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London Royal Parks - Geocaching refused

#1 User is offline   Graculus 

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 03:12 PM

About 12 months ago the authorities in Greenwich Park in London made it clear they didn't want geocaching to take place in the park. As a result a number of caches were archived and removed and we (the reviewers) would not approve any new caches there.

Since then various negotiations have taken place with the Royal Parks to try and get a formal agreement in place for geocaching throughout all the parks. While these negotiations were taking place we felt it best that no new caches should be published in any of the parks until a conclusion had been reached.

The Geocaching Association of Great Britain (GAGB), who have negotiated many such agreements with other landowners, have been very actively involved in these discussions and despite their hard work and efforts (and assistance of others providing help and local knowledge) the Royal Parks authority have now made a final decision that they do not want any geocaching activity in any of their parks. This is unfortunate but we must abide by their wishes. This post in the GAGB forum provides details.

So regrettably we must ask that caches currently in place in the parks are removed and the cache listings archived. We are looking at which caches are involved and will be emailing the owners directly. These are the parks affected:
Hyde Park, Richmond Park, St James's Park, Regent's Park, Bushy Park, Kensington Gardens and Brompton Cemetery.

I would like to say a personal thank you to the GAGB and other individuals involved in these negotiations. I know how much time and effort has put in to try and resolve this.

Chris
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#2 User is offline   lodgebarn 

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 03:51 PM

There are some great caches in these parks and this decision makes me just a little sad to be British, we don't deserve this from the powers that be.

#3 User is offline   NinjaCacher! 

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 04:44 PM

Shame. :)

From the GAGB forum:

Quote

Unfortunately they felt that the proximity of the Parks to high security targets such as Government, Embassies and individuals would mean that geocaching in the parks would result in reports of suspicious behaviour and more "Stop and Searches".

While I understand those concerns in general, I don't understand what would make geocaching in the parks cause more such problems than in the streets surrounding the parks (which are usually even closer to these "high security targets"). Particularly as there is already the agreement in place with Met Police, which addresses exactly these security concerns. What makes it different in parks?

And excuse my ignorance, but I fail to see which high security targets are near Richmond Park or Bushy Park... sure there must be a different reason for these parks? If they would say something along the lines of "we don't want geocachers because they tend to trample down plants and disturb the deer", I would kind of understand it. But not if this is all the "details" we get.

But ok we have to abide by the rules. A sad day for caching in London, as some of the best caches of London are were in these parks... :o B) :huh:

But thanks to those who tried...

This post has been edited by luzian: 15 November 2009 - 04:47 PM


#4 User is offline   maxkim 

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  Posted 15 November 2009 - 10:55 PM

Having invested a lot of time and effort gaining permission for the caches I have in two of the parks I don't see why there should suddenly be a blanket ban. I will of course alter mine as soon as I can to the edge of the park.... stupid decision by @**$£!*&@ people high up in the parks dept. Maxkim B) :) :huh: :o

#5 User is offline   maxkim 

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 11:18 PM

I will be writing to the Queen to express my dismay at this abuse of her parks. It may help if others express their views in writing to her. MaxKim. B) :)

#6 User is offline   chizu 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 04:47 AM

[quote name='luzian' date='Nov 16 2009, 12:44 AM' post='4127802']
Shame. :)
parks would result in reports of suspicious behaviour and more "Stop and Searches".[/quote]
While I understand those concerns in general, I don't understand what would make geocaching in the parks cause more such problems than in the streets surrounding the parks (which are usually even closer to these "high security targets"). Particularly as there is already the agreement in place with Met Police, which addresses exactly these security concerns. What makes it different in parks?
[/quote]

The difference is that the Parks Authority only have juristiction over their parks and not the surrounding area. They can only ban it in areas they own. If people who own the surrounding areas feel differently then so be it. It's their decision thet they're entitled to make.

#7 User is offline   Dragontree 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 06:34 AM

:)
It would seem we are a step nearer a police state where the innocent are persecuted and the guilty seem to live a charmed life with a slap on the wrist.

I imagine if there is the opportunity for an Earth Cache to be found in a Royal Park that would also be rejected.

The Wildlife Trust who have an anti-caching policy will not permit an Earth Cache of an educational nature on their land. Earth caches require a telephone contact number of the landowner/manager and so they can even ban such caches by not sanctioning one.

:)

#8 User is offline   NinjaCacher! 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 06:47 AM

 chizu, on Nov 16 2009, 01:47 PM, said:

The difference is that the Parks Authority only have juristiction over their parks and not the surrounding area. They can only ban it in areas they own. If people who own the surrounding areas feel differently then so be it. It's their decision thet they're entitled to make.


