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Seattle City Parks Dept. Policy on caches in Discovery park.


nevcowpok
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Does anyone have a letterboxing ID? Are the letterboxes being evicted as well?

I do. Checked AtlasQuest, and see a couple of active letterboxes there, but that doesn't mean too much. Listings are less controlled over there (for better or worse), so even if one caused a problem it wouldn't necessarily show up on the site. (I will say that if there was an "object" in a nest, it was more likely related to a geocache than a letterbox - I would suspect a bison capsule or something similar - not used in letterboxing.)

 

From what the email said, I can't figure out if this is a one park only situation because of the agreement with Playtime, or if it's just the start of a purge for all Seattle parks...neither would surprise me...

 

I sent a Public Records Act request yesterday asking about damage attributed to caches, policies under consideration, etc. - I'll report what I get back.

 

Jeff

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I didn't get to attend the meeting with the State Parks folks when that occurred, so I'm not aware of how smoothly that went. When the meeting with the Seattle Parks people occurs, I'm hoping noone from the caching community goes in there with a chip on their shoulder and an "I'll show them where they're ignorant" attitude.

 

We have CITO events and I've seen one modified to an Ivy pull last year. Maybe it's time to see more of these events evolve from CITO into trails maintenance events, parks projects, etc. Maybe that's something that can be set up with the Discovery Parks people for this spring to show that cachers are a caring community.

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We have CITO events and I've seen one modified to an Ivy pull last year. Maybe it's time to see more of these events evolve from CITO into trails maintenance events, parks projects, etc. Maybe that's something that can be set up with the Discovery Parks people for this spring to show that cachers are a caring community.

 

EXCELLENT idea Lizzy!!!! NOT IT!

 

We hosted two such CITO's last year both dealing with storm recovery from the big December storm in 2006. The one at Mount Rainier involved rebuilding part of the Wonderland trail. A CITO event doesn't have to be just picking up trash. It can be any service project that the park needs that will help us strengthen our relationship with them.

 

I was going to suggest this very idea to the new Puget Sound chapter Rep, once the winner is announced. I think that the Puget Sound Chapter should plan their April CITO for Discovery park this year.

 

As for the State Parks meetings, there was a small advocacy committee formed early on in the WSGA to work on setting up a dialog with the State Parks. My plan is not to go in to this meeting with the Seattle parks with a crowd of cachers. In addition to OhJoy! who's worked with managers at Discovery Park I also know another cacher that has a working relationship with one of the managers at Seattle City Parks. I'm hoping that a small group of friendly faces will help facilitate a good meeting where everyone keeps an open mind.

Edited by Team Misguided
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I didn't get to attend the meeting with the State Parks folks when that occurred, so I'm not aware of how smoothly that went.

As for the State Parks meetings, there was a small advocacy committee formed early on in the WSGA to work on setting up a dialog with the State Parks....I'm hoping that a small group of friendly faces will help facilitate a good meeting where everyone keeps an open mind.

Agree with everyone who's noted that relationship-building is key, as well as a willingness to educate the parks folks and keep an open mind (see their concerns as well as ours). We've had some good successes at the state and national level recently via this approach, no reason it shouldn't work for Discovery Park. Yeah, it takes more time and discussion vs. just plopping caches in parks, but the end result can be win-win - and sometimes, even enhance the caches.

 

The open meeting with the State Park folks that Team Misguided hosted over a year ago was a great forum with positive discussion about building a cooperative relationship between geocachers (via WSGA) and the WA State Parks. The new state geocaching guidelines were being finalized at that time, and we were given the opportunity to review them and offer amendments (some of you may remember the forum discussion where we compiled recommended changes). Not sure how much of our feedback made it into the final guidelines (it was late in the game), but at least they were open to input.

 

In December 2006, Misguided One and I did a geocaching presentation at the annual holiday meeting of WA State Parks personnel. It was a great opportunity to discuss geocaching with rangers from individual parks statewide as well as the uber-parks management. There was a lot of (positive) interest, and the Stewardship Manager for the Puget Sound Region followed up with me to discuss a potential co-sponsored geocaching series in some area parks (e.g., Flaming Geyser); he wanted to do a pilot program that could then be expanded statewide. They were considering buying GPS receivers for visitors to use on the co-developed courses, and creating flyers and signage that included WSGA. :anitongue: However, that project apparently fell down their list of priorities for this year, as it never progressed. But the fact that state parks managers are interested to this extent, even if it takes a couple years to get moving, I think is a great step forward in our relationship.

 

Not to mention all the great relationship-building that individual cachers have done across the state, resulting in many approved caches in our state parks. <_<

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The new state geocaching guidelines were being finalized at that time, and we were given the opportunity to review them and offer amendments (some of you may remember the forum discussion where we compiled recommended changes). Not sure how much of our feedback made it into the final guidelines (it was late in the game), but at least they were open to input.

I believe the answer is "none"; the state guidelines were final before we (here) ever saw them. Some of us put real effort into providing what we thought would be useful input, but again, the decisions had already been made. That is the reason for my PRA request. Some might view that as going in with a chip on one's shoulder, but it's not - it's about wanting to know what is happening, the full story, before anything is final. The information is public but we will not get it if nobody asks.

 

In this case, some incident that may or may not be attributable to a geocacher is being waved around as one reason for banning caches. The email from the staffer clearly is not the full story, and we have a right to know the full story, for whatever it's worth. It may or may not alter the outcome, of course, but if bureaucrats are acting on faulty assumptions, then maybe there's a chance to educate them.

