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Outlawing geocaching


Sol seaker
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Another area just went the way of kicking out the caches in it's interior here in Washington.

 

Mercer Nature Slough area, which had three water caches including one multi and some other caches, has now said no more caches in it's boundaries. They are open to discussion, but they have already requested (using that word lightly) that the caches be archived and removed and gave a tight time limit to do so.

 

Discovery Park, a huge area of Seattle kicked geocachers out before I became one. I've heard it was the site of the first geocache in SEattle. (they also said they were open to discussion, but have continued to allow no caches in it's area).

 

Washington STate Parks already don't allow caches without a lengthy permit process.

 

Of course all National Parks are off bounds, of which we have a few very large ones.

 

Other parks in the area are "keeping an eye" on us.

 

So the point I want to make here is that this all can be taken away if we don't learn the lessons of these caches.

 

We need to be aware that it is a privilege to put our caches in parks.

 

I mentioned on a thread not long ago that a lot of our parks here were getting trashed by geocachers.

Instead of people being concerned of losing this privilege, they said it wasn't us doing it or they said the woods would grow back.

 

If we leave the woods in a state that they need to "grow back" they will take this privilege from us. This is why we lost these parks.

 

If we stay in denial that it is us doing the damage, when there is an obvious circle of devastation around ground zero, then parks will continue to be taken away from us.

 

And carelessness around placement of caches in cities (that cause the bomb squad to be called out) could lose us a lot more than parks. (Those caches need to be marked and not placed in areas that would be susceptable to terrorist attack, such as airports, major highway bridges, major electrical facilities, dams, etc.)

 

It is up to us how we play the game.

And it is up to us whether the game will continue.

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Another area just went the way of kicking out the caches in it's interior here in Washington.

 

Mercer Nature Slough area, which had three water caches including one multi and some other caches, has now said no more caches in it's boundaries. They are open to discussion, but they have already requested (using that word lightly) that the caches be archived and removed and gave a tight time limit to do so.

 

Discovery Park, a huge area of Seattle kicked geocachers out before I became one. I've heard it was the site of the first geocache in SEattle. (they also said they were open to discussion, but have continued to allow no caches in it's area).

 

Washington STate Parks already don't allow caches without a lengthy permit process.

 

Of course all National Parks are off bounds, of which we have a few very large ones.

 

Other parks in the area are "keeping an eye" on us.

 

So the point I want to make here is that this all can be taken away if we don't learn the lessons of these caches.

 

We need to be aware that it is a privilege to put our caches in parks.

 

I mentioned on a thread not long ago that a lot of our parks here were getting trashed by geocachers.

Instead of people being concerned of losing this privilege, they said it wasn't us doing it or they said the woods would grow back.

 

If we leave the woods in a state that they need to "grow back" they will take this privilege from us. This is why we lost these parks.

 

If we stay in denial that it is us doing the damage, when there is an obvious circle of devastation around ground zero, then parks will continue to be taken away from us.

 

And carelessness around placement of caches in cities (that cause the bomb squad to be called out) could lose us a lot more than parks. (Those caches need to be marked and not placed in areas that would be susceptable to terrorist attack, such as airports, major highway bridges, major electrical facilities, dams, etc.)

 

It is up to us how we play the game.

And it is up to us whether the game will continue.

 

You are making valid points about not destroying areas while caching but here's something to consider thats sad.

The public is routinely getting kicked out of public areas. Isn't that sad?

 

Remember if they outlaw geocaching, only outlaws will geocache!

Edited by bittsen
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If you want to read about the real situation with the caches in the Mercer Slough you should drop in to the regional forums and check out this topic Mercer Slough linky

 

I really do not understand the rationale behind the OP other than to create what seems to me to be irrational concerns. The WSGA has an active program in place to work with land managers and it has been pretty darned successful from what I have seen.

 

I wholly appreciate the sentiment expressed in the post but I just do not believe the examples listed are appropriate as they completely ignore all of the efforts and successes of the WSGA in working with the many land managers in Washington.

 

Good advice. Poor local examples in my opinion.

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Another area just went the way of kicking out the caches in it's interior here in Washington.

 

Mercer Nature Slough area, which had three water caches including one multi and some other caches, has now said no more caches in it's boundaries. They are open to discussion, but they have already requested (using that word lightly) that the caches be archived and removed and gave a tight time limit to do so.

 

Discovery Park, a huge area of Seattle kicked geocachers out before I became one. I've heard it was the site of the first geocache in SEattle. (they also said they were open to discussion, but have continued to allow no caches in it's area).

 

Washington STate Parks already don't allow caches without a lengthy permit process.

 

Of course all National Parks are off bounds, of which we have a few very large ones.

 

Other parks in the area are "keeping an eye" on us.

 

So the point I want to make here is that this all can be taken away if we don't learn the lessons of these caches.

Sol Seaker, I agree with your basic premise - that we all need to be good land stewards and practice Leave No Trace. I too become perturbed when I see damage caused by careless cachers (or other park users).