The Royal Parks authority don't own any park. They only manage it.

Of course I know that they can only ban it in areas they manage and not outside, and that they are entitled to do so. That was not my question but thanks for the useful answer. I'm questioning their explanation, the concern about causing more reports of suspicions behaviour and more "Stop and Searches". It's the Met Police who does the "Stop and Searches" anyway, and there is an agreement with them, so where's the point of them re-inventing a problem that has already been solved.

#9 User is offline   artemisworks 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 07:10 AM

I'm gutted by this decision. The first cache I ever found was a short walk from home and inside one of the aforementioned parks. At no point did I ever think that these caches were detrimental to security, or other people's enjoyment of the parks. Their reasoning (i.e security threats) makes no sense whatsover, the same sort of reasoning can be applied to all of central London's caches and indeed, can we expect the next logical step to be the banning of ALL caches in London? :)

It would seem that it is easiest for parks management etc. to say "no" than to have to deal with any potential issues that may arise....

This is really disappointing but perhaps not that surprising, photography is already deemed a suspect hobby by some quarters (and already banned in some public areas), and geocaching may just follow suit..... Whatever next....?!!

Artemisworks, hoping she doesn't have to hang up her GPS soon

#10 User is offline   team tisri 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 08:29 AM

I wonder how many people it would take to write to the Royal Parks management in protest at this somewhat bizarre reasoning to get them to relent.

If geocaching is a suspicious activity I wonder how long it will be before simply walking through the park, occasionally stooping to admire flowers (or even retrieve a canine deposit) will be deemed suspicious and the parks closed to the riff-raff - er - I mean general public.

#11 User is offline   maxkim 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 09:13 AM

Their reasoning (i.e security threats) makes no sense whatsover, the same sort of reasoning can be applied to all of central London's caches and indeed, can we expect the next logical step to be the banning of ALL caches in London? :)

Then the UK and then..... THE WORLD .... as I said above the pen is mighter ... etc.... I support letters of complaint there are thousands of us. MaxKim.

#12 User is offline   Flyfishermanbob 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 09:21 AM

 maxkim, on Nov 16 2009, 07:18 AM, said:

I will be writing to the Queen to express my dismay at this abuse of her parks. It may help if others express their views in writing to her. MaxKim. :) :)






wasting your time



http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php...st&p=474760



:)

#13 User is offline   Deceangi 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 09:23 AM

 luzian, on Nov 16 2009, 02:47 PM, said:



The Royal Parks authority don't own any park. They only manage it.
I'm questioning their explanation, the concern about causing more reports of suspicions behaviour and more "Stop and Searches". It's the Met Police who does the "Stop and Searches" anyway, and there is an agreement with them, so where's the point of them re-inventing a problem that has already been solved.


The Royal Parks Police is a Department within the Metropolitan Police, and their representative and the Senior Parks Managers at the meeting were all opposed to Geocaching taking place within the boundaries of any of their properties.

Whilst managers of individual parks have given permission for Geocaches within the parks they manage. Royal Parks Management at a senior level have taken a opposite decision, and as such they have the final say.

In 2006 the Forestry Commissions North West Region, decided to charge a Fee for a Permit to Place Geocaches. Because the community upheld the requests not to purchase a permit, no geocaches were placed on their land between 2006 and 2009. It was only this year that they agreed to allow a trial scheme in Cumbria regarding the Placement of Geocaches without charging a fee for a permit. Hopefully in mid/late 2010 this scheme will be rolled out across the whole of NW FC area.

By removing all geocaches located in the Royal Parks, including those placed with the permission of the local manager. At a future date the issue can be re-visited with them, when it can be shown that all caches were removed from their properties, and non have been placed since.

Nothing is forever, people move to new jobs or retire, policies change. It took 2 years to negotiate a agreement with the New Forest. And a lot longer to negotiate a National Agreement with the NT. The Royal Parks refusing permission is just a temporary blip in the history of Geocaching in the UK.

Deci

#14 User is offline   Yorkie30 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 09:31 AM

 maxkim, on Nov 16 2009, 07:18 AM, said:

I will be writing to the Queen to express my dismay at this abuse of her parks. It may help if others express their views in writing to her. MaxKim. :) :)


I am not sure that writing to her will gain a result. A polite letter from her private secretary if you are lucky to say that the Queen understands ............ etc. I had a similar response a few years ago when about 90 people wrote to her on a completely different matter and we all got a bog standard thank you but go away.