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I was going to suggest this very idea to the new Puget Sound chapter Rep, once the winner is announced. I think that the Puget Sound Chapter should plan their April CITO for Discovery park this year.

Why limit the Puget Sound Chapter to one CITO event? Wouldn't it be better to have multiple CITO events throughout the Puget Sound Chapter on April's CITO day and hold Discovery Park's CITO as a special event on another day? More good will be done that way. I hate to see one big event kill off CITO efforts far and wide.

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My last position before retirement was as a volunteer coordinator for Seattle Parks. One of the parks where I worked with staff and volunteers was Discovery Park. I completely understand their concerns. I have expressed some of those concerns to fellow cachers while caching in Discovery Park. I now regret not doing more than that at the time.

 

How many of you are aware of the incredible efforts of the staff and volunteers at Discovery Park to restore the park over the past 20+ years? Are you aware of all of the trail erasures that have been done? Do you know how many years it takes compacted soil (on social trails) to recover for re-growth?

 

Geo-trails (social trails) are not desirable in a park such as Discovery Park. If every person/group in the city would be allowed to do whatever they wanted to in this park, it would no longer be the treasure that it is now. One geo-trail maybe doesn't sound bad, but many? And more to come?

 

I think the solution is to work more closely with department staff at particular locations. I obtained permission for the only cache I own in a Seattle Park and also had the location of the hide approved by them before submitting the cache to geocaching.com. I know that other cachers do the same.

 

I have also worked with the staff at the Tacoma Nature Preserve in order to place caches there. Once you are working together, staff tends to be pleased about caching and sometimes uses your caches in their classes. They will even let you volunteer to assist in teaching those classes.

 

And in Olympia, I have been designated "unofficial watchdog" for caches in their parks. Two times I have asked cache owners to change things about their caches to prevent potential damage, and both times the cache owners took immediate action.

 

I am offering my time to join you when you meet with the Discovery Park staff. I know Penny Rose and believe that she will be glad to work out a compromise agreement. Every cache gets approval before placement. Cache pages clearly state "keep feet on trail" when coordinates are taken in areas of poor reception. Staff may even want to suggest locations for caches - places they want cachers to walk to and see.

 

Maybe each person placing a cache in the park should have to do 25 hours of volunteeer service there to gain appreciation of the efforts being put forth to keep this park in good condition for many future years?

 

I think this is a great atitude and I appluad Ohjoy! for offering!

 

One thing about the parks email, that was probably just a slip, still bothers me. The park is owned by the citizens of Seattle, not the parks department. They only manage the resource. Sorry I just had to say that.

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From what the email said, I can't figure out if this is a one park only situation because of the agreement with Playtime, or if it's just the start of a purge for all Seattle parks...neither would surprise me...

 

I sent a Public Records Act request yesterday asking about damage attributed to caches, policies under consideration, etc. - I'll report what I get back.

Well, the results, such as they are, are in. I asked for essentially everything in City records pertaining to geocaching, and received a very small packet of documents. The only mildly interesting tidbits, for what they're worth:

  • The Playtime agreement is "non-exclusive." (Those words are even underlined in the agreement for emphasis.) The contract was apparently executed in July 2007, and expires July 1, 2008. At any rate, nothing in that contract requires the City to limit other geocaching activities in Discovery Park.
  • The City was not able to produce any documentation of any kind (including emails, notes - anything) related to the allegation that, "One geocache project even placed an object in the nest of a pair of rare long-eared owls...."
  • Though I asked for all emails pertaining to caching, the City produced nothing from more than 2 years ago, and most of what was produced were messages submitted to the City by readers of this thread. None of the correspondence was negative.
  • I asked for all records relating to suspected damage attributable to caching, in any City park. Other than Laurie Dunlap's November 30 response (which was sent to various cachers in response to their submissions after reading this thread, and makes the "owl" comment), there is nothing at all. No records of any damage to City parks attributable to caching (or letterboxing).
  • Assuming the City fully responded to my request as required*, there is no written policy in the works pertaining to geocaching, either in Discovery Park or City-wide.

* Not an insignificant assumption, given how very little I received.

Edited by Lightning Jeff
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From what the email said, I can't figure out if this is a one park only situation because of the agreement with Playtime, or if it's just the start of a purge for all Seattle parks...neither would surprise me...

 

I sent a Public Records Act request yesterday asking about damage attributed to caches, policies under consideration, etc. - I'll report what I get back.

Well, the results, such as they are, are in. I asked for essentially everything in City records pertaining to geocaching, and received a very small packet of documents. The only mildly interesting tidbits, for what they're worth:

  • The Playtime agreement is "non-exclusive." (Those words are even underlined in the agreement for emphasis.) The contract was apparently executed in July 2007, and expires July 1, 2008. At any rate, nothing in that contract requires the City to limit other geocaching activities in Discovery Park.
  • The City was not able to produce any documentation of any kind (including emails, notes - anything) related to the allegation that, "One geocache project even placed an object in the nest of a pair of rare long-eared owls...."
  • Though I asked for all emails pertaining to caching, the City produced nothing from more than 2 years ago, and most of what was produced were messages submitted to the City by readers of this thread. None of the correspondence was negative.
  • I asked for all records relating to suspected damage attributable to caching, in any City park. Other than Laurie Dunlap's November 30 response (which was sent to various cachers in response to their submissions after reading this thread, and makes the "owl" comment), there is nothing at all. No records of any damage to City parks attributable to caching (or letterboxing).
  • Assuming the City fully responded to my request as required*, there is no written policy in the works pertaining to geocaching, either in Discovery Park or City-wide.

