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OGA - Admin

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  1. As of this date we have not had any requests from any land authority (in Toronto) for discussion of policies or restrictions. However, no Geocaches can be placed on lands under the management of Ontario Parks or Parks Canada at this time. These include National Historical Sites and Heritage Sites. However the use of data gathered from plaques placed in publically accessible areas is still permitted. Should you be considering an area that is intended for specialized use (i.e. the lands adjacent to the Science Centre) you should consult with them. Be aware of the intended use of the land in question, and based upon other permitted activities you should be able to determine suitability. When in doubt, ask. OGA - Admin
  2. According to an Email that OGA received tonight from the Parks Canada representative, the intention of the Parks Canada workgroup is to present their proposal for a final Geocaching Policy to the Senior Management of Parks Canada this summer. OGA - Admin
  3. Personal opinions are as valid as any other. All of it is relevant to the discussions, and OGA would be unwise to attempt to filter or distill this thread. The official statement made by Ontario Parks was posted by Cache-Tech, and to the best of OGA's knowledge has not changed. OGA has not made any official statement to Ontario Parks, but we did meet with them as was detailed in previous posting in this thread, to try to facilitate a mutual understanding of the concerns and how we can together provide an enjoyable experience to the visitors of the lands managed by Ontario Parks while remaining within the Mandates they too must observe. As for a time line, all of the required information is contained with this forum thread, and posted as it becomes available. OGA - Admin
  4. The content within this forum thread is all relevant and has helped the entire Canadian Geocaching community develop a concensus, or at least guided to a common core belief as illustrated in the posts contained within this discussion. Everything regarding a time line is contained within this forum thread, including the requested information. Parks Canada's only official statement can be found on their web site, as well as on the OGA web site Policies affecting Ontario Caching. As for OGA, we met with Parks Canada on one occation, as is detailed in this thread, and all further information has also been previously provided. OGA has not made any official statements to Parks Canada, but we have provided input by way of our experience with Geocaching as has been illustrated in this thread previously. Addressed in the reply to request 2). Full review of this Forum thread would provide such information. Again, OGA cannot comment on the actions of Parks Canada and their dealings with other Provincial Groups. OGA - Admin
  5. As of this time, there has been no change in the status regarding Geocaching Policies created by Ontario Parks. The content that was posted on November 27th, 2005 is the most recent. While we do keep in contact with Ontario Parks as needed, they have indicated to us that the committee process can at times be lengthy, and we must be patient. We continue to hope that the information that has been provided by members of the Ontario Geocaching community (OGA or otherwise) is helping to illustrate how Geocaching can be a benefit and help to promote proper use of the lands under the management of Ontario Parks. Edit: typos and including the following Perhaps the local reviewers are aware of additional information. As always any important information that OGA receives is always posted here as it becomes available. OGA - Admin
  6. OGA cannot provide any form of timeline with respect to the other Provincial Groups, nor the actions of Parks Canada. Parks Canada official closed the public input portion on December 31st, 2005 and is in the process of forming a team of individuals to respresent both the Parks Canada staff and also individuals from several Provincial groups. We are currently await a time line from Parks Canada, and a detailed description of the next step in the process. At this point, there is no official change in the Parks Canada policy. Any other requests for updates would be best addressed to the Geocaching reviewers, as they would be better informed on national developments. OGA - Admin
  7. OGA - Admin received the following email from "thecyr"
  8. I (under my regular account) received the same email from Parks Canada today. We will be posting it on the OGA Site ASAP, as we host documents of that nature too. I would like to thank the Parks Canada main contact for Geocaching Policy developement and creation for her efforts to provide an update regarding the progress made and evaluation of the content of emails received. Parks Canada had indicated that there would only be a public comment made once the period for public input had completed. I'm glad that we've been granted a preview of the types of emails and content of them. There was a lot less emails generated over the past months than I would have expected. As I indicated in my reply to the Parks Canada rep, I can only think of three reasons why this would be. 1... Geocachers are not aware of the Policy and the opportunity to help shape the future of Geocaching within the Parks Canada areas. 2... The Geocaching community is indifferent to the issue 3... The activity of Geocaching has a minimal impact on the Park System since few people are actually Geocaching on Park Lands. I think I'll guess at #1. OGA - Admin {The opinions in this Forum posting may or may not reflect those of the OGA Executive and/or Membership of OGA. They are provided 'as is' by the Administrator alone}
