favor of amending the legislation to allow geocaching in one of these sensitive area provided that the landowner had given permission. While this does not allow as much freedom as other states might have, this was significant for us as it represented a different position than the previous week.

 

This pre-meeting was only about a half hour, and was followed immediately by the subcomittee meeting.

 

For those of you that have not been to a such a meeting before, the Judiciary subcommittee meeting room has a long U shaped table. The members of the of the subcommittee sit around the U, facing toward the center. Visitors and people wishing to speak sit in chair at the end of the U. There is a podium at the center of the U facing the subcommittee, and people addressing the subcommittee take their place in turn at the podium.

 

Prior to a meeting starting, there is a sign in sheet available for those folks who wish to address the committee. The sheet asks for name, organization represented, and which bill you want to address (in our case H. 3777).

 

The Poster Boards from last week's meeting were present, and there were two new poster boards available as well. This week's new material showed national agencies (mainly National Park and Fish & Wildlife) who have banned Geocaching, and the poster boards identified caches with South Carolina which seemed to be in violation of those bans.

 

The State Archeologist spoke first and recalled some of the facts that he related in last week's meeting (history of previous attempts to contact Geocaching.com, desire to protect sensitive areas within the state). He then spoke of the progress that had been made during the course of the week (contact with Heidi at Gc.com) and he indicated that communication channels had been open to the point that he now had both national contacts and local contacts that he was pleased with. He then offered his amendment to the legislation which would allow for placement of Geocaches in the sensitive areas described in the legislation, provided that written landowner approval was obtained. He then offered his support for H. 3777 with the amendment he described.

 

The next speaker was a resident and landowner of Beaufort County, a gentleman who also spoke last week. This gentleman not only gave his support to the legislation but also sought to strengthen it. In the brief statement that he made, he would ban the hunting of even virtual caches (including virtual stages of multi stage caches) unless express landowner permission was given to allow geocachers on the property. This would even apply to areas that were open and available to the general public.

 

The next speaker was the from the South Carolina Department of Archives & History. This gentleman oversees many (if not all) of the properties which might National Register of Historic Places (or similar) marker nearby. He stated that he is in support of the legislation with the amendment, and he went on to say that he is open to the idea of using Geocaching to draw visitors to these historical places, and he seemed to indicate confidence that issues regarding the location of such caches could be worked out.

 

Another speaker for the state, an archeologist for the Department of Natural Resources, also indicated his support for the legislation as amended, and also indicated that DNR was open to Geocaching by permit in approved areas. [i've not been able to find anything about the permit process on the SC DNR website, so I don't have additional information on this.]

 

Another speaker for the state, an archeologist for South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism (the agency which oversees the state parks) also indicated the same sentiment. He brought up a point that had been missing so far from the discussion, which is that Park Rangers would like to know about caches within their parks solely from a safety standpoint. They would want to ensure that caches were not located in an area where they might be liable for injury due to terrain or other conditions.

 

In amongst these speaker, four Geocachers spoke as well. The first Geocacher who spoke made the mistake of mentioning how responsive Geocachers had been to last week's meeting by removing all the cemetery caches in South Carolina, and the sponsor of the legislation immediately confronted him with a single cemetery cache which she knew was still out there, and basically called his honor into question. She then identified this Geocacher as someone who has one of these illegal caches in a Fish & Wildlife area. He indicated that he thought that the cache had been placed before the regulations which she cited were in effect, and the cahce had not been brought to his attention as one which had a problem. He further stated that this cache would be removed. After the exchange he finished his remarks, and indicated that he preferred a self policing approach for Geocaching, and that he was in opposition to this legislation.

 

There were no such fireworks for the other three speakers, one of which was myself. Our other speakers emphasized the benefits Geocaching, the exploration and finding new places, the educational benefits. Given that so many of the state agencies seemed willing to work with us, a sentiment that was indicated by both the tone and words of their remarks, the other Geocachers that spoke including myself indicated their acceptance of the legislation as amended. When I spoke, I also acknowledged the new Poster Boards and the caches listed there, and I stated that we would take the same action on these caches as we had done with the cemetery caches the previous week.

 

That was the end of the speakers, and I thought that would have been the end of this topic. The subcommittee members then addressed additional amendments to this legislation which they voted on and ratified, and it happened quite quickly and without discussion.

