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Metro NY Geocaching Society • View topic - Central Park asks for Geocache Removal

Central Park asks for Geocache Removal

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Central Park asks for Geocache Removal

Postby EastVillageFamily » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:09 pm

Yesterday the NY Admin archived . Geocaching.com had received an email from a Central Park worker:

> Hi,
>
> Found one of your geocaching buckets in the Loch area of the North Woods in Central Park. Since its part of my job to keep the area clean I'm asking if you could remove it. The number on the inside of the lid is GC15BP5.
>
> Thanks,
> Brian
Email: ********@centralparknyc.org
Thank you,

This brings up many issues surrounding geocaches in Central Park and NYC. The person writing the email asked that the cache be removed, implying that it was garbage. It happens that I had visited the cache recently, showing it to a group of visitors as an example of a geocache, and I had found it well hidden, dry, and clean. Needless to say, we left it that way. This leads me to ask: How was it found by a park employee?

As I have a few friends who work for the Central Park Conservancy, I will try and find out who Brian is and how he came to find a geocache. I do think he showed some grace by trying to contact the owner, rather than just throwing it out. I once had a cache repeatedly thrown out by the gardener who watered the barrel it was hidden under, even though I had permission from the owner of the barrel and the restaurant it was in front of. The water would reveal the cache, it was easier for the gardener to throw it out than to ask why it was there.

I am hoping that the Central Park Conservancy does not decide to have a look at any more of our hides. Technically, they could decide that anything hidden in Central Park should not be there. With that said it was probably the size of the Ubercache that is more upsetting to the park workers. Remember, anything the size of an ammo box or larger left sitting around anywhere in public, in NYC, is considered a "suspicious package" and "will be removed". This is the terminology used in various public service announcements that the joint terrorist task force has had distributed in Manhattan.

If I find out anything more about why the Central Park Conservancy asked for the cache to be removed, I will post it here.

The CO, C-ville Elite, removed the cache last night. I am sorry to see it go, it was a unique cache that we were fond of pointing out as an example of unique geocaching creativity. Thanks C-ville Elite.
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Re: Central Park asks for Geocache Removal

Postby C-Ville Elite » Thu May 01, 2008 9:47 am

Thanks for starting this thread, Mark. Judging by the message I received from BLAA below, it seems like the cache was out in the open and that it wasn't too difficult for the Central Park staff to spot.

"Hi there:

We've been meaning to send you a message that when we found your Ubercache on Tuesday, it wasn't
really well hidden. If you collected it later that day, then you probably found it where we found it. We try to leave a cache in the place where and how we found it ... although it did look to us that it might have originally been in a "lower" position. We found it sometime between 2:30 and 3:30 PM.

It was hard to believe that we were in Manhattan ... you found quite an isolated spot for the cache. Although it was not at all visible from a path we did see it from about 15 feet away ... we were going to include that information in our log, but we didn't that was necessary after we saw the postings later that day. But we did think it best that you have this information.

-BLAA"


Regardless of how the Central Park Conservancy found the cache, I was very surprised that they went out of their way to contact geocaching.com about the cache (under the Ubercache lid it said "geocaching.com" and the cache ID). I figured they would simply throw it out. I assume they have one or a few geocachers on staff?

The Ubercache will be back. Just give me a few weeks to find a spot big/safe enough for hiding it.

Keep us updated EVF.

- Nick
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Re: Central Park asks for Geocache Removal

Postby EastVillageFamily » Thu May 01, 2008 3:44 pm

None of us should believe for a second that there is such a thing as an isolated part of Central Park where you can get away from people. Everywhere we have been in Central Park, including the Ravine and the Loch, we have been surprised by muggles, and not surprised to have people watching us. This is a difficult part of geocachers relationship with the Central Park Conservancy. They see us as crowds of people who deliberately walk off of the beaten path, destroying the landscape in the process.

This is why a few years back, the CPC contacted Geocaching.com and asked that they ban geocaches from Strawberry Fields. Just as the CPC had erected fences to stop the huge crowds of tourists in the area from trampling their newly seeded lawn, they ran into a group of geocachers doing just that. I think we need to be thoughtful about our hides in Central Park, since most of the geocachers who come to search for them will be tourists from out of town, and maybe not so sensitive of the local environment.

The Loch is deceiving in it's tranquility. Last year I found myself hunting for a geocache there in one of the more infamous areas of the park. I was surprised, both by how much work the CPC had done to clean up the area, and by the number of folks who were still living in the area. I suspect that the CPC was afraid the geocache might result in a path being beaten down to GZ.

