Sunday, December 31, 2006

Fake bolts in road signs: Is it vandalism?

Geocacher welch has asked another good question for this blog. Citing a discussion thread in the forums, welch asks:

" is vandalism to have seekers take a bolt out of a sign... Like 'if they removed a sign bolt to replace with a fake one then it would be vandalism, but if they filled a hole that was already open it wouldn't be'...
What would be your reply to that thread? How about if the bolt hole theading was stripped out so the bolt could be pulled out (by hand), allowing the sign to swing away, and a cache was hidden underneath?
What about if the bolt was just a hollowed out and magnetized bolt head that onlystuck to a sign so it looked real, but was just 'hanging' there?"

In general, these sections of the guidelines apply to the questions about roadsign bolts:
"Caches that deface public or private property, whether a natural or man-made object, in order to provide a clue or a logging method." and... "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."

If a real bolt is removed to insert a cache disguised as a fake bolt, this would reduce the structural integrity of the sign's attachment to its mounting, so it would not be an approvable cache, IMHO. But even if a hole already exists in the sign and a fake bolt is inserted, I still don't like it. It's not good to have muggles and law enforcement see geocachers messing around with street signs. However, if the geocache owner makes a point of obtaining permission from the local police chief to place such a cache, and then states that permission in a note to the reviewer or on the cache page, this could result in the cache being approved, provided there aren't other circumstances that also need to be addressed.

Friday, December 29, 2006

What a December!

I don't know why it's happening, but this has been a crazy month for new caches. I have already approved more than 130 new cache listings in Iowa during December, in addition to a number that have been archived, plus lots of contact with geocachers about one thing or another. Maybe it's because we haven't had much snow yet combined with the annual Christmas surge of new GPS units in the hands of newbies. Whatevever the reason, there's been no let up during the past few weeks. I hope you're enjoying new cache finds in your area.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thoughts about sharks

Please excuse another non-geocache-reviewing post. I've corresponded with a few of my fellow geocachers about our recent dive trip to the Bahamas and our shark dives, so here are a few photos. It was a truly amazing experience. What I learned: Sharks are not evil. They are beautiful creatures and unlike what we landlubbers are led to believe by Hollywood, they don't automatically eat humans whenever they encounter them in the water.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Thanks for the help

If you had a cache approved in Iowa last week, did you notice that the reviewer was Electric Mouse instead of IowaAdmin? My thanks to reviewer Electric Mouse for filling in for me while my wife and I took a week-long vacation away from the Internet and email connections.

Reviewers have several options for handling vacation time. I think most of us choose to continue our reviewing duties while on vacation because of the increasing availability of Internet connections. However, in my most recent case, we were out of the country in a hotel that didn't have Internet in the rooms, so I wrote to Electric Mouse ahead of time to ask for her very capable assistance. Things must have gone smoothly because I didn't have anyone write to say "Boy, am I glad that you're back!"

Just kidding. I didn't really expect that.