 

One of the amendments augmented the definition of historic places to include not only National Registry of Historic places, but also to include state designated historic sites and a certain category of African American historic sites.

 

Another amendment seemed to augment the definition of Geocaching to include not only the hiding of an object which contained a log and trinkets, but to also include the playing of GPS games or possibly using GPS navigational devices in certain areas.

 

After voting and approving these amendments, they moved on to the next legislative topic. Needless to say, this did come across as a slam dunk to those of us present. The full text of the amendments is not yet present on the www.scstatehouse.net website. I will post more about this as it becomes available.

Share this post


Link to post

Ok, I'm confused. It sounds like rather than go with the options several state agencies were interested in, placing caches with permission and some sort of permit system, they opted to increase the ban by now saying anyone even using a GPS could be in violation.

 

As far as the bans in place by the Fish & Wildlife and the National Park system. For those you reading this thread I'll post some links regarding other agencies that allow geocaching, in an hour or so. It can work.

Share this post


Link to post

Can a single state pass a law against GPS usage in certain areas if that is not upheld as federal law?

 

X

Share this post


Link to post
This would even apply to areas that were open and available to the general public.

Now, THAT's just flat out wrong. Edited by CoyoteRed

Share this post


Link to post

Wow... Knee jerk reaction but it sure looks like they don't want anyone to have fun in your state. Why create a law that bans something that is such a big part of the technological future? Here we are in the 21st century, with GPSr built into cell phones, laptops, pdas, etc. And now they are banning those from being used in certain areas.

I want to see how long this legislation lasts against a court. I don't think it will hold up very well if they ban the use of cell phones in cemeterys and historical locations. Especially since I'm certain that the folks who currently live in or work in some of the historic areas probably want to be allowed to use cell phones, etc.

Example- In Charleston, SC there are several buildings which are on the Historic Register which are also used by private companies. One location I found And How about this restaurant: Farmers & Exchange Bank- now a restaurant. So many of the historic locations in SC are currently used/lived in by private groups... what a job it will be to tell every one of them about these new rules.

They should have to supply geocaching.com as well as all the other listing sites with lists telling where every "not allowed" site in the state is located. The manpower to go out and get the coordinates for all of those places will be fairly huge. But how else is gc.com going to know the cache is not permissable if they aren't given the correct information in a form that they can use. On top of that, someone in the state will have to be paid to create the list and upkeep it. :)

I just can't see how they are going to police the areas as well. Having to tell every law enforcement officer in the state that geocacheing is illegal in certain areas without permission having been given for the cache placement... how many geocachers are going to be harassed by the police for caching in areas that don't require permission due to misunderstandings. Someone is gonna sue. :rolleyes:

Good luck folks!

-Jennifer

Share this post


Link to post

Oh man. :rolleyes: I hope this will not start a domino affect for the other 49 states. I have placed several caches in historic areas and would be devastated to have geocaching banned from historic areas. This can now be an example used by other politicians to get geocaching to have heavy regulations. I hope our organization in Michigan will be able to come together to make sure crap like this doesn't happen.

Share this post


Link to post
In Charleston, SC there are several buildings which are on the Historic Register which are also used by private companies.

By definintion, the whole of Downtown Charleston is a restricted area. That's 80% of the peninsula east of US17. Gone.

Share this post


Link to post

I don't presume to understand how a bill becomes law in SC, or anywhere else for that matter. But if a subcommittee passes a bill, is it now law, or does it still need to be presented to and voted upon by the entire state legislature?

If that is the case, then you need to contact the legislators who you have voted into office and get an appointment to discuss this with them ASAP.

It sounds like the subcommittee had its mind made up before either of these hearings even took place.

You might also want to look at who has voted in blocs on other legislation, and avoid legislators who have agreed with the subcommitte members in the recent past. They tend to work together, i.e you vote for my issue, and I'll back you up on yours.

 

PS I just canceled my upcoming trip to Myrtle Beach for next month. There are golf courses near caches in other states I can go to. :rolleyes:

Edited by wimseyguy

Share this post


Link to post
Oh man. :rolleyes: I hope this will not start a domino affect for the other 49 states. ...

Relax. The proposed bill, if made into law, would likely not hold under judicial review.

Share this post


Link to post

Maybe the next step is to contact the ACLU and see if they may be interested in this issue.

