A Handbook for Pennsic Land Agents
I. So, you are the Land Agent.
If you are reading this, it is because you volunteered to be the Land Agent for your group, or someone talked you into the job and you have not gone through the process of Land Allocation at the Pennsic War before. Even if you have been a Land Agent before, please review this handbook because some things may have changed or have been clarified. Hopefully, this handbook will answer many of your questions and help you to successfully navigate the Land Grab process.
Glossary of Terms
- Land Agent: Harbinger is a period term for this job. This is the person from each and every registered camping group who has agreed to be the person responsible for obtaining and holding land for and fellow campers. There should only be one person responsible for each encampment. This person is responsible for being at Pennsic from Land Grab Day until the end of Pennsic. The Land Agents are the people whom Land Staff will contact if there are any questions, issues or concerns. Because you are the Land Agent you cannot leave the site after you have negotiated the land, signed off on the map and set up your stuff. You may make town runs when you are set up, but remember, you or your designated On Site Rep must be in residence for the entire two week Pennsic event.
- On site Rep: The person designated via the group registration on Pennsicwar.org to speak for or negotiate for the group should Land Staff need to communicate with that group during the duration of Pennsic. The On site Rep can be the Land Agent, or they can be another individual (ideally within the group or nearby on the block) - they must be physically available on site for the entire duration of Pennsic.
- Proxy: (optional) A person temporarily designated by the Land Agent to complete Land Grab on behalf of a particular group. if the Land Agent is not able to be present for Land Grab. The proxy ONLY has authority to negotiate on behalf of a group during Land Grab and does not need to be a member of the group for whom they are negotiating. Do not designate a proxy if you intend to be present for Land Grab. ONE PERSON may be proxy for multiple groups. Each GROUP may have only ONE person designated as proxy - if at all. ONLY ONE proxy or Land Agent per group will be permitted to use the express lines at Troll, so please plan carefully.
- Block: Each section of land that can be camped on at Pennsic has been divided into blocks. The block system reflects geographical locations in terms of Cooper's Lake Campground.
- The blocks are:
- E for East of the Main Gate and South of Dragon Trace,
- W for West of the Main Gate and South of Dragon Trace,
- N for North of Dragon Trace and East of Currie Rd,
- B for next to the Battlefield and North of Dragon Trace.
- M for the blocks above the roman numerals on Mt. Eislinn.
- Each block has a number assigned to it, for example, if you are assigned to E-12 you and your campers will be able to look on the map available in the Pennsic site book, to find your assigned block. Each block number is used only for the group pre-registration process. You should notify your campers what block you have been assigned, in advance of Pennsic.
- Land Allotment: This process is done after the Pennsic pre-registration cut off date. The final numbers are tabulated by the Land Staff and the exact square footage for each encampment is determined (# of Pre-Reg Campers x 250 sq ft each before any compression is accepted or calculated.). Your group will be allotted 250 sq. ft. per pre-registered adult, child, and infant. You may not pre-register any "ghost" children and infants. Any abuse of this rule will be dealt with harshly. Once the final determination of square footage is made, the Land Staff goes through the process of finding a place for each group, trying to match up the space available and requests made for particular blocks. If you need assistance locating blocks with available space and other conditions for your group's 4 block choices, you may contact Land 1 (email@example.com) before the close of pre-registration.
- Pre-Pennsic Negotiations: The Land Agents will be sent block assignments and the contact information for the other Land Agents on their assigned block via email - generally within 2-3 weeks of the close of the pre-registration period. This notification will also contain, where applicable, single camper space that must be accounted for in your block. Prior to arrival at Land Grab, it is up to the Land Agents to negotiate the exact placement of their encampments and any single camper space within the borders of the assigned blocks. If this is done before all of the Land Agents arrive at Pennsic, Land Grab Day will go much faster.
- Seniority: Each year that a group camps on the same block, it will earn a year of seniority on that block. Groups are assigned to a block based on their years of seniority. In rare situations senior groups may be moved from their block, due to reasons like excessive growth or unexpected changes to the geography by either nature or the site owner. Such changes may be temporary or permanent. Seniority applies only to block assignment. No seniority is given to specific locations within a block.
