[GeoStL] Re: From Boise Weekly: Geocaching

-
A Farmer?

Bridget=20

-----Original Message-----
From: geocaching-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:geocaching-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of tklnhl & kyd
Sent: Tuesday, March 07, 2006 9:12 PM
To: geocaching@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [GeoStL] Re: From Boise Weekly: Geocaching

-
Who would name their child "Bingo"?

Nancy


----- Original Message -----
From: "Glenn" <GLNash@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: "St. Louis Area Geocachers" <geocaching@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, March 07, 2006 8:22 PM
Subject: [GeoStL] From Boise Weekly: Geocaching


> -
> Am guessing that you have already seen this, but just in case...
>
>
> You might find this interesting.
>
>
> The sport of geocaching is experiencing growing pains as it adapts to
a
> post 9/11 world.
>
> By Bingo Barnes
>
> [image-1]  While conducting a routine inspection on September 27, an
Idaho
> Department of Transportation inspector noticed something strange on
the
> Rainbow Bridge, located 13 miles south of Cascade on Highway 55. A
green
> bucket held in place with a system of ropes and wires was suspiciously
> perched underneath one of the struts of the bridge. To be safe, the
Boise
> bomb squad was called in and the highway was closed, stopping traffic
for
> almost seven hours.
>
> Around 2:15 p.m., 33-year old Scot Tintsman from Meridian showed up at
the
> scene to tell police that the object was a "geocache." The bomb squad
was
> called off, the bucket removed and traffic resumed just before 4 p.m.
with
> travelers wondering, "What the heck is a geocache?"
>
> Geocaching is a popular sport--some call it a hobby--where players use
> handheld Global Positioning System (GPS) units to locate containers=20
> stashed
> in the wilderness and secret urban locations. With technology prices
> dropping and companies making smaller hand-held GPS units, more and
more
> people are enjoying this modern technological version of a scavenger
hunt.
> But a sport this young still experiences growing pains and players
still
> struggle to learn the rules of the game.
>
> The sport of geocaching, and civilian use of GPS technology, has only
been
> possible since the year 2000 when the U.S. military descrambled their
GPS)
> satellites, allowing citizens to access the signals to pinpoint their
> location on earth through triangulation. The technology was previously
> reserved just for military use in tasks like pinpointing troops in the
> field or tracking and guiding missiles.
>
> President Bill Clinton, in a statement on May 1, 2000, announced the
> cancellation of the intentional degredation of the signals, based on a
> recommendation from the secretary of defense and coordinated with the
> departments of State, Transportation and Commerce and the director of
> Central Intelligence. This change gave civilians access to a mapping
tool
> accurate within two to three meters. Previously, the signal would only
be
> accurate to a football field-sized area.
>
> Clinton said his intention was to improve worldwide transportation
safety,
> scientific research and commercial interests. It could also allow=20
> emergency
> responders to have pinpoint accuracy to locations, as long as someone
at
> the location had the GPS coordinates.
>
> Just two days after President Clinton officially deregulated the
signal, a
> container was hidden outside of Portland, Oregon, with the coordinates
> posted online on a satellite navigation newsgroup. According to the
> logbook, the cache was visited twice within three days. Mike Teague,
the
> first finder of the cache posted the information to his personal Web
site.
> In July, Jeremy Irish approached Teague with a proposed name,
geocaching,
> and a redesigned Web site. By September, Irish was running the site by
> himself, and he is now the developer and Web master of geocaching.com,
the
> mother of all geocaching Web sites.
>
> Geocaching Web sites have varying guidelines as to how they approve
the
> caches posted to their databases. While Geocaching.com is perhaps the
best
> known site, there are others like navicache.com, Buxley's Geocaching
> Waypoint (www.brillig.com/geocaching), which focuses on mapping
geocache
> locations, and opencache.com, a community-run site that keeps an
> open-source attitude toward geocaching, avoiding the
individual-ownership
> approach of the other sites by. But by far, the most visited one is
> geocaching.com, and is still growing in popularity.
>
> While distinctly grass-roots and with an air of anti-commercialism, in
the
> last year, the sport has dipped into the capitalistic pond. The Jeep
4X4
> Geocaching Challenge involved the company hiding 5,000 miniature Jeep
> travel bugs in caches across the lower 48 states. When a geocacher
found
> one of the little Jeeps, they had the opportunity to sign up for the
> challenge and have the opportunity win not only Garmin GPS units
(another
> sponsor of the contest) but ultimately a new seven-passenger Jeep
> Commander.
>
> At a recent Treasure Valley Cacheaholics Anonymous (TVCA) meeting at
Ben's
> Crow Inn (the event could only be found via GPS coordinates posted to
> www.idahogeocachers.org), a small group of geocachers gathered to
discuss
> new caches, share information and listen to a guest speaker.
Geocachers
> signed the log book for the meeting using the nicknames from their=20
> profiles
> on geocaching Web sites. Founded by BOOMHWR653, IDTIMBERWOLF, IDN8IVS
and
> ZEROEDIN in 2003, TVCA now has about 30 active members. Captain Mike,
a
> retired National Guard reservist, manned the logbook and has placed
about
> 41 caches around the area he maintains. One, called "A Walk on the
Wild
> Side" is series of eight caches spread over a four-mile area around
> Tablerock. But the real excitement of the evening was the guest,
Sergeant
> Dave Hambleton.
>
> Hambleton, commander of the Boise police bomb squad unit, came in talk
> about geocaching and how the geocaching community should have more
open
> lines of communication with local police so that incidents like the
one at
> Rainbow Bridge don't occur again. Hambleton told the group there had
been
> only one other incident involving a geocache in the last five
years--out=20
> on
> Pleasant Valley Road--and explained what they consider a suspicious or
> possibly dangerous package: basically, just about anything.
>
> "When we get a call on something suspicious, we have to treat it like
a
> loaded gun," he said. Something as small as a film canister (a
favorite
> container for "microcaches") can be turned into a small grenade, so
they
> have to take every call seriously.
>
> He added that the location is important when determining the danger to