Share this post


Link to post
In Charleston, SC there are several buildings which are on the Historic Register which are also used by private companies.

By definintion, the whole of Downtown Charleston is a restricted area. That's 80% of the peninsula east of US17. Gone.

So... no GPSrs, cell phones with GPSrs built in, laptops with GPSrs, PDAs with GPSrs, cars with GPSrs, boats, airplanes, etc allowed without permission. I'm looking forward to seeing how they word the amendments.

My company puts GPSrs in School busses. This could get interesting if they word it the wrong way.

Not to mention surveyors who use GPS setups to locate things and police cars with GPSrs in them. :rolleyes:

Lets hope the governer has better sense than to sign this. I didn't think of South Carolina as SOUTH but am beginning to change my mind. Shouldn't they be trying to fix their infrastructure before it begins falling apart instead of legislating a hobby that could be controlled through policies and permits?

Check out this site: South Carolina Needs Help!

Or maybe help the 19% of their children who live below the poverty line: Poverty & Children in South Carolina

I'm certain those legislators could better spent their time trying to help folks in need or fix dams that are in critical condition. But instead you see legislation like this. :)

Again, Good Luck!

(I wish the legislators in MT would fix the same issues as I have listed above, and I tell them that every chance I get, look up YOUR home state and see it's condition and take some action!)

-Jenifer

Edited by Jennifer&Dean

Share this post


Link to post
I don't presume to understand how a bill becomes law in SC, or anywhere else for that matter. But if a subcommittee passes a bill, is it now law, or does it still need to be presented to and voted upon by the entire state legislature?

If that is the case, then you need to contact the legislators who you have voted into office and get an appointment to discuss this with them ASAP.

I'm just a bill, just a lonely old bill...

 

You are absolutely right.

 

If the bill makes it out of subcommittee, it goes to committee. If it makes it out of committee, it has to be voted on and pass in both sides of the legislature. Typically, each side will make changes to it during the process. If it passes in both houses, it has to be reviewed by a joint committee to iron out the differences. Once this is done, it is sent to the governor who either signs the bill or vetoes it. If he signs it, its a law. If he vetoes it, the bill goes back to congress and must be approved by both sides of congress by at least a two-thirds vote.

Share this post


Link to post
Oh man. :rolleyes: I hope this will not start a domino affect for the other 49 states. ...

Relax. The proposed bill, if made into law, would likely not hold under judicial review.

I hope you're right, if geocaching were to be brought down by Historic Preservation groups, I would go insane! Well, too late for that...

Share this post


Link to post

Again we come back to the fact that nobody can tell us where the archaeological sites are. Thus to ask permission to place one on an archaeological site would require knowing where the site is.

 

It is far better for the SC geocaching group to have a local meeting with interested land managers and go over where caches are so any of potential concern can be pointed out. This is probably where geocaching is heading. Local non profit organizations doing the leg work for land managers to make their jobs easier.

 

Sensitive areas vary, there is more out their than cemeteries and archeological sites that are sensitive and in general discrete meetings between responsible parties are much more productive and help keep sensitive locations from being common knowledge.

 

Changing topics. Land managers have varying responsibilities. Some oversee recreational parks or open space. Those lands in general don't really need see a formal process for geocaches. Caches will come, live for their limited life space and then be pulled. Other land managers oversee lands that have a preservation component to their mission. Those land managers may wish to have a relationship with their local caching organization because the organization will have a much better feel for what’s going on with geocaching than the land managers will. There is more to the idea but suffice it to say that land managers can tailor their response to geocaching to match their responsibilities and that working with the local group is probably in the cards because laws, rules, and regs won’t be able to keep up with the proliferation of listing sites, cachers, letterboxes, rogue sites, and the evolution of what a geocache is.

 

Back on topic. If the legislation passes with any measure that requires the tracking of archeological and perhaps other sensitive locations (beyond working with the local land managers on a case by case basis) then that will put the listing sites in the position of tracking those locations and making that information available. GIS technology isn't that expensive. Passing a law banning the disclosure would in turn create a situation that is untenable, you have to avoid something the location of which you can’t ask about. This is supreme court fodder.

 

It’s far simpler and more effective to keep the current system. We don’t ask where the sites are, they don’t tell us where the sites are, but if there is a problem the land manager discreetly works with local cachers to have the cache removed. All without a public controversy. This is about preservation of certain sites and public disclosure is more harmful than a container that will remain for only a short time.