- Vehicle Passes: No one (including Land Agents) may drive onto the block until all of the groups on that block have signed off on an accurate map of their block and the map has been approved by the Land Staff. Land Agents will then receive temporary passes (5 per group) which will allow one vehicle per pass to drive throughout the site (past the Troll area) so they may begin setting up.
Camp Authorization Form: In your Land Agent Block Assignment email there will be a link to the Camp Authorization form, which it is your responsibility to print, complete, and bring with you to Land Grab. The Camping Authorization form must be posted at the main entrance of your encampment once it has received its approval sticker during the Land Grab process. This is required. You will be provided with a plastic baggie to keep it dry. The form must be placed in an area that is easy for the Land Staff to see and read as needed.
II. What is your job as Land Agent?
- You must register your group on the Pennsic Land Office webpage. All Land Agents are required to have web access and a working email account. If you are a returning Land Agent, when you sign on to register for the new Pennsic year, please confirm that your user account contact information is still correct before selecting your group and confirming that the pre-filled information is also still accurate.
- You should be in contact with all of the people who are camping with your group, and have contact information for all of them. Inform them of the exact group name you have registered, so they can select it when they pre-register. (Accuracy is critical with group names. Hyphens, spaces, and underscores MATTER. "House Land Grab" and "House LandGrab" would be two distinct groups.)
- On a regular basis, you should monitor your Land Agent account to see who has pre-registered for your camp so you can: a) remind those who should be registered to do so; and b) identify people who may have chosen the wrong camp. If there are discrepancies, contact the Land Office immediately so these these problems can be resolved. It may be possible that some of the campers registered the group name incorrectly, which is easy to fix early. This is hard to accomplish at the time of Land Grab, so if there is a problem of this nature, the sooner you contact the Land Office, the better.
- After pre-registration is closed and the final group lists are generated. Your group will be assigned to a block according to your group's requests, availability of land, group seniority, etc. Each Land Agent will be given a list of the other Land Agents for the block and their email addresses. Pre-Pennsic negotiations can start for final placement of each camp on the block. If Land Staff has determined that your block also contains single camper space, it will be noted in your allocation email. All Land Agents are responsible to assure this single camping area is clearly delineated on your block. If you are camping on the same block and with the same neighbors as last year, this can be a very easy process.
- As a gentle reminder to all acting Land Agents: Good faith negotiations with other Land Agents on the same block preceding Pennsic are expected. Please check your email frequently after the close of preregistration and communicate with the other Land Agents on your block. If you will be unavailable for an extended period of time during the negotiation period, please let other Land Agents on your block know. In the event that a Land agent has been unreachable by email for an extended period of time, the Land Office may be able to provide their phone number to other Land Agents on the same block.
- Each Land Agent should print a copy of their Camping Authorization form and Block Map and pack it in an easily accessible location for Land Grab. If a Land Agent is unable to print the required items, they should contact the Land Office as soon as possible, so that copies can be provided for them. These requested print outs will be made available for pick-up at the time of Check-In during Land Grab.
- Immediately after completing Troll check in, Land Agents shall proceed to the Great Hall on N01 to check in at the Land Office. After these two check ins are complete, locate the other Land Agents for your block at time and place mutually agreeable to all the Land Agents on your block. Land Office opens to accept check-ins on Friday morning at 9:00 am.
- If it is necessary for all the Land Agents of a block to go to the actual block and work out the final map, they may enter the site on foot, (After Trolling in and checking in with the Land Office) to negotiate the camp locations. Please stop by the Great Hall on N01 for assistance if you require special accommodations to reach your block before your vehicle is permitted on site.
- When everyone has agreed to a final map, accurate divisions are to be to be marked on official block map .pdf documents (not screen shots) downloaded from pennsicwar.org. (The link to the map of your specific block is provided in the land allocation email.) This official map will then be signed by all the Land Agents, and the map will then be presented to Land Office where it will be reviewed for approval. Once approved Camping Authorization seals and parking passes will be provided to the Land Agents.
- Having completed the above steps, the actual set-up of each camp can start. It is your responsibility as Land Agent to mark all of the borders of your encampment. Acceptable examples: stakes and flags, ropes, surveyors tape, or chalk paint. Following Land Grab, members of the Land Staff will check that you have appropriately displayed your Camp Authorization Form, and that designated Single Camping Spaces are clearly marked and properly allocated.