  9. We are not restricting ourselves to one possible provider. And naturally we would favour a Canadian producer over other countries, as long as the pricing was within reason. But again, we will see how the numbers fall. That will be a deciding factor amongst others. OGA - Admin
  10. We are looking into creating one. To be forthcoming, and probably repetative, GA Cacher wrote to me regarding the production of an Ontario Geocoin. I replied that we would be interested in seeing a Proposal put together. That was the last thing that I heard. But I may have missed an email, it has happened before. Our OGA Store Manager has recently contacted GA Cacher to request information about OGA getting a coin. They are a little busy, but will get back to us regarding. As such, we are still looking into the option of an Official OGA Geocoin. I can honestly say that the current OGA LOGO would be on it. That is a non-negotiable, and if that is not a posibility then OGA would not have one commissioned. As for the notion of people buying coins and just keeping them... I would say that ALL OGA Geocoins would be identical except for tracking number (no gold/silver/bronze). If people only want to buy them to keep them, that's their decision, but I would like to think that people would treat them like Travel Bugs. Sure the OGA001 coin might be a "Keeper", but if there is enough that they aren't like the Moun10bike coins then they will wander. Let's be honest.. buy 2 coins... keep one for yourself and send the other out into the world... see both sides of the Geocoin. OGA - Admin edit: Oh and we (OGA) would also be wanting to be the sole distributor of any Official OGA Coin. That way it is an ONTARIO GEOCACHING COIN. I have no issue with the fact that an American company is creating the Ontario Geocoin at all. But I would EXPECT if not DEMAND that the image content of an OGA Geocoin be created in Ontario by Ontario Geocachers and that any production whether it be Canadian or American would be dictated by OGA. Basically OGA would provide all of the details about the coin to whomever is doing the actual "minting" and OGA would be the sole purchaser of said coins, for resale by OGA only.
  11. I would like to take this opportunity to let the Ontario Geocaching community know that the Regional Manager for OGA spoke with the main Ontario Parks contact that is involved in the Geocaching Policies and there has been a lot of attention given to the activity of Geocaching. From what we have learned, via the OGA - Regional Manager, is that Ontario Parks is much better informed of the activity of Geocaching. They now understand it to be much more environmentally friendly and equate it with several other activities that they currently support and encourage. We would like to believe that Ontario Parks will be willing to allow Geocaching in their Parks in the future, and it may just be a matter of time. While the issue is still in the "committee process", the person in charge has informed the Parks that they are not to remove ANY caches without his permission. Ontario Parks are reviewing the logs of the Geocaches in their parks and has no intention of removing any caches once the April 15th deadline is reached if a decision on how to properly handle Geocaching has not been made. Further, Ontario Parks will be requesting the removal of Geocaches that are presenting an ecological threat. Ontario Parks will be deciding which Geocaches are affected. This is a much better solution for the Geocaching community than the current blanket ban. For any caches that need to be removed, every effort will be made to contact the owner, and failing that, a member of OGA may be appointed "guardianship" to assist in the removal. This would be to ensure proper removal procedures and discussion, as well as to address all issues for both the Geocaching community and Ontario Parks. Last thing anyone wants is caches removed and no one knowing it, and then Geocachers looking for them. As our Regional Manager indicated, this would show the strong stewardship that we at OGA believe in. Also, Ontario Parks was presented with a list of Geocaching supporters from across the Province. These range from cities and towns, to organizations. If you are aware of groups that support Geocaching, please check this link OGA - Spotlight on Geocaching Supporters and if it is not listed then send the link to regional@ontgeocaching.com for inclusion. Additionally, the Regional Manager has been compiling a list of Log Entries that illustrate people Geocaching in Provincial Parks, especially those that are camping. This helps show that Geocachers utilize the park system and are willing to support the camping facilities, which will inspire more visitation. If you have camped at a Provincial Park for Geocaching, please send a copy of you logs to the Regional Manager at the email listed above. I would like to point out that this process is far from complete, and the efforts of the Regional Manager have been a big step forward. But Ontario Parks is still in the committee process and no final decision has been made. We all need to be patient, but the more positive information that we all can bring forward the better our chances that Ontario Parks will embrace our activity and want to promote it as a benefit. This effort by the Regional Manager proves that a continued commitment to resolving these issues not only takes time and patience, but also a willness to invest information to reach a solution. The meeting that OGA had with Ontario Parks in June 05, along with other feedback they have received has certainly had a very positive impact, and this was reinforced by the Regional Manager's talk with our contact at Ontario Parks over the last two weeks. We at OGA will continue to make all efforts to work with Ontario Parks to reach a policy with them that allows Geocaching to once again occur within the Ontario Parks System. OGA - Admin