Share this post


Link to post

Does this mean that users of Onstar in their new GM vehicles, or Neverlost in their Hertz rentals will be in violation of the law prohibiting the use of GPS equipment in the restricted areas? Geez, a lot of tourists might get lost in Charleston or Myrtle Beach that way and end up in the wrong part of town. :)

Someone might get in an accident and have their airbags deploy but Onstar won't be able to the the EMS or PD where to go to help. :rolleyes:

See there is a lot more to GPS technology use than just game players.

I wonder how the surveyors will be able to tell anyone where these prohibited areas are as well?

 

edit:sp

Edited by wimseyguy

Share this post


Link to post

I know that Landsford Canal State Park is an historical site. I placed a cache there with permission from 3 park rangers. My kids and I spent a good 15 minutes talking to all 3 that day. Anyway, my point is it is a state park, we have to pay admisson to get in there. I was going to purchase the state park pass so we could get into all the state parks, but forget it, I won't be spending my money on that. Thankfully we live close enough to NC to go caching there.

Share this post


Link to post

What a crock. I sure hope this doesn't become law. Way too many loopholes in such generalized legislation. It will be a nightmare trying to enforce such garbage. A true waste of resources and taxpayer money.

 

I'll be visiting my folks in late June and will physically remove my archived cache at that time. I don't need a GPS to find it. Should I still worry about being arrested for cleaning up my geolitter?

 

I'm utterly disgusted. I'll definitely be making less trips to SC in the future. My parents can come to GA to visit.

Edited by AtlantaGal

Share this post


Link to post
If this law passes, geocaching as we know it in SC will cease to exist.

 

Very few will jump through the hoops presented to place a cache ...

CR:

 

Not to worry. In my work on Terracachers.org I came up with more than a few cache types. Exactly one type is defined by that bill. Geocaching will live on in one form or another. If I can think of several catagories with enough variations to have 30 distinct types, the other sites that exist can mostly likely come up with as many more ideas, each.

 

It would be far more effective for them to fund a different bill, give the SC cache group a large sum of money to formally incorporate as a non profit, hire staff, and that staff meets with local land managers and reviews with them cache locations and their level of sensitivity. The hired staff then works with cachers. The savings over having to actively enforce the original bill could fund this one.

 

The biggest issue I can forsea is when the definition of what’s sensitive to light foot traffic is exaggerated to remove non-sensitive areas from possible Geocaching locations. Any area that allows any kind of human activity can allow geocaching. It's that simple.

 

One last comment. The hoops apply to one cache type. Not all that exist or could exist. If the hoops are bad enough the game will adapt and evolve. The hoops will no longer apply. It's really looking like we need to fund a lobbiest. Fortunatly we have an organization for that. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Let's look at the new item (2) in the bill:

 

"'Geocaching' means the activity of hiding a geocache container from public view for the challenge of participants using a global positioning system (GPS) device and internet published coordinates to locate the geocache."

 

That tends to make me think that if you get any coordinates off the internet (say from map quest or somewhere of the like), and go out using you GPS, you could be prosecuted....

Reread the verbiage. It clearly defines geocaching as the hiding of the container, not the act of looking for or finding the container. Searching for a geocache would not be illegal as this bill is currently written.

Good point... but how would the courts interpret it when you put the container back in it's hiding place? Would you also be hiding it?

Share this post


Link to post

They rate they are going they do not ever have to pass a bill if every week more and more caches have to taken down after every meeting

 

What caused the one Rep to drop his name off the bill?

 

What major caches are going down?

Share this post


Link to post

well guys, i guess we've made the big time. seems we've got a backlash to caching. this is a shame. be interesting to see the end result of the legislation. a bill seldom survives in the original form. just hope it doesn't get worse! -harry

Share this post


Link to post
The Poster Boards from last week's meeting were present, and there were two new poster boards available as well. This week's new material showed national agencies (mainly National Park and Fish & Wildlife) who have banned Geocaching,

 

Did it mention that the BLM has determined geocaching to be an appropriate use of public lands? Did it mention all the states that allow it? Did it mention the states that have embraced geocaching and letterboxing to the point where they list caches and letterboxes on their websites? Did it mention Connecticut's award program for reaching certain numbers of letterbox finds? Did it mention the park systems that actually place their own geocaches and letterboxes to draw people? Did it mention the museums, historic sites and nature preserves that have approached geocachers and asked that caches be placed on their property to encourage visitors?