I agree it is a great shame and hope that it does not extend further to Windsor etc. :)

#15 User is offline   Happy Humphrey 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 09:42 AM

Just for clarification, does the ban extend only to geocaching.com listings, or will Navicache, Terracaching and Letterboxing also be enforcing a ban? At the meeting, these would certainly have been mentioned (not least because a ban on one could lead to re-listing elsewhere).

Presumably Waymarking will also be banned (as it also involves people wandering around the parks guided by GPS), but who's responsible for ensuring that all Waymarks are delisted?

This post has been edited by Happy Humphrey: 16 November 2009 - 09:57 AM


#16 User is offline   sssss 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 10:39 AM

 Happy Humphrey, on Nov 16 2009, 05:42 PM, said:

Just for clarification, does the ban extend only to geocaching.com listings, or will Navicache, Terracaching and Letterboxing also be enforcing a ban? At the meeting, these would certainly have been mentioned (not least because a ban on one could lead to re-listing elsewhere).



A cache is a cache to people outside the game, it makes no real difference if it is geo/terra/navi or opencaching.

The worst thing that can happen is the other listing sites not worrying about the ban and allowing caches to be placed. I suspect that the 'management' are going to be less likely to re open discussions at a later date if they found out that caches are still in place. We would all get tarred with the same brush.

#17 User is offline   Whitelaw's 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 11:24 AM

Her Majesty The Queen
Buckingham Palace
London SW1A 1AA


send emails in protest!!

this is soo annoying!

What is wrong with a bit of fun?

Richmond park or bushy park are not near any government buildings! :) :) :) :D :P :) :D :D :D :( :lol: :huh: ;) :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:

#18 User is offline   Happy Humphrey 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 11:24 AM

 sssss, on Nov 16 2009, 06:39 PM, said:

A cache is a cache to people outside the game, it makes no real difference if it is geo/terra/navi or opencaching.

Quite, but I suspect that letterboxers (for instance) or Waymarkers will regard this as a ban on GC.com caches only.

 sssss, on Nov 16 2009, 06:39 PM, said:

The worst thing that can happen is the other listing sites not worrying about the ban and allowing caches to be placed. I suspect that the 'management' are going to be less likely to re open discussions at a later date if they found out that caches are still in place. We would all get tarred with the same brush.

The restriction (on placing new caches) was put in place a year ago, and thanks to the continuing increase of geocaching-related serious incidents in the parks (presumably), a full ban has been confirmed as "final". The reasons given are spurious, and appear to translate to "go away and stop bothering us with your trivial but very annoying pastime". As we appear to be pushovers when it comes to bans, then a ban has done the trick and we're even prepared to police it ourselves!

So the worst thing has already happened, and I wouldn't blame other listing sites if they choose to remain listing sites and not get involved, if this is what it leads to.

#19 User is offline   Amberel 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 11:32 AM

 sssss, on Nov 16 2009, 10:39 AM, said:

 Happy Humphrey, on Nov 16 2009, 05:42 PM, said:

Just for clarification, does the ban extend only to geocaching.com listings, or will Navicache, Terracaching and Letterboxing also be enforcing a ban? At the meeting, these would certainly have been mentioned (not least because a ban on one could lead to re-listing elsewhere).



A cache is a cache to people outside the game, it makes no real difference if it is geo/terra/navi or opencaching.

The worst thing that can happen is the other listing sites not worrying about the ban and allowing caches to be placed. I suspect that the 'management' are going to be less likely to re open discussions at a later date if they found out that caches are still in place. We would all get tarred with the same brush.
I already archived my Richmond Park TerraCaches first thing this morning.

Rgds, Andy

#20 User is offline   goldpot 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 11:40 AM

:) :)

I susposed I could put a Geocache on my van! :)

#21 User is offline   The Bongtwashes 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 11:44 AM

 Whitelaw's, on Nov 16 2009, 07:24 PM, said:


Richmond park or bushy park are not near any government buildings! :) :) :) :D :P :) :D :D :D :( :lol: :huh: ;) :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:


Doesn't have to be "Government" Buildings to be sensitive.

#22 User is offline   Graculus 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 11:57 AM

 Happy Humphrey, on Nov 16 2009, 05:42 PM, said:

Just for clarification, does the ban extend only to geocaching.com listings, or will Navicache, Terracaching and Letterboxing also be enforcing a ban? At the meeting, these would certainly have been mentioned (not least because a ban on one could lead to re-listing elsewhere).

Presumably Waymarking will also be banned (as it also involves people wandering around the parks guided by GPS), but who's responsible for ensuring that all Waymarks are delisted?

