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15Tango

"Illegal" caches in Minnesota

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I may be stepping into the line of fire with this response, but some of the comments I am reading are only going to lead to more restrictions on geocaching and more mistrust from resource managers towards geocachers.

 

Geocaching is a great activity for individuals and families to enjoy the outdoors. It is also an activity that if done without any rules can be damaging to the natural resources. Resource managers, park rangers, wildlife biologists are all required to manage and protect the resources they manage.

 

There are times when caches can cause damage to the resources and managers need to protect against that. Areas with rare plants or animals, fragile soils, steep slopes, etc. are areas where geocaching probably shouldn’t be allowed. The same considerations are taken when dealing with mountain bikers, hikers, 4-wheelers, horses and campers. There are always participants in any activity (the five percenters) who don’t care about the rules and do what ever they want. Their illegal activities can lead to the banning of the activity all together.

 

Some of the comments on the thread are good, others are antagonistic. Calling resource managers “trolls” will not lead to friendly conversations. Yes, we monitor the geocaching sites and know what is being said. Making multi-step caches, so that we chase hints around the parks is not a positive move either. Virtual caches are a good idea. I have already communicated with a geocacher about setting one up in our parks. Virtual cache sites still have to be respectful of the resource manager’s concerns.

 

There has been mention that it is silly for us to be concerned about what’s in the cache because this is a family activity and things will be kid friendly. I agree that 95% of the participants will only put in safe, fun items, but the 5% may leave inappropriate things. We need to be able to monitor that the same way we monitor other activities in the parks and wildlife areas. There was a comment that caches are not buried. The cache at Grass Lake in Shoreview is buried! It is not deep, but it can lead to a geocacher disturbing a large area of ground cover looking for the cache.

 

One last comment that caught my eye was that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. That is geometrically correct, but it can put cachers into areas they should not be. Use existing trails until you are in close proximity to the cache. That will reduce the chance of additional trails becoming established. This may not be a concern for a cache that is only visited once or twice a month, but in urban areas caches are visited multiple times a week and do start new trails that are then followed by others.

 

Work with the resource managers and be patient. Not every park or open space will be suitable for geocaching, but most will be. The formation of the Minnesota geocaching group is a good start.

 

Thanks,

 

John Moriarty, Natural Resources Specialist

Ramsey County Parks and Recreation

John.moriarty@co.ramsey.mn.us

http://www.co.ramsey.mn.us/parks/parks_trails/hiking.html (our geocaching policy)

 

p.s. When corresponding with resource managers please use your real names, not your nicknames.

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THANK YOU MR. MORIARTY for your positive comments. This is what we have been working towards.

Folks!

 

This guy is the one we have to thank for endorsing Geocaching in Ramsey County Parks. Please take all his concerns seriously when placing or caching in all our parks. We need to have a positive relationship with the managers of our parks and work with them on the issues if