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Re: asking permission
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #158226 by Human Ills
Nov 29, 2007 11:48am
Board
I would like to apologize in advance to those who think this thread should die, but I want to take the time to address this point by point. I am not much newer here than "Human Ills", so if I am off base, someone please point this out to me. This is not a vendetta against any particular person or opinion. I merely wish to express my point of view on a few things, most importantly the question of effective communication with land managers. If we can't communicate effectively among ourselves, I don't see how we are going to do so when dealing with "muggles", especially when they are in positions of authority.

Why play into the hands of short-sighted beauracrats?

1. By phrasing it this way you are making broad assumptions about the motivations of land managers, which may be justified to some extent, but it is probably not a good starting point for negotiations.
2. Ryan has stated that if those "short-sighted beauracrats" have policies then compliance is expected under the AQ Terms of Use. I would argue that some due diligence on the part of the planter to determine these policies is reasonable to expect. How an individual planter chooses to exercise that diligence is up to them. I would choose to just ask.

Is a letterbox the same thing as a geocache?

As far as the NPS is concerned, basically yes. I would expect other large management agencies to follow that pattern.

What is the damage to the environment?

Sometimes it is considerable. I have seen plants from people that I would consider reasonably conscientious that I would not have approved. It is not my place to decide what is appropriate environmental impact on land that is not mine. Public property is not mine, and the responsibility for deciding what is appropriate impact has been delegated to those "short-sighted beauracrats", for better or worse.

Not all policy proclamations are legal.

That is possible. However, it would be my personal preference to argue that point from a position where I am not viewed as having already violated the policy in question.

Getting more people to use more parks should be viewed as a GOOD thing.
Working to overturn lousy public policy is a GOOD thing.

Agreed. I think that many people are making progress on this front.

Asking permission just ruins it for everyone else.

Not asking permission is just as likely, if not more likely, to have this effect, unless you are so presumptuous as to think that your hiding spots, and peoples' stealth, are good enough to avoid detection ad infinitum. I don't have that kind of faith.

Of course the permission won't be granted, and all you have done is put us on their RADAR. I'm pretty sure they view what we do as LITTERboxing.

In many cases these assumptions are incorrect. It is fair for planters to be frustrated for being turned down or having their plants removed when they have done nothing wrong. Developing an attitude like this before you have even tried, and based on faulty assumptions, is probably counterproductive.

I think it's just as politically likely that ALL parks, state and federal, will eventually be off limits to boxing. Not the other way around.

Recent events show quite to the contrary.

Which brings us back to the "should we ask permission" question. Only if you want to be told no.

Again, this is often not the case. Perhaps you should leave the assertions to those with experience?

isn't the act of asking permission what puts boxing on the radar?

I don't think so, but if it were, would that be a bad thing? Which is preferable? If I engage the land manager, I have some control over the impression that I give, and give them a chance to offer their input on what is being proposed. I have a high level of control over the first impression that the land manager has of letterboxing. If the first interaction they have is finding a box, their entire reaction is based on a set of circumstances over which the planter only has a marginal level of control.

You really want to make this a full blown battle, don't you. You are not going to convince me ...I'm done here. I mean seriously...Here we go again....Why don't YOU tell me I'm not raising my children correctly, or setting a poor example?

Human Ills, I can't help but feel that the primary person here who has made this personal is you. You are the only one trying to make this a battle. You are clearly trolling for a fight, when there is no basis for one. It is clear what Ryan expects of AQ users, and you have agreed to abide by that, so there should not be a problem.

Do not ask the authorities about a letterbox if you cannot find it. While one should get permission to plant a letterbox beforehand, most letterboxers work under the theory that planting letterboxes is okay until they are told otherwise. In such a case, not only will the authorities be unable to help you, they may instead confiscate the letterbox!

NOTHING that anyone has posted is contrary to the spirit of that statement.

By my reading, that statement indicates and supports the following:

-One should ask for permission, but not assume that others have.
-One should place the safety of the box above ones own desire to find it.
-A box is owned. This is similar to property rights and generally respected by participants.
-Finding is a privilege, and those attempting to exercise the privilege should not jeopardize the rights of the planter, which may not be respected by those outside the hobby.