 

But - wow - way to misrepresent the facts and sound alarmist. Chicken Little, the sky is not falling. :D In fact, geocaching is gaining greater acceptance among land managers, not less. To wit:

 

Mercer Slough (Bellevue City Parks) - Anyone who actually reads the thread in the Northwest Forum will know that, in fact, Mercer Slough is supportive of geocaching and specifically stated they welcomed it and did NOT want all caches removed. But, as a nature preserve, they decided they would like to review the cache placements, based on a couple of concerns, and in the interim, asked that we disable them. Bellevue City Parks has always supported geocaching, with no permissions required, and I don't see this changing overall.

 

Discovery Park (Seattle City Parks) - Different park system, different dynamics, different issues. This single city park banned geocaching two years ago, based on the misconceptions of a couple of influential personnel and perhaps an unfortunate (but unverified) incident or two. We (WSGA - Washington State Geocaching Assn) have been working with them since then to restore trust, build bridges, and hopefully restore caching to the park at some future point. This is the only park in the Seattle system to ban caching; in fact, our two CITOs there last spring changed some minds and nipped in the bud ideas about banning caching in Seattle's other "wild" parks.

 

Washington State Parks - Yes, there's a permit system, not unlike those in several other states. And in a show of support for geocaching, WSP just designated a statewide geocaching representative to work with its regional and park managers, and the geocaching community, to facilitate geocaching as a recreational activity throughout its parks. Sounds like a step forward to me. And a far cry from several years ago, when they wanted to ban geocaching - which led to the formation of WSGA (our statewide geocaching org), a dialog with the state parks, and the creation of that permitting system.

 

National Parks - NPS no longer bans geocaching outright. Instead, they issued a geocaching directive a couple years ago that states that geocaching can be a useful activity and explicitly leaves it to park superintendents to decide whether geocaching is permissible in their individual parks. In fact, a physical cache was approved at Mt St Helens National Monument this year, and I've been working with North Cascades National Park, which views geocaching as a great educational opportunity and may permit the first physical placement in 2010.

 

There are myriad other park systems that support geocaching without question. King County (Seattle and surrounding area), one of the largest counties in the U.S., has supported geocaching from the get-go in all 180 parks. Just last week, at the annual appreciation dinner for volunteers, the KCP director told us this will continue; they singled out geocacher work parties (CITOs to us) as one of their hardest-working groups; and the director said geocaching will still be allowed in the 40 parks that are being "mothballed" due to budget cuts. I call that one heck of a show of support.

 

And that's just Washington State (portions of it). Others in this forum could cite equally positive examples from around the country, and the world.

 

Sol Seaker, you're relatively new to this activity, but you have an alarming propensity to be...alarmist. :( You know little of the history, yet you presume to lecture those of us who've been working with land managers for years. And your assumptions and judgments are often incorrect, which doesn't help your credibility.

 

I've been working with parks personnel for years, for orienteering as well as geocaching purposes. I'm currently chair of the WSGA Parks Advocacy Committee, and have formed relationships with park systems at the city, county, state, and national level within Washington. My observation is that geocaching is gaining greater acceptance, not less. Most land managers are interested in activities that will benefit their parks and encourage public support, esp. in times of budget shortfalls. I've found that it's often just a matter of educating them on geocaching, indicating our willingness to work with them and adhere to park policies, and making them comfortable that we understand their concerns and needs. Most park managers also understand there are a few "bad apples" within any group, whether it's hikers, campers, or geocachers, but that the majority of participants are conscientious, well-intentioned visitors.

 

I personally am more concerned with wild-eyed commentary that conveys inaccurate information and needlessly riles up the geocaching community by suggesting that geocaching will soon be "outlawed." Yes, there are occasional setbacks, but overall, the trend is toward greater awareness and support from land managers.

 

So....deep breaths....ooohhhmmmmm. Look, the sky is still up there! :unsure:

Edited by hydnsek
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Great post hydnsek! :laughing: If only we could figure out how to clone you...and then insert your clones into the many and varied land management positions, we would all be on our way to having less angst and the game would be in a better place. :)

 

Could have used his skills down Anza-Borrego way, eh? BTW, was that situation ever turned around?

 

Hey 111, that's a really cute drawing. :D

Edited by Team Cotati
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Another area just went the way of kicking out the caches in it's interior here in Washington.

 

Mercer Nature Slough area, which had three water caches including one multi and some other caches, has now said no more caches in it's boundaries. They are open to discussion, but they have already requested (using that word lightly) that the caches be archived and removed and gave a tight time limit to do so.

 

So the point I want to make here is that this all can be taken away if we don't learn the lessons of these caches.

Sol Seaker, I agree with your basic premise - that we all need to be good land stewards and practice Leave No Trace. I too become perturbed when I see damage caused by careless cachers (or other park users).

 

But - wow - way to misrepresent the facts and sound alarmist. Chicken Little, the sky is not falling. :D In fact, geocaching is gaining greater acceptance among land managers, not less. To wit:

 

And that's just Washington State (portions of it). Others in this forum could cite equally positive examples from around the country, and the world.

 

I personally am more concerned with wild-eyed commentary that conveys inaccurate information and needlessly riles up the geocaching community by suggesting that geocaching will soon be "outlawed." Yes, there are occasional setbacks, but overall, the trend is toward greater awareness and support from land managers.

