Wednesday, January 9, 2008

My second encounter with the police while geocaching

I had my second encounter with the police today.  The first time was in the state capitol and I was actually benchmark hunting.  This time, I had just found a micro geocache placed way out in the boonies along the side of the road and the state police followed me out and said the lady who I saw walking her dog down the road had called the police on me and was concerned that I had been on her private property. Well, I think I was in the road right-of-way but didn't want to quibble about the details with the officer who didn't seem to have any concern about our hobby.  He just asked me if I were aware that I was on this lady's private property and told me that I got on her property when I left the pavement.   That's a problem with caching in central Illinois. There is very little property that isn't clearly private property and many people around here are very concerned to the point of paranoia about their property being touched by another human being.  I'm not saying that there aren't events in their past justifying a little concern.  It is just difficult finding places to leave caches. 

Private property owners have this paranoia and the property managers of public lands are so paranoid about liability and even possible terrorism threats that it seems to be getting more difficult to get permissions.  Maybe that's just my opinion.  I'd love to hear different experiences from other people in the country.  

Does anyone have any suggestions about improving the quality of places we can find to leave caches?  You can only stand finding so many at the base of lamp posts or inside the railings of bridges. 


mutherandsun said...

I have had the police called by a concerned citizen who thought I was tampering with a fire hydrant. Luckily, the officer was aware of geocaching. I think that is the key. Two ways to deal with this are first, inform the proper people, whether it is property owners or law enforcement and second, be able to explain or show proof of geocaching to educate those concerned.

Bicycle Cacher and more said...

Hi Muther. I have told a couple police about geocaching but this officer wasn't interested. He just wanted to tell me that if I "got off the pavement" I was on private property. I didn't think that was the case but he looked pretty put out about having to get away from his coffee shop that I didn't argue. Had much better luck with the capitol police in Springfield. Thanks for responding to my blog. My first response, Whoopee!!! OH, I'll let you be the first to know that I'll have a new cache in a city park in Le Roy by the end of the week. Go out Wednesday with someone from the city to show them where it will be and it should be listed by the weelend. Happy Hunting