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Nation Park Service Caches


Haffy
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There are 4 new caches approved on NPS park lands here at the Arcadia National Park that I thought everyone would be interested in. It's a start and let's hope that other NPS parks will follow in their footsteps. We can only hope.

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...84-4561f39dc9ca

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...a2-286fe030449e

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...7f-c3e51021b760

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...3f-e2b234050c15

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Those are earth caches. No container left behind so the NPS can't ban them.

Well, that isn't exactly accurate...The Earthcache instructions do say that you need the permission of the property manager to place an Earthcache on NPS property.

 

http://www.earthcache.org/

 

"EarthCaches developed on private and public land must have prior approval of the landowners before submission. EarthCaches developed in association with National Parks, National Forests, or other public lands are encouraged. These must have verbal or written approval with the appropriate land-managing agency. The name and contact details of the person from who you received approval MUST be given."

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Those are earth caches. No container left behind so the NPS can't ban them.

Well, that isn't exactly accurate...The Earthcache instructions do say that you need the permission of the property manager to place an Earthcache on NPS property.

 

http://www.earthcache.org/

 

"EarthCaches developed on private and public land must have prior approval of the landowners before submission. EarthCaches developed in association with National Parks, National Forests, or other public lands are encouraged. These must have verbal or written approval with the appropriate land-managing agency. The name and contact details of the person from who you received approval MUST be given."

I know it's their sandbox and all, but why in the world would you need permission to mark a waypoint? I don't need permission to write a book about a park, I don't need permission to post to a forum about a park, I don't need permission to make a map with the park on it.

I don't get it.

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I don't know why you need permission to post a waypoint on a listing service, but I see no harm in letting a land manager know that you want to do that. Everyone I have talked with so far has been eager to know more and anxious to help me find the perfect spot. I would guess that it's to help assure that no hard feelings develop between land managers and gc and to help encourage a good working relationship between the public land managers and geocachers who place and visit Earthcaches.

 

I do know that needing approval has helped me to develop a good relationship with my local state parks managers. They worked with me recently when I took 74 high school students on a field trip expressly to learn about areas that might be suitable for a couple of Earthcaches. The parks people are excited about the possibilty of having Earthcaches in an area where no physical caches can be (because it's a nature preserve and the local laws do not allow physical caches in nature preserves). The ranger even suggested some areas of the park that are appropriate for physical caches as well!

 

Of course, if you follow all the guidelines for placing an Earthcache, you would certainly do nothing to put the location at any risk. It may just be a proactive measure. In any event, it hasn't negatively impacted my ability to place Earthcaches, so far.

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Those are earth caches. No container left behind so the NPS can't ban them.

Well, that isn't exactly accurate...The Earthcache instructions do say that you need the permission of the property manager to place an Earthcache on NPS property.

 

http://www.earthcache.org/

 

"EarthCaches developed on private and public land must have prior approval of the landowners before submission. EarthCaches developed in association with National Parks, National Forests, or other public lands are encouraged. These must have verbal or written approval with the appropriate land-managing agency. The name and contact details of the person from who you received approval MUST be given."

I know it's their sandbox and all, but why in the world would you need permission to mark a waypoint? I don't need permission to write a book about a park, I don't need permission to post to a forum about a park, I don't need permission to make a map with the park on it.

I don't get it.

 

Those are the Earthcache rules. There is a little something called the 1st Amendment that would prevent the NPS from banning them.

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Those are earth caches. No container left behind so the NPS can't ban them.

Well, that isn't exactly accurate...The Earthcache instructions do say that you need the permission of the property manager to place an Earthcache on NPS property.

 

http://www.earthcache.org/

 

"EarthCaches developed on private and public land must have prior approval of the landowners before submission. EarthCaches developed in association with National Parks, National Forests, or other public lands are encouraged. These must have verbal or written approval with the appropriate land-managing agency. The name and contact details of the person from who you received approval MUST be given."

I know it's their sandbox and all, but why in the world would you need permission to mark a waypoint? I don't need permission to write a book about a park, I don't need permission to post to a forum about a park, I don't need permission to make a map with the park on it.

I don't get it.