 

So....deep breaths....ooohhhmmmmm. Look, the sky is still up there! :laughing:

 

Just one example of what coordination by the local geocaching community can do to shed a favorable light on our "game" in another state:

 

Roughneck Rendezvous Off-Road Geocaching Adventure, GC1Y5D2

 

Possibly if you feel that geocaching is getting a bad rap in your area, it may be more productive to join with your local geocaching group and make these land managers more aware of the benefits that come allowing caching in their areas.

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Great post hydnsek! :D If only we could figure out how to clone you...and then insert your clones into the many and varied land management positions, we would all be on our way to having less angst and the game would be in a better place. :laughing:

 

Could have used his skills down Anza-Borrego way, eh? BTW, was that situation ever turned around?

 

No, not as of yet. But see above post which is the next park to the east and north that borders on ABSP.

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Great post hydnsek! :laughing: If only we could figure out how to clone you...and then insert your clones into the many and varied land management positions, we would all be on our way to having less angst and the game would be in a better place. :)

 

Could have used his skills down Anza-Borrego way, eh? BTW, was that situation ever turned around?

 

No, not as of yet. But see above post which is the next park to the east and north that borders on ABSP.

 

Believe it or not I did see that post.

 

Good to hear that you guys haven't' given up.

 

Thanks for the info. :D

Edited by Team Cotati
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After working with the management at Mahoney State Park in Nebraska, a park that has refused caches in the past, the Nebraskache organization has received permission to place caches in the park on a trial basis. How was this done?

 

We held an exec board meeting at the park and invited one of the higher-up managers. It was a productive meeting, with each side detailing our respective concerns (effect on environment, geotrails, etc) and possible benefits (CITO, increase in visitors to the park, educational aspects). The agreement was reached that there would be a strictly limited number of caches in the park and that they would be hidden and maintained by Nebraskache as a whole, rather then individual, random cachers.

 

Two of our members went and scouted out the park areas that the park manager indicated would be all right to place caches in - some areas would be offlimits. We then gave him a list of the identified sites to check on himself. We just received back his "okay" and are now getting together 3 caches to place out there.

 

It can be done! You just have to approach it the right way. Most of the work was done by Heartland Cacher (take a bow if you are reading this!)

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Nice post up there and all, but how about a different perspective. It's been on the top of my mind since the new state legislation here in South Carolina.

 

It seems a lot of these regulations come about because of some issue with geocaching. It could be damage to the environment. The potential for damage. Irresponsible actions by geocachers. Whatever. Most of the lower level land stewards I've spoken with all favor geocaching. ( I say "most" because when they fully understand the concept of geocaching they are for it. If they hear about it from a negative perspective, they're not. ) When things come down to upper management involvement, a less open approach is taken.

 

Here in SC the state legislation has put geocaching on the hit list on all Dept. of Natural Resources lands and SCDNR-controlled lands. Around here that's a significant portion. If you want to hike, you're likely going to be hiking across SCDNR (controlled) land. Hunting is huge here and thus the reason so much land is designated WMA (Wildlife Management Area). We're trying to work with the state folks, but nothing so far.

 

Here's where I'm getting to the different perspective thing. hydnsek's post is great, but is indicative of "mid-level" management (for lack of a better word right now). Having to work with agencies in this manner is being reactive to concerns. There is very little proactive management going on. It seems the attitude of the 800lb gorilla in the room is "place'em until they're prohibited." The rest seems to be lip service.

 

It appears as though geocaching is its own worse enemy. It's a fantastic pastime. Folks are eager to participate and that includes placing caches. Groundspeak distances itself from responsibility with the "adequate permission" statement, yet almost every geocacher knows that is a joke. If there had been "adequate permission" then almost all of the reaction-based government-level regulations would not exist.

 

What all this boils down to is division of authority and responsibility. Groundspeak maintains the authority to list or not list a geocache over any other authority--even government authority. However, the responsibility of the cache placement still falls on the geocacher. Any extra work of keeping track of permitting processes and any prohibited areas falls on the reviewer and cache owner.

 

Having all of the authority and none of the responsibility is always a great for the person who has it--not so great for the one who has to take the fall.

 

In fact, what I see is it is in the best interests of Groundspeak to list every geocache they possibly and reasonably list. The more they list, after all, the more "product" they have to sell. It doesn't really matter to them if a cache negatively impacts an area and then some authority puts regulations in place. Groundspeak doesn't care from a business/management view because they're not the ones that have to do the extra work of following permitting processes or making sure caches don't get placed in prohibited areas. That falls to the army of un-paid volunteers that are all too eager to do thankless work. Why should the folks in the glass tower care if there is yet another regulation to follow? They're not the ones that will be bothered by it. It's only when geocaching is regulated out of existence that they should care.

 

...maybe that's why they're desperate to develop other websites?

 

Or maybe I'm just way off base. I dunno.

