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Park Department permission/frustration

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Got a question for y'all. We were planning a CITO in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Geocaching. I contacted the parks department, told them what we wanted to do, and the hoop jumping began.

 

First we found out that Geocachers are "not on the approved list of volunteers". I've never heard of such a list, but, OK. So I asked them what we needed to do to make this happen.

 

That's when the frustration began. A representative of the group has to meet with the parks department to get pre-approval. Then we have to submit a list of people participation for a records check. THEN we have to attend a park board meeting to address any questions or concerns they might have, and THEN we might (or might not) get approved to do a CITO.

 

Geez-o-pete. All we wanted to do was pick up some trash in a park and do a good thing.

 

We ended contacting a neighboring city, who are THRILLED to have us cleaning up their park. In addition to welcoming us with open arms, they're also providing a shelter at no charge (waiving the deposit and rent) so we can have a picnic/event after the CITO.

 

Just curious if anyone else has run into anything like this? Am I being unreasonable by not wanting to do everything they want us to do? I do realize that they're wanting to protect the city from any liability, but, sheesh...we just wanted to pick up trash.

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A few years ago, there was a CITO in a great park system in the area.

Pretty-much a bi-yearly thing, always enjoy ourselves and really get things tidied up. In fact, our first year, we removed matress', bed springs, car motors - some heavy stuff, all for the fun of it.

Somehow, a member of the local government (twsp I believe) got involved and pretty-much took over the show. Now we're working for her.

 

Forms with all "needed" info had to be filled in order to participate - for insurance.

Seems I'm always the villian, asked if those now in the park had to fill out the same forms.

Had to have been at least twenty others, not cachers/CITOers strolling the park and that's one heck of a lawsuit about to happen...

- the answer was "no" and was told that if I wanted to spend the day here, I'd have to fill out that form.

 

Was tempted to express my rights as a citizen and just stroll the park and if I happened to spot litter, pick it up. We do that every day we're out, caching or not , what's the difference now ?

Instead, noticed that the CITO event organizer was already mortified over the restraints placed on us.

So rather than this controlling dame getting another body to help, I bowed out, apologized to the event CO and headed for home.

 

Found out later, a somewhat-local legend used his caching name on the form.

So much for it being official.

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There's no reason you should have to get permission to pick up trash at a public park. That's the most ridiculous thing I've heard all day.

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I would say the first thing to have done would be see if you could volunteer as some other sort of volunteers. Say as birdwatchers, or fishermen or something like that.

btw- did you go to them as a formal 'geocachers of this city/state/whatever' group or just 'me and my friends' kind of thing?

 

Haven't really heard of the kind of loops you describe before. Most parks seem happy to have the help and will give you bags and coordinate where the most trash is, and where to collect the filled bags.

 

Biggest problem I've heard of locally was one about the money to pay the landfill cost for the trash collected. Some years back a group of us wanted to clean up along this newer? rail trail. It had been abandoned for a while and used as a dumping ground B) , besides trash there were tires, appliances, car parts, a carpet, etc. The people that owned the trail was a donation supported non profit. They were fine with a clean up, even would get the gates opened and such so we could drive the trail. However they had no trucks to pick up the trash, and no money available for the landfill fees. Which would have been at least several hundreds if not a few thousand :D.

Ended up doing clean up elsewhere, that could at least pay for getting rid of the trash. And if your wondering, eventally the county parks took over maintanace of the above meationed trail. They cleaned up the trash, trimmed the trees back, etc. Its now a pretty nice trail. :drama:

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I would say the first thing to have done would be see if you could volunteer as some other sort of volunteers. Say as birdwatchers, or fishermen or something like that.

btw- did you go to them as a formal 'geocachers of this city/state/whatever' group or just 'me and my friends' kind of thing?

 

Actually, I first approached them as "Friends who use the park frequently"....and they told us anyone who does any kind of volunteer work has to go through the approval process. They asked if we were part of an organized group, and I replied "loosely organized" (which is what our local group is) and it went from there.

 

BTW, I was contacted by Ducks Unlimited who wanted to do a clean up of the river that runs through the park, and they faced the same issues, and, ultimately, gave up also.

