Sunday, August 29, 2010

Coyotecal Partie Deux

This geocaching situaton has really ticked me off. Before I went to bed last night I did a little (a lot!) of research and sent Brad (the cache reviewer) another email.

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Hi Brad,
I have been sitting here doing some research on geocaching in South Carolina because this archive request has me really annoyed.

I just moved back to the area in February 2009 and right from the start, as I made new caching friends down here, I have heard about the hoopla with cemetery caching in S.C. When I first heard about it, I thought it was the most insane thing since I have done hundreds of "spirit caches" up North and have never had a problem. I've even done the cache at Stonehenge in England - if that place isn't sacred, I don't know what is!

I went to the Title 16 article that my new "friend" Coyotecal was so nice to point out to me and that article had NOTHING to do with cemetery caches. It is the article pertaining to the DNR ruling that they banned geocaches in wildlife management areas, which seems reasonable. From there I did a full text search of S.C. Code of laws using the words geocaching, cemetery and cemeteries and came up with NOTHING.

I know that in 2005 some overzealous politician tried to get cemetery caching banned which ended up as Bill 3777. Now, as far as I can tell, that bill never passed and is just sitting there, which means that cemetery caching - like in every State I have cached in prior - is actually legal. Is this true?? If so, why is everyone walking on eggshells with getting caches approved and why is bullying allowed by cachers such as coyotecal (who doesn't even have any cache hides/finds!)?

I'm just trying to get to the bottom of this and would prefer not to write to my congressman. Is there an ACTUAL LAW stating that I cannot place my cache on cemetery grounds? If so, what is the chapter and title# because I'd like to read it. If not, I'm so confused as to why people are so misinformed and of why caches are getting denied when no law is being broken.

Thanks for any info.
Pam/skitpero

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After an Ambien-induced sleep fest I woke up today with a response to my ongoing cache war:

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Hi Pam.

The H3777 issue came about because some geocaching activities in historically black cemeteries were perceived to be disrespectful - and whether or not they were done out of lack of respect is irrelevant. Perception is fact. The past use of South Carolina's ports for slave trade is a significant factor.

And you are correct - an over zealous politician from an area with a particular demographic population introduced H3777 with a flash of publicity. Quite a bit of the material used to paint such a dark picture of geocaching came from cache logs in other parts of the country - but that was not disclosed, leaving everyone to assume that all of it had happened in South Carolina.

The important activities took place behind the scenes. First, all caches in and around cemeteries were archived and removed. A small group of dedicated geocachers met with many of the state's department heads with land stewardship responsibilities, and they met with some key senators, explained geocaching, explained the flaws within and behind the bill. Quietly they came up with an agreement with the senators that we would not do any geocaching in or around SC cemeteries in the future. All of this took a tremendous amount of work. I wrote to my state senator on the issue. Ultimately the bill was allowed to die in committee.

With all of this in mind, and after reviewing the photographs you provided in another message, I am concerned that your cache may be in conflict with the spirit of the agreement we made. A question in my mind is whether the cemetery property boundary is defined by the wooden rail fence. If so, then your cache beside the tree inside the fence should not be there.

Do you know any more about the actual cemetery property boundary?

Thanks.

-Brad

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Are you effing kidding me? This infuriated me!! Now I know why there are so few South Carolina geocaches and why more cachers don't place then AND why the caching locations are lame and uninteresting! People are afraid!!

After long thought and consideration I sent this email back to Brad...

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Brad

I'm not quite sure where I'm supposed to get that sort of information... about where cemetery boundaries are, so what if move it OUTSIDE of the fence? To be honest with you, I really can't believe that this is an issue because you don't even have to go near the graves to retrieve the cache. It would be just like any other place of historical significance if the graves weren't there.

I'm really glad that I spent my formative caching days in places where caching is actually respected and fun. It has given me the opportunity to know what caching is really like! The spirit of community, CITO events, caching get-togethers, incredibly creative caches and just the overall camaraderie... that doesn't exist in South Carolina from what I have experienced. This is the most depressing place I have cached - and mind you, I am FROM here! In this area cachers have a totally different attitude and the spirit of a caching community is practically dead... the cachers here are well, I can't even explain it. It's like their spirit has been robbed of them. All I have ever really experienced in South Carolina, when meeting cachers, is a lot of bitching about all the rules and regulations and apparently these cachers have been convinced that this "agreeement" is a law... hence Coyotecal trying to "school me" on the what the law is.... when it is just an "agreement" What is most offensive are people like Coyotecal, who lives cowardly behind a caching name with no personal info or caching stats!!

I realize that you are just the reviewer, but really... this debate over my cache is ridiculous. Although I do not want to do it, I will move it outside the fence if that will suffice. God forbid that we take away another thing that was put in place to educate South Carolinians!

~Pam

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So, with that, I wait for a response. I'm assuming it's going to get archived and if it does I think that will speak volumes of where geocaching is in South Carolina. I sit here and ask myself why am I surprised by this? South Carolina has always been stagnant and behind the times so why do I love this place so much and think of it as home when it makes me insane?? I mean, you can only buy alcohol (beer and wine only, mind you!) in stores on Sunday in Charleston County. They just got rid of mini-bottles in bars a couple of years ago and now allow fre-pour and they just legalized tattoos in 2004! Until then, we were the only State besides Oklahoma to dictate to people that they cannot legally get a tattoo! Isn't that nuts?

So, really... my geocache in a place of historical significance... a place I can PROMISE YOU that 99.9% of South Carolinians do not even know exists - a place where people SHOULD come visit - a grave of a person that most South Carolinians probably know nothing about BUT SHOULD!!! Yeah - we should probably keep EVERYONE from coming here - especially those pesky, Earth destroying geocachers!!

6 comments:

Geek-42 said...

Wow! Do you have permission? If you do then this conversation would be over, just like that!

Pamela said...

I suppose you could ask that question to EVERY geocacher that has placed a cache, couldn't you? The only thing that differentiates this cache from all the others is the cemetery in close proximity and the boredom of some asshole cache-Nazi that has nothing better to do with his/her time...

Algenib said...

How about making it a puzzle/multi where they need to get already-existing info from the sign/grave to take them offsite where a container is hidden? Wonder if it is the physical cache on the property that is the issue, or geocachers visiting. The site.

Pamela said...

That's a good question. I really wish I was in S.C. when all of this was happening! I wonder if there is a transcript of discussions? People visit these places all the time - there are probably more muggles that visit the grave of Francis Marion than geocachers! When I Googled photos of the grave I found several pictures where people were standing inside the the fence and all around the grave - including civic organizations! I can't imagine that geocachers cause more damage than the muggles do...

Beth Niquette said...

This was a VERY interesting blog. The abandoned Mega church across from where my sister lives has a geocache there. She says people come by looking all the time. They are quite respectful, she says.

Pamela said...

Thanks Beth! Every cacher (until recently) I have ever met have handled caching and property with the utmost respect.

This whole situaton has been VERY drama filled and is STILL going on. I think I've managed to piss off everyone involved, but to be honest, I really don't care... it's the principle of the matter and the fact that I've done nothing wrong. I've never backed down from confrontation and refuse to do so now. I'll continue the saga on my blog soon - I'm sure I've got some lurkers who have "cache bashed" me on Facebook waiting for another reason to hate...

Too bad they probably haven't seen the other entries in my blog to find out who I really am and learn that this situation is a piece of cake compared to what I've been through in my personal life!