Lost and Found: Urban exploring

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Itching to find out what's inside that abandoned building down the block? Before you get busted or break your neck, here are some things to remember.

Get permission. Just because no one's living in a building doesn't make it legal to go in. Without a property owner's permission, those who explore buildings can be charged with trespassing. Heed all posted signs. If you aren't sure if it's cool to enter, don't go in.

Consult the experts . Organizations such as the Ohio Exploration Society have gone through hundreds of buildings, so they can tell you how to venture places safely and legally. They've made agreements with some owners who let people look around their buildings.

Watch your step. Even if you can enter a building legally, it can be extremely dangerous. Floorboards break, nails protrude, mold abounds and structures collapse. Always tell someone where you're going. Never go alone.

Walk softly . The urban-exploration ethic is simple: Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints. This way, others can enjoy the experience, too.