  12. "Editor Smacking" Thanks for making my morning! Normally I get told that I need to get my posts double checked to ensure I don't offend anyone. Nice to see someone say they took one of mine, and edited to be more aggressive Also good to hear that the local radio station issued a retraction on air. OGA - Admin
  13. I have written to the Orillia Packet & Times, to correct the article that implies Geocachers are the ones digging and using metal detectors. I also corrected the notion that we are "Treasure Hunters", and explained that it is an expression to serve as a point of referrence so that those unfamiliar can relate to what Geocachers are talking about. As for Parks Canada, for myself, and I have emails that were sent to numerous other provincial groups as well, there is a frequent exchange of emails regarding articles, developments and ideas. We have provided all of the input in written form that we can think of, and encourage the opportunity to meet to discuss, to reconnect and clarify with Parks Canada when they are ready. With respect to Ontario Parks, as has been mentioned previously, we (OGA) met with them, and outlined our concerns with the current ban and made suggestions for improvement and illustrated the benefits of Geocaching for the Park System. The Email sent to the Mayor was a first step, and condering that it was done within hours of awareness, I think it was a good first step and approach. We made the effort to contact, and provided means to contact OGA to discuss the issue. The email from at least myself were taken to the Council Meeting by a Member of the Council, and I was also told that another email was presented as well. These decisions were made to follow with our mandate to provide educational assistance to land owners or other interested parties. It is also done to ensure that Geocaching is represented accurately. Our OGA Regional Reps are chosen based upon many factors, including experience, and background, as well as a desire to contribute. OGA Exec would like to additionally thank OGA Rep "Swifteroo" for his incredible devotion to Geocaching and OGA and COG. He is always quick to become involved and seeks to help when the opportinity presents itself. OGA - Admin
  14. UTSman - Well written, hope you send it off immediately. NOZZLETIME TALKS AT A TOWN COUNCIL MEETING Tonight, one of the more prolific Geocachers in Ontario, Nozzletime, took it upon himself to drive to the Virtual Cache to gather information about the digging. While he was taking photos, he met one of the Town Councillors in the parking lot of the Church and after some discussion, Nozzletime was invited to speak at this evening's Town Council Meeting. After he explained the activity of Geocaching, and the entries about this specific Virtual, the Town Council came to understand that Geocaching was falsely suggested as the offending group. The town council became impressed with the activity, the actions of people cleaning up the area while visiting and the numerous reports of families enjoying the historical and educational aspect. There was even talk of developing some form of tourism based upon GPS technology. We at OGA applaud the efforts of Nozzletime, and still intend to seek a retraction from Canadian Press. On behalf of OGA, the Mayor has been contacted again this evening to thank him for allowing the Geocaching community the opportunity to explain the activity and to offer our services. OGA - Admin
  15. OGA has sent the Barrie Examiner a copy of the email that was sent to the Mayor of Oro-Medonte, along with a brief statement that they are welcome to contact us to arrange an interview with myself and/or our local representative. Anyone local should contact this media provider and submit "Letters to the Editor" and/or request an opportunity to rebut these accusations. To me, there are no facts or proof provided that the Geocaching community is an any way involved in this situation. OGA - Admin
  16. To quote Jeremy (Founder of Groundspeak) Workin' on it! OGA will be contacting the Canadian Press and hopefully the author of the article to correct it and hopefully get a retraction issued. One of our membership has close ties to the Canadian Press and will be looking for all the required information. Should anyone have this information, I would appreciate it being sent to me at admin@ontgeocaching.com Also is anyone has a link to the quoted story, could they post it here? We need to try to correct this damage, while it is fresh in the news. OGA - Admin P.S. OGA has continued to stay in contact with Parks Canada, and we have exchanged emails regarding a few of the recent media stories. Neither group feels that our interests or the interests of the other parties has been fairly represented. There is little else that can be said as it seems the media is not being accurate to anyone in this story. As for Ontario Parks, things are developing slowly, and we have heard rumours, but reporting them here would not be professional until we have it on good authority.