 

The idea of earth caches seems to be to learn some earth science without actually having any impact on the location. My guess would be that by requiring the park staff be involved, if makes it harder for anyone to claim their earthcaches brought people to a location that could not support visitors without being damaged. The last two lines in the earthcache guidelines say:

"Damage to the site, especially on public or private land, is unacceptable. Please be mindful of fragile ecosystems."

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Those are earth caches. No container left behind so the NPS can't ban them.

Well, that isn't exactly accurate...The Earthcache instructions do say that you need the permission of the property manager to place an Earthcache on NPS property.

 

http://www.earthcache.org/

 

"EarthCaches developed on private and public land must have prior approval of the landowners before submission. EarthCaches developed in association with National Parks, National Forests, or other public lands are encouraged. These must have verbal or written approval with the appropriate land-managing agency. The name and contact details of the person from who you received approval MUST be given."

 

You guys are comparing two different things. Earthcache rules require permission because of WHO sponsors them. Not because it's needed. The NPS can't ban them because they don't own the coordinates to their own parks. Their goal and the reason people have decicded to impose permission is to cross check that the coordinates/earthcache are in a public area and not in an area that the NPS doesn't want the public to go.

 

The Feds are very good at wanting to review things they don't need to review to make sure they didn't need to review them.

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An earthcache is a great thing in a National Park - an added learning point in a place set aside because of its geographical beauty or geophysical oddities. With park attendance on the decline across the contiguous lower 48 states' national parks (on average), I would expect park managers to look for creative low-to-no impact ways to bring in more visitors through the pay station entrances - and I'm one of those cachers who would go out of his way to pay to claim an earthcache in a national park. Given that more than 90% of NPS visitors never leave the paved roads or parking areas of the contiguous lower 48 states' national parks, an earthcache (or four) in the typical national park would have little chance of violating the earthcache requirements to not damage fragile ecosystems since they're probably located at major attractions with paved trails, etc. Perhaps its time for cachers to approach Park managers with the angle that earthcaches can incrementally add to gate revenues (even in a small way)... with a cache that leaves nothing behind. Besides, the Earthcache Master Pin program adds a fun new component to family geocaching opportunities - kids and adults alike enjoy learning and earning recognition for their learning. I'm a big fan of earthcaches... they teach us about the land we play across.

 

Now for the absurdities:

 

- the earthcache guidelines state: "Damage to the site, especially on public or private land, is unacceptable. Please be mindful of fragile ecosystems." What other kind of land is there other than public or private? Can I claim title to any abandoned lands you find? Please?

 

- as a resident Alaskan, I find the entire ongoing discussion about federal land management somewhat disturbing. The state and federal managers have us under what amounts to colonial status here - where less than 1% of the land is in private hands. We can't even travel across public lands in some places! Decisions related to lands in Federal ownership are made in places so far away the average Alaskan can't directly access the decisionmakers (sure they have local 'public meetings' - but the decision is made far far away - and heaven help you if your land use request is opposed by the 'green coalition' in any way).

 

- If those of you who live near Federally-managed lands (such as National Parks) don't get directly involved in face to face discussions with the land managers to advocate for geocaching, you're going to get treated the same way as Alaskans generally do - you'll be a nonentity in the decision-making process. It costs both parties nothing but some time to ask the park management to get involved with earthcaches.

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I'm glad I "placed" my Hot Rox virtual cache when I did. Unlike an earthcache (which didn't exist then), finders can log travel bugs in their possession through this cache, and no NPS permission was required to post the coordinates on the gc.com website. Wow, what a concept!

 

And as for arguments about possibly damaging the fragile environment at this location, don't bother; anyone who has found this cache will affirm that is not possible. :laughing:

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The NPS already allows geocaches on their land, and most were placed without their permission. Many actually predate GPS too.

 

They call them summit registers.

I used do do quite a bid of climbing and mountaineering and I remember back in (I think) the early 1980s, the NPS was considering removing all the summit registers from the national parks. Of course the mountaineering community was outraged. I never did hear the outcome of this but I don't believe they removed any registers. Not only do the registers predate GPS, some of them predate the park they're in and contain a lot of history.

 

Like most geocachers I'm disappointed with the NPS's policy on geocaching but knowing how they think it doesn't surpise me.