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Are you ready for Arkansas’s ultimate adventure in geocaching? Arkansas has 52 beautiful, historic state parks, each with their own special mission. The other thing they each have is a geocache. This adventure is based around visiting all 52 state parks. Each park cache has a clue that you will need to find the final, 53rd cache located somewhere in the state. Just download the clue sheet and start your adventure. We encourage you to upload photos on the geocaching.com page when you find one and also to tell us about your visit to the park on the state park blog. As an extra incentive, For a limited time you can pick up an Arkansas State Park geocoin at the final location and send it on it's way to visit parks throughout the world! These geocoins will be randomly placed in ParkCache geocaches so keep watching those cache

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Are you ready for Arkansas's ultimate adventure in geocaching? Arkansas has 52 beautiful, historic state parks, each with their own special mission. The other thing they each have is a geocache. This adventure is based around visiting all 52 state parks. Each park cache has a clue that you will need to find the final, 53rd cache located somewhere in the state. Just download the clue sheet and start your adventure. We encourage you to upload photos on the geocaching.com page when you find one and also to tell us about your visit to the park on the state park blog. As an extra incentive, For a limited time you can pick up an Arkansas State Park geocoin at the final location and send it on it's way to visit parks throughout the world! These geocoins will be randomly placed in ParkCache geocaches so keep watching those cache

 

 

That's nice, but more than a bit irrelevant to the topic at hand, isn't it?

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...Mercer Slough (Bellevue City Parks) - Anyone who actually reads the thread in the Northwest Forum will know that, in fact, Mercer Slough is supportive of geocaching and specifically stated they welcomed it and did NOT want all caches removed. But, as a nature preserve, they decided they would like to review the cache placements, based on a couple of concerns, and in the interim, asked that we disable them. Bellevue City Parks has always supported geocaching, with no permissions required, and I don't see this changing overall....

 

Nice summary. In my experience parks with preservation missions tend to encourage all activites that bring awarness to the mission without interfering with it. Meaning as you have noted they would want to review cache locations to ensure that there is no conflict with what they are preserving.

 

Having read CR's post his experience corresponds directly to my observation on other things (caching has yet to take the beating in my state that it has in his). Middle and Lower mgmt are open and receptive. Upper and Legislators are actually out of touch enough to where reality is colored by the issues and problems that do rise to their level. They can't see the harmless family activity, but instead see the one issue created by a single cache that made the news. Caching has no lobby to point out the rest. Not like hunters and even ATV riders. It's the kind of hole that a state organization can help to fill. Most of do some other activity and can help make it part of the larger mission of all these organizations.

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...I've been working with parks personnel for years, for orienteering as well as geocaching purposes. I'm currently chair of the WSGA Parks Advocacy Committee, and have formed relationships with park systems at the city, county, state, and national level within Washington. My observation is that geocaching is gaining greater acceptance, not less. Most land managers are interested in activities that will benefit their parks and encourage public support, esp. in times of budget shortfalls. I've found that it's often just a matter of educating them on geocaching, indicating our willingness to work with them and adhere to park policies, and making them comfortable that we understand their concerns and needs. Most park managers also understand there are a few "bad apples" within any group, whether it's hikers, campers, or geocachers, but that the majority of participants are conscientious, well-intentioned visitors. ...

 

Should of read the rest of your post. I could of just said "what she said". But thanks, you just reminded me that I need to call the parks and recs director to ask him to join me in leaning on a consultant who's being a bit slow on a beautification project.

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Are you ready for Arkansas's ultimate adventure in geocaching? Arkansas has 52 beautiful, historic state parks, each with their own special mission. The other thing they each have is a geocache. This adventure is based around visiting all 52 state parks. Each park cache has a clue that you will need to find the final, 53rd cache located somewhere in the state. Just download the clue sheet and start your adventure. We encourage you to upload photos on the geocaching.com page when you find one and also to tell us about your visit to the park on the state park blog. As an extra incentive, For a limited time you can pick up an Arkansas State Park geocoin at the final location and send it on it's way to visit parks throughout the world! These geocoins will be randomly placed in ParkCache geocaches so keep watching those cache

 

That's nice, but more than a bit irrelevant to the topic at hand, isn't it?

I thought it was a cool example of how another state park system is proactively supporting geocaching, further supporting my contradiction of the OP's premise. :D

 

Thanks, beezerb - sounds like a cool series, and I'm going to pass the idea along to Washington SP's newly minted geocaching rep.

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Most of the lower level land stewards I've spoken with all favor geocaching...When things come down to upper management involvement, a less open approach is taken.

 

hydnsek's post is great, but is indicative of "mid-level" management (for lack of a better word right now). Having to work with agencies in this manner is being reactive to concerns. There is very little proactive management going on. It seems the attitude of the 800lb gorilla in the room is "place'em until they're prohibited."

Having read CR's post his experience corresponds directly to my observation on other things. Middle and Lower mgmt are open and receptive. Upper and Legislators are actually out of touch enough to where reality is colored by the issues and problems that do rise to their level. They can't see the harmless family activity, but instead see the one issue created by a single cache that made the news.

I agree that when caching issues bubble up to top-level management, the reaction can be negative, if they only have a limited perspective and no direct knowledge, only what they've heard from concerned staff or media.