 

Did it mention the archaeologists, the forest rangers, the naturalists, the police officers, the historians, the librarians, the soldiers, the teachers, the scout leaders, the environmental scientists and the LNT instructors who call themselves geocachers?

 

It's obvious that these people have their staffers busily scouring logs looking for anything negative and searching this website in hopes of finding a cache or two that is inappropriately placed. This is an unconscionable waste of their time and taxpayer money.

 

Their concerns about vandalism at these sites are justified. There is however nothing connecting geocachers with vandalism (and in fact the presence of geocachers may be a deterrent) and there are already laws against vandalism.

Share this post


Link to post
Another amendment seemed to augment the definition of Geocaching to include not only the hiding of an object which contained a log and trinkets, but to also include the playing of GPS games or possibly using GPS navigational devices in certain areas.

It would be interesting to see this new admendment. Geocaching is playing any game where you might use a GPS? What's the definition of a "game?" Would hunting or fishing be considered a game? After all it is "game" that you are after.

 

"Honey, where'd my wrench go?"

 

You couldn't mark fishing holes or tree stands. Hmmm...

 

Okay, let's think a minute. What about geneologist? I've often wondered about marking graves with a waypoint to more easily find markers. In fact, my g-g-g-grandfather is in a cemetery where there is no road and miles from any town. The caption says you'd pretty much not be able to find the place without someone showing you. So geneologists would be banned from waypointing graves?

 

This affects more than just us.

Share this post


Link to post
It's obvious that these people have their staffers busily scouring logs looking for anything negative and searching this website in hopes of finding a cache or two that is inappropriately placed. This is an unconscionable waste of their time and taxpayer money.

Just to add a point to briansnat's post, it's also obvious that the same staffers are quite capable of scouring this thread and these public forums for any comments that help their boss make her case. I recognize that most of the posts here have been rational arguments and offers of help, but please consider how our posts might look when deliberately taken out of context.

Jon in SC

 

(that'll teach me to scan TinSparrow's post too quickly - he already said that!)

Edited by jon & miki

Share this post


Link to post
...these public forums for any comments that help their boss make her case.

Who cares. They made stuff up to begin with. I wonder how many sponsors would be on the bill if it wasn't about geocachers digging up grave sites and selling slave artifacts on eBay? Remember what we were originally accused of. Remember who didn't want to argue semantics over "digging" and who considers a cache covered with leaves the same as one placed with a backhoe.

 

I have no doubt the writer of the bill either was sorely misinformed or lied through her teeth to garner support so she can do something to show her Democrat constituents she was doing something. (She's a Republican.)

 

So no doubt she and her staff will take things out of context until it looks like a ransom note. She already has.

 

Eh, North Carolina has some great caches. Guess where we're going to vacation.

Edited by CoyoteRed

Share this post


Link to post

This is kind of funny. They're killing their own law with amendments so broad it'll make it impossible to pass. Banning the use of gps technology in certain locations? Not gonna go anywhere with that tagged onto it...

Share this post


Link to post
So, now what? where does everything go from here since it is them 2 and us 0

It's a losing bill.

 

Either we track locations they want to keep secret, or they start marking them so we know not to place caches there. GPS Technolgoy is too prevalent, it's in our cell phones, PDA's vechiles and games, to ban it and to ban games played with it.

 

Your Gameboy advance has a GPS attachment. They have plans to have games that rely on your GPS position to play. It's not geocaching in the traditional sense but it is a GPS game.

 

Further Geocaching doesn't need a GPS to be played at all. The only real viable option is to enforce laws already on the books. They don't need new laws. If someone vandalizes a park, charge them with it. If they are in a park after hours, give them a ticket. Nothing pisses me off more than seeing where idiots ruin this great land for all of us. They are the ones who make us all pay. Punishing the innocent is not good politics.

Share this post


Link to post

Well, we knew going in that it would get past the sub-commitee. Sub-commitee members rally around any of their own that have a bill before them.

 

Now the fight is on. As it comes before the full commitee we need to present our case to the rest of the commitee.

 

How we tackle it will be determined by the amendments tacked on to the bill. Originally, the bill had so many holes and problems it is unreal. It just depends on how the new bill reads.

