Sunday, May 07, 2006

Cemetary caches: What's the policy?

I received a suggestion today from Iowa geocacher Windchill, who suggested I link to a post in the IGO forums about an e-mail that fellow geocacher Iowa Tom received. It's a very moving story from the parents of a baby who died more than 40 years ago when the parents lived in the Waterloo area. If you're a parent or have ever wanted to be a parent, you should read the post.

Then Windchill went on to say: "With the strong feelings that this topic brings out, I thought I'd mention it and ask if you would share the official Groundspeak position, and your personal position, on cemetery caches."

There is no universal guideline for all areas of the world about cemetary caches. I understand that in Europe, it's no big deal to geocache in a cemetary. However, in some areas of the U.S., it is highly discouraged.

To answer Windchill's question about the official Groundspeak position, the closest that the guidelines come to a position on cemetaries is this:

"For all cache types please be sensible when choosing your location for cache placement. Please be aware of what may be a perceived to a non geocacher as dangerous or questionable behavior. For example, suspicious looking characters wandering about near an elementary school. The land may be public property, but keep in mind what is on the other side of that property line."

The way I interpret this guideline is to ask the geocache owner to obtain permission from the cemetary owner or caretaker. I feel it's important that the cemetary caretakers know ahead of time that geocachers may be visiting the cemetary, and why, and that they approve of the cache placement.

I also request that the cache owner consider including a note in the description to tell hunters not to geocache after dark, don't hunt for the cache if there are mourners in the area, and in general to be respectful at all times, including not posting photos of themselves next to a gravestone, for example.

To sum it up: If you get permission, you can place a geocache in a cemetary. But please don't place it on or around a gravestone.

1 comment:

WindChill said...

Thanks Ken.

I have spent a fair amount of time in eastern Iowa cemeteries doing genealogy, and find the old stones very interesting. I have enjoyed a few caches that used a neat marker as part of a puzzle/multi, but (like the light-post micro) would not want to see a flood of cemetery caches.