As a reviewer with Groundspeak my concern is with caches listed on geocaching.com. I can't say whether the other listing sites are affected. Regarding a question about waymarking also brings up having multi/mystery caches in the parks which don't have a physical container actually there. Does that amount to 'geocaching activitiy'? I need to consult with my colleagues about this. I'll get back to you.

Chris
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#23 User is offline   TheAardvarkFamily 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 12:01 PM

This is really tragic. We are only new to Geocaching ourselves but it is the slow exploration of Richmond Park that has got us addicted.

Is there a contact/address we could write to... or shall we save our efforts for a later date?

TIA
TheAardvarkFamily

#24 User is offline   keehotee 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 12:25 PM

 Happy Humphrey, on Nov 16 2009, 05:42 PM, said:

Just for clarification, does the ban extend only to geocaching.com listings, or will Navicache, Terracaching and Letterboxing also be enforcing a ban? At the meeting, these would certainly have been mentioned (not least because a ban on one could lead to re-listing elsewhere).

Presumably Waymarking will also be banned (as it also involves people wandering around the parks guided by GPS), but who's responsible for ensuring that all Waymarks are delisted?


As far as I am aware the meeting was between the Royal parks and a representative of the GAGB, and therefore applies to geocaches - whether they're listed on Groundspeak, Terracaching, Navicaching, hamstercache.org, or Opencaching.

#25 User is offline   The Wombles 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 12:29 PM

I attended the meeting with Royal Parks for GAGB and although I couldn't say that there was any negotiation involved,I can answer a few of these questions. They arranged this meeting because of several cachers' approaches and because of approaches to various senior / government officials.

They did suggest using points in the Park as links elsewhere ie virtual steps or Waymarks. However, they made it clear that they didn't want physical boxes and cited security concerns at all parks. Apparently someone wandering around with a GPS looking for something wasn't as much of a concern as physical boxes (even nanos, which I took along to demo).

I personally believe in taking the long term view in negotiating agreements. I personally negotiated the New Forest and NT agreements mentioned earlier, and some agreements do take years. If we maintain a positive image for geocaching then we'll be more successful overall.

#26 User is offline   DrDick&Vick 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 12:31 PM

Why not just send this man an email

Chief Executive
Mark Camley
chiefexecutive@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk

and tell him how dissapointed you are about this decision.

#27 User is offline   team tisri 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 12:33 PM

 Graculus, on Nov 16 2009, 11:57 AM, said:

 Happy Humphrey, on Nov 16 2009, 05:42 PM, said:

Just for clarification, does the ban extend only to geocaching.com listings, or will Navicache, Terracaching and Letterboxing also be enforcing a ban? At the meeting, these would certainly have been mentioned (not least because a ban on one could lead to re-listing elsewhere).

Presumably Waymarking will also be banned (as it also involves people wandering around the parks guided by GPS), but who's responsible for ensuring that all Waymarks are delisted?

As a reviewer with Groundspeak my concern is with caches listed on geocaching.com. I can't say whether the other listing sites are affected. Regarding a question about waymarking also brings up having multi/mystery caches in the parks which don't have a physical container actually there. Does that amount to 'geocaching activitiy'? I need to consult with my colleagues about this. I'll get back to you.




Obviously we don't want to be antagonistic about this but I really can't see how people walking in the parks with a GPS can be breaking any rules at all. It seems perfectly reasonable to use a GPS to record a route, to remember where the car is parked, and so on.

I don't honestly see how anyone can objectively differentiate between friends giving each other GPS coordinates for places to park, places to buy an ice cream, places to enjoy a spectacular view etc, and people exchanging GPS coordinates in a more organised manner.

If there's a ban on physical containers that's one thing but unless taking photos in the park is banned outright (or, of course, public access to the park is entirely revoked) I can't see how waymarking could be banned.

#28 User is offline   goldpot 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 12:44 PM

Oh dear, I've just counted that 6 of my caches (in Regent's Park) will have to go. :)

I've posted a note on the cache pages that I will archive them in 7 days time just so that cachers who are (or now) planning to visit can bag them.

So, 6 new (secondhand) caches to come! :)

#29 User is offline   Graculus 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 12:52 PM

Regarding multi-caches and mystery caches with waypoints/clues. These would be OK in the parks as long as they are not physical containers - these must be outside the park boundaries.
If anyone has just archived a multi-cache or mystery cache that had the final location or a stage physically in the park and would prefer it to remain but is able to move the physical elements outside the park then we can unarchive it subject to the new location(s) meeting current guidelines and proximity to any other caches. Please contact either myself or my colleague The Bee Keeper.