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sounds like you are dealing with some power hungry folks. Tme to move on and when that park turns to shambles maybe those same people will be looking for work.

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Time to go over their heads and speak to the First Selectmen, or head honcho. You shouldn't have to jump through leaps and bounds to perform a good deed that ultimately saves the town money and beautifies the park. Lately, a lot of Scouts are getting involved in CITO events, perhaps you could team up with the local Scouting Group and approach the Parks Dept. together. Bring photos of other clean up efforts, and copies of event pages to show them what it's all about.

Maybe you could offer to sign waivers against any liability should anyone step on a rusty nail, or cut their hand on glass, or get hurt.

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My husband was the mayor of our small town for a while. After reading this, I posed the question to him: "What would you, as mayor, do if a group of Geocachers wanted to do a CITO event at the park?" His answer was immediate: "When do you want to do it? Can we provide you with the trash bags?" I agree with Eartha's comment. Go over their heads. Communities all over the world would do anything to get a group of volunteers to pick up trash. It is ridiculous to expect you to submit to background checks to clean a park.

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Sometimes doesn't hurt to drop a letter of disgust at the bureaucratic hurdles off at the local newspaper. Even if their readership seems to have shrunk, you can bet the city government scan each and every paper. A good venting at the absurdities could be a lever in the right spot, particularly if well written and in a sense of frustration and not an effort of spite.

 

Finding officials in another community who are only too happy to clear the way for a well intentioned group of volunteers isn't a bad move, either. There's trash everywhere.

 

I think larger cities specialize in people who justify their positions by creating paperwork, though they may sometimes be concerned about publics works unions becoming disgruntled that you're putting their litter-picker-uppers out of work (the same ones who haven't yet touched the previous generation's strata of steel beer cans and glass coke bottles.)

Edited by DragonsWest

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Sounds like Indianapolis has it's share of parinoid officials. Why ask permission? Just go do a good deed and clean up. That's what we do to the Pacific beaches. We put the 'junk' in the city trash cans.

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In a non caching related note on a similar topic in one of the towns here volunteers must jump through numerous hoops to get permission to clean up the parks. One person used to care for a park area only to get a little note from the city that the union was upset at his caring for this particular area and that he had to cease immediately. Needless to say the area got mowed twice that summer and garbage continues to gather now.

 

I would suspect geocachers would come into similar barriers while trying to clean up some of the local parks here.

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Then we have to submit a list of people participation for a records check.

THEN we have to attend a park board meeting to address any questions or concerns they might have

 

those are the two most ridiculous requirements i have ever heard lol

 

records check on the participants? what the heck for, are they afraid someone may steal garbage to take home? :lol:

 

and attend a board meeting? what possible concerns would they have?

 

as others said, forget it and move on to other place, there's numerous out there that will be more than happy to have volunteers help

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That's amazing! Sounds like I'm local to you. Which indy parks were involved with this?

 

When and Where is the event?

 

Also, what about CITO from one park, and donate their trash to the one that doesn't want cleaned? :rolleyes: (yes, that's a joke)

 

They have judges ORDER some people go pick up trash for (x number) hours, but if you and friends WANT to go do it on your own they want background checks

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If The Team and some friends decide to go to a local park and pick up trash, we are going to go to that park and pick up trash. This is not an 'event', it is being helpful and doing something positive for our public parks.

 

Being prevented or challenged while doing that just isn't going to happen. Of course, if we happen to observe trash that has made it's way into some particular section of a park that is restricted from entry, then naturally we'd not enter that section. If the presence of trash in such a restricted section of a park were particularly egregious, one of us would notify the parks department.

 

Seems too simple doesn't it? Trust me, it works.

 

BTW, we do not 'volunteer', we just go do it.

 

I does make sense to me that if you approach park administrators with the stated purpose to establish some sort of volunteer group, that they are going to want to perform some sort of check out of the participants. Government agencies these days are rightly concerned over law suits once they lend their explicit or implied endorsement to entities.

 

Life these days can often be complicated.