People are free to do what they like, but need to recognize and be willing to accept the potential consequences of their actions. In general, I think that most everyone in these forums understands and accepts that.

Initially I was going to mostly ignore this thread. However, I think that recent shifts in policy by the NPS, along with a growth in the hobby (of which I am probably a part), warrants a reconsideration of what had become a common practice, namely the practice of"plant and pray" or "ask(ing) for forgiveness, not permission". I know that my opinion varies from a significant population of far more experienced boxers. I only expect to be considered by those interested enough to read. Winning or losing a debate is not the matter at hand, but the state of a hobby. Yes, a hobby, that some such as myself are capable of taking far to seriously. ;) Only time and experience will show what is right.

Everyone will do as they see fit, but if you expect to publicize your actions, and others feel that your actions or attitude could potentially effect their enjoyment of this wonderful hobby, you should expect to hear about it.
Re: asking permission
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #158578 by sunnyside seeker
Nov 29, 2007 12:06pm
Board
Thank you Sunnyside! I agree with and appreciate everything you said. I love a voice of reason!

The only thing I disagree with is that if "Pulic Land" is not yours, then whose is it?
From my opinion. We all, as the "Public" have a responsibility to preseve and protect all "Public" land. Letterboxing is a great way to show your support by drawing the "Public" to their own land and by boxing responsibly, you are showing others how to treat the land we all share!

The bottom line is, if you feel you must ask, ask. Don't flame others who feel differently.
If you know you MUST ask (posted policy) then you MUST ask.
If you don't ask and there is not posted policy, that is your right too... what is important is respecting our natural resources while we enjoy them
Re: asking permission
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #158592 by The Vs
Nov 29, 2007 12:14pm
Board
The only thing I disagree with is that if "Pu(b)lic Land" is not yours, then whose is it?


Mine and everyone else's too. That means that I don't get to make unilateral decisions about how it is used, but rather must either accept the consensus of accepted uses, work through established channels to get my use approved, or do as I wish and be prepared for the consequences, which may either be significant or none at all, but it can be a gamble. See the recent thread about widely varying fines for littering. I believe that was in Georgia.
Re: asking permission
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #158596 by sunnyside seeker
Nov 29, 2007 12:18pm
Board
OOO good thread! I do think that if there is a process in place for asking permission in a park or area, then it should be used.
That said, that is my opinion. Some may agree, some may not. That their right. I can only control my own actions!
Thanks for a great discussion!
Re: asking permission
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #158578 by sunnyside seeker
Nov 30, 2007 10:01am
Board
I agree with everything in Sunnyside's post, speaking as one of those bureacratic land managers (City Conservation Agent). Members of the public are constantly using the argument that "It's public land, and I am the public, so I should be able to ...(choose) ride my ATV, have a fire, let my dog off the leash, play paintball, etc." The elected officials and/or land managers have to decide what are the most appropriate uses for that land, and everyone needs to respect that. Members of the public widely disagree with each other, so the government acts as the referee. I disagree with the National Park Service ban on geocaches/letterboxes, and have emailed my disagreement to them, but I would always comply with it.

At the town and state level, unless there is a pre-existing official policy on letterboxing/geocaching, I think it is fine to assume the boxes are OK, because it generally is. We have 1900 acres of natural open space in my town, and everyone is very happy to hear that it is being used for letterboxing, in fact, it is encouraged. Land managers have much more important things to worry about than letterboxes. For example, I have to deal with neighboring residents cutting down trees, expanding their lawns and dumping in the open space. Park/ballfield managers are just trying to get the grass cut, keep the trees trimmed, and empty the garbage cans. They don't care one way or the other about letterboxes, as long as it doesn't create more work for them.

