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Everything posted by nikcap

  1. On a case by case basis, we all need to be concerned about geotrails. Different landowners will feel differently about them. During talk with the State Parks on NJ, Geotrails were a big concern, citing everything from they look bad, are unsafe and cause a liability, on the other hand Delaware wants cache more than 100 ft form the trails as to not create a geo-trail to the cache. Go figure. I remember some time ago someone posted that the Kokopelli trail was visible on aerial images. Recently, this example was pointed out to me. GC30
  2. It happens, we serve the community and sometimes that is late in the night. I can say, it is frustrating to receive multiple emails of "I have a permit, I just never put the required info on the page". Double work is not appreciated. And even worst, I've come across 1/2 a dozen caches that have the state permit information already on the cache page. I really hope those archives were a glitch in the archiving process and not NJSP reneging on those permits. Thanks for your work O.
  3. Yes. I know of about half a dozen Geocaching players that have chosen the Enlighten or Resistant paths since the app was available on the iPhone and their caching has slowed down dramatically or stopped completely. Of course, I believe that Geocaching hit the Event Horizon around 2011 in my region. While there has been other drama in my region that cause some players to drift away, I think a lot of player drifted away because they were looking for something new.
  4. Some of the coolest "metro" caches I've found were placed on the property of family-operated businesses. Often where the proprietors have a front-row seat to the antics of finders. The caches tend to be micros as mentioned, but sometimes decent-sized containers. There's one local cache at a family business in the middle of town here, a regular ammo can, and it's a TB hotel. I was going to suggest this too. Having the property owner in on the "secret" allows one to do a little more with the hide and opens up more hiding possibilities. You might even get help with a gadget or mechanical cache idea! Obviously, micros are easiest to hide in an urban environment. I've found my fair share of fake gum, fake rocks, fake poop and fake bolt caches. While not unique to me, I do always finding caches that are more than just a nano or hide a key stuck to something. A Wherigo style cache or history multi or puzzle cache is always a fun too. ending these with a hide a key that has been painted and camouflaged to match the environment is always nice. While it's not a unique container, the extra effort is often appreciated. Do a youtube search for urban caches or how to hide things in plain view. Maybe you'll get inspired while you are driving around town and see something that works. Good luck!
  5. Thank you for the update Rock Chalk, and thank you Groundspeak for coming up with a solution that makes the Reviewers jobs easier, reduces the appeals workload and provides Challenge Cache CO's & Challenge Cache Finders a way to remove ambiguity and subjectivity as to who do and doesn't qualify for a challenge. Hopefully, there will be more options for validating, such as GSAK, but all things considered, I like the way this is going. Thanks GS for not killing Challenges outright. They can be a fun part of the game. Hopefully, we'll get a new icon for Challenges too! I've always like this guy!
  6. Just curious, how did cache placing go in 2015. In New Jersey. it appears to have been on track with last year's stats.
  7. HD, my sympathies for the lose of Andy Bear. A fine geocacher, and nice guy that I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of times. Thank you too both of you for all you have giving to the local geocaching community. His trade mark "Found it.®" Logs will be missed, they always made me chuckle.
  8. "Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that Geocaching is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do. Go through your containers and look for lost travel bugs." Whenever I see one of these topics posted, it always makes me think of Snoogan's Event Horizon thread. Project GC has a neat Histogram of cache placements by date. You can narrow it down to you state of choice and zoom into a range of years. It seems that Geocaching hit a saturation level a couple of years ago and with that, parks and local governments took notice. Most have responded in one way or another, as a result, "legally" placing a cache has become a bit more of a challenge. Couple that with most of the sand box is saturated with caches already, and it tough to find a unique or good hiding spot.
  9. I think they are hitting the nail squarely on the head. As a company and website, and through their users, they do inspire discovery, exploration and adventure. They provide the best tools in the geocaching business to bring this adventure to novice and power users equally. It's clearly states that they want to make everyone an explorer. From what I can see, they do an excellent job at promoting their brand and getting individuals that wouldn't even consider venturing into the woods ... or looking under a lamp skirt ... for a secret treasure.
  10. I'm not convinced of this. I think some of the initial silliness of Geocaching Challenges had started to wear off, and the Geocaching Challenges that I saw later (both local and worldwide/locationless) looked much more interesting. Unfortunately, Groundspeak pulled the plug on Geocaching Challenges a week or two later. But I'm assuming that they learned something through the process of creating (and then removing) the system. And that learning process can help the development of whatever Challenge Caches evolve into. I agree, GS didn't really give the "Challenges" a fighting chance once the silliness wore off, and some of the more serious players started to work out the kinks. By the same token, GS should have jumped on the challenge cache concept about a year ago. New guidelines made more of a mess then actually fix the key issues. I don't know what the middle ground it, but I really hope we all can find something that works. There are so many good ideas that bounced around Geocaching (Virtual, Locationless, Challenges, ALR), but always seemed to get out of control. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Old New Challenges could be re-born and challenge caches and virtual caches could be wrapped up into them. Beside, I would love to see the "Super Cacher" Icon and "Flying Airplane" icon again