Edited by Team Cotati

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[snip]

 

They have judges ORDER some people go pick up trash for (x number) hours, but if you and friends WANT to go do it on your own they want background checks

 

Yeah, and some of those folks that are being ordered to pick up trash would most probably fail the background check, yet they are required to be there. The folks that could pass the background check aren't allowed! :laughing:

 

A couple of years back we did a big CITO on the south end of the Ocala National Forest. Once we had all our trash collected, we were stunned to find out that the landfill would not accept our trash even if we took it to the landfill ourselves. Seems we did our CITO on the north side of the highway where the forest is but the landfill only accepts trash from the other side of the highway. :)

They graciously agreed to accept the one truck load that showed up at the fill but would not let us return with any more trash.

About a year later I went back to the same area and the same trash bags I filled up were still there. A good lesson to make sure you have a way to get rid of the trash after the CITO!

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Why is there even a background check to begin with, if you're allowed to be in the area? It's not like ex-cons are banned from public places...

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Why ask permission?

I "get" the whole do a good deed and let people know cachers are good people. However, in light of the resistance you received I think the above is a very valid question. I am not familiar with IN law but as a cop I am familiar with CA law. If it is a public park and a bunch of friends, even loosely organized, want to clean up a park, I can not for the life of me think of a single codified ordinance that would prohibit this. And, if some politico got his panties in a bunch I can not think of one cop that would enforce this. I would also like to hear the public outcry when it was found out that this happened.

 

My $.02

Edited by Prescott Patrol

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. Why ask permission? Just go do a good deed and clean up.

 

A rule I have lived by for years..."It's easier to receive forgiveness than permission."

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There's no reason you should have to get permission to pick up trash at a public park. That's the most ridiculous thing I've heard all day.

 

Some people just enjoy drama a bit too much.

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Just broaching the subject of possibly having a cleanup in a state park here a few years ago, I was told the number of volunteers had to be strictly controlled. Some union restriction is my understanding.

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Me: Hi Mr. Ranger, how's things?

Mr. Ranger: Oh things are just fine. By the way, whatcha got in that there trash bag?

Me: Trash.

Mr. Ranger: Turn around, hands behind your back. You're under arrest.

 

Lord have mercy.

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I ran into a similar scenario in Alaska. The Fairbanks Parks and Recreation department head had me appear before the Parks and Recreation committee to describe geocaching and the CITO concept. After a one-hour meeting, I was told the committee couldn't make a decision on the matter and that I needed to write a letter to the mayor outlining all I'd covered with the committee. Shortly after that meeting, I learned my employer was moving me to Anchorage, so I didn't proceed with writing the letter.

 

Fast forward through my relocation...

 

No problems in the big Alaskan city. The Municipalilty of Anchorage welcomes cachers to use its parks without a permit. Anchorage cachers, in exchange, teach two Introduction to Caching sessions each year and host a couple of CITO events. Great symbiosis here.

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I would say the first thing to have done would be see if you could volunteer as some other sort of volunteers. Say as birdwatchers, or fishermen or something like that.

btw- did you go to them as a formal 'geocachers of this city/state/whatever' group or just 'me and my friends' kind of thing?

 

Actually, I first approached them as "Friends who use the park frequently"....and they told us anyone who does any kind of volunteer work has to go through the approval process. They asked if we were part of an organized group, and I replied "loosely organized" (which is what our local group is) and it went from there.

 

BTW, I was contacted by Ducks Unlimited who wanted to do a clean up of the river that runs through the park, and they faced the same issues, and, ultimately, gave up also.

I'd get together with someone from the DU group, as well as any other frustrated wannabe volunteers, and go meet with the decision makers about this. They are obviously biting the hand that wants to feed them, and at a time when governments are cutting back on things like cleaning up, because of lack of funds.

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I would say the first thing to have done would be see if you could volunteer as some other sort of volunteers. Say as birdwatchers, or fishermen or something like that.

btw- did you go to them as a formal 'geocachers of this city/state/whatever' group or just 'me and my friends' kind of thing?

 

Actually, I first approached them as "Friends who use the park frequently"....and they told us anyone who does any kind of volunteer work has to go through the approval process. They asked if we were part of an organized group, and I replied "loosely organized" (which is what our local group is) and it went from there.

 

BTW, I was contacted by Ducks Unlimited who wanted to do a clean up of the river that runs through the park, and they faced the same issues, and, ultimately, gave up also.