Share this post


Link to post

Interesting in that the expanded bill would ban NGS volunteers from completing their jobs. The BLM and Forest Service rely on volunteers to mark trails with GPS. Joggers use GPS to track their pace and progress.

 

Obesity being an issue of national importance how hard would it be to get a few fitness organizations sponsored by the state and federal governments to support geocaching? Probably not that hard. A couple of years ago I had an elderly gentlemen email about geocaching. He wanted terracachers to get the Presidential Commision on Fitnessto list geocaching as one of the accepted activities. I said I'd see what I can do and all we need is one individual to spearhead it and we have one more ally. This gentleman was in his 90’s and geocaching had encouraged him to get fit and get active greatly enhancing the quality of his life.

 

Sorry, I just can’t buy into removing options for people to enjoy the world they live in. Especially when those options are harmless.

Share this post


Link to post
I don't presume to understand how a bill becomes law in SC, or anywhere else for that matter. But if a subcommittee passes a bill, is it now law, or does it still need to be presented to and voted upon by the entire state legislature?

If that is the case, then you need to contact the legislators who you have voted into office and get an appointment to discuss this with them ASAP.

I'm just a bill, just a lonely old bill...

 

You are absolutely right.

 

If the bill makes it out of subcommittee, it goes to committee. If it makes it out of committee, it has to be voted on and pass in both sides of the legislature. Typically, each side will make changes to it during the process. If it passes in both houses, it has to be reviewed by a joint committee to iron out the differences. Once this is done, it is sent to the governor who either signs the bill or vetoes it. If he signs it, its a law. If he vetoes it, the bill goes back to congress and must be approved by both sides of congress by at least a two-thirds vote.

It ultimately will be in the hands of the legislators and Governor. Seems to me it's not too early to start making a positive impression on these people. And local constituents are always more effective than outsiders. Someone in SC begin organizing a grassroots campaign to get SC people to contact their Senator and Representative, and everyone can contact the Governor.

 

Good Luck.

Share this post


Link to post

I've never heard such a bunch of bulls*** in my whole life. As has been pointed out if someone has broken a law arrest them . If you can throw a frisbe in an area you should be able to geocache in the area. I cached S.C and Charleston this past summer and enjoyed the cemetary w/ the Hunley crew and other caches at historical areas....without these and others I would not have come and spent money in S.C.

Talk about killing a bumble bee with a bazooka !

Man, I thought Louisiana had problems.

Share this post


Link to post

I am against a law preventing geocaching in cemeteries, historic sites etc. I think we in geocaching.com can police ourselves.

 

However, I am in favor of it being banned in those locations unless specific written permission is given as a geocaching.com rule. It was supposed to be a geocaching.com rule to get persmission from land owners to place caches but we know this rule is not enforced hardly at all. As I said in a previous posting, I saw footprints all over gravesites at one of the cemetery caches as people would tear up every little cranny trying to find the micros. What may appear to be a safe location for the owner to place a micro does not meant that searchers will know that.

 

However, I strongly favor virtuals being in cemeteries and historic locations which will have minimal impact. People will still flock to log these virtuals, get an history education lesson, and not have to tear up the area looking for a micro. It might make the game a little easier but at least in my case, visiting sites is more important than tearing up an area trying to find a film canister.

 

And remember, this was meant to be a game. Shame it has grown into much more than that. That aspect is what has pretty much turned me off of geocaching right now.

Share this post


Link to post

"And remember, this was meant to be a game. Shame it has grown into much more than that. That aspect is what has pretty much turned me off of geocaching right now."

 

I agree with GPSblake

 

And Jeremy, I would not associate myself with the aclu if my life depended on it, much less a game.

 

Cancel my membership if they are our defense.

Share this post


Link to post
Either we track locations they want to keep secret, or they start marking them so we know not to place caches there.

 

As I mentioned in my earlier post, this is a non issue. The vast majority of archaeological sites are protected by layers of soil deposited over the years. We walk on them every day and don't know it. The problem occurs when people start digging and geocachers don't dig.

Share this post


Link to post

Tin Sparrow, Did anyone get a better idea about the State Archeologists claims of trying to contact GC.com for a year with no results. I'm finding this very hard to believe and would help deal with the "we can't police ourselves" argument. Its hard to resolve a problem when you don't know that it is considered one.

