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Potential DNR Objections and Possible MnGCA Responses
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ice tres
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Aug 2005

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Sui G. that hopefully the question of abandonment will never come up but I think it will and we need to come back with a few good ideas so that a sympathetic DNR official can convince a reluctant higher-up to allow regular caching. If you don't see DNR ownership as acceptable, then fine. If you see DNR ownership as slightly better than being completely shut out of State Parks, then save it for a last-ditch solution as you are going out the door. Yes, it is mostly symantical, but may make all the difference to them and not much practical difference to us (as SB points out). Let's work out the very best fall-back positions re abandonment. I don't think just saying because the owner checks on it once in a while sets a cache apart from private items such as hunting blinds, old boats, maple syrup containers, salt blocks or docks that the DNR now would consider abandoned property (despite the actual definition of abandonment). And my guess is that the DNR doesn't want to start making these distinctions between what is abandoned and what is periodically used. I'm not trying to get the DNR to adopt an unappetizing policy; I'm just trying to figure out how to sell the cache to DNR.

What if a sympathetic DNR official asks the Board "How can I convince XX that the cache does not fall under the abandonment rule?" Again, it won't be enough to say that the cache isn't abandoned but instead is visited periodically because this argument will not exclude private items as listed above that the abandonment rule was meant to exclude.
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2438
Location: Exploring Minnesota

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Currently everyone (including the DNR), minus Duluth, that has a policy built it from Three Rivers'.


Ramsey County was first.
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ice tres
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Aug 2005

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

States generally are immune from suit for discretionary acts like cache placement. An individual would be more likely to lose such a negligence suit despite the difference between King Boreas's bank account and the State's. If you really think a cache owner can be sued by a cache seeker, then you are risking losing your house everytime someone seeks one of your caches. A scary thought. Again, I wonder if it's ever happened.
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's difficult as the State Parks' wording is "Storage and Abandonment" not just "abandoned".

Looking at it from their POV, they are going to require an ammendment that specifically allows geocaching containers. It's likely that they would not want to enter into the "slippery slope" situation where other outdoor groups would be opposed to being banned from "storing" their property in the woods while we had an exemption.

http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/arule/6100/1650.html
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

King Boreas wrote:
Ramsey County was first.

I stand corrected.
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dmnrec
Geocacher


Joined: 17 Mar 2005

Posts: 534
Location: Duluth

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marsha and Silent Bob wrote:
dmnrec wrote:
NONE...if the City of Duluth owned all the caches placed in our parks and someone got hurt in the pursuit of one of the caches, who would they sue? The City. That is why when we developed the policy, we did not have caches "registered" like 3 Rivers, or "approved" caches. We just have the cache owners "notify" us of placement. Legally, it makes a big difference.

That's "ONE", not "NONE". Currently everyone (including the DNR), minus Duluth, that has a policy built it from Three Rivers'. Thus just about everyone wants to have the cache "registered" with the District.

Even with the updates we made to Three Rivers' new policy it still has a provision for registering the cache with them. While I believe that the Duluth policy is the best one available for ALL interested parties, I'm not as certain as you are that other parks will take the same approach that Duluth did.


I stand corrected (also acknowledging the follow-up response re: Ramsey County) Embarassed I was thinking of the cities who have not established policies yet...I'm guessing none, but I could be wrong...I have been before...
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ice tres
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Joined: 16 Aug 2005

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isn't an amendment allowing geocaches such an exemption? Just as a hunting group might want to exclude deer or duck blinds from that abandonment rule? To me, the slippery slope begins when we call a cache private property.
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dmnrec
Geocacher


Joined: 17 Mar 2005

Posts: 534
Location: Duluth

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ice tres wrote:
States generally are immune from suit for discretionary acts like cache placement. An individual would be more likely to lose such a negligence suit despite the difference between King Boreas's bank account and the State's. If you really think a cache owner can be sued by a cache seeker, then you are risking losing your house everytime someone seeks one of your caches. A scary thought. Again, I wonder if it's ever happened.


