Geocache hiders go to great lengths to make sure that caches are placed properly. This means that on private property, the hider first obtains permission from the property owner. Public property is a different matter. . .
- pub.lic: adj.
- Of, concerning, or affecting the community or the people: the public good.
- Maintained for or used by the people or community: a public park.
As geocachers we must remember that public property is "owned by all", not "owned by none". We must also bear in mind that we are a minority among the world, and in any community of the world, we can easily be banned from land owned by the public. We must therefore strive as a community to always present ourselves and our activities in a positive light, or face backlash from the "public".
NOTE: "owned by all" is subjective. The State of South Carolina "Owns" public right of way however, it is governed by laws and designated agencies. Permission must still be obtained when hiding a geocache on "public" property. Laws regarding "public" right of way managed by the SCDOT can be read here.
Online Logs Used Against Us
- "Illegally parked, illegally peed, and then spotted the cache to save the day & got back to the car before it was towed."
- "Park closed from dusk till dawn, jumped the fence and got the FTF at 2:00am. TFTC!"
Logs like this seem harmless and funny, until you put yourself in the shoes of a land manager or other public official who discovers a geocache in their park and begins to read the online logs. A person in that position would likely take serious offense to their rules being abused, and rightly so!
House bill H 3777 seeks to encourage geocachers to obtain written permission before geocaching and letterboxing in S.C. cemetaries, archeological sites and historical sites.
At the initial hearing of this bill, proponents of the bill used material thay found in online logs to justify their support of the bill. A cacher who was present at the hearing wrote about it here, here and here.
Obviously, proponents of the bill took a lot of the material out of context to cast geocaching in a negative light. In the end the only request was for geocachers to obtain permission which is what they should have done to begin with.
- US National Parks - Regulated (Policy Review: GPS-based Recreational Activities in National Park Areas (PDF, 149kB)
- NY State Parks - Regulated
What To Do
If you are interested in stopping the spread of anti-geocaching sentiment follow these guidelines:
- Please continue to do your best to make sure that placements are proper.
- Be sure to include warnings like "Park is closed from dusk till dawn, do not try to find at night" directly on the cache page.
- If you see a log highlighting illegal activity, don't feel bad about writing the player a quick email requesting that they change their log.
- Alternately you can delete the log and send an email asking them to re-log it.
- Point them to this page as an explanation as to why.
- It might also be a good idea to post on the cache page a warning about the actions you will take if you hear of rules being broken in a search for your cache.
- Obey local rules and regulations.
- Be respectful of both public and private property.
- Follow the Geocachers' Creed
- Think to yourself: "If there were 100 random people from the local community watching me right now, what would they think about geocaching based on what they see?"