 

That's why it's important that we proactively work with land managers, not just wait until problems arise, and if possible, ensure we are reaching the "top dogs" in a park system. (Maybe CoyoteRed missed that part of my post.) To reiterate two examples:

  • North Cascades National Park Service Complex - the largest NPS unit in Washington State (national park plus two NRAs). Two years ago, I initiated contact, and yes, I work with a designated ranger, but I also have a relationship with the superintendent, the ultimate "decider" for this huge NPS complex. He's been very interested in learning about geocaching (and letterboxing), has emailed me several times, and invited me to park functions. The superintendent's awareness and support is one reason we are close to approval of the first physical cache there (they have enthusiastically approved earthcaches thus far, even suggesting locations).
     
     
  • King County, one of the largest counties in the U.S., manages 180 parks in the Seattle area, so they are a key land manager. To ensure KCP continues to support geocaching, I've developed a relationship with the director, who has ultimate authority on what happens in his 180 parks. He is well aware of geocaching, as are his staff and park managers. :D As I noted, the director stated just last week, in front of a group assembled for an annual volunteer event, that KCP would continue to support geocaching, even in parks that are being "mothballed" for budget reasons, that geocaching was viewed as a positive activity in the park system, and that geocachers were among their hardest-working volunteer groups. That's from the top dog at KCP, not a middle manager.

Proactive (or even reactive) engagements with park systems take time and effort, and it can be challenging to find local volunteers willing to participate. But it can make a huge difference in the perceptions and support of geocaching by land managers.

Edited by hydnsek
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I guess my point got lost in my wordiness.

apologies.

 

What I was trying to say, is that I think it's important for people to be careful of how they cache.

 

I was not knocking the WSGA's great efforts at talking with land-managers. That has been fantastic.

 

What I meant to be saying, is that I've seen a lot of areas trashed that is at ground zero.

 

We can talk to land managers until we're blue in the face, but if the trashing I've seen gets worse it will be all for naught.

 

There are two things here: working with Land managers to allow caching, and cachers being responsible. If we don't have the latter, the former will do us no good.

 

I think rather than debating the specific details of each of the above cases, I'd like to see people discuss how this game impacts the environment and how we can pass on to other geocachers how to have minimal impact.

 

This is the real issue here I was trying to bring up.

Forgive me if I used bad examples.

 

Perhaps I should have listed specific caches where the area around ground zero was severely trashed for a 30 to 60 foot radius.

 

Either way, it is important for people to know to be gentle on the surroundings.

 

I have brought this up before and no one seems to care.

I was trying to grab attention with my "alarmist" title.

 

Rather than be defensive of the WSGA's work, which has been fantastic,

I'd like to hear more on how cachers impact our world and how we can minimize that.

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I'd like to hear more on how cachers impact our world and how we can minimize that.

 

NY state's DEC had a total geocaching ban on their lands dating from the early days of geocaching. Then they did a study that included visiting numerous cache sites. The result was that they found the impact to be negligible and lifted the ban.

 

They even opened up the heavily protected and "forever wild" Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves to geocaching, which regional geocachers never thought would be possible.

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What I was trying to say, is that I think it's important for people to be careful of how they cache.

 

There is no doubt that caching can impact an area. I visited a cache location three times before finding it and each time there would be more broken branches, torn up rocks, and geotrails around the location. I have seen caches placed in trees that have been infected with Sudden Oak Death (or trees that carry the pathogen) with seemingly little regard for how cachers might spread the disease. And of course there are the caches that seem to invite particular problems (a micro placed in a wooded rocky area where gps reception is spotty with the only hint being that the cache is touching rock; a cache placed beyond a trail closure or no trespassing sign).

 

But I have also seen where mountain bikers have built illegal trails, hikers have taken shortcuts that trample down the landscape and cause erosion, and drivers have parked in areas that rut out the landscape. Human beings are going to have an impact, some more than others.

 

I am not even that consistent. I have archived some of my caches because the only way to get to them was to hike off-trail through SOD infected areas. I have left others be. I have decided not to look for a cache or two because of environmental concerns and I have ignored it and found the cache anyway. I carry disinfectant in my car to clean my shoes after hiking in infected areas. Sometimes I use it, sometimes not. I have been known to shortcut off-trail. I can justify some of the differences in my mind, but I do not know whether I am right or wrong.

 

However, its good to think about these things. To at least ask the questions. And to be careful in how we do anything.

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I'd like to hear more on how cachers impact our world and how we can minimize that.

 

NY state's DEC had a total geocaching ban on their lands dating from the early days of geocaching. Then they did a study that included visiting numerous cache sites. The result was that they found the impact to be negligible and lifted the ban.

 

They even opened up the heavily protected and "forever wild" Adirondack and Catskill forest preserves to geocaching, which regional geocachers never thought would be possible.

 

I just drove through the Catskills on my way home from a weekend in New Jersey (a couple of days in Vernon). Although geocaching is allowed in the Catskills there are a surprisingly small number of caches hidden there. Several of them are hidden by a cacher that lives in the Binghamton area (well outside of the Catskills).