Share this post


Link to post
However, I am in favor of it being banned in those locations unless specific written permission is given as a geocaching.com rule.

You don't understand. Under this law the areas being banned are districts which are huge areas that include several, if not hundreds, of properties, including private, city, county, state, and Federal lands. That would mean you would have to get state permission to stuff a key holder in the channel of a street sign.

 

Second, it's hard enough to track down and talk to many stewards to get verbal permission. How hard do you think it would be to get their signature on something? In today's litigious world, it would be next to impossible.

 

As I said in a previous posting, I saw footprints all over gravesites at one of the cemetery caches as people would tear up every little cranny trying to find the micros.

That's what the SBA button is for. Did you use it? It's hard to "police ourselves" when people won't. That's just more reason for someone to do it for us.

Edited by CoyoteRed

Share this post


Link to post
Let's look at the new item (2) in the bill:

 

"'Geocaching' means the activity of hiding a geocache container from public view for the challenge of participants using a global positioning system (GPS) device and internet published coordinates to locate the geocache."

 

That tends to make me think that if you get any coordinates off the internet (say from map quest or somewhere of the like), and go out using you GPS, you could be prosecuted.

 

I wonder how many hikers / bikers / explorers / climbers will be wrongfully prosecuted under this section of the bill?

 

I wonder if the representatives that support this bill (who undoubtedly have a GPS in their nice new cars) realize that they could be turning themselves into criminals?  This is quite dangerous language.

 

Don't try reading into something more than is there.

It clearly states first "the activity of hiding a geocache container....AND....".

They aren't going after the placing of coordinates on a website.

 

Interesting that another poster mentions the fact the wording says "hiding....for the challenge of participants.....to locate the geocache".

As worded, it could be said that only the hider could/would be prosecuted.

I know...stretching it a bit, but lawyers use loopholes like that alot.

However, this doesn't make you feel much better when you've already been charged and have to go to court to prove yourself not guilty.

 

Kenneth

Share this post


Link to post

I’ve contacted my representative, HAVE YOU? If you want to stop, or in the worse case have the bill passed with as little affect on our sport as possible, you had better write your representative now. Not later, but now.

 

Your governmental representatives look forward to "opinions from the grassroots." They want to keep in close touch with their voters, and letters are the best indication of what those voters are thinking. Don't hesitate to write for fear of imposing on them. If you have something to say that you think should be called to their attention, do so. The mail gets top priority with most elected officials because every letter represents a potential vote. Most representatives, in the interest of retaining their seats, want to keep the voters happy.

 

You can locate your representative and his/her contact information HERE

 

Writing an effective letter to your elected officials is not a difficult task. Here are a few guidelines from various sources...

 

1. Don't ignore your representative and write to one from another district just because you disagree politically with yours.

 

2. Write on your personal or business letterhead, if possible, and sign your name over your typed signature at the end of your message. Do write legibly. Handwritten letters are fine if they are readable.

 

3. Do be sure to include your address. If your name could be either masculine or feminine, identify your sex. If you have family, business, or political connections related to the issue, explain.

 

4. If you are a registered voter, include your voter registration number.

 

5. Identify your subject clearly. State the name of the legislation you are writing about. Give the House or Senate bill number (H.3777) if you know it.

 

6. State your reason for writing. Your own personal experience is your best supporting evidence. Explain how the issue would affect you or your family, business, or profession or what affect it could have on your state or community.

 

7. Avoid stereotyped phrases and sentences that give the impression of "form" letters. They tend to identify your message as part of an organized pressure campaign and produce little or no impact.

 

8. Ask the legislator to state his position on the issue in his reply. As his constituent you are entitled to know.

 

9. Be reasonable. Do not ask for the impossible. Don't threaten. Don't say, "I'll never vote for you unless you do such and such." That will not help your cause; it may even hurt it. Don't begin on the righteous note of "as a citizen and taxpayer." Your representative assumes you are a citizen and knows we all pay taxes.

 

10. Do include pertinent editorials from local papers.

 

11. Consider the factor of timing. Try to write your position on a bill while it is in committee. Your Senators and Representatives can usually be more responsive to your appeal at that time, rather than later on when a committee has already approved the bill. Of course, this is not always the case. Sometimes your legislator may reserve judgment and his vote until the sentiment of his constituency has crystallized.