Chris
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#30 User is offline   Happy Humphrey 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 01:29 PM

Thanks for clarifying, Chris. It might be best to re-word the ban as being a ban on physical caches (or similar) within the parks. It seems that geocaching activity is still allowed, but you're not allowed to leave anything on site. This is a bit like the US National Parks (although their excuse was different).

On the one hand, I can appreciate Deceangi's and The Wombles' attitudes that giving in easily now will work out better in the long term. But on the other hand, I'm worried that a successful ban will lead to others following suit.

Let's face it, the reasons given for the ban are nonsense and if we had some clout we could negotiate an agreement quite easily. But we don't, and I admire the volunteers who've attempted to do their best for the game with very little to bargain with.

Having looked for a couple of caches recently in Hyde Park and also Central Park (New York), not to mention Stanley Park (Vancouver), it's saddening that only the Brits seem to have such a problem with tourists looking "suspicious" like this.

#31 User is offline   Whitelaw's 

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  Posted 16 November 2009 - 01:41 PM

when do our caches have to be archived by?

I am going to lose 10 :)

Also I am going to have an event on Saturday in Richmond park to promote the caches in richmond park and enjoy them while they are still here.

We may as well enjoy them while they are here !! :)

This post has been edited by Whitelaw's: 16 November 2009 - 01:42 PM


#32 User is offline   team tisri 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 01:43 PM

I can't help wondering whether geocachers wouldn't be an asset to places like the Parks. If we're looking for places to hide stuff, and find something hidden that we weren't expecting we can report it.

Let's face it, most people aren't looking inside hollow trees, under logs etc for places to hide stuff. So if anything banning geocaching is arguably going to make the parks less secure, not more.

Just a thought.

#33 User is offline   Graculus 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 02:47 PM

 Whitelaw's, on Nov 16 2009, 09:41 PM, said:

when do our caches have to be archived by?

I am going to lose 10 :)

Also I am going to have an event on Saturday in Richmond park to promote the caches in richmond park and enjoy them while they are still here.

We may as well enjoy them while they are here !! :)


Basically as soon as practicably possible to comply with the parks request. Please also see my earlier post about possibly 'saving' some of the multis/mysterys. If you have an event on Saturday I'd not see a problem with removing the containers then.

Chris
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#34 User is offline   keehotee 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 02:56 PM

It's a shame - but at the end of the day the Royal parks only make up a tiny percentage of the area of Greater London.
Make the most of it, and take the opportunity to create some imaginative, well camoed caches that aren't in parks .... :)

#35 User is offline   Happy Humphrey 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 03:26 PM

 keehotee, on Nov 16 2009, 10:56 PM, said:

take the opportunity to create some imaginative, well camoed caches that aren't in parks .... :)

...or near railway stations, bus stations, bridges, or embassies, or Government buildings... :)

#36 User is offline   DrDick&Vick 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 03:52 PM

 Happy Humphrey, on Nov 16 2009, 11:26 PM, said:

 keehotee, on Nov 16 2009, 10:56 PM, said:

take the opportunity to create some imaginative, well camoed caches that aren't in parks .... :)

...or near railway stations, bus stations, bridges, or embassies, or Government buildings... :)


the list could be endless unless common sense prevails.

This post has been edited by DrDick&Vick: 16 November 2009 - 03:57 PM


#37 User is offline   Amberel 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 04:05 PM

 keehotee, on Nov 16 2009, 02:56 PM, said:

It's a shame - but at the end of the day the Royal parks only make up a tiny percentage of the area of Greater London.
Make the most of it, and take the opportunity to create some imaginative, well camoed caches that aren't in parks .... :)
A tiny percentage of the TOTAL area of Greater London, maybe, but a very big chunk indeed of prime caching country. I realise that what is prime caching country will vary from one person to another, but in my book Richmond Park and to a slightly lesser extent, Bushy Park, are (were) among the very best caching areas in Greater London, and Regent's Park the best area nearer the middle.

Rgds, Andy

#38 User is offline   smstext 

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 04:34 PM

Everyone is getting up in arms on this, but perhaps there is something else going on that due to the sensitivity cannot be discussed at the moment and thus why they have gone down the route of having all containers removed from the parks.

The way Im seeing this is that the terrorist level is at substantial which is level 3 (out of 5 levels) and meaning an attack is at a strong possibility. Perhaps with this they want is the parks to be free of containers, so that anything that is still there it will be deemed suspicious and probably be blown up.

