Today there has been a mass-archiving/disabling of geocaches along the Bruce Trail near Orangeville. Normally this wouldn’t be something to write up an article on a geocaching site, but there is an interesting twist to the story. TheCarterFamily has removed several geocaches placed along the trail, with log entries that it was at the request of the Bruce Trail Conservacy. Here’s a couple of the caches that have been disabled:
On GC1202G Elbow:
I’ve been asked by the Bruce trail to remove all my caches on the Bruce Trails. If anyone is in this area can you pick up the cache. Might be a while before I can get to this one.
I’ve been asked by the Bruce trail to remove all my caches on the Bruce Trails.
Now that you’ve got your eyebrows up, I do have to mention a few things. First off, Groundspeak isn’t acting here – it’s the cache owner pulling their caches. Also, this is at the moment localized to Orangeville/Hockley Valley – this may be just the Caledon Bruce Trail Club or Dufferin Highlands Bruce Trail clubs that are pursuing this course of action. Finally, I do need to mention that as far as Groundspeak has been concerned in the past, it’s the property owner who holds the authority here, not a trail association. Hockley Valley Book Exchange, for example, is on Ontario Parks property, not Bruce Trail property. While the Conservacy does hold large tracts of land along the trail, they don’t own all of it so a blanket ban on caches along the Bruce Trail is not exactly an automatic thing.
The Bruce Trail is one of the most popular geocaching destinations in southern Ontario. There’s even a recurring event cache that has a group of cachers hiking the entire length of the trail. To lose caching on that 800+km long trail (with at least that many caches along it) would certainly hurt geocaching around here, but don’t panic just yet. This person who contacted TheCarterFamily may not even be an official with the Bruce Trail – that sort of thing has already happened on other trail systems where a muggle or geo-hater pretends to be an official and sends out cease-and-decist type emails.
When I’ve had discussions with the Bruce Trail Conservacy they were actually quite positive about geocaches along their trail. There are actually several promotions that the club has been using to encourage trail use, including a geocaching like “spot the heritage tree” challenge and side trail quests with prizes where hikers hike along looking for signs with numbers on them.
When in doubt, contact your local reviewer for information. Forward the land-owner’s email to your reviewer so they can verify the validity of the claim and also to update listing guidelines in the area if a change has, in fact, occurred.