 

12. Don't sign and send either a form letter or one that has been photocopied.

 

13. Thank your legislator if he pleases you with his vote on an issue. Everyone appreciates a complimentary letter and remembers it. On the other hand, if his vote is contrary to your position, don't hesitate to let him know. He will remember that too!

Share this post


Link to post
Tin Sparrow, Did anyone get a better idea about the State Archeologists claims of trying to contact GC.com for a year with no results. I'm finding this very hard to believe and would help deal with the "we can't police ourselves" argument. Its hard to resolve a problem when you don't know that it is considered one.

After my post last night I was out of pocket for the evening (a pleasant rest). Sorry for all the questions which have built up in the meantime.

 

The state archeologist has a documented stream of attempts to contact GC.com by email (with return receipts indicating that the email was opened), phone (voice mail) and registered mail. No response from GC.com came from these attemps.

Share this post


Link to post

Just an update... :huh:

 

03/15/05 House Introduced and read first time HJ-157

03/15/05 House Referred to Committee on Judiciary HJ-157

04/13/05 House Member(s) request name removed as sponsor: Bowers

Share this post


Link to post
What caused the one Rep to drop his name off the bill?

The representative who removed his name from the bill lives in an area with Geocachers who are active in the community and was known to have been contacted by those Geocachers who gave a different perspective of Geocaching and this legislation.

Share this post


Link to post
The representative who removed his name from the bill lives in an area with Geocachers who are active in the community and was known to have been contacted by those Geocachers who gave a different perspective of Geocaching and this legislation.

I wuld suggest that the others probably also have geocachers who live nearby. Perhaps they just haven't got in touch yet. :huh:

Share this post


Link to post

It amazes me the way that people stretch what they read.

 

When they ammended it to state using a GPSr for playing games, people came out of the woodwork believing it would stop biking, hiking, etc.

And stop USGS from using theirs to mark locations.

Come on.

Usually laws passed such as this do not apply to those who are officials who work in the area.

 

Maybe I missed something, but from TinSparrow's update, it sounded like there was a move toward allowing caches if permission is given.

And then some of the following messages were very negative.

Let's not give them more text to make cachers appear to be unreasonable or childish.

 

Maybe some people came to the thread late, but some info in the update is a drastic improvement from where things started out.

 

I'm not trying to censor anyone here...just trying to prevent things from getting worse.

Just make sure you take a deep breath before posting and re-read what you are about to post before posting it.

 

Kenneth

Share this post


Link to post

If I could make a few points here:

 

- First, this is obviously the work of a few politicians who chose a group with little ability to defend itself to make a statement which will get them in the papers. If we were a development company putting in a multimillion dollar hotel, they would turn the other way. The ten people who really care about a specific historic site do not carry the same voting clout as the three hundred people who will get jobs in that hotel.

 

- Second, my previous post demonstrates that the laws are subject to interpretation based on the economic impact to the legislator's pocket. That post is just one of MANY examples where these same legislators and local politicians looked the other way when construction decimated a cemetary or other site they "didn't know existed" in the name of progress. The "spin" is that these areas were not recognized as important sites. Hmm....."we didn't see the headstones until the coffins rolled out of the ground"!

 

- Finally, this bill, even if signed into law, has no teeth. It is like all of the other ridiculous laws that irrational politicians push to make themselves look better. Not only do most people not care about the content of the bill, but they certainly will not support funding in any way to educate the public regarding the law or to enforce the law. The judicial system will not tolerate such indefensible laws. The constitutional implecations are too complex.

Share this post


Link to post
There is another story in the Beaufort Gazette today:

 

Letter to the Editor

Reading that, you could imagine that geocaching only takes place in cemeteries and historic sites. And almost every verb (such as "invading", "earned the wrath", and "trodded" - whatever that is) is loaded with pejorative meaning.

 

In the UK, people who write to papers are referred to as the "green ink brigade", from their tendency to grab the nearest ballpoint pen (which in most houses is the green one which nobody wants) to dash off yet another letter complaining about how the world is going to hell in a handcart.

 

And at the risk of opening the usual discussion (but this time I think everyone here will sympathise): is anyone in the SC legislature proposing that since some gun owners sometimes commit crimes with their weapons, the state should ban gun ownership ?

Edited by sTeamTraen

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 24

×
×
  • Create New...