Lets wait for the terrorism level to drop and our troops to get out of these foreign countries and try sitting down again with them and get a new agreement.

I think writing to them and throwing our toys out of the cot will actually be counter productive, so lets just remove the caches, smile sweetly and as less people visit the parks they might realise how valuable the caches were in terms of visitors and revenue (ice creams, coffee, drinks etc).

#39 User is offline   kewfriend 

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 12:57 AM

APOLOGIES FOR THIS LENGTHY REPLY

I spent a long time unpicking this and the issue is absolutely nothing to do with security: that's only an 'excuse' and specious as some of the communications I received reveal. In some very particular locations it has some validity. Several of the communications I received including from members of the Royal Parks Trust saw geocaching as good and harmless and without fail every MP to whom I wrote also agreed. I also wrote to the palace, and received a predictably anodyne reply - polite of course.

The issue is to do with a littering bylaw in the RP saying that every item in the RP must be authorized. The RP staff simply dont want to allow 'unauthorised' objects and to determine whether these are 'litter'. This is a 'jobsworth' issue.


3. Subject to the provisions of regulation 6, no person using a Park shall -

<snip>

(3) drop or leave litter or refuse except in a receptacle provided for the purpose;

Acts in a Park for which written permission is required


and

4. Unless the Secretary of State's written permission has first been
obtained, no person using a Park shall -

(1) interfere with any plant or fungus;

(2) go on any flower bed or shrubbery, or on any area of a Park access to which is prohibited by a notice exhibited by order of the Secretary of State;

(3) use or operate a metal or mineral detector or any device for locating objects below ground level;

(4) attach any article to, climb or interfere with any tree, railing, fence, statue, seat, building or structure;

(5) interfere with any notice or sign;


The senior RP view is that geocachers break all of these bylaws by the very nature of their 'sport' and thus are to be banned. The security argument was NEVER used in the discussions I had in Richmond / Bushy etc.

However particularly with respect to Richmond park across which there are several PUBLIC RIGHTS OF WAY over which the RP writ DOES NOT full run in law. In Richmond Park, except for the occasional 'deer shoot' etc., the RP are NOT PERMITTED to restrict access to these rights of way and thus you will find that in Richmond Park the pedestrian gates are always unlocked. In practice this means that all of Richmond Park is available at any times - different to every other park.

The City of London also takes the neolithic attitude such that parks and woodlands well out side the City such as Burnham Beeches north of Maidenhead are also 'off limits'.


Can the geocaching community ignore this ban - probably YES - except that the individual placing the cache (not seeking it) would be at risk of prosecution under RP bylaws - if they were caught - almost impossible in my view. Being the cache 'owner' does not make you personally in law the 'litter lout': that is simply the individual who performs the act of 'littering' and is caught 'in flagrante'.

Should the geocaching community ignore this ban - DEBATABLE . In my view I would operate the grandfathering principle. Any 'cache ie litter' already there is of no concern as it has not come to the attention of the RP, but if it goes missing or is muggled or removed by the RP then I could not recommend a replacement.

RECOMMENDATION

That the status quo of 'grandfathering' remains for a defined period - longer than shorter.

GAGB who have negotiated with the RP are not www.geocaching.com which is US based and thus outside UK law and thus caches can still be listed.

GAGB inform the RP that a grandfathering process is in hand whilst alternative arrangements are made. This shows 'good will' but an elastic time frame.

That a physical post card 'write-in' is organised to No 10 Downing Street, the Royal Parks and the Palace. I reckon about 2000 separate postcards should be enough to 'wake up' the authorities. Postcards (even Xmas Cards) will be much more effective than emails which can just be trashed.

This 'write-in' must include OVERSEAS geocachers who explicitly include 'geocaching in the RP' as part of their tourist activities.

That in three months time the RP are invited to 'reopen' discussion.

That the International Forums – particularly the US forums – are invited to participate in protest.

This post has been edited by kewfriend: 17 November 2009 - 12:59 AM


#40 User is offline   Simply Paul 

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 02:17 AM

If 'we' as a community try to ignore landowners' (or more accurately in this case, land managers') wishes, there will be a backlash. Moreover, Groundspeak will not allow cache listings, past, present or future -bar a change of attitude, which guerrilla action wouldn't help- in these parks- simples. Caches are not wanted and are unlistable in these areas. It's unfortunate to say the least, but being grown-up about it is the only way forward. There are lots of smaller parks and gardens in London to sniff out and introduce other cachers to. And if it's all about features in the 'banned' parks, there's this great thing called an Offset Multi... Long live caching in the Royal Parks -by the 'virtual stage' back door, at least.