  11. This is fantastic news. Thank you OReviewer. You hard work on this is much appreciated.
  12. This seems about right. It was a hash winter and many folks didn't venture out into the woods. In Central Jersey, we can't hide caches in State Parks or Wild Life Management areas at the moment, so that take a big chunk of area off the board where we can hide caches that require a little walking in the woods. In CNJ since the start of 2015: 97 caches have been placed so far, - 29 micros, 16 Others, 14 Regular and 28 small. - 21 caches are puzzles with unknown coordinates, 2 are challengesl I don't know how many are within 100 yards of pavement, but I would guess most area. I've hidden two caches this year, and both are withing throwing distance of the road. I can can actually see from the nearby highway, it's an April's Fools puzzle, has 7 finds and 2 favorite points. 22 have received more than 2 favorite points (12 being the highest) and another 20 have received 1 favorite point. 48 of the caches are 1.0 or 1.5 terrain rating, I'm currently too lazy to actually average out the ratings. I have no idea if this is good or bad, better or worst then last year, but my impression is that the cache quality and hiding has gotten a little better in the CNJ area. A few hand made crafty caches have inspired others to do the same. We have a couple of excellent cache hiders and cachers that go all out decorating ammo boxes or cache containers. We also had a cache that coordinated several cachers to place creative caches in an area we call the Geo-Farm. This has inspired a lot of people. Cache hiding is very much monkey see, monkey do.
  13. IMHO, I'm surprised it's taken HQ this long to address challenge caches. We're at the point were every 2 or 3 weeks there is and angst and/or grief ridden topic about challenge type caches. For the most part, I like challenge caches. I like working on them, even one's that I pre-qualify for I generally choose to start from scratch on them. At one time, I supported the idea of a new icon for this, but, fizzy is right with the race to bottom. HQ had a enough foresight to see that this would most likely result in a rash of goofy and silly challenge type caches just to get the icon. In an ideal world, there would be some what to auto-approve or "geo-challenge-chack" qualifications and once approved your would automatically received the final coordinates. I have no idea how this would be implemented, but I have faith that GS and GC.com will come up with something that will make challenges better. I'm truly looking forward to what we all come up with. Let's just hope it doesn't get filed under "Make Better Mistakes"
  14. The first time a bureaucrat threw the idea of geolitter on the table someone should have challenged that notion with the statistics I generated above. I am willing to bet that the volume of abandoned tree stands on public lands exceeds the volume of geocaches on public lands. As for CYA as relates to climbing caches, have you seen the statistics for tree stand accidents? And how could finding water access caches be more inherently dangerous than fishing from a watercraft? Michaelcycle, I agree with you. And, as geocachers, we should be reporting tree stands that are nailed to trees and are still in place after the season. As well, any tree stand that is not properly tagged and permitted, we should report too. Once, again, we need to be careful about comparing Geocaching to hunting and fishing. In NJ, you need to purchase a permit for participating in these activities, and even with that, you are limited to the time you can actually do the activities. If you think the permit policy is bad, I'm sure the idea of limited caching times and paying to find caches wouldn't go over much better. Even though several geocachers have expressed that they wouldn't mind paying if they could have carte blanche on their hides. Once again, I believe the idea of "littering" is being thrown around because it one of the only violations that the State Park Police can issue. I once heard that they could only issue disorderly person, trespassing and littering ... this might be different now as I was told this by a park ranger about 6-7 years ago.
  15. and now that I've given my option about what the NJDEP can and can't and would and wouldn't do about geo-little; if you have access to the SJG facebook page see chstress53's (a former NJSP Naturalist) reply about how the state parks handles abandoned property in the woods. Basically, the NJDEP can't do anything unless they have an iron clad case.