I'd get together with someone from the DU group, as well as any other frustrated wannabe volunteers, and go meet with the decision makers about this. They are obviously biting the hand that wants to feed them, and at a time when governments are cutting back on things like cleaning up, because of lack of funds.

 

Rather than being difficult, perhaps it would work out better if you simply went thru the approval process. Lord knows that the trash must be about up to the low hanging limbs of a 50' oak tree by now.

 

People can be such pigs.

Edited by Team Cotati

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There's no reason you should have to get permission to pick up trash at a public park. That's the most ridiculous thing I've heard all day.

 

Apparently you don't know how the government works...or, doesn't, as the case may be... :(:)

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There's no reason you should have to get permission to pick up trash at a public park. That's the most ridiculous thing I've heard all day.

 

Apparently you don't know how the government works...or, doesn't, as the case may be... :(:)

 

You are correct. You don't. I don't. But apparently in some weird places, you do. Personally, I'd like to visit one of those weird places, you know a sort of "Trust but verify" trip.

 

I and probably you have visited many parks in many locations during our lives and not once have we ever encountered a park what there was a restriction on picking up trash.

 

What all the ruckus in here seems to be about is some folk want to be difficult and cause trouble with the park systems, for reasons unknown. They seem to have problems following rules. They want to have some gaggle of super citizens in some sort of official capacity, what ever the freak THAT might mean and make some big production out of a formerly simple act of picking up trash in a public park.

 

Must be the Trash Brigade of the Tea Baggers is all that I can figure.

 

If you encounter trash not contained within an appropriate container, please do pick it up and encourage others to do the same. You know, like you have been doing most of your adult life.

 

I'll help bail you out if the Trash Police throw you in the slammer.

 

Have mercy.

Edited by Team Cotati

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Me: Hi Mr. Ranger, how's things?

Mr. Ranger: Oh things are just fine. By the way, whatcha got in that there trash bag?

Me: Trash.

Mr. Ranger: Turn around, hands behind your back. You're under arrest.

 

Lord have mercy.

If I had laughed any harder, I would have cracked a rib.

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Me: Hi Mr. Ranger, how's things?

Mr. Ranger: Oh things are just fine. By the way, whatcha got in that there trash bag?

Me: Trash.

Mr. Ranger: Turn around, hands behind your back. You're under arrest.

 

Lord have mercy.

If I had laughed any harder, I would have cracked a rib.

 

Thank you.....thank you very much. :):):)

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Great topic

I am a Parks supervisor for a small community in Alberta Canada, I would love to see more groups help in the trash fights, we do have a small group that tends to our trail systems WE call them trail trashers, we even host a seasonal BBQ for them................. :P;):D

 

Check up the great Work.

 

Happy trails

 

jerrydew

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Well most often there is a reason for the all the hoops.

 

At one time or another they or someone they heard of got bit on the butt.

 

If they give and official ok to a event. There butts are on the line and now have to be legally covered.

 

Sad but true these days you can sue any one for just about any thing.

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Well most often there is a reason for the all the hoops.

 

At one time or another they or someone they heard of got bit on the butt.

 

If they give and official ok to a event. There butts are on the line and now have to be legally covered.

 

Sad but true these days you can sue any one for just about any thing.

 

A representative of the group has to meet with the parks department to get pre-approval. Then we have to submit a list of people participation for a records check. THEN we have to attend a park board meeting to address any questions or concerns they might have, and THEN we might (or might not) get approved to do a CITO.

Please explain how jumping through these hoops is going to prevent a lawsuit.

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Please explain how jumping through these hoops is going to prevent a lawsuit.

I'm sure that 'lawsuit mitigation' is the official reason.

I'm sure that 'bureaucrat self-justification' is the real reason.

 

:D

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Please explain how jumping through these hoops is going to prevent a lawsuit.

I'm sure that 'lawsuit mitigation' is the official reason.

I'm sure that 'bureaucrat self-justification' is the real reason.

 

:D

 

I've read this thread and can't believe the roadblocks the local gov't put up.

 

What's the famous quote...."I am from the government, and I am here to help."

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