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Are you ready for Arkansas's ultimate adventure in geocaching? Arkansas has 52 beautiful, historic state parks, each with their own special mission. The other thing they each have is a geocache. This adventure is based around visiting all 52 state parks. Each park cache has a clue that you will need to find the final, 53rd cache located somewhere in the state. Just download the clue sheet and start your adventure. We encourage you to upload photos on the geocaching.com page when you find one and also to tell us about your visit to the park on the state park blog. As an extra incentive, For a limited time you can pick up an Arkansas State Park geocoin at the final location and send it on it's way to visit parks throughout the world! These geocoins will be randomly placed in ParkCache geocaches so keep watching those cache

 

That's nice, but more than a bit irrelevant to the topic at hand, isn't it?

I thought it was a cool example of how another state park system is proactively supporting geocaching, further supporting my contradiction of the OP's premise. :D

 

Thanks, beezerb - sounds like a cool series, and I'm going to pass the idea along to Washington SP's newly minted geocaching rep.

 

 

Fair 'nuf. Good point. I withdraw my objection, your honor.

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[...]National Parks - NPS no longer bans geocaching outright. Instead, they issued a geocaching directive a couple years ago that states that geocaching can be a useful activity and explicitly leaves it to park superintendents to decide whether geocaching is permissible in their individual parks. In fact, a physical cache was approved at Mt St Helens National Monument this year, and I've been working with North Cascades National Park, which views geocaching as a great educational opportunity and may permit the first physical placement in 2010. [...]

Just an FYI, I did a search on the NPS website and found this page: http://www.nps.gov/gis/gps/

 

While the text under Geo-caching in the National Parks states that "Geo-caching activities on national park lands is prohibited", the referenced guidance document (http://www.nps.gov/policy/GPSguidance.pdf , and updated as recently as October 1st) seems to suggest that this is up to the superintendent of any given park...

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[...]National Parks - NPS no longer bans geocaching outright. Instead, they issued a geocaching directive a couple years ago that states that geocaching can be a useful activity and explicitly leaves it to park superintendents to decide whether geocaching is permissible in their individual parks. In fact, a physical cache was approved at Mt St Helens National Monument this year, and I've been working with North Cascades National Park, which views geocaching as a great educational opportunity and may permit the first physical placement in 2010. [...]

Just an FYI, I did a search on the NPS website and found this page: http://www.nps.gov/gis/gps/

 

While the text under Geo-caching in the National Parks states that "Geo-caching activities on national park lands is prohibited", the referenced guidance document (http://www.nps.gov/policy/GPSguidance.pdf , and updated as recently as October 1st) seems to suggest that this is up to the superintendent of any given park...

I believe that is exactly what Hydnsek said. See the part I highlighted.

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Another area just went the way of kicking out the caches in it's interior here in Washington.

 

Mercer Nature Slough area, which had three water caches including one multi and some other caches, has now said no more caches in it's boundaries. They are open to discussion, but they have already requested (using that word lightly) that the caches be archived and removed and gave a tight time limit to do so.

 

Discovery Park, a huge area of Seattle kicked geocachers out before I became one. I've heard it was the site of the first geocache in SEattle. (they also said they were open to discussion, but have continued to allow no caches in it's area).

 

Washington STate Parks already don't allow caches without a lengthy permit process.

 

Of course all National Parks are off bounds, of which we have a few very large ones.

 

Other parks in the area are "keeping an eye" on us.

 

So the point I want to make here is that this all can be taken away if we don't learn the lessons of these caches.

 

We need to be aware that it is a privilege to put our caches in parks.

 

I mentioned on a thread not long ago that a lot of our parks here were getting trashed by geocachers.

Instead of people being concerned of losing this privilege, they said it wasn't us doing it or they said the woods would grow back.

 

If we leave the woods in a state that they need to "grow back" they will take this privilege from us. This is why we lost these parks.

 

If we stay in denial that it is us doing the damage, when there is an obvious circle of devastation around ground zero, then parks will continue to be taken away from us.

 

And carelessness around placement of caches in cities (that cause the bomb squad to be called out) could lose us a lot more than parks. (Those caches need to be marked and not placed in areas that would be susceptable to terrorist attack, such as airports, major highway bridges, major electrical facilities, dams, etc.)

 

It is up to us how we play the game.

And it is up to us whether the game will continue.

 

You are making valid points about not destroying areas while caching but here's something to consider thats sad.

The public is routinely getting kicked out of public areas. Isn't that sad?

 

Remember if they outlaw geocaching, only outlaws will geocache!

 

Remember if they outlaw geocaching, only outlaws will geocache! Well stated point!

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Another area just went the way of kicking out the caches in it's interior here in Washington.

 

Mercer Nature Slough area, which had three water caches including one multi and some other caches, has now said no more caches in it's boundaries. They are open to discussion, but they have already requested (using that word lightly) that the caches be archived and removed and gave a tight time limit to do so.

 

Discovery Park, a huge area of Seattle kicked geocachers out before I became one. I've heard it was the site of the first geocache in SEattle. (they also said they were open to discussion, but have continued to allow no caches in it's area).

 

Washington STate Parks already don't allow caches without a lengthy permit process.