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There are 4 new caches approved on NPS park lands here at the Arcadia National Park that I thought everyone would be interested in. It's a start and let's hope that other NPS parks will follow in their footsteps. We can only hope.

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...84-4561f39dc9ca

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...a2-286fe030449e

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...7f-c3e51021b760

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...3f-e2b234050c15

Technically only the last two are on NPS land. I worked with the Acadia NP staff to locate them. These are all near major park features that you can pretty much trip out of the car and see them. There are also a bunch in Western National Parks that I've work with park staff to set up. I have had a positive response from the Rangers and they have helped with the accuracy of the data I present.

 

There are two other threads related to the return of earthcaches to gc first and second

 

But back to the topic of caches on NPS land. While working to set up these earthcaches at Acadia, the staff also had me helping them to set up a puzzle cache in the park. (They took a bunch of the earthcache locations I wanted to use. They will require some hiking.) This will be a demonstration project for the Park and may be used in forming policy for the National Parks. The Rangers setting it up are taking it very slowly since they want it to work right and go smoothly so similar caches can be set up in the National Parks. The last notice I had on the project, they were in final testing. Unfortunately, with the onset of winter, they probably won't publish it until the spring.

 

Addressing some of the issues people have with the NPS approving locations... With the absolute stupidity in people I've seen and how inconsiderate people can be, I find it reasonable. I already pick up enough trash along the trails and have to look at trails blazed through pristine areas.

 

The NPS know their parks and they are the one that have to risk their necks to save the idiots that venture into places that are dangerous. They also know what areas are easily damaged or have hidden resources that could be damaged by people following the arrow and not watching where they are going. They have also given me prior notice of repairs and trail changes. The 1st amendment exists, but it does have limits.

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Getting back to the base topic - cahces in National Parks - can someone offer some help with this problem?

 

I have several caches in the Virgin Islands, one of which is in the National Park area of St. John. I, and several other cachers I know, have just received e-mails telling us that they will be removed. They have been there for several years. I called the number on the e-mail and spoke with a very pleasant ranger in the USVI. He sympathized with the problem, as his own father owns a cache here in CT, but was somewhat hand-tied as to what he could do. The rules say "no personal property shall be left on National Park property." However, he says he is open to discussion. I will personally be seeing him next year.

 

OK, So what can we do about it? I would think that we, collectively, make up a pretty big lobby. I am sending him the forms and regulations used by NY State Parks that require us to register our caches with them and have its location and hiding style approved. That's fine. I have done that with one of mine in NY.

 

I have also mentioned that MANY geocachers visit these parks solely for the purpose of finding a cache and usually leave comments like "What a great park." and " Glad you brought me here.". And isn't that what it is all about...getting people into the parks?

 

I know there must be guidelines to protect our parks. I accept these willlingly. Someone mentioned that some park rangers have the right to approve caches on their own. Can you give references to that?

 

I would really like to pursue this on behalf of all of us and I would appreciate some contacts or references that might help us all.

 

Walt

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I helped with the beta testing of the new puzzle cache in Acadia. While the experience was fun, I was a bit dissapointed, as it really is just a multi-point earthcache. It will be a great way for a new visitor to Acadia to see some great areas of the park, but to me it seems like just another virtual cache. Oh well, it is a start, and hopefully it will pave the way for more caching opportunities in NP lands.

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I helped with the beta testing of the new puzzle cache in Acadia. While the experience was fun, I was a bit dissapointed, as it really is just a multi-point earthcache. It will be a great way for a new visitor to Acadia to see some great areas of the park, but to me it seems like just another virtual cache. Oh well, it is a start, and hopefully it will pave the way for more caching opportunities in NP lands.

I would agree with the description of the puzzle cache as a multi-point earthcache to get a visitor to some of the major attractions in the park. And as said, hopefully it will lead to more. Gotta start somewhere.

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Someone mentioned that some park rangers have the right to approve caches on their own. Can you give references to that?

 

Here it is.

 

It's pretty clear the superintendent has latitude to allow personal property to be left on NPS land under his control.

 

Will he do it is a completely different question, though. Many of these positions are subject to internal politics so in order to save one's backside they may have to do what is in the best interest of their career.

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Someone mentioned that some park rangers have the right to approve caches on their own. Can you give references to that?

