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City/Cty regulations, park systems, illegal caches?

 
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Juniper94
Geocacher


Joined: 23 Sep 2015

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 6:05 pm    Post subject: City/Cty regulations, park systems, illegal caches? Reply with quote

I've noticed that all of the regulations say that they welcome geocaching in their "park systems". Some, like Champlin, even limit it to a few specific parks. I never realized that geocaching was only supposed to be in parks. The majority of caches I have found have not been in parks, including in Champlin. So is anything not in a park illegal?

What about registering? I see that many cities and counties require you to register your geocache. Considering most of them are not in parks, I would be surprised if the agency would approve them. So can I assume those that are not in parks are also not registered and now illegal on two counts? Brooklyn Park even requires you to register, and then re-register in 12 months. Does anyone do this?

How strictly do we follow these regulations? I spent many hours last week searching for a location, getting way points, preparing the cache, and hiding the cache, only to find that the city regulations prohibited my location (thankfully prior to submitting it).

And why do they regulate this at all? What are they afraid of? I can see them wanting to state that they have to right to remove a cache if they find it's location inappropriate or harmful to habitat, but other than that? Why would they care if there is a cache hidden on a walking path around a pond, or in a Target store parking lot?
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spinowner
Geocacher


Joined: 25 Nov 2004

Posts: 613

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Governments don't regulate caches hidden on private property, but the geocaching.com guidelines do. As you'll find out when you read them when a cache is hidden on private property (including a Target parking lot) the cache owner must obtain permission from the property owner or other authority (the store manager, for example) to place a cache there. Further, the cache owner should state on the cache page that the cache is hidden on private property with permission.
As you'll also find out, it appears that this bit of the guidelines is widely ignored by cache owners and reviewers. There are hundreds of caches in the Twin Cities metro area alone that do not comply. (While it's not the reviewer's responsibility to get permission it should be the reviewer's responsibility to withhold publication when the owner does not include the disclaimer on the cache page.)
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dornole
Geocacher


Joined: 03 Apr 2006

Posts: 504

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why regulations . . .

In the case of parks systems - protecting habitat and archeological areas & avoiding hides in areas that might creep out the general public (for example on a play structure). Over the years I've seen it go from Wild West to over-regulated (triggered when a parks staff found a cache screwed into a tree) to a middle ground in my own city.

In the case of private property, because SOMEONE owns ALL property and might get mad. In practice I think most cachers just guess as to whether they think anyone will care. Nobody puts hides in people's yards without permission. Some people put hides in parking lots (I don't as I hate looking for hides in conspicuous places anyway and who needs the hassle of asking permission and/or ticking off the Target for a crappy lampskirt hide?). LOTS of cachers place hides in undeveloped wooded outlots or public right of ways (street sign hides) without much inquiry into ownership.

It is always good to think about the property owner's perspective as well as other users of the space and whether caching will raise a safety concern. Could it be a bomb? Will cachers look like pervs or vagrants while searching for it and alarm the public / neighbors? Is this a sensitive ecological area or full of buckthorn already?

My take on the reality of how it works.
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Mn-treker
Geocacher


Joined: 15 Sep 2011

Posts: 56

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The park managers in each city would like to think that the geocache rule
that exists for the park system is a city wide ordinance.
But the rule only applies to the park system. I had a cache questioned by the reviewer who claimed I had placed my hide in a Brooklyn Park city park
as per Google. I knew he was wrong and checked with the city park manager who confirmed no such park existed. The area was slated as open space. I was also denied placement and was told that geocaches were to be placed in city parks only. Well that was her interpretation of the law.
But that law only covered the parks. So it would appear that cache placement is a free for all out side of the parks. But must be placed within
the law and groundspeak guidelines.
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Boreal Walker
MnGCA Board


Joined: 14 Aug 2008

Posts: 379

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are also safety issues. Staying 150 feet away from a railroad unless a major obstacle is in the way. Otherwise you might end up in geo-court.
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Mn-treker
Geocacher


Joined: 15 Sep 2011

Posts: 56

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well that is pretty much what I said. That 150 foot rule would be
Part of the guidelines.
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dmnrec
MnGCA President


Joined: 17 Mar 2005

Posts: 869

PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some of the cache policies were put in place when geocaching first started, or very early on. When I developed the City of Duluth's policy (with the assistance of the MnGCA board), there weren't tons of caches out there... so, the vast majority were only in parks. Since then, they have spread to city owned boulevards (in Duluth's case, maybe other cities consider the boulevards owned by the adjacent private land owner) and other types of city owned property such as libraries, etc. It is still the responsibility of the hider to first find out who manages the land and talk to them. If you don't know who that is, your best bet is to contact the parks department and they can get you the contact info for the city department that you should contact.
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