  17. Excellent points. I have been to Point Pelee for my 10th Anniversary. Near the tip, there is no way on Earth that a Physical Geocache should be allowed due to the erosion factor. When I was there, we were all told "Do not remove ANYTHING beyond this point"... some tourist didn't listen... the trolley drive took the stones right out of her hand and pitched them back into the forest. "You were told to not remove ANYTHING, get on board" I applauded I was so happy. (well inside I did, and muttered nasty things at the tourist too) But that was the tip of the point. That park is huge, and only one of five National Parks in Ontario (not counting Fathom 5). I do believe that there are areas that could support a physical Geocache in there, and if developed in concert with a park directive, it would be such a great thing. The Geocacher could own and maintain the caches, and the park could have a self-guided tour. Sure they could do it themselves, but with a huge free marketing vehicle like Geocaching.com they would attract more people. I know that commercial is not allowed, and that is not what I mean. What I mean is that more and more people are planning their vacations around Geocaching. Like Swifteroo did with Banff. People look for a neat place to go, and if they can spend some amount of times collecting "Smile Icons" then they are more inclined to choose that as a destination. For those that vacation and Geocache, I think they only look at Geocaching.com for their Geocaching needs, and considering the vast amount of info that Parks Canada probably (and rightly so) has on their own site for Point Pelee, it is far more effective and successful to house it at Geocaching and have it maintained by non-staff. Less work for them, all the benefits, and probably more successful. If I had to search through a site for a National or Provincial park trying to find out GPS activities, it would take me too long. I look at their site for camping and most popular activies... Geocaching is not mainstream enough to get the top billing for me to find it anywhere else but on the Geocaching.com site. OGA - Admin P.S. We are always in communication with Parks Canada, and enjoy an open exchange and informative updates as events warrented. Until such time that Parks Canada is prepared to meet with OGA or other groups, there is nothing to report, our position at OGA has not changed. This is so that Parks Canada can take full advantage of the input provided by all Geocachers.
  18. It is a challenge to believe for one second that caches can be placed "On Trail", in the same way that flowers can be placed "On-Road". There might be the occational exception. But that does not mean that it is the only acceptable method for cache placement. It is not about being 100% on trail, it is about placing a cache in an area that the Parks have determined it is allowable for people to step moderately off trail, like bird watchers and nature photgraphers do, to find a cache. This distance need not be a defined distance, but even if it is set at five meters, it would establish a rule. And from that rule, the community could prove itself to be responsible and self-moderating. Send realistic suggestions to Parks Canada, and post them here if you like. Trying to suggest that other groups, or even individuals do not leave the trail, even if is to recover a dropped water bottle, or smell a flower... sorry... not buying it. Neither do I buy it that this causes irreparable damage. Find solutions, don't cause misinformation or mistrust. It doesn't benefit anyone. OGA - Admin {edit: typo and the opening words to remove it appearing opinionated}
  19. Copy of the Email that OGA - Admin sent to the Mayor of Oro-Medonte
  20. In a effort to keep the Geocachers of Ontario aware of the items that The Ontario Geocaching Association are doing on behalf of the Geocaching community... Since we (OGA) met with a representative of Ontario Parks, we have not heard of any changes to the current ban on all forms of Geocaching within Ontario Parks controlled areas. In fact we have not heard anything at all, except for the removal of several Geocaches by Ontario Park Rangers. We are however gathering a list of groups from across this province that support, encourage, promote and utilize Geocaching to draw attention to their lands or provide recreational activities that promote family, health and/or general enjoyment for the people that frequent their lands. Many cities now have Geocaching activities in place, or list places that you can Geocache. Additionally, the Government of Ontario has an initiative of ACTIVE 2010, which seems to promote the health of Ontarians through activities like hiking and others. We would like to expect that Ontario Parks will revisiting their ban, and will be contacting us (OGA) to develop a much improved policy that allows physical Geocaching, even if in a limited form. It is vital that the Geocaching community ensures that the Executive at Ontario Parks passes along accurate policies and instruction to their staff. It serves no one's interest if Ontario Parks Rangers are making decisions for themselves as to the removal of Geocaches. It is evident by the current ban that Ontario Parks believes in a Province wide approach to Geocaching. With that in mind, we must make sure that Park Level staff are aware of their limitations regarding said ban, and