> life
> or property. "I just learned Sunday a friend of mine was geocaching
and he
> was thinking of putting a cache over near the Caldwell airport. He has
> permission from some folks but I told him it was a really bad idea,=20
> because
> someone is going to think it's suspicious and the Nampa bomb squad
will=20
> get
> called out on that," Hambleton explained.
>
> One geocacher at the meeting said, "It probably wouldn't be approved
if it
> were at the airport."
>
> Another replied from the back, "There are already three at the
Caldwell
> airport." Everyone laughed.
>
> Hambleton added, "It's all in the placement. If it's in a high
pedestrian
> area, obviously it is going to be more suspicious. An airport will be
a
> high-target area, infrastructure--power, gas, water--any of those
things."
>
> Because geocaching is a free sport (except for the cost of a GPS
unit),=20
> and
> because there is no overseeing authority establishing the rules of the
> game, geocachers tend to police themselves and set up their own rules
and
> ethical guidelines. To have a cache approved and listed on
geocaching.com
> so that others may find it, there are several guidelines that must be
> followed.
>
> First, geocaching.com states there is no precedent for placing
> caches--meaning, just because someone else has done it and it was once
> accepted doesn't mean it will be in the future. Second, a person must
have
> permission to place a cache on private land. This guideline is a
little
> more vague on public land. Depending upon the governing authority,
cachers
> may need to have permission. Many governmental agencies like the
Bureau of
> Land Management, state land authorities or federally managed areas do
not
> have a stated policy and it may be OK, but geocaching.com will not
list
> caches on land maintained by the U.S. National Park Service or U.S.
Fish
> and Wildlife Service (typically wildlife refuges). Third, caches are
also
> not supposed to be buried, and they cannot deface public or private
> property to be hidden. Caches should not be placed in close proximity
to
> active railroad tracks, military bases or public structures such as
dams,
> bridges, elementary and secondary schools or airports.
>
> Finally, caches are not supposed to be placed within one-tenth of a
mile
> (528 feet) of each other, except in rare exceptions. With more caches=20
> being
> placed, more guidelines to the sport are likely to be created.
>
> Since August 14 of this year, 50 new geocache sites have been placed
in=20
> the
> Boise area, according to Buxley's Geocaching Waypoint. As of December
12,
> geocaching.com identified 220,384 geocache sites around the world (16
are
> in Antarctica) with 66 percent of them (135,075) in the United States.
> Idaho contains 2,955 with over 692 in the Boise area alone. Geocaches
tend
> to be concentrated in and around population centers. However, even in
> Tuscarora, Nevada which has a population of about two to three people
per
> square mile, there are over 30 geocaches within a 45 mile radius.
>
> With catchy names like "Token Ring," "Garrett's Treasures Redux,"
"Mira
> Frosty" and "You Must Be This Tall to Cache This Ride," the numbers of
> geocaches is increasing dramatically. However, leaving goodies hidden
in a
> special location is considered littering by some. Federal guidelines
state
> that burying or abandoning personal property in national parks and
forests
> is prohibited. Geocachers, however, say that caches are maintained by
the
> cache owner and therefore not abandoned. Regardless of the details,
many
> parks and forest rangers recognize geocaching as a legitimate
recreational
> activity and accept it. Some government officials, however, believe
that
> geocaching should not be allowed in certain areas, such as designated
> wilderness. The Wilderness Act of 1964 established these areas as
being
> untouched by human presence or development. By those rules, however,
> virtual caches or earthcaches are allowed there (see Glossary on page
16
> for definitions).
>
> The geocaching community is adamant about their leave-no-trace
philosophy
> and have set up a global cleanup program called Cache In, Trash Out,
or
> CITO. The first CITO event was held in April, 2003 and geocachers
around
> the world participated. Since then, the event has grown and in 2004,
there
> were 160 cleanup events in 41 states and 10 countries where geocachers