#41 User is offline   MartyBartfast 

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 02:49 AM

 kewfriend, on Nov 17 2009, 08:57 AM, said:



RECOMMENDATION

That a physical post card 'write-in' is organised to No 10 Downing Street, the Royal Parks and the Palace. I reckon about 2000 separate postcards should be enough to 'wake up' the authorities. Postcards (even Xmas Cards) will be much more effective than emails which can just be trashed.



There's also the option of Creating a petition on the number 10 website I'm sceptical about their effectiveness, but if we did create one and could get lots of cachers to sign it (you must be a UK citizen to sign), then it might have some influence.

This post has been edited by MartyBartfast: 17 November 2009 - 02:51 AM


#42 User is offline   DrDick&Vick 

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 03:13 AM

Just need somebody to supply a sensibly worded petition statement and I will happily get one started.

Maybe something on the lines of:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to
Approach the Royal Parks management and seek to get them to reconsider their ban on the placing of geocaches within the boundaries of all Royal Parks managed by them.
Geocaching is a hobby that encourages people of all ages and stature to partake of exercise and make use of public spaces and is therefore beneficial in pursuit of the Govermentís approach to getting people to take more exercise and enjoy the fresh air. As this is also a family activity it encourages the younger generation to Ďget outí with their family.

This post has been edited by DrDick&Vick: 17 November 2009 - 03:21 AM


#43 User is offline   Steve_P 

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 03:18 AM

Worth a try. They do work sometimes (the Taymar bridge toll increase was stopped after one of these polls). Sendong loads of cards will only get their backs up and would be turned round on those who sent them, peolpe using technology to find sarnie boxes wasting paper resources and the likes.

#44 User is offline   sTeamTraen 

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 03:56 AM

 smstext, on Nov 17 2009, 01:34 AM, said:

Everyone is getting up in arms on this, but perhaps there is something else going on that due to the sensitivity cannot be discussed at the moment and thus why they have gone down the route of having all containers removed from the parks.

The way Im seeing this is that the terrorist level is at substantial which is level 3 (out of 5 levels) and meaning an attack is at a strong possibility. Perhaps with this they want is the parks to be free of containers, so that anything that is still there it will be deemed suspicious and probably be blown up.

Lets wait for the terrorism level to drop and our troops to get out of these foreign countries and try sitting down again with them and get a new agreement.

I think writing to them and throwing our toys out of the cot will actually be counter productive, so lets just remove the caches, smile sweetly and as less people visit the parks they might realise how valuable the caches were in terms of visitors and revenue (ice creams, coffee, drinks etc).

I actually agree with your last paragraph, except perhaps for the idea that geocachers ever stop for ice cream :) or at least in large enough numbers to make a difference. But the idea that this has anything in reality to do with the "terrorist threat level" - a way of reducing 1,500 years of history and the mindset of a few thousand people out of a population of one billion, to a single integer - is perhaps a little wide of the mark.

Look at it from the point of view of the police - who make the decisions here. "Please can we /a/ leave arbitrary containers in this park, and /b/ encourage people to act in a way that might look suspicious to the uninformed?". Errr... no. Which senior officer is going to sign off on that?

As for the terrorism level dropping: the US State Department reports each year on terrorism activities worldwide. If you exclude Iraq and Afghanistan (where /a/ it's more like a civil war, and /b/ Western intervention pretty much started the problem), terrorist incidents - as measured by the US State Department, not George Galloway's Respect Party - have actually been declining since 2001. Perhaps you mean the perception of the risk of terrorism, but I'm afraid that that probably isn't going away until there are no Muslims left on the planet, which might take some time (disclaimer: this is an ironic statement about scaremongering, not any form of advocacy for reducing the number of Muslims). The "war on terror" is here for the next century at an absolute minimum. You don't have to believe that this is a conspiracy; just look at where the budget money is going. Public employees are pretty good at defending their budgets, and companies like BAe need to know where their next billions are coming from now that we don't need fighters to combat MiGs.

#45 User is offline   Happy Humphrey 

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 04:09 AM

With reference to Kewfriend's post, I think we've established in the past that geocaches cannot be termed "litter" as long as the listing is active. They are not abandoned, because there is an intention to return to the cache. If this is the list of relevant bylaws, the only one that is likely to be broken is when a magnetic nano is attached to a railing or bench: as this seems to be specifically forbidden.

If we were being mature and sensible, we'd be able to agree with the mature and sensible park manager that we'll disallow magnetic caches and make sure that all physical caches are clearly labelled so they can't be mistaken for litter. Thus ensuring that bylaws are respected.