  16. "Geo-Litter" is really an small tiny portion of the whole equation. But, let's think about it like this. The NJSPF built a geocaching policy around existing rules and regulations. This was the easy route. The NJDEP could have written an amendment to the State Park Policy Service Code, or could have created a pay permit and special use permit system for Geocachers. Geocachers leave their personal property in State run parks. There is a law against this. Do Geocachers consider hiding caches littering? I don't, and everyone reading this probably doesn't either. Is leaving caches in the woods littering to hikers, hunters, bird watchers, photographers, mountain bikers, tree-huggers, etc ...? Maybe, maybe not. Other then a special use permit for hunting, is there any other activity that is permitted in State Parks and forest that allow for visitors to wander off trails? Nope. We should all be familiar with N.J.A.C State Park Service Code 7:2-12.3 Hiking trail restrictions. "No person should leave a designated hiking trail. Anything a hiker brings into a state park should be removed by that person." Here's the kicker, we advertise that we're leaving stuff in the woods on this (and various other Geocaching) websites. I've yet to see website for shady and cheap contractors listing ideal locations to dump their waste in State Parks and WMA. We're like fish in a barrel. The one thing I've learned with this whole process, is that for the most part, the State Parks have no problem with geocaching and see geocaching as a low impact and passive activities in the parks. But, if the Supers are going to approve caches and take some kind of responsibilities for the caches, they will need to CYA ... just in case Saul Goodman take up caching in the great state of New Jersey. I highly doubt that NJSPF will go around looking for abandoned caches and seeking out the owners, but why give them any reason? But, by the same token, littering/abandoned property is one of the key points that park personal and DEP employees keep bringing up when I've talked to them. When it come down to it, the littering/abandoned property aspect is the only thing that has teeth.
  17. Any old timers remember using FRS radios set to channel 2 for this? I've recently used Google Hangouts. That's probably what I would use now ... if more cachers were on G+ and the Hangout. There is another location based game that uses this app almost exclusively and it work well in that enviorment
  18. Thank you O! I know you put a lot of time and energy into this with the NJDEP. Your efforts are much appreciated.
  19. For 2015, I'm going to work on: Double fizzy and the non-traditional fizzy. Try to complete the Jasmer Challenge. Find at least half of the 175 solve puzzle caches I have in my GSAK Complete the Washington County Geo-trail in Maryland Kick off the 2015 Central Jersey Checkpoint Challenge Hide another Wherigo Cache Hide an InterCache Hide another SmartPhone/QR Cache style cache. Hide another UV Cache Create an Earthcache Create a Gadget Style Cache Host a series of Puzzle Events
  20. Actually, from an environmental stand point, I think snow melt run off IS a bigger concern for the NJDEP over Geocaching. I'm pretty much with you 100% on your other points and with minimal knowledge I have and minimal discussions I've had with park supers and creating members of this policy, limiting cache saturation and abandonment are a big part of the driving force behind this policy, but more importantly a policy needed to be written that was inline with casual use of the state parks with the use of a Special Permit on the cache finder. As for the local cache groups/clubs. It's very hard to get members motivated in anything other then finding mass quantities of caches. I've heard many cacher complain/state that the local clubs are very cliche-ish. But, with that said, the input from the local groups did have an impact on the final draft. Nik, I know of no one who knows for certain the identity of the persons who engaged in discussions with the Park personnel. I would be interested in learning that and in what capacity they did so? NNJC was not authorized by by law or referendum or poll of its members to do . I'm of the opinion that those who presumed to approach the Park personnel should also be willing to explain to their fellow catchers by what right they believed they were acting properly. With the exception of two caches I have on State Property (The two I adopted) I visited the park office to get permission/inform them that I was hiding a cache. So, the relationship I have with some of the park supers and naturalist go back 10 years. I never assumed that because I placed a cache previously, that all was good today. But, mostly, I did this just to keep a good relationship going. Only once was there a concern and I was able to find a better spot.
  21. Actually, from an environmental stand point, I think snow melt run off IS a bigger concern for the NJDEP over Geocaching. I'm pretty much with you 100% on your other points and with minimal knowledge I have and minimal discussions I've had with park supers and creating members of this policy, limiting cache saturation and abandonment are a big part of the driving force behind this policy, but more importantly a policy needed to be written that was inline with casual use of the state parks with the use of a Special Permit on the cache finder. As for the local cache groups/clubs. It's very hard to get members motivated in anything other then finding mass quantities of caches. I've heard many cacher complain/state that the local clubs are very cliche-ish. But, with that said, the input from the local groups did have an impact on the final draft.
  22. I researched this a few years ago, hopefully, I'm recalling this information accurately. There is a big difference between Out of Service and Abandoned. Most of the rail lines in NJ where the tracks or other railroad artifacts are still present are Out of Service. These are still owned by the railroad and are private property. Abandoned ROW are parcels where the owning RR has given up the rights to the property and usually, the property reverts back to the original property owner, if it was obtained through eminent domain, otherwise, a governing agency can take control of it. In the case where the ROW is truly abandoned, it is the responsibility of the abandoning RR to remove track and ties and other artifacts. Of course, if that RR in question is going bankrupt, you can see how this turns into an ugly situation, usually, with the local or state government footing the bill to remove the track and cleaning up any environmental waste. I love caches placed along all RR ROWs. They are a lot of fun.