 

Of course all National Parks are off bounds, of which we have a few very large ones.

 

Other parks in the area are "keeping an eye" on us.

 

So the point I want to make here is that this all can be taken away if we don't learn the lessons of these caches.

Sol Seaker, I agree with your basic premise - that we all need to be good land stewards and practice Leave No Trace. I too become perturbed when I see damage caused by careless cachers (or other park users).

 

But - wow - way to misrepresent the facts and sound alarmist. Chicken Little, the sky is not falling. :D In fact, geocaching is gaining greater acceptance among land managers, not less. To wit:

 

Mercer Slough (Bellevue City Parks) - Anyone who actually reads the thread in the Northwest Forum will know that, in fact, Mercer Slough is supportive of geocaching and specifically stated they welcomed it and did NOT want all caches removed. But, as a nature preserve, they decided they would like to review the cache placements, based on a couple of concerns, and in the interim, asked that we disable them. Bellevue City Parks has always supported geocaching, with no permissions required, and I don't see this changing overall.

 

Discovery Park (Seattle City Parks) - Different park system, different dynamics, different issues. This single city park banned geocaching two years ago, based on the misconceptions of a couple of influential personnel and perhaps an unfortunate (but unverified) incident or two. We (WSGA - Washington State Geocaching Assn) have been working with them since then to restore trust, build bridges, and hopefully restore caching to the park at some future point. This is the only park in the Seattle system to ban caching; in fact, our two CITOs there last spring changed some minds and nipped in the bud ideas about banning caching in Seattle's other "wild" parks.

 

Washington State Parks - Yes, there's a permit system, not unlike those in several other states. And in a show of support for geocaching, WSP just designated a statewide geocaching representative to work with its regional and park managers, and the geocaching community, to facilitate geocaching as a recreational activity throughout its parks. Sounds like a step forward to me. And a far cry from several years ago, when they wanted to ban geocaching - which led to the formation of WSGA (our statewide geocaching org), a dialog with the state parks, and the creation of that permitting system.

 

National Parks - NPS no longer bans geocaching outright. Instead, they issued a geocaching directive a couple years ago that states that geocaching can be a useful activity and explicitly leaves it to park superintendents to decide whether geocaching is permissible in their individual parks. In fact, a physical cache was approved at Mt St Helens National Monument this year, and I've been working with North Cascades National Park, which views geocaching as a great educational opportunity and may permit the first physical placement in 2010.

 

There are myriad other park systems that support geocaching without question. King County (Seattle and surrounding area), one of the largest counties in the U.S., has supported geocaching from the get-go in all 180 parks. Just last week, at the annual appreciation dinner for volunteers, the KCP director told us this will continue; they singled out geocacher work parties (CITOs to us) as one of their hardest-working groups; and the director said geocaching will still be allowed in the 40 parks that are being "mothballed" due to budget cuts. I call that one heck of a show of support.

 

And that's just Washington State (portions of it). Others in this forum could cite equally positive examples from around the country, and the world.

 

Sol Seaker, you're relatively new to this activity, but you have an alarming propensity to be...alarmist. :rolleyes: You know little of the history, yet you presume to lecture those of us who've been working with land managers for years. And your assumptions and judgments are often incorrect, which doesn't help your credibility.

 

I've been working with parks personnel for years, for orienteering as well as geocaching purposes. I'm currently chair of the WSGA Parks Advocacy Committee, and have formed relationships with park systems at the city, county, state, and national level within Washington. My observation is that geocaching is gaining greater acceptance, not less. Most land managers are interested in activities that will benefit their parks and encourage public support, esp. in times of budget shortfalls. I've found that it's often just a matter of educating them on geocaching, indicating our willingness to work with them and adhere to park policies, and making them comfortable that we understand their concerns and needs. Most park managers also understand there are a few "bad apples" within any group, whether it's hikers, campers, or geocachers, but that the majority of participants are conscientious, well-intentioned visitors.

 

I personally am more concerned with wild-eyed commentary that conveys inaccurate information and needlessly riles up the geocaching community by suggesting that geocaching will soon be "outlawed." Yes, there are occasional setbacks, but overall, the trend is toward greater awareness and support from land managers.

 

So....deep breaths....ooohhhmmmmm. Look, the sky is still up there! :wacko:

hydnsek, please be careful, you are beginning to confuse the paranoia issue with actual facts.

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[...]National Parks - NPS no longer bans geocaching outright. Instead, they issued a geocaching directive a couple years ago that states that geocaching can be a useful activity and explicitly leaves it to park superintendents to decide whether geocaching is permissible in their individual parks. In fact, a physical cache was approved at Mt St Helens National Monument this year, and I've been working with North Cascades National Park, which views geocaching as a great educational opportunity and may permit the first physical placement in 2010. [...]

Just an FYI, I did a search on the NPS website and found this page: http://www.nps.gov/gis/gps/

 

While the text under Geo-caching in the National Parks states that "Geo-caching activities on national park lands is prohibited", the referenced guidance document (http://www.nps.gov/policy/GPSguidance.pdf, updated as recently as October 1st) seems to suggest that this is up to the superintendent of any given park...