I have emailed the gentleman who reported the cache to Geocaching.com. I hope he responds and we can discuss these issues with him.
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Re: Central Park asks for Geocache Removal

Postby halijusapa » Thu May 01, 2008 6:36 pm

I hope it comes back, I was hoping one of these days to get down there and find the Ubercache, I have never found a "bigger than Regular" (aka "Large") cache and I think it was the only cache of type Large in the entire NY area; in fact I have no idea where the next nearest such cache is.

But I can respect the CPC's concern about Strawberry Fields, given the state of disrepair it somewhat got into say 25-30 years ago and all the history connected with John Lennon behind it.
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Re: Central Park asks for Geocache Removal

Postby EastVillageFamily » Thu May 01, 2008 7:05 pm

The archived Geocache that upset the Central Park Conservancy back in March 2005 was:

This cache had many problems, it was a vacation cache left by a geo-tourist, that didn't seem to be maintained. If it had been disabled when the fence went up, and re-enabled when the fence came down, there probably would not have been a problem. But, as the logs show, first a geocacher posts photos of the sign and of the cache hiding spot, saying he didn't sign the log because of the sign; then a few more geocachers log the cache anyway. The CO should have disabled when the photo of the sign was posted.

The sign from the log in 2005:
Image
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Re: Central Park asks for Geocache Removal

Postby addisonbr » Thu May 01, 2008 8:16 pm

Hmm. I seem to recall similar resistance from the same non-Metro-er/geo-tourist/vacationing/etc. cache owner when a cache in another part of Central Park became part of an area the Central Park Conservancy was trying to repair, suggesting from hundreds of miles away that people go around the fence and subvert the environmental measures. I didn't realize the same CO was why we got booted from Strawberry Fields. That is really frustrating.

Okay, here is my take on the Ubercache...

Things that make me sad:
- One of the best caches in the City, bar none, has been archived

Things that make me a little less sad:
- The CPC didn't freak out; they sent a polite email to Groundspeak
- The quick response by Groundspeak and C-Ville Elite may have helped protect geocaching in Central Park in general
- C-Ville is going to resurrect the Ubercache!

Overall I am cautiously optimistic that the CPC and geocaching are still getting along...
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Re: Central Park asks for Geocache Removal

Postby EastVillageFamily » Thu May 01, 2008 8:42 pm

Thanks for jogging my memory, I had completely forgotten this absentee CO, who lives in the Buffalo area, but insisted that they could maintain Central Park caches:

(from my personal list of Archived NYC caches-you can't currently search for archived geocaches on Geocaching.com. A problem they say they will fix due to popular demand, but who knows when)

I found that seems to make it clear that the CO needs to be local. Well I'm glad this group has already solved that problem.

I can't wait to see how C-ville Elite resurects the Ubercache in a new location. It certainly calls for another clever hide, and I'm sure they're up to the task.
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Re: Central Park asks for Geocache Removal

Postby Child Of Atom » Thu May 01, 2008 9:46 pm

CP requires an inordinate amount of thoughtfulness to successfully hide a cache that is going to last. Between the tourists, the hometown muggles, and the homeless every square inch of the place gets examined every day.

When I found Ubercache initially it was very well hidden (I was FTF on this cache), and then when I revisited it a few weeks later to do a coin drop it had gotten even better hidden, with the addition of the cammo tape to the lid. When I tried to do a coin drop a few weeks ago a large amount of the brush that had been used in the hide had been cleared. For instance the circular slab of lumber that fit into the lid had disappeared. I'm fairly certain that CPC had done some maintenance in the area and removed a lot of it. Unfortunately that also put the cache in danger of being submerged when the water rose, which is what I think ultimately happened to it. I didn't visit after the most recent resurrection, so I can't attest to how it was hidden, but if they had been working in that area, it's reasonable to believe that they may have come back for another round. Who knows. I'm sad to see it go too though, it was the best coin and bug drop in the city, bar none.

The good news is that CPC didn't petition GPSK to remove ALL the caches, which they could reasonably do any time they wanted. I've heard of dozens of other places where restrictions have been placed, or outright bans have been put into effect. Central Park is reaching saturation anyway. It's about time to start branching out to Inwood Hill, Highbridge Park, Fort Tryon and those areas.
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Re: Central Park asks for Geocache Removal

Postby addisonbr » Thu May 01, 2008 9:54 pm

I think one thing I am going to do in the wake of the Ubermuggle is from now on include a note specifically addressed to the Central Park Conservancy in my Central Park caches. This is in addition to the traditional "Congratulations! You found it, intentionally or not..." geocaching explanation sheet we all usually include anyway. Something nice and polite addressed to clearly the CPC with contact information for the cache owner and a message that if there are any issues in the least with the cache placement we'd be more than happy to work with them to change or fix or etc.