> went
> to a specified GPS location and picked up trash along the way. The
overall
> attitude of geocachers' leave-no-trace philosophy is that if you find=20
> trash
> while hunting down a cache, pick it up. The overall effect may be a=20
> cleaner
> environment in areas that don't see as much foot traffic.
>
> Captain Mike said he recalls only one incident in Idaho when another
> organization, the Idaho Grotto Society, a spelunking group that
catalogs
> and voluntarily oversees the protection of Idaho's caves, got upset
about=20
> a
> geocache inside a well-known cave. Once the groups talked it out, and
TVCA
> explained their leave-no-trace policy and concern for the environment,
all
> was well.
>
> [image-2]  This attention to conservation, protecting the environment
and
> creating opportunities to share unique places has caused some
geocachers=20
> to
> become obsessed with the sport. One local geocacher, BENTHEREFOUNDIT,
is
> known among the TVCA group as having the most found caches of anyone
in=20
> the
> group and allegedly doesn't plan on giving up his title. Others do it
only
> part time.
>
> Dan Driscoll, a member of the TVCA, has been geocaching for just over
a
> year and maintains nine geocaches. "I wouldn't say it has taken over
my
> life," he said during a phone interview. "It's just a fun pastime,
> something I do on the weekend. It's just a family-friendly hobby that
is
> interesting. It ends up taking you places you normally wouldn't have=20
> seen."
>
>
> While government agencies may look the other way or accept geocaching
as a
> legitimate sport, it doesn't mean that Big Brother isn't paying
attention.
> Outreach efforts like Sergeant Dan Hambleton's visit to the TVCA
meeting
> and open lines of communication between police and the geocaching=20
> community
> could prevent another incident like the September one at Rainbow
Bridge.=20
> At
> the meeting, TVCA members even offered to create a local database of
known
> geocache locations, so that owners of the caches could be contacted if
a
> suspicious package is reported close to a geocache site. But it is
likely
> as the sport grows, more and more regulations about where people can
put
> caches will be handed down by government agencies, despite
self-policing=20
> by
> the enthusiasts.
>
> [image-3]  Still, with so many new geoenthusiasts, mistakes are bound
to
> happen. Scot Tintsman had been geocaching since April of this year and
had
> found many geocaches near high traffic areas and even one underneath a
> six-lane bridge in California. So when he wanted to put up his first
> geocache, he didn't think it was out of the ordinary to try to direct
> people to a part of the Payette River they don't normally see. "I've=20
> driven
> over that bridge a thousand times, but I really liked that portion of
the
> river and wanted people to see it," he said.
>
> However, his timing couldn't have been worse. The very next day,=20
> Tintsman's
> cache was discovered by the Idaho Transportation Department. He was=20
> heading
> back up to the bridge to finish putting it all together when he
noticed=20
> the
> roadblocks and police. Now, he realizes that should have been a little

> more
> thoughtful about where he placed it.
>
> Since then, Tintsman has placed two more caches, this time following
the
> guidelines. His advice to new geocachers is to "hook up with someone
who's
> done it before. Get on the forums and meet someone who knows what's
going
> on." That way, he said, it might make it easier to understand what the
> sport is about.
>
> [image-4]  While Tintsman violated geocaching guidelines by placing a=20
> cache
> underneath the Rainbow Bridge, this week he will be charged with
breaking
> the law, too. Valley County Prosecutor Matt Williams is charging
Tintsman
> with violating Idaho statute 18-7031, placing debris on public or
private
> property, a misdemeanor punishable of up to six months in jail or a
$300
> fine. Tintsman may also be held responsible for costs involved in
shutting
> down the highway and calling the bomb squad up from Boise. Boise
Police
> spokesperson Lynn Hightower said because the overtime for the Boise
bomb
> squad is paid for by Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), they would be
the
> ones asking for restitution. Julianne Marshall, special agent and
> spokesperson for the ATF in Seattle, said that they usually leave it
up to
> the local prosecutor, so it is uncertain at this time whether Tintsman

> will
> be required to pay additional restitution.
>
> Except for the occasional accidental misidentification of geocaches,
the
> sport is generally safe. There has only been one death associated with
> geocaching. Last winter, 64-year-old James Max Chamberlain was on a
> geocache hunt with his new GPS unit near San Antonio, Texas when he
fell
> off a cliff and died. The moral: While watching your GPS unit can be
> exciting, as you get closer and closer to the cache, it is important
to
> remember where you are stepping and to keep your eyes on the trail.
>
>
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>
>
>
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> Missouri Caches Scheduled to be Archived  http://tinyurl.com/87cqw=20

=20

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 list, click -----> http://www.freelists.org/list/geocaching=20
 Missouri Caches Scheduled to be Archived  http://tinyurl.com/87cqw


 

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 For List Info or To make _ANY_ changes, including unsubscribing from this
 list, click -----> http://www.freelists.org/list/geocaching 
 Missouri Caches Scheduled to be Archived  http://tinyurl.com/87cqw

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