I can't say whether or not it has happened with caching, but I have seen it with other sports/recreation activities at our recreation centers. For instance, a hockey volunteer left a flooding hose out on the floor and someone tripped on it. They got a few thousand dollars from the hockey volunteer's home insurance policy for the knee injury they suffered. Now the hose is locked up and with large signage about putting it away. So, never say never.
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ice tres wrote:
To me, the slippery slope begins when we call a cache private property.

The DNR has the same rights to remove any structure on their property regardless of what we call it.
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King Boreas
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Joined: 16 Dec 2002

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Location: Exploring Minnesota

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
slippery slope


I hate slippery slopes. I ALWAYS fall down the hill. That's why I never place a cache in that type area.

Twisted Evil

good night ....
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ice tres
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Aug 2005

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SB, you're making my point that we aren't losing that much by calling a cache placed in a state park DNR property when you say they have the right to remove it and they have what amounts to full ownership (as you wrote on page 2 of this thread).

I'm not keen on this proposal, I'm just thinking it might encourage the DNR to allow caches. Then again, they may hate the idea.
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ice tres wrote:
SB, you're making my point that we aren't losing that much by calling a cache placed in a state park DNR property when you say they have the right to remove it and they have what amounts to full ownership (as you wrote on page 2 of this thread).

I'm not keen on this proposal, I'm just thinking it might encourage the DNR to allow caches. Then again, they may hate the idea.

Oh, I am not trying to say that I disagree with you. I'm just telling you that I'm not, and I'm sure others are not, comfortable with flat out saying that the caches are owned by the DNR.

IMHO it would be better to explain to the DNR that the caches are under their full control rather than tell geocachers that the caches are DNR property.
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sui generis
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 17 Apr 2004

Posts: 608
Location: Eagan, MN

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since the subject came up (feel free to pick out the pertinent posts and move them), If you hide a cache, and someone injurs themselves looking for it, you can be sued. You can be sued for virtually any reason. The success of the suit will be another issue. Keep in mind that Minnesota follows and "open and obvious" doctrine concerning a property owner's duty to warn.
Quote:
A danger is “obvious” if a reasonable person exercising ordinary perception, intelligence, and judgment would recognize the danger. Id.“[T]he test for what constitutes an ‘obvious' danger is an objective test: the question is not whether the injured party actually saw the danger, but whether it was in fact visible.


If the danger is considered to be open and obvious (falling from trees or off of cliffs or into bodies of water, etc.) then no duty to warn is owed. However, unless you have a homeowners policy, or some other insurance to cover the legal action, you will be out time and money.
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Arcticabn
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 30 Nov 2003

Posts: 1846
Location: Lakeville, MN

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe instead of abandoned property we should focus on the fact, that if at any time the DNR directs the cache owner must retrieve the cacne or DNR notification of removal to the owner therefore archiving in on gc.com. We all understand that the DNR has the right to remove at any time, for any reason, or not reason at all.
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dmnrec
Geocacher


Joined: 17 Mar 2005

Posts: 534
Location: Duluth

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2005 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sui generis wrote:
Since the subject came up (feel free to pick out the pertinent posts and move them), If you hide a cache, and someone injurs themselves looking for it, you can be sued. You can be sued for virtually any reason. The success of the suit will be another issue. Keep in mind that Minnesota follows and "open and obvious" doctrine concerning a property owner's duty to warn.
Quote:
A danger is “obvious” if a reasonable person exercising ordinary perception, intelligence, and judgment would recognize the danger. Id.“[T]he test for what constitutes an ‘obvious' danger is an objective test: the question is not whether the injured party actually saw the danger, but whether it was in fact visible.


If the danger is considered to be open and obvious (falling from trees or off of cliffs or into bodies of water, etc.) then no duty to warn is owed. However, unless you have a homeowners policy, or some other insurance to cover the legal action, you will be out time and money.


The City of Duluth has had 5 cases in the last 6 years settled out of court for unknown amounts of money (but one can guess, pretty big amounts) involving people who died or were injured on our trails. Two people were intoxicated and it was dark, one was escaping the police, one was injured due to a faulty bridge, and one roller blader (if I remember right, no helmet). Even though it would seem the 1st 3 could have had some responsibility in their deaths...didn't matter, the City still paid.
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