However, the attitude of the officials seems less than reasonable, and seems to demonstrate that the "official" approach is seriously flawed (as the end result is a total ban on all caches!). If I'd have said a couple of years ago that we shouldn't bother the Royal Parks management with permission requests, and just make sure caches were well-hidden but unofficial, I'm sure that I'd have been told that this will end up getting caching banned altogether. So it's ironic that taking the "right" approach has led to exactly that.

#46 User is offline   MartyBartfast 

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 05:35 AM

 DrDick&Vick, on Nov 17 2009, 11:13 AM, said:

Just need somebody to supply a sensibly worded petition statement and I will happily get one started.

Maybe something on the lines of:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Approach the Royal Parks management and seek to get them to reconsider their ban on the placing of geocaches within the boundaries of all Royal Parks managed by them.
Geocaching is a hobby that encourages people of all ages and stature to partake of exercise and make use of public spaces and is therefore beneficial in pursuit of the Govermentís approach to getting people to take more exercise and enjoy the fresh air. As this is also a family activity it encourages the younger generation to Ďget outí with their family.


Hasn't geocaching also been recommended in a government white paper on health/excercise too? If so, and anyone can provide a reference then it would be worth mentioning too. Also worth mentioning that other authorities welcome the activity.


 smstext, on Nov 17 2009, 12:34 AM, said:

I think writing to them and throwing our toys out of the cot will actually be counter productive, so lets just remove the caches, smile sweetly and as less people visit the parks they might realise how valuable the caches were in terms of visitors and revenue (ice creams, coffee, drinks etc).


I disagree, no-one is going to notice any loss of revenue, or that the visitor numbers are down, so if we don't say anything the powers that be will just think "job well done, there aren't enough of them to bother about", and next thing you know they'll be arresting people for taking pictures in public - oh sorry they already do that.

This post has been edited by MartyBartfast: 17 November 2009 - 05:36 AM


#47 User is offline   naffita 

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 05:52 AM

 MartyBartfast, on Nov 17 2009, 01:35 PM, said:



Hasn't geocaching also been recommended in a government white paper on health/excercise too? If so, and anyone can provide a reference then it would be worth mentioning too. Also worth mentioning that other authorities welcome the activity.




ODPM recomendation

On page 11 about libraries sports and leisure, but it was in 2004.

#48 User is offline   team tisri 

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 07:22 AM

Following on from kewfriend's approach in #39, why not get European cachers to write in, in protest? Although US-based cachers obviously speak the same language we do it's hard to see caching being anything other than an incident activity for people who have come from so far away.

I wouldn't imagine we get many French folks crossing the Channel purely for a day's caching but it's easier to see people coming from Europe with caching as a secondary, rather than an incidental, pastime while they are here.


Instead of presenting ourselves as a group of people with a hobby that's being unfairly victimised I agree we should focus on the positives of wht we do. The sport is readily accessible to young and old, many caches are placed to be wheelchair-accessible. It needs very little in start-up costs so rich and poor can take part. It gets people outside, getting exercise. Aside from possibly driving to a starting point a lot of caching is done on foot or a bicycle so it's an environmentally friendly sport.

As an aside, I noticed the byelaws mentioning that things were forbidden "without written permission from the Secretary of State". So if we could negotiate something with the Secretary it would appear to resolve all the problems at a stroke. And with an election approaching it's possible the Secretary will be keen to be on the side of a large group of voters.

#49 User is offline   sTeamTraen 

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 07:32 AM

 team tisri, on Nov 17 2009, 04:22 PM, said:

As an aside, I noticed the byelaws mentioning that things were forbidden "without written permission from the Secretary of State". So if we could negotiate something with the Secretary it would appear to resolve all the problems at a stroke. And with an election approaching it's possible the Secretary will be keen to be on the side of a large group of voters.

I suspect that it's a little more complicated than that. :)

#50 User is offline   team tisri 

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 07:59 AM

 sTeamTraen, on Nov 17 2009, 07:32 AM, said:

 team tisri, on Nov 17 2009, 04:22 PM, said:

As an aside, I noticed the byelaws mentioning that things were forbidden "without written permission from the Secretary of State". So if we could negotiate something with the Secretary it would appear to resolve all the problems at a stroke. And with an election approaching it's possible the Secretary will be keen to be on the side of a large group of voters.

I suspect that it's a little more complicated than that. :)


It probably is, but if there is a way we can get one written agreement that trumps every bureaucratic objection it has to be worth a look?

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