Thanks, Growf, for alerting us to the updated NPS guidance doc on "GPS-based Recreational Activities (GPSRA)." :( I didn't know they had revised it, so this is great intel. I'm posting my key take-aways on the updated guidance doc in the Park Contacts and Policies thread in the Northwest forum.

Edited by hydnsek
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Quote from Sol seaker

"I think rather than debating the specific details of each of the above cases, I'd like to see people discuss how this game impacts the environment and how we can pass on to other geocachers how to have minimal impact.

 

This is the real issue here I was trying to bring up.'

 

I believe we need to reevaluate what type and size of caches and where we place them. Was this sport started to tromp around looking for a micro or to locate an ammo can loaded with stuff?

 

I'll admit when I'm caching alone I'll do some micros, but I prefer to find something a bit larger or a virtual cache. I would like to see the virtual cache brought back; very little if any environmental impact.

 

We need to consider what the environmental impact will be of maybe hundreds of people looking for it. I'm sure we all have seen shrubs, rock walls, bushes, and trees that have been destroyed by over zealous geocachers.

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Quote from Sol seaker

"I think rather than debating the specific details of each of the above cases, I'd like to see people discuss how this game impacts the environment and how we can pass on to other geocachers how to have minimal impact.

 

This is the real issue here I was trying to bring up.'

 

I believe we need to reevaluate what type and size of caches and where we place them. Was this sport started to tromp around looking for a micro or to locate an ammo can loaded with stuff?

 

I'll admit when I'm caching alone I'll do some micros, but I prefer to find something a bit larger or a virtual cache. I would like to see the virtual cache brought back; very little if any environmental impact.

 

We need to consider what the environmental impact will be of maybe hundreds of people looking for it. I'm sure we all have seen shrubs, rock walls, bushes, and trees that have been destroyed by over zealous geocachers.

Good point. Make dependant guideline listings based on the area and its sensitivity to the activity. Nothing smaller than a 4X4X4 (or 64ci container) and the difficulty no harder than a 3 difficulty would probably suffice to minimize tramping of any sensitive areas. You might still end up with geotrails but trails (geocaching or otherwise) are unavoidable.

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Of course we as Geocachers should not tear up an area looking for a cache. Of couse we should pass that philosophy onto new cachers. I don't think anybody would argue those points.

 

I would, however, continue to argue that just because an area nearby a cache is "torn up" - that we should not automatically assume that geocachers were responsible.

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Of course we as Geocachers should not tear up an area looking for a cache. Of couse we should pass that philosophy onto new cachers. I don't think anybody would argue those points.

 

I would, however, continue to argue that just because an area nearby a cache is "torn up" - that we should not automatically assume that geocachers were responsible.

 

Nor should they assume a trail to the cache is a geotrail. I was on out on a hunt with friends yesterday where there was an obvious spur trail through dense brush that led directly to the cache about 50 yards away. The trail ended at the cache site, smack in the middle of the woods. It was obviously caused by geocachers, why else would a trail cut through the brush and end abruptly at a geocache? The circumstantial evidence was overwhelming.

 

Yet it wasn't a geotrail. How do I know for sure? I placed the cache two years ago and used that very same trail to reach the hiding place.

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Another area just went the way of kicking out the caches in it's interior here in Washington.

 

Mercer Nature Slough area, which had three water caches including one multi and some other caches, has now said no more caches in it's boundaries. They are open to discussion, but they have already requested (using that word lightly) that the caches be archived and removed and gave a tight time limit to do so.

 

Discovery Park, a huge area of Seattle kicked geocachers out before I became one. I've heard it was the site of the first geocache in SEattle. (they also said they were open to discussion, but have continued to allow no caches in it's area).

 

Washington STate Parks already don't allow caches without a lengthy permit process.

 

Of course all National Parks are off bounds, of which we have a few very large ones.

 

Other parks in the area are "keeping an eye" on us.

 

So the point I want to make here is that this all can be taken away if we don't learn the lessons of these caches.

 

We need to be aware that it is a privilege to put our caches in parks.

 

I mentioned on a thread not long ago that a lot of our parks here were getting trashed by geocachers.

Instead of people being concerned of losing this privilege, they said it wasn't us doing it or they said the woods would grow back.

 

If we leave the woods in a state that they need to "grow back" they will take this privilege from us. This is why we lost these parks.

 

If we stay in denial that it is us doing the damage, when there is an obvious circle of devastation around ground zero, then parks will continue to be taken away from us.

 

And carelessness around placement of caches in cities (that cause the bomb squad to be called out) could lose us a lot more than parks. (Those caches need to be marked and not placed in areas that would be susceptable to terrorist attack, such as airports, major highway bridges, major electrical facilities, dams, etc.)

 

It is up to us how we play the game.

And it is up to us whether the game will continue.

 

No, im pretty sure discovery park is still allowing caches, but only if they have been reviewed by the park staff. Its not as bad as WA state parks, but it is still...yeah.

 

Apologies if this has already been stated in this forum. I didn't have time to read thorugh all of the posts so...yeah.. :anitongue:

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