- Once your camp is set up, your active duties as Land Agent are mostly complete, but you (Or the On Site Rep) must be on premises for the duration of Pennsic. If there are problems or disputes, it is the Land Agent or On Site Rep that the Land Staff will be talking with; so one or the other must be available on site for the entire duration of Pennsic.
III. How to choose a block:
- Before you choose the four (4) preferred block selections for your group:
- It is a good idea to talk to the others in your group who have camped before at Cooper's Lake Campground.
- Does your group already have a somewhat "traditional" spot? Many groups like to be in the same area or block year after year. If your group has already built up years of seniority in a particular block, you may want to include it as one of your four choices.
- Existing groups should consider that there may be some areas that you have camped in the past and never want to camp there again. (eg. no shade, too damp, too noisy.)
- Find out your group's history in terms of camping at Pennsic. There may be reasons why your group only wants to camp in certain areas of the campground.
- Try to determine whether or not the block you are requesting has space. Even if you usually get your first choice, it is a good idea to review your other choices periodically to determine if they are still likely to have space - particularly if Pennsic is approaching an important anniversary year like 25 or 50. If one or more of the blocks you request are already full, it is unlikely that you will be placed on that block, and one or more of your selections could be "wasted" where it might have been more effective on a block with sufficient space. If you are unsure which blocks have open camping, consult firstname.lastname@example.org for options before the start of Pennsic. During Pennsic (if you are a regular attendee) you can stop by Troll or Information Point to look at the Single Camping maps to get an idea of what blocks have sufficient available space for a group the size of yours..
- Other things to consider:
- Is your group a Royal (Kingdom) Encampment? (Not necessarily the camp with the King and Queen, but the encampment that is named "Kingdom of ______.")
- Does your group prefer sun or shade?
- Do you need absolutely flat land or can your group camp on a slight slope?
- Do you have a lot of fighters, shoppers, students, archers, etc that wish to be placed closer to those activities?
- Do you want to camp far away from everyone and be in a less developed area?
- Do you need to be near flush toilets or the existing permanent shower facilities?
- Make sure that you talk to the Pennsic veterans in your camp. They can help you. These needs/interests/requirements are reasons why you need to know who is camping with you.
- You need to have four (4) unique block selections for your group. Not everyone will get their first choice and if you do not indicate your group's preferences you will be placed at the discretion of the Land Staff who only see the number of campers, not the requirements of each group. It is better to think carefully and make four well-planned choices that the people in your group can live with.
IV. Understanding Block Maps:
A surveyor and cartography staff have assured that groups have a relatively accurate map to represent the block they are camping on. Please be aware that these maps represent a 'snap shot in time' of the block. The surveys for your block may have been done years ago or as recently as last year. Mowing, line painting, erosion, etc. may alter the final size and camping area of a block each year within a margin of error. The Land Office does their best to review and allow for these differences in mapped block size and actual usable space. If you believe there is a significant discrepancy between your mapped block space and what is marked on the ground when you arrive on site, please visit the Land Office for assistance.
V. Assignment of groups to the blocks and initial map negotiation:
- You will receive an email notifying you of your block assignment approximately 2-3 weeks after the close of pre-registration. This is why it is vitally important that you confirm that your land agent account has a valid email address on file with land.pennsicwar.org.
- Why didn't we get our first choice?
- The biggest consideration for the Land Staff is group history/seniority on a block. How long a group has been camping in the same block is the single largest factor to retaining that block from year to year. If for some reason a group grows or shrinks enormously, it is possible that the Land Office might move them, depending on the seniority of the other block tenants. It may be that you are requesting land that you have not camped on regularly and other groups had greater seniority for that block.
- Your group might be too big for the block you requested, or perhaps your group was the smallest with the least amount of seniority.
- Once the final land allotment is made, an email detailing the assignment, names of all the groups in a given block, and any single camper space on the block is made available to the Land Agents of each block. Depending on history, group size, and other factors already discussed, there may or may not be new groups on your block.