* Not an insignificant assumption, given how very little I received.

Sure is handy having somebody in our back pocket who knows how the ask for the right stuff.

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A PDF of all of the documents the City of Seattle sent me is available here. In the correspondence from cachers, I blacked out personal info - sorry if I missed anything.

 

VERY INTERESTING!

 

Noticeably missing is the email that was sent to Groundspeak that started all of this. Why don't they have this?

 

Also, there is apparently zero documentation in regards to any damage caused by cachers/caching. Not even to so-called owl nest incident. (gimme a break)

 

Interesting also that in one letter (pg. 20) to a prospective hider they state that you don't need permission to place caches in Seattle parks and then they contradict themselves when they emphasize that caches were placed without permission in several others.

 

While I totally agree that we need to handle this diplomatically, I think we should also call Boloney what it is. Public parks belong to the people and as stated is NOT prohibited in Seattle Parks.

 

What can we do to help resolve this situation in a timely manner?

Edited by Blue Power Ranger
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What can we do to help resolve this situation in a timely manner?

 

Stay informed, don't light the torches and leave the pitchforks in the barn.

 

Let's just wait until we've had a chance to have our first face to face meeting with the parks before everyone starts making assumptions.

 

In the interest of staying informed, can the original letter and subsequent correspondence between Seattle Parks and Groundspeak be shared on this thread?

Edited by Blue Power Ranger
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What can we do to help resolve this situation in a timely manner?

 

Stay informed, don't light the torches and leave the pitchforks in the barn.

 

Let's just wait until we've had a chance to have our first face to face meeting with the parks before everyone starts making assumptions.

 

In the interest of staying informed, can the original letter and subsequent correspondence between Seattle Parks and Groundspeak be shared on this thread?

That there was a letter is also an assumption. That could have been done with a phone call.

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That there was a letter is also an assumption. That could have been done with a phone call.

 

Actually it is not an assumption.

 

The logs on the disabled caches show:

 

Hello,

Groundspeak has received an email from Seattle City Parks with regards to caches in Discovery Park. They are concerned with the impact of caches in some sensative areas and have asked that all caches in the park be removed. We are currently in the process of setting up a meeting to discuss this and hope to show them how geocaching can be a benefit to their park.

 

Unfortunately, until that happens we must disable all of the caches in the park. Your options are to wait until we have our meeting and hope that we are able to work something out or pick up your container and re-do it as a new cache some where else. If you choose to wait please do not re-enable this cache until I've contacted you with the details of our meeting.

 

Thank you for your understanding,

 

Team Misguided

 

It seems this email should have been included in the information provided to Lightning Jeff along with any replies from Groundspeak. I'd be interested to see if that email provides further details or if this is all just anecdotal.

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That there was a letter is also an assumption. That could have been done with a phone call.

 

Actually it is not an assumption.

 

The logs on the disabled caches show:

 

Hello,

Groundspeak has received an email from Seattle City Parks with regards to caches in Discovery Park. They are concerned with the impact of caches in some sensative areas and have asked that all caches in the park be removed. We are currently in the process of setting up a meeting to discuss this and hope to show them how geocaching can be a benefit to their park.

 

Unfortunately, until that happens we must disable all of the caches in the park. Your options are to wait until we have our meeting and hope that we are able to work something out or pick up your container and re-do it as a new cache some where else. If you choose to wait please do not re-enable this cache until I've contacted you with the details of our meeting.

 

Thank you for your understanding,

 

Team Misguided

 

It seems this email should have been included in the information provided to Lightning Jeff along with any replies from Groundspeak. I'd be interested to see if that email provides further details or if this is all just anecdotal.

I'd wager the email is the same form letter that's in the the PDF that Jeff posted.

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That there was a letter is also an assumption. That could have been done with a phone call.

 

Actually it is not an assumption.

 

The logs on the disabled caches show:

 

Hello,

Groundspeak has received an email from Seattle City Parks with regards to caches in Discovery Park. They are concerned with the impact of caches in some sensative areas and have asked that all caches in the park be removed. We are currently in the process of setting up a meeting to discuss this and hope to show them how geocaching can be a benefit to their park.

 

Unfortunately, until that happens we must disable all of the caches in the park. Your options are to wait until we have our meeting and hope that we are able to work something out or pick up your container and re-do it as a new cache some where else. If you choose to wait please do not re-enable this cache until I've contacted you with the details of our meeting.

 

Thank you for your understanding,

 

Team Misguided

 

It seems this email should have been included in the information provided to Lightning Jeff along with any replies from Groundspeak. I'd be interested to see if that email provides further details or if this is all just anecdotal.

Point taken

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The logs on the disabled caches show:

 

Hello,

Groundspeak has received an email from Seattle City Parks with regards to caches in Discovery Park. They are concerned with the impact of caches in some sensative areas and have asked that all caches in the park be removed. We are currently in the process of setting up a meeting to discuss this and hope to show them how geocaching can be a benefit to their park.

 

Unfortunately, until that happens we must disable all of the caches in the park. Your options are to wait until we have our meeting and hope that we are able to work something out or pick up your container and re-do it as a new cache some where else. If you choose to wait please do not re-enable this cache until I've contacted you with the details of our meeting.