 

Here it is.

 

It's pretty clear the superintendent has latitude to allow personal property to be left on NPS land under his control.

 

Will he do it is a completely different question, though. Many of these positions are subject to internal politics so in order to save one's backside they may have to do what is in the best interest of their career.

 

Caching food and water for a long treck in NPS lands is not uncommon. Especially if you get the urge to hike through the Craters of the Moon lava flow. You flat out can't carry enough water to make that hike without caching it.

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Okay, someone please help me here. I have an earthcache listing that I have been working on for quite some time in the Smoky Mountians National Park. I put it to rest a month or so ago while earthcaches were not quite ready to be approved on GC.com.....now that they are being published once again, I am ready to start with the approval process of getting it active.

 

I am a newbie at the listing guidelines for earthcaches, who at the national park do we contact for permission?

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Okay, someone please help me here. I have an earthcache listing that I have been working on for quite some time in the Smoky Mountians National Park. I put it to rest a month or so ago while earthcaches were not quite ready to be approved on GC.com.....now that they are being published once again, I am ready to start with the approval process of getting it active.

 

I am a newbie at the listing guidelines for earthcaches, who at the national park do we contact for permission?

I ususally start with using the contact us link on the NPS website for that park. Usually I get an e-mail back in a reasonable amount of time. If not I call the local Park number. Usually after getting passed around because the rangers answering the phone have no clue what your describing I end up with either the Resource Officer, the Education/Interpretaion Officer, or the Superintendant.

 

I have found it helps to include references to other parks that have approved them so they can see what the result is.

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Okay, someone please help me here. I have an earthcache listing that I have been working on for quite some time in the Smoky Mountians National Park. I put it to rest a month or so ago while earthcaches were not quite ready to be approved on GC.com.....now that they are being published once again, I am ready to start with the approval process of getting it active.

 

I am a newbie at the listing guidelines for earthcaches, who at the national park do we contact for permission?

I ususally start with using the contact us link on the NPS website for that park. Usually I get an e-mail back in a reasonable amount of time. If not I call the local Park number. Usually after getting passed around because the rangers answering the phone have no clue what your describing I end up with either the Resource Officer, the Education/Interpretaion Officer, or the Superintendant.

 

I have found it helps to include references to other parks that have approved them so they can see what the result is.

 

Thanks for the help....I'm thinking that it is going to be a long process of going back and forth with the reviewers because I missed a step somewhere along the way and I have to go back and fix it.

 

Another question: I know that you have to go through the earthcache.org site to get earthcaches approved, but how do they get placed on Geocaching.com?

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Thanks for the help....I'm thinking that it is going to be a long process of going back and forth with the reviewers because I missed a step somewhere along the way and I have to go back and fix it.

 

Another question: I know that you have to go through the earthcache.org site to get earthcaches approved, but how do they get placed on Geocaching.com?

I've had the process take a couple of days to months. Once you submit them to earthcache.org they magically make them appear on gc.com. Black box kind of stuff :mad: Supersecret

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I literally have been working on my earthcache listing all morning now (since 8:30 am CST) Gotta nother question:

 

I have sent in my request to the National Park yesterday for permission to have the earthcache listed. Can I go ahead and list all the information I got so that I can start the process of going back and forth with the earthcache masters giving suggestions of how to improve my listing? Or should I wait until I get the permission responce and include that in the listing before starting the improvement process.

 

Bear with me, this is my first earthcache and I am wanting help....this thread seems to be helping me.

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I literally have been working on my earthcache listing all morning now (since 8:30 am CST) Gotta nother question:

 

I have sent in my request to the National Park yesterday for permission to have the earthcache listed. Can I go ahead and list all the information I got so that I can start the process of going back and forth with the earthcache masters giving suggestions of how to improve my listing? Or should I wait until I get the permission responce and include that in the listing before starting the improvement process.

 

Bear with me, this is my first earthcache and I am wanting help....this thread seems to be helping me.

I'm not the reviewer, but I don't think he'll look at the permission issue first. If you don't have that filled out, it won't get much of a review. I wouldn't want to spend time reviewing a cache if it just gets rejected by the land managers. If you are looking to get the earthcache listed quickly, you should call the park. e-mail can take a long time.

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