Greenwood Cemetery to stop geocaching over concerns of unnerving mourners
Geocaching concerns (July 1, 2013)
The large public cemetery plans to remove three geocaches inside its boundaries in the near future over concerns the recreational activity may unnerve people grieving.
Geocaching is essentially using a global positioning system (GPS) to find a specific location, often where someone has placed a log book or object to be found. The activity amounts to a modern form of online scavenger hunting.
But, Karl Crawford, superintendent at Greenwood Cemetery, said he plans to contact the cache owners if possible this week to let them know the geocaches would probably be removed after a complaint of suspicious activity was reported relating to geocachers last week.
Jennifer Ross was visiting her son’s grave recently when she noticed some people nearby lurking and waiting for her to leave the gravesite.
“I was terrified,” Ross said. “I wanted to make sure they weren’t going to disturb what I had planted or anything, because people do sometimes do stuff.”
Ross said the people were there late in the day, likely because they didn’t want to be seen exploring around the graves during the day.
The suspicious activity prompted Ross to call 9-1-1.
“I don’t want people hiding stuff by my son’s grave and I think other people would probably want to know what is going on,” she said. “It’s very disrespectful.”
According to Geocaching.com, one of the locations in Greenwood Cemetery has been visited by more than 84 people.
While geocaching will no longer be allowed, the public is still welcome to use the property.
“I do appreciate her concern that she thought the people were acting suspicious,” Crawford said, explaining why the sites will be removed.
Crawford said while grieving patrons are the top priority for the cemetery, he also wants to keep cemetery friendly for the public. The large cemetery — funded by the city of Petoskey and Bear Creek and Resort township tax dollars — overlooks Lake Michigan and is commonly used by joggers and walkers. Staff at the cemetery generally is inviting of the public — as long as they do not disturb people visiting graves.
The cemetery is also a historical icon in Emmet County, having been originally designated by the Michigan Legislature in 1897 and even occasionally offers historical tours of its grounds.
“It is a 105 acre public cemetery. It would be a shame if it was only being used by people who were coming here to mourn. It has a beautiful view of the bay,” Crawford said.