 

Thank you for your understanding,

 

Team Misguided

 

It seems this email should have been included in the information provided to Lightning Jeff along with any replies from Groundspeak. I'd be interested to see if that email provides further details or if this is all just anecdotal.

I'd wager the email is the same form letter that's in the the PDF that Jeff posted.

I don't think so. The form letter was drafted on November 30, in response to the messages they started receiving as a result of this thread. There must be more. I've politely reminded Parks of the obligation to provide all responsive documents.

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I just wanna add my .02 into the ring... This has been an interesting thread to watch. Lighting has done a GREAT job on this passionate issue. I had plans for an assalt of the park this summer now that lil man can keep up, hopefull it is still doable. Anyway, I know a LOT of people have an interest in this issue, but IMHO, we need to play by park rules, for now (as unfair as they may be). Have a 2-3 person group working w/ the parks department and Groundspeak. The rest of us need to step back and advise via the forums. As the ol' saying goes too man chef ruin the soup...

 

I feel we as a community will get a more welcome response if we just have the few liasions instead of a mass attack. Maybe an idea for all parks and parks Departments as MIS has shown so well in Seatac. I kick myself for saying this...... BUT I WILL VOLUNTEER MYSELF TO WORK WITH TACOMA PARKS OR PT. DE FIANCE to prevent this same issue from happening there.

 

Rich :D

projectFRED325

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IMHO, we need to play by park rules, for now (as unfair as they may be).

No doubt about that. Nothing will make the case for a total ban better than disregarding whatever rules are in place. No matter how poorly reasoned or unnecessary (see: State Parks restrictions/requirements), they have authority to adopt and enforce regulations that limit or stop our activity. Thus, energy is best spent educating those park stewards who will listen on the significant benefits and relatively benign impacts of caching.

 

Have a 2-3 person group working w/ the parks department and Groundspeak. The rest of us need to step back and advise via the forums.

Here's where I may disagree. (I am going to try hard not to offend anyone here, as that truly is not my intent.)

 

Several people sent original, personal messages to the City in response to the disabling of the caches in Discovery Park. I thought those messages were great! While I don't see particular value in 100 of us sending the same form letter, or taking an antagonistic approach, I do think that there may be value in "showing ourselves," and I don't see any harm in 100 people sending their own personal explanations for why caching should be allowed to continue with reasonable restrictions. You never know which explanation might strike a chord with the right person. I think it is no slight to our liaisons (to use your word) to point out that the limited response, funneled through a few representatives, did not work well in the case of the State Parks. Our input was delivered late in the process, the Directive was not altered, and we ended up with a permit form and indemnification requirement that I will tell you, as an attorney, I would never sign. I'm not blaming anyone for that - maybe nothing could have altered the State Parks' course - but I have to wonder if a more robust, maybe even decentralized, response might not be more effective. At any rate, I see no reason for any individual to refrain from sending constructive, positive, personalized feedback to the City. (Griping, threats and the like will not accomplish anything good.)

 

Of course, this discussion may all be moot; as previously noted, the City documents included nothing about plans to further restrict caching in City parks. But then, they also included nothing about what led to the disabling of the Discovery Park caches, so ... who knows?!

Edited by Lightning Jeff
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I know all of you are anxious for an update on Discovery Park.

 

After the first of the year I was able to speak with the manager who oversees the park and we talked about getting together to discuss the future of geocaching in Discovery Park. Because it would just be her and the Discovery Park naturalist, she wanted to keep this meeting small and informal.

 

I agreed with her and once we set a date I invited four other cachers to join me at the meeting. I choose each one with a great deal of thought as to what they could bring to the table. I wanted to make sure that everyone at the meeting had a reason for being there.

 

Since they were going to be outnumbered by us I started off with Weightman, who has a long standing professional relationship with the parks manager. I figured a familiar face wouldn’t hurt.

 

Next, I accepted ohjoy!’s offer to be part of this process. As a former Seattle City Parks employee, specifically as the Volunteer Coordinator at Discovery Park among others, she has a working relationship with both of the ladies we would be meeting with. She also has an extensive knowledge of the park and their goals.

 

This is an issue that affects a wide group of cachers so I felt that the WSGA should be involved. I had to wait until elections were over, but once they were I invited FrodoB to join our group as the new WSGA-PS chapter rep.

 

I also accepted MissJenn’s offer to join our group. She was there to reassure the parks that Groundspeak would support them in what ever decision they made regarding caching in this park.

 

Our team met with the parks this past Friday. We had a very good meeting where everyone presented their concerns and observations. We listened to the park managers and they listened to us. It was an informative session and at the conclusion I felt we all had a new understanding of each others goals. I learned quite a bit about the history surrounding Discovery park and how hard they have to fight to preserve this park in its natural state.

 

The first thing to report is that there are no current plans to ban geocaching in Seattle City Parks. They are, for the most part, supportive of our game. They became aware of geocaching in late 2001 or early 2002 due to a magazine article. The managers talked about it a bit and decided to take a wait and see approach with regards to this new and as yet unproven sport. They are now at the point where they feel it’s time to consider establishing a geocaching policy. No meetings have been held about this yet and when they are ready to start drafting a policy they have assured us that the WSGA will be a partner in the process.

 

While the parks are drafting this policy our community needs to make sure that we continue to respect their wishes. We were not able to change their minds on the current state of caching in Discovery Park. All current caches that have not been removed need to be picked up as soon as possible and the cache pages will need to be archived. Once a city wide policy is adopted, it might be possible to place caches in Discovery Park with express permission from the park naturalist.