I'm going to try to replace Love Bug in Central Park this weekend and will try to come up with some text before then. If I come up with something I'm happy with I'll add it to Snug as a Bug in Central Park and Beat the Clock as well.
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Re: Central Park asks for Geocache Removal

Postby EastVillageFamily » Thu May 01, 2008 10:13 pm

:idea: Great idea addisonbr!
Please post the text of your note here. It would be a good idea for all of us with geocaches in Central Park to include a similar statement.
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Re: Central Park asks for Geocache Removal

Postby Harry Dolphin » Fri May 02, 2008 6:34 pm

CPC seems to be a very Geocaching-friendly organization. It is well aware of Geocaching. There seem only to be two caches of which it has requested removal. Imagine had the problem of being in a closed area for a while, which did not stop geocachers. That is when CPC stepped in. A pity about Ubercache. That was a fun cache, and we loved it! But, if not rehidden well, it might well look like trash. Interesting that the note about Imagine seems to have come from CPC, while the note about Ubercache came from a volunteer.
I wouldn't blame MamaBear for her vacation caches. They were permitted, and even encouraged, when she hid them. (Though it did take her a fair while to update Water Water Everywhere when the original verification disappeared.)
Central Park is a very tough place to hide a cache! Millions of muggles everywhere! And, yes, they are everywhere!
We thought long and hard on our hide. It probably took us over a year to find what we thought was a good hide. And, even so, it being Central Park, we have had to perform maintenance a few times. (Eastern Europeans seem to have this thing about Ziplock bags!) We thought we had found an inteteresting spot, until the homeless person sat down next to us, and started jabbering...
Does the CPC have a policy?
Child of Atom: Please! Not Highbridge Park! Read what happened to SplicingDan at Dry Bridge. Only place that Andy Bear and I went into the woods (on a busy Sunday late morning), and we scared a bunch of kids out of the woods! (We were among the few finders of Candover's Dry Bridge.)
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Re: Central Park asks for Geocache Removal

Postby Bonick0 » Fri May 02, 2008 10:40 pm

How about an outreach program? CPC obviously knows about geocaching, so maybe someone should get in touch with CPC to let them know about our group. Tell them there is always someone around to take care of the caches in the park, and we'll most probably know the owners and how to get a hold of them. If we play nice with them, they'll play nice with us.
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Re: Central Park asks for Geocache Removal

Postby EastVillageFamily » Sat May 03, 2008 10:11 am

As I said above, I have several friends who work for the Central Park Conservancy, and we are preparing to make that pitch.
The problem is that since current NYC anti-terror policy is that nothing can be left unattended in public spaces, we risk a knee-jerk reaction from the CPC leadership saying no geocaching at all, because they don't want a public policy that encourages anybody stashing anything in the park. Currently our friends no about, and check up on some of our caches, but its always been a "don't ask, don't tell" kind of policy. As long as you don't alarm anyone or cause any damage, they're happy to look the other way. Right now I'm waiting to hear back about the Ubercache, I'm trying to find out how much of the CPC leadership heard that this was a problem...
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Re: Central Park asks for Geocache Removal

Postby addisonbr » Sat May 03, 2008 3:25 pm

I agree with the "let sleeping dogs lie" philosophy on this, although I think the informal approach EVF is taking is fine. Generally speaking I think we have a good relationship right now, and that CP cache owners have been doing a great job of being responsible and checking up on each other's caches. (I can't speak for others, but I feel as responsible for other caches in CP as I do for my own, and have performed at least as much maintenance on caches that aren't mine as on those that are). I'm not sure I want to put the CPC into a situation where they have to come down officially "for" or "against" geocaching, because for the person who ultimately makes that call there isn't much upside to deciding "for". In the meantime, I'm pretty sure the CPC knows about my caches, and I am taking good care of them, so I am comfortable.

The Ubermuggle is a real drag, but I do think that the response of C-Ville probably went a long way towards showing the CPC that we are a reasonable bunch of folks who love the park and are willing to work with them.
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Re: Central Park asks for Geocache Removal

Postby EastVillageFamily » Sun May 04, 2008 9:48 am

New topic started:
:arrow:
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