- Once the final land allotment information is posted, the Land Agents are expected to pre-negotiate the divisions of the land within their block via email, phone, or whatever method is agreed on by all agents. This will help the day of Land Grab go more smoothly for your block. However, the official final map divisions cannot be approved* until all of the Land Agents are on the Pennsic site. *The pre-arrival map approval "PMAP" processes is an exception.
VI. Arrival at the Pennsic site
- You should plan to arrive on the site sometime after 9:00 am on Friday.
- You will not be allowed onto the grounds before 9:00 am on Friday, as there are no facilities available until 9:00 am on Friday.
- You will not be allowed to park on the Battlefield before 9:00 am on Friday.
- The campground is not open before Land Grab.
- There is absolutely no parking or stopping on Curry Road. The PA State Police have jurisdiction over traffic on Curry Road, and modern traffic laws apply to all vehicles thereon.
- Plan to arrive at the time agreed to by your block's Land Agents in advance of Pennsic. No group may complete Land Grab before all Land Agents or Proxies are present, so if it is likely that you will be later than your fellows on the block expect, please communicate this to them as early as possible so that everyone may plan accordingly.
- What can I do on Friday after 9:00 am of Land Grab?
- Troll in at the gate.
- Land office is open 9:00 am. Come to the Land Office at the Great Hall to check-in. Bring your completed Camping Authorization Form and Block Map, and sign any applicable waivers (gas line/digging restrictions/etc) required for your block pick up any additional information pertinent to your block.
- Find all of the Land Agents from your block. You can leave messages at the Land Office for other Land Agents on your block and find out who has already checked in.
- Final negotiations within a block should not start until all Land Agents/registered proxies from that block are present.
- Once negotiations are complete, it is time to draw your finalized map, sign it, and have it approved by the Land Office, receive your Camping Authorization Form sticker, and vehicle passes.
- Reasons to be on time:
- Do your best to check in on Friday or assign a proxy to negotiate in your place. Late Land Agents inconveniences your fellow Land Agents and may have a negative impact on your ability to negotiate advantageously, since final negotiations cannot start until everyone is present.
- If you know in advance that you cannot arrive in time for Land Grab, you may designate a proxy to negotiate and sign in your stead. Your Proxy should be trustworthy and understand the needs of your group, as they will have permission to sign the final map and receive the Camping Authorization Form and Parking Passes on your behalf.
- In case of emergency:
- If you know more than a day in advance that you cannot be on site for Friday of Land Grab (By noon, unless a later time is agreeable to all Land Agents on the block), you should designate an emergency proxy by emailing the Land Office email@example.com.
- If something has happened en-route, and you have determined that you will not be able to arrive on site by Friday at noon, you should designate an emergency proxy by emailing the Land Office firstname.lastname@example.org and CC all the other Land Agents on your block to keep them in the loop.
- Land Staff cannot, except in the case of extreme situations, negotiate land on your behalf. Please attempt to communicate with and advise the Land Office so that they may better negotiate on your behalf. You may not get the block location you had planned for. Once finalized, the Land Office will not renegotiate for late Land Agents.
- If you need to change Land Agents because you cannot attend Pennsic at all, please assist your replacement in creating their Land Agent account on the land.pennsicwar.org web site and contact email@example.com with the new account username and the group name so that Land 1 can ensure that copies of all official documents are directed and/or copied to the correct parties. After initial registration, changing the Land Agent account associated with a group is a manual process and will not happen without direct intervention by Land Staff.
VII. Negotiation Guidelines:
- Please remember that all Land Agents are equal. Whatever titles or honors someone has earned in the Society does not give them any special consideration. Every Land Agent has the right and the responsibility to a fair and equitable land distribution. Whether your group is a Barony, a Shire, a Principality, or a household makes no difference. Each paid registrant in a group gets 250 Sq. Ft. No one should be expected or required to pay in goods, services, or money for their spot on the block. If anyone tells you, "To get the spot you want, you must buy me something, pay me something, or do something for me," they are wrong. The word for that is EXTORTION and it will not be tolerated. If this happens to you we request that you contact the Land Staff immediately!
- Royal Encampments (Groups registered as "Kingdom of _________") have first priority on the block. Royal Encampments have only get the land allotted to them, no more. Their location on the block is pre-determined and will not change.