 

While we did not accomplish getting geocaches back into Discovery Park at this moment, we left with the impression that this is not totally ruled out. When the meeting started our impression was that caching would not be allowed under any circumstances. There is now a glimmer of hope. This was only the first step in the process of setting up a working relationship with the parks department. We came away from the meeting feeling good about the future of geocaching in Seattle parks. It will take time, but if we work with the parks department and not against them I’m sure that we can look forward to a great future of caches in Seattle Parks.

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I know all of you are anxious for an update on Discovery Park.

 

While we did not accomplish getting geocaches back into Discovery Park at this moment, we left with the impression that this is not totally ruled out. When the meeting started our impression was that caching would not be allowed under any circumstances. There is now a glimmer of hope. This was only the first step in the process of setting up a working relationship with the parks department. We came away from the meeting feeling good about the future of geocaching in Seattle parks. It will take time, but if we work with the parks department and not against them I’m sure that we can look forward to a great future of caches in Seattle Parks.

Well, semi-good news is better than bad news :unsure:

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Wow - this is so sad. One of the best parks in the city of Seattle is for now at least off-limits to caching with only a "glimmer" of hope for the future. Hopefully this isn't the start of a city-wide restrictive policy. I hope owners of other cachers in the city are mindful of where/how their caches are hidden.

 

I'll archive the cache that I adopted in Discovery Park.

 

Can anyone that was in attendance elaborate on the damage reports or what the driving factor was in them deciding to do this. Nothing I have seen from them on this forum really tells in any level of detail what happened.

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The problem here is that this situation is not as simple as pointing out the damage. There are many conflicting requests for use of the park. Ours is, in their eyes, just another request to use the park. Granting those requests is possible, but must come within the park master plan. There have been many requests for recreational use of the park that have been denied. We did not discuss specific examples of damage so it is not possible for us to answer these questions. There have been social trails develop associated with geocaches. From personal experience with a cache in another park, these do develop very quickly.

 

The master plan is available online on this page. The original master plan dates to 1972 and there have been two revisions of that plan. From the original master plan, I find this statement.

 

The primary role of this park in the life of the city is dictated by its incomparable

site. That role should be to provide an open space of quiet and tranquility for

the citizens of this city—a sanctuary where they might escape the turmoil of the

city and enjoy the rejuvenation which quiet and solitude and an intimate contact

with nature can bring. It should be accepted that this park cannot satisfy all of

the recreational needs of all of the citizens of Seattle. It can only complement

the other elements in the park system. This park should not be asked to serve

too many functions. It will best serve this city if it is permitted to serve one

primary function and to serve that function well.

 

The thing here they are most concerned with is the line about too many functions.

 

The next paragraph spells out some of the concerns of the park department.

 

Future Structures and Activities

In the years to come there will be almost irresistible pressure to carve out areas

of the park in order to provide sites for various civic structures or space for

special activities. There will in the future be structures and activities without

number for which, it will be contended, this park can provide an “ideal site” at

no cost. The pressures for those sites may constitute the greatest single threat

to the park. They must be resisted with resolution. If they are not, the park will

be so fragmented that it can no longer serve its central purpose. Only those

activities and only those structures should be accepted which are in harmony

with the overall theme, character and objective of the park. There must be a

deep commitment to the belief that there is no more valuable use of this site

than as an open space.

 

Geocaching is another activity in the park and they want to take the time to look at it closely and see if it does, as we believe, fit into the central purpose of the park. Our job here is to change a mindset. We know from our experience that geocaching will fit in with the master plan of the park. They do not know this as they don't have the experience that we do. We will have to work with them to show them that we can fit in well with the central purpose of the park and not impinge on other users. That cannot be done by confronting the parks, but by working with them.

 

From the latest revision to the master plan, I find this statement:

 

Problems have developed in other city parks because of conflicting uses with trails, paths and roads. The

potential for such conflicts shall be anticipated and avoided in this park. Development or redevelopment of

trails, paths and roads shall be designed and maintained to avoid such conflicts.

 

As I mentioned earlier some trails have developed near some geocaches. We can't say for sure that the trail is not caused by the cache and they can't say for sure that it was. Working from the master plan, the parks department must take a deliberate look at this problem. This takes time.

 

The committee that met with the manager and naturalist is ready willing and able to meet again as the city goes about drafting a geocaching policy. Let me point out again as Team MisGuided did in her post, the city is NOT going to ban caching in all parks. They support the activity. At this time they feel that caching conflicts with the master plan for Discovery Park. The city has no plan to ban caching. They, in fact, like the idea of caching in many of the parks in the city. The question, at this time, is the impact of caching on this particular park.

 

With respect to the "glimmer of hope" statement. When the meeting started there was no hope at all of getting a geocache placed within the park. We made progress in the meeting. We will follow up on this, but it will take time. To put it in different terms, when we started the meeting geocaching was terminal. It is now upgraded to critical. With work we can improve that prognosis. Please allow us the time to do that.

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With respect to the "glimmer of hope" statement. When the meeting started there was no hope at all of getting a geocache placed within the park. We made progress in the meeting.

 

I hope that the team made the parks people aware that Geocaches are only one type of cache and that the others were not represented and may not be aware of the policy (e.g. terracaches, navicaches, letterboxes).

 

If not then GC may take the blame for any non-GC caches in the park.

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With respect to the "glimmer of hope" statement. When the meeting started there was no hope at all of getting a geocache placed within the park. We made progress in the meeting.