I do think it is important to take special care to plant boxes in such a way that reduces environmental damage, for the future of letterboxing. In Connecticut, I've seen historic stone walls dismantled in the search for letterboxes, and vegetation trampled. I think more should be done in our community to encourage clues that are precise and clear enough so that if you "crack" them you know exactly where the box is and don't have to search for it. If a stone wall is 3 feet high, and the box is at the bottom of the wall, say so. Vague clues like "look for the blaze on the small birch next to a rock", when there 50 places that match that description also invite environmental damage (and annoy the letterboxer). Such damage can result in policies banning letterboxing. Having said that, I think letterboxing is FAR ahead of geocaching in that respect. Many geocachers purposely hide their boxes in such a way as to make you search and search an area with no idea where the cache might be. And that may be another rub: Damage caused by geocachers get letterboxes banned. In fact, that may be why they were banned by the NPS.

Coincidentally, I just got back from asking permission to plant a letterbox on public property - inside a library. I just felt that this type of plant would be different than out in the woods. I did get the permission I needed, the librarian's thought it was neat, and now if they "find" the letterbox I don't have to worry about anyone getting upset.

Happy Trails
-TT
Re: asking permission
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #159091 by Trailhead Tessie
Nov 30, 2007 10:19am
Board
I disagree with the National Park Service ban on geocaches/letterboxes, and have emailed my disagreement to them, but I would always comply with it.


Just to be clear, this policy is being reversed. More information can be found in the wiki here:
http://www.atlasquest.com/aboutlb/wiki/browse.html?gCatId=31#q53
Re: asking permission
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #158159 by WalkinOrange
Dec 1, 2007 6:43am
Board
Quote But it doesn't always stop with simple disrespect. In many other areas, I think we have moved to a culture of "I must be right". Being "right" becomes more important than being honest, more important than open communications, more important than being correct or having your facts straight. When I realize I'm in a community where that is the norm, I have no desire to stay.


Well, I AM right....

You may kiss my fingers. Uh uh....no tongue.

I must be off to be super-important. Ta!
Re: asking permission
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #158240 by Three Hearts
Dec 1, 2007 6:50am
Board
Quote Yep. :o) Must make nice with the rangers. ::nodding::


*nod* They have the best pick-a-nick baskets...I'm soooo sorry, just watched Fantastic 4 #2, where he calls a grizzly Booboo.

I used to work in a National Park, and the rangers I met were 79% nice, and overwhelmingly sweet people....and they can make your life a living hell, if they want to....legal enforcement powers, you know. So, DEFINITELY make nice with the Rangers....otherwise, you may become more familiar with the people who abuse the authority, and nobody wants that. I sometimes think they're like guard dogs; the Park Service hiring them so they have someone to "sic" on people. The bad Rangers.

"Who wants to go on an enforcement run?"

--"OOH! ME!!! ME!!!"

You see what I mean.

But most of them are really nice, at least, my experience of them shows that.
Re: asking permission
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #158592 by The Vs
Dec 20, 2007 6:46pm
Board
Thank you Sunnyside! I agree with and appreciate everything you said. I love a voice of reason!

The only thing I disagree with is that if "Pulic Land" is not yours, then whose is it?
From my opinion. We all, as the "Public" have a responsibility to preseve and protect all "Public" land. Letterboxing is a great way to show your support by drawing the "Public" to their own land and by boxing responsibly, you are showing others how to treat the land we all share!

The bottom line is, if you feel you must ask, ask. Don't flame others who feel differently.
If you know you MUST ask (posted policy) then you MUST ask.
If you don't ask and there is not posted policy, that is your right too... what is important is respecting our natural resources while we enjoy them.


After a long cooling-off period, I also appreciate Sunnyside Seekers post (congrats on the BnB patch btw). Very articulate and reasonable counterpoint to every point I made.
While I may be guilty of a bit of trolling here in this forum, one should not come to the conclusion that I'd put myself in the same position with land managers. I took great offense at the comment someone made about raising their kids the wrong way, and I've not seen a mea culpa on that point, but I digress.
I realize that AQ's stated policy is to take every measure to ensure that the AQ community is not an accomplice to "questionable activity" and I totally respect and will do my utmost to abide by that.