- The initial negotiation process can start once all the Land Agents for the block are engaged in the conversation on whatever platform you have agreed upon (email, phone, chat client, etc). Land Agents are encouraged to communicate with one another before the start of Pennsic to make the Land Grab process go more smoothly.
- Final negotiations and map sign off must (Pre-approved blocks are exempt) take place on site after all the Land Agents or Proxies on each block are physically present. While you may not drive around the site, you may walk to your block, take measurements, and agree to any adjustments to allow all the groups to fit onto the block.
- Your group's rights include:
- All of the land allotted to your group. Your group should not be required to give up any of its square footage. You may volunteer to give up square footage in order to fit on your assigned block. You may speak to the Land Office to request a different block assignment in order to assure you receive your entire land allotment.
- Clear access from your encampment to a main road that borders your block. Additional roadways or pathways may be included on the map, however their square footage must be created from land donated by registered groups on the block. Single camper space on a block may not be used to create roadways for land locked groups on the block.
- Dispute resolution:
If, for any reason, the Land Agents cannot come to an agreement, do not hesitate to call on one of the Land Staff representatives to help with the problem.
VIII. Finalizing the Block Map
- Preparing Your Final Block Map: Once all the Land Agents have agreed to the location of their groups on the block, a single, final block map must be created on the official block map. The only recognized block maps are the .pdf download available from land.pennsicwar.org printed on US letter sized paper. The final block map must include:
- Clearly delineated boundaries for all groups
- Legibly write or type the name and location of each group on the block map.
- Clearly labeled single camper space, where applicable. Note that single camper space is not required to be the 'best' land on a block, however it cannot be land-locked and must have unobstructed access to a mapped road. Representatives from the Land Office will be physically inspecting single camper space on blocks to assure that final block maps are accurate. Groups with more than their allotted space will be required to re-adjust their borders to assure sufficient single camper space.
- The modern legal signatures of all Land Agents on the block.
- Maps may not be drawn in color or pencil, or re-drawn on auto-CAD software, except as a separate layer of the official .pdf map.
- Approval of the Final Block Map
- Double check to assure you have completed all the steps to prepare your Final Block Map. Make sure that the dimensions are correct and that any single camper space is clearly marked and labeled. You must also have your completed camping authorization form with you.
- All Land Agents from a block must be present when the Land Office reviews the map. Stay together.
- The Land Office representative will review the map for completeness and assure that all Land Agents and/or Proxies are present. Please be prepared to answer any questions the Land Office representative may have about the map.
- A Land Staff representative will sign off and retain the Final Block Map for the Land Office.
- All Land Agents will have their Camping Authorization Form approved.
- Land Day vehicle passes will be distributed.
X. Follow the instructions of the Cooper's Lake Campground staff regarding vehicle access to the site.
XI. Responsibilities at your campsite:
- On the day of Land Grab you must:
- Conspicuously post your Camping Authorization Form near the main entrance of your camp in a waterproof container. Land Office provides a sealable plastic bag for this purpose—your parking passes are usually in them. You may build something more elaborate if you wish, but the Camping Authorization must be visible such that Pennsic Staff can read it.
- Clearly mark the boundaries of your camp.
- After Land Grab day you must:
- Be available to discuss land issues if Land Staff representatives visit your camp.
- Ensure that your neighbors do not encroach on your allocated space. If there is a problem, please contact the Land Office via the Watch.
- Make sure that the campers in your group do not encroach on your neighbors.
- Notify the Land Office if an emergency requires you, as Land Agent, to leave the site for an for an extended period of time, update the "On Site Rep" field of land.pennsicwar.org website for your group to ensure that someone you trust is available to make decisions for your group.
- Ensure that all members of your group are following site rules, especially those pertaining to treatment and use of site property. Your group can be penalized for these violations (eg: leaving fires unattended, digging sump holes of inappropriate depth, not filling in sump holes, leaving behind garbage, etc.). It is your duty to communicate and enforce these rules with your group.
- If there are problems with your group:
- The Land Staff will talk to you as the representative of your group to resolve any issues
- Where applicable, the Land Staff will hold you to the borders on the Final Block Map that you signed off on.
- Entire groups or individual campers who do not cooperate or break the rules may have action taken against them, up to and including removal from the property. Past sanctions have applied to future years attendance, block assignment, land square footage allocation.
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