  23. Is that a bad thing? (IMO, no it isn't a bad thing) What do the three caching groups and "self governance" have to do with anything? We have no "formal" group in RI and have no issues with the local DEM. I did not say that a change in proximity was a bad thing. I did not opine one way or the other, I simply said there is likely to be a change resulting in a fewer number of caches. Ramapo State Forest has long been thought to be over saturated by many. But if the burden of permitting is too great, the park superintendent can simply limit the number by application of the State Proximity policy. That will be a major change from that which was previously employed. The three groups failed to address the issues that the parks people were encountering in the form of abandoned un maintained and guideline violation caches. It was free range and there were associated problems. These problems came to the fore when one group attempted to become the arbiter of who could and who could not place caches, forced archival of caches for an event they sponsored and to make way for their own powertrail. The group was not anticipating the reaction and they did not go about it with a bad intent, they are nice people , but they were extremely heavy handed and they refused to discuss the matter with other in the group. They produced a bit of animus in the local community and the parks were drawn into the fray. The parks responded with a policy formation program when none had been necessary before. The animus still exist today, more than a year later. I do not say this is a good or bad thing, it simply is what it is. The formal adoption of a twice annual maintenance visit in the policy will make it difficult for the hider with 200 hides, I can't imagine certifying to 400 maintenance visits per year. That is now a policy requirement. We had enjoyed a relationship of benign neglect from the Parks in NJ, we were under the radar and caused no problems until the interaction and clashes within the community drew the parks into the idea that they now needed to police the activity because no one else was taking the responsibility to clean up geo litter or to maintain neglected and abandoned caches. Our landscape in NJ is dotted with unmaintained caches. I can PQ 5 miles and hit 500 caches with the needs maint attribute, and nearly 50% of them are owned by cachers no longer involved. The relationship that your group in RI has with your local Parks body has no relevancy to that which is occurring in NJ. In NJ there has been a woeful lack of group giveback. Aside from private cacher trail maintenance , there has been but one or two CITO events in the northern third of the state in the last year. There are currently none listed for the entirety of the state. We have one cacher , who was among the most prolific and skilled hiders, who put an extreme amount of effort and creativity into his hides who has abandoned about 100 hides, all of which are now fallen into geolitter status. Yet the local organization remained silent in the face of that. Some of this has produced a negative reaction from local park personnel. I believe that the net effect will be a great reduction in numbers of caches within state controlled lands, which in NJ is almost 1/3 of the land area. But on the positive side, many old caches will be removed and a new generation of caches will be placed. I have always believed that if we are to have a good working relationship with land managers we must show ourselves to be good stewards of the latitude given us. I think in NJ we have come up a little short lately. Many prolific south Jersey geocachers have always been great stewards of our forests and I don't think we've come up short at all. While that statement may be true for north Jersey, it certainly does not apply down here. We've always had a fantastic relationship with our park and forest rangers and if it were up to them, I think this policy would be much different. We've held many CITO events over the years, both published and unpublished and many before my time as a cacher as well. You say that this policy will introduce a new generation of caches, but I tend to disagree. Maybe with a new generation of cachers, this may be true but most of us yearn for the "good ole days" when we had blanket permission from our rangers based on the reputation we've built with them in the past. In any case, the policy is here to stay now regardless of what we do or say and we'll just need to grin and bear it or stay out of the state forests which unfortunately for south Jersey, the pine barrens cover most of our lands. I think it's save to say that all three groups have had really good relationships with some of the local state park. In Central Jersey, many members have volunteered time to State Park functions including clean ups and Geocaching classes. I do think we've come up short with this policy. While I never really had a problem with getting a permit (fee or no fee) and the term limit, I'm disappointed at the policy in a whole. Then again, from what started at 2ft off the trail and only regular and large containers being permitted, getting 10ft off the trail and only having to label the container with the ID# seems like a sweet deal!
  24. This is a great point! Speak strictly on my own opinion, I believe that many park superintendents will give a lot of leeway on some of the stipulations. Many of the park supers I've meet have either geocached, or know about the game well enough. Others supers and park naturalist are a tougher sell, and will probably stick hard to the policy. I would like to encourage everyone with cacher to take the park supers on a hike with them. From this point forward, we need to be partners with the State Parks. Take pride in you hide!
  25. Greetings! The NJ State Parks and Forestry Geocaching Policy has been posted to the Welcome to New Jersey's State Parks, Forests and Historic Sites home page. Permits are ready to be accepted at Park offices and hides will start being evaluated in January. No new caches will be permitted for 120 days, during which time, all existing caches will need to be permitted. The North New Jersey Cachers, South Jersey Geocaching, and Central Jersey Geocaching groups, along with our local reviewers have all worked hard to get a policy that we can live with. If you'd like to discuss the policy and how it affects your caches, or you caching experience in New Jersey State Parks, please bring the discussion to one of the local groups or in this forum. There is no point in call, emailing or posting to the State Parks facebook page about you concerns. The three groups are in discussion with their local park superintendents. They have a lot of permits to get through, let not aggravate state parks with more issues and get back to Geocaching in State Parks quickly.
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