 

I hope that the team made the parks people aware that Geocaches are only one type of cache and that the others were not represented and may not be aware of the policy (e.g. terracaches, navicaches, letterboxes).

 

If not then GC may take the blame for any non-GC caches in the park.

We certainly did. The parks people are well aware of letterboxing, but did not know about TC and NC.

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There are quite a few elements of the park plan that would support responsibly placed geocaches:

 

Discovery Park is a "people park" but also a place in which visitors can find "quiet and tranquility". I cannot be a "wilderness" in a pure sense of the term but it will be a relatively natural park, a place where visitors can learn to respect their environment as well as enjoy the beauty of nature.

(edited to correct spelling errors by the City of Seattle)

 

The development of Discovery Park represents a unique opportunity to provide an outdoor experience for all people. Wherever possible, structures, facilities, trails, and features of the park shall be accessible for the experience and enjoyment of everyone.

 

The design of the plan incorporates several fundamental elements: an open space philosophy with a nature orientation; a pedestrian emphasis with an informal pattern of foot and bicycle paths, <snip> use, vegetation and wildlife management policies which complement the open space philosophy and nature orientation; a strong commitment to make Discovery Park an enjoyable, primarily passive and pastoral, recreational experience for the people of the region.

(edited to remove irrelevant plans for parking and road access)

 

The design should demonstrate our relation to each other, our relation to society's patterns, and ultimately our relation to our environment.

 

The prime considerations in the plan, therefore, are to combine the rich attributes of the site into a unified whole, balancing and relating its parts and features, so that a continuous evolving experience results, ever changing and varied as the conditions direct. The site is to be kept open and natural as possible and to be perceived as a logical and informal succession of spaces, activities, and plant growth without defined boundaries. This makes a park that affords rest and relaxation, activities for various tastes, and educational, cultural, and scientific endeavors.

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In the interest of staying informed, can the original letter and subsequent correspondence between Seattle Parks and Groundspeak be shared on this thread?
It was a simple exchange, summarized here:

them: Please archive these caches.

me: Of course, but can we talk about this further? (Groundspeak respects the wishes of the land manager, especially when they are so explicit.)

them: Sure, we can talk further.

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There are quite a few elements of the park plan that would support responsibly placed geocaches:

 

snipping all the quotes

 

This is one of those, you know that and I know that, but they don't know that, yet. Until they know that, we will have to work with them until they do understand that. Team Misguided found several good places for caches that would not cause any problems. Those are areas we can work with the park to deal with, but we have to get them to realize that first. This is going to be a matter of trust. Trusting us on their part and our trust of them that they will work with us. Trust must be developed. We will continue to work on that with the parks people.

 

We can work this out, but it will take some time.

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When our oldest son was just a toddler the pediatrician gave me some sage advice: Choose your battles wisely and don't waste your energy on battles you can't win.

 

That advice came in to play at this meeting. It didn't take long for all of us to realize that we were not going to walk out of the meeting with an agreement that would allow geocaching in Discovery Park. We could have tried to press the issue but it would have done more harm than good. It would have simply reinforced in their minds that we are only concerned with our own interests.

 

This meeting soon became about building the foundation for a relationship with the parks department that will ensure that geocachers will be welcome in Seattle City parks for years to come. After much discussion about geocaching in general and the benefits that geocachers bring to ALL parks we ended the meeting feeling like they had heard our message. Considering what we found ourselves up against when we started, that was a good outcome.

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Did anyone in attendance, out of curiosity, ask about the "geocaching object in an owl's nest" statement that was used to justify the disabling of the Discovery Parks caches?

 

No we did not.

 

We could have nit-picked every one of their statements about damage purportedly caused by geocachers but that would have put us in an adversarial position. We did not want to be seen as their adversaries we wanted to be viewed as partners with a common goal.

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Did anyone in attendance, out of curiosity, ask about the "geocaching object in an owl's nest" statement that was used to justify the disabling of the Discovery Parks caches?

 

No we did not.

 

We could have nit-picked every one of their statements about damage purportedly caused by geocachers but that would have put us in an adversarial position. We did not want to be seen as their adversaries we wanted to be viewed as partners with a common goal.

If you are suggesting that asking for information or details is adversarial, I totally disagree. This particular incident was cited by them as justification (along with social trails) for the removal of all caches in the park. As someone else here pointed out, knowing about actual damage done by cachers will help us police ourselves. If something like that really occurred, I think we should be talking about it. If, on the other hand, Parks is basing its policy on false assumptions about our activity, I think we should be talking about that, too. I would have thought that would be part of the effort at educating them about our activity. That is, it is inconceivable to everyone here that a geocacher would place a cache or waypoint in a nest. Shouldn't they know that about us?

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Did anyone in attendance, out of curiosity, ask about the "geocaching object in an owl's nest" statement that was used to justify the disabling of the Discovery Parks caches?

 

No we did not.

 

We could have nit-picked every one of their statements about damage purportedly caused by geocachers but that would have put us in an adversarial position. We did not want to be seen as their adversaries we wanted to be viewed as partners with a common goal.

If you are suggesting that asking for information or details is adversarial, I totally disagree. This particular incident was cited by them as justification (along with social trails) for the removal of all caches in the park. As someone else here pointed out, knowing about actual damage done by cachers will help us police ourselves. If something like that really occurred, I think we should be talking about it. If, on the other hand, Parks is basing its policy on false assumptions about our activity, I think we should be talking about that, too. I would have thought that would be part of the effort at educating them about our activity. That is, it is inconceivable to everyone here that a geocacher would place a cache or waypoint in a nest. Shouldn't they know that about us?