hopefully when a Geocaching-Friendly policy is created, that all levels of Ontario Parks is able and willing and aware of how to work with the Geocaching community. There may come a time when the Geocaching community might need to petition the Government, and to protect the hobby we all love, the community needs your support. Together, we can do great things, but as individuals even great things can be ignored by those that do not wish to try. If you would like to suggest methods to make changes to the Ontario Parks Ban on Geocaching... please post notes here, and join our group at The Ontario Geocaching Association, and sign the online petition at Keith Watson's site Golden Horseshoe Geocachers. While an online petition might not be accepted by Ontario Parks, it does help create a list of concerned parties, as does joining the OGA. So, join up for both, as it appears that we are going to need to start doing more to convince Ontario Parks that the Geocaching community is not willing to accept anything less than being allowed to place Geocaches and enjoy the lands that we help pay for. OGA - Admin edit: URL typo
  21. There is a new article regarding the Parks Canada Interim Policy on Geocaching. You can find it here Sept 28th - Jasper Booster Even though it is not in Ontario, the OGA Exec discussed this article and we were quite happy to see a well quoted section from the Parks Canada representative. This article was much more like the type we would hope to see, as there is the clear indication that Parks Canada is willing and wanting to work with the Geocaching community. OGA - Admin If you are new to this discussion, even if observing, we at OGA encourage you to submit your thoughtful input and suggestions to the Parks Canada rep.
  22. If you know of any Travel Bugs that were in those Caches, you can contact the Parks Canada contact and request a pick up rendez-vous. She understands the importance of Travel Bugs and why they must not be simply discarded. We rescued a USA Geocoin, and I consider that a victory, as it also allowed one of our Members to meet with a Parks Canada Warden/Ranger and talk about concerns face to face. OGA - Admin
  23. Thanks to a certain person, I have the actual article that the CBC made in full. After reading the article, it is clear that the 'snippit' that is online is not a fair synopsis of the content or opinions of Parks Canada. In the article there are many statements made by Parks Canada that clearly demonstrate a clear understanding of the basics of Geocaching and that they are working towards a better handling of our activity. We are hoping to post this article on our site, so that people can read it when they want, but if anyone wants a copy of it they can send me an email and I will forward it. I must say that is was quite a relief to see the full article, and even though Parks Canada is not in position to make a final decision yet, we can see that they definitely have a better grasp on things than was originally indicated. OGA - Admin
  24. Speaking on behalf of OGA, we had the following Executives in the meeting The Blue Quasar - Administrator Amazon Annie - Information Manager Logger & Trail - Regional Manager (although only with the window open for later review as they were not available at the time of the meeting) Anyone and everyone in Canada is free to submit their thoughts and suggestions to Parks Canada through the rec.activities@pc.gc.ca address that Parks Canada has provided to gain input from the Geocaching community. Should some citizen of this country not be eligible for access to the GC.com site and/or the Groundspeak Forums, they still are able to contribute to the Parks Canada discussion in the exact same manner as any of us. The above Email address is the ONLY acceptable way to express your thoughts to Parks Canada. This Forum, while interesting, is not being used for the consultation period. This point was brought forward before by other individuals. OGA - Admin
  25. I wanted to comment on that last posting to clearly state what I've said before Ontario Parks is the group that told a significant member of the Geocaching community that Ontario Parks was not prepared to make a policy at this time and would contact Cache-Tech and others for input before creating a policy. This did NOT occur as promised, and hence my remarks near the end of April in the Ontario Parks thread. As for Parks Canada, that is a different, but partially similar story. Parks Canada created a 'draft' policy and after its creation requested a meeting to discuss the 'draft' policy. At this meeting Parks Canada informed us that the 'draft' wasn't a 'draft' at all but already in effect and would remain for a year. It was our impression that Parks Canada had not consulted with anyone in the Geocaching community to assist in the creation of this policy. So, to date.... Ontario Parks said they would get input first, then they didn't and made a policy without input from the Geocaching community, and has since decided to seek input from the Geocaching community and might change their policy. Parks Canada has created a policy without any input from the Geocaching community, and then requested input after implementing the policy, and might change their policy depending on further study. I am just presenting what has occurred OGA - Admin
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