I agree with Jeff on this. Since this was (apparently) a key incident cited, it would have been natural to ask about it, in a non-confrontational, asking-for-details way. We have a right to understand the situation and ensure we are not being falsely accused, and it's yet another chance to reassure them this is a shared concern - we agree such a thing would be wrong and totally against geocaching ethics. I've been in many similar discussions with parks regarding orienteering and potential damage and other issues, and it sounds like y'all did / are doing a great job of handling this, but agree that something that was clearly a big red flag to them should have been touched on, to be sure we are seen in a fair light.

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If, on the other hand, Parks is basing its policy on false assumptions about our activity, I think we should be talking about that, too. I would have thought that would be part of the effort at educating them about our activity. That is, it is inconceivable to everyone here that a geocacher would place a cache or waypoint in a nest. Shouldn't they know that about us?

 

You are assuming that we didn't address this. We did, we simply talked in more general terms about how geocachers are good stewards of the environment. As I said previously, nit-picking every single mis-conception they had would not have been in our best interest.

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Did anyone in attendance, out of curiosity, ask about the "geocaching object in an owl's nest" statement that was used to justify the disabling of the Discovery Parks caches?

 

No we did not.

 

We could have nit-picked every one of their statements about damage purportedly caused by geocachers but that would have put us in an adversarial position. We did not want to be seen as their adversaries we wanted to be viewed as partners with a common goal.

If you are suggesting that asking for information or details is adversarial, I totally disagree. This particular incident was cited by them as justification (along with social trails) for the removal of all caches in the park. As someone else here pointed out, knowing about actual damage done by cachers will help us police ourselves. If something like that really occurred, I think we should be talking about it. If, on the other hand, Parks is basing its policy on false assumptions about our activity, I think we should be talking about that, too. I would have thought that would be part of the effort at educating them about our activity. That is, it is [i]inconceivable to everyone here[/i] that a geocacher would place a cache or waypoint in a nest. Shouldn't they know that about us?

I disagree. Do not make an assumption all cachers will find it inconceivable to use something as benign as an empty nest without consideration that it might belong to a breed of bird that returns to that nest annually. It happens, it has happened in other locations, and it likely will happen again. Things tend to get carried a good distance because the original was thought to be a great or clever idea. Two great examples to consider are the current name your favorite map challenge, and before that, LSMs. Bird's nests hides are a "clever" idea that came about 3 or 4 years ago.

Edited by TotemLake
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If you are suggesting that asking for information or details is adversarial, I totally disagree. This particular incident was cited by them as justification (along with social trails) for the removal of all caches in the park. As someone else here pointed out, knowing about actual damage done by cachers will help us police ourselves. If something like that really occurred, I think we should be talking about it. If, on the other hand, Parks is basing its policy on false assumptions about our activity, I think we should be talking about that, too. I would have thought that would be part of the effort at educating them about our activity. That is, it is [i]inconceivable to everyone here[/i] that a geocacher would place a cache or waypoint in a nest. Shouldn't they know that about us?

I disagree. Do not make an assumption all cachers will find it inconceivable to use something as benign as an empty nest without consideration that it might belong to a breed of bird that returns to that nest annually. It happens, it has happened in other locations, and it likely will happen again. Things tend to get carried a good distance because the original was thought to be a great or clever idea. Two great examples to consider are the current name your favorite map challenge, and before that, LSMs. Bird's nests hides are a "clever" idea that came about 3 or 4 years ago.

You disagree with what? I assume you mean that you disagree with the notion that everyone "here" (I meant those of us taking part in this discussion, with a concern for preserving our ability to use public lands for caching) would find a cache in a nest inconceivable. Okay, you say it was an "idea" 3 or 4 years ago. I've been caching that long, but wasn't aware of that. But that just reinforces my point: If there are people who think that's a great cache idea, then we really should be talking about that. There was another thread awhile back where a few of us advocated taking a more active approach to reporting inappropriate hides. This kind of thing reinforces that for me. At the end of the day, I still think it would be nice to know what really happened there. How can we address it if we don't know?

Edited by Lightning Jeff
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If you are suggesting that asking for information or details is adversarial, I totally disagree. This particular incident was cited by them as justification (along with social trails) for the removal of all caches in the park. As someone else here pointed out, knowing about actual damage done by cachers will help us police ourselves. If something like that really occurred, I think we should be talking about it. If, on the other hand, Parks is basing its policy on false assumptions about our activity, I think we should be talking about that, too. I would have thought that would be part of the effort at educating them about our activity. That is, it is [i]inconceivable to everyone here[/i] that a geocacher would place a cache or waypoint in a nest. Shouldn't they know that about us?

I disagree. Do not make an assumption all cachers will find it inconceivable to use something as benign as an empty nest without consideration that it might belong to a breed of bird that returns to that nest annually. It happens, it has happened in other locations, and it likely will happen again. Things tend to get carried a good distance because the original was thought to be a great or clever idea. Two great examples to consider are the current name your favorite map challenge, and before that, LSMs. Bird's nests hides are a "clever" idea that came about 3 or 4 years ago.

You disagree with what? I assume you mean that you disagree with the notion that everyone "here" (I meant those of us taking part in this discussion, with a concern for preserving our ability to use public lands for caching) would find a cache in a nest inconceivable. Okay, you say it was an "idea" 3 or 4 years ago. I've been caching that long, but wasn't aware of that. But that just reinforces my point: If there are people who think that's a great cache idea, then we really should be talking about that. There was another thread awhile back where a few of us advocated taking a more active approach to reporting inappropriate hides. This kind of thing reinforces that for me. At the end of the day, I still think it would be nice to know what really happened there. How can we address it if we don't know?

Simply put, I disagreed that it was inconceivable to everyone here. You cannot answer or speak for everybody. Just because you don't see a bear do it in the woods doesn't mean it hasn't been done.

 

Now, for what it's worth, armchairing a fluid process with hindsight is adversarial and presumptuous. Even if they did want to ask about it, it has to be an on the fly decision to do so or not and they need to be allowed to make that decision without getting beat over the head and shoulders for it and that's what looks like is happening in this thread.

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I disagreed that it was inconceivable to everyone here. You cannot answer or speak for everybody.

I never purported to. I am surprised to hear that anyone ever thought that hiding a cache in a natural nest would be an acceptable thing to do (if, indeed, that happened - of which we've seen no substantiation), and I suggested that if people do think that's acceptable, talking about it is part of the self-policing that we should be selling (and demonstrating) to land managers.

 

... armchairing a fluid process with hindsight is adversarial and presumptuous ... they need to be allowed to make that decision without getting beat over the head and shoulders for it and that's what looks like is happening in this thread.

I don't think there's anything adversarial about discussing strategy. Nobody is "beating" anybody here - don't you think that's just a touch dramatic?

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I never purported to. I am surprised to hear that anyone ever thought that hiding a cache in a natural nest would be an acceptable thing to do (if, indeed, that happened - of which we've seen no substantiation), and I suggested that if people do think that's acceptable, talking about it is part of the self-policing that we should be selling (and demonstrating) to land managers.

Leaving aside the theoretical Discovery Park incident...it's not inconceivable that someone would use a nest - it's been done. I personally have found at least two caches in bird's nests during my caching career. Neither was an active nest, but they were repurposed for somewhat clever hides. (One containing a colored plastic egg as cache, the other a fake bird with cache inside.) I also chatted with a cacher a couple months ago who had found an old bird's nest he was planning to repurpose for a cache.

 

Just wanted to point that out to bring some balance to this particular side argument.

Edited by hydnsek
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Nobody is "beating" anybody here

 

It sure doesn't feel like that from this side of the monitor. I respect your point of view and ask that you do the same for us. Trust us when we say that if we could have broached that subject during the meeting we would have. We have not forgotten those statements made by the park and there will be other chances to discuss them in more detail with the park managers. This first meeting was simply not the right time.

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Nobody is "beating" anybody here

 

Trust us when we say that if we could have broached that subject during the meeting we would have. We have not forgotten those statements made by the park and there will be other chances to discuss them in more detail with the park managers. This first meeting was simply not the right time.

That seems reasonable and good judgment, and good to know that at some point it may be addressed as appropriate. Thanks for clarifying.

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I disagreed that it was inconceivable to everyone here. You cannot answer or speak for everybody.

I never purported to. I am surprised to hear that anyone ever thought that hiding a cache in a natural nest would be an acceptable thing to do (if, indeed, that happened - of which we've seen no substantiation), and I suggested that if people do think that's acceptable, talking about it is part of the self-policing that we should be selling (and demonstrating) to land managers.

 

... armchairing a fluid process with hindsight is adversarial and presumptuous ... they need to be allowed to make that decision without getting beat over the head and shoulders for it and that's what looks like is happening in this thread.

I don't think there's anything adversarial about discussing strategy. Nobody is "beating" anybody here - don't you think that's just a touch dramatic?

I refuse to give you the satisfaction at the embarrassment of another cacher. The cache has long since been archived and there's no reason to bring it out in the open. Believe me or not. I don't care.

 

I also don't think you realize just how harsh you come across. You might want to put away your credentials for a moment and take a look at your remarks from a different point of perspective. You can be very adversarial in your comments. It's okay to discuss strategy, but not at the point of crticizing those in the front for deciding against that "strategy".

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Nobody is "beating" anybody here

 

It sure doesn't feel like that from this side of the monitor. I respect your point of view and ask that you do the same for us. Trust us when we say that if we could have broached that subject during the meeting we would have. We have not forgotten those statements made by the park and there will be other chances to discuss them in more detail with the park managers. This first meeting was simply not the right time.

Believe it or not, but we had a strategy going into the meeting. Discussing the strategy, as you say you are doing, is taking the group to task for not going in with your strategy. That feels like an attack on us.

 

The first thing we wanted to do in that meeting is to listen to what the parks people had to say. We reacted to that and asked only that they listen to us. They did listen. We spent some time via email discussing how to deal with the meeting. We did not go in with the idea of attacking the parks. We wanted to open a conversation and not come across as an adversary. Once the meeting started it was very clear that our strategy was the correct one. Their minds were made up. Little of what we would say would make any difference. By opening a conversation we were able to make a bit of progress in getting them to consider their decision. This will pay dividends later on.

 

I would also say that the bird's nest incident could not have been too important to them since they did not bring it up. Had that one incident brought about the problem, then they surely would have brought it up. The discussion was in much more general terms.

 

As Team Misguided says, we will meet with them again at some point. We have been assured that WSGA will be involved in setting the park policy concerning geocaching. We will take them at their word. As has been stated, I have known the manager involved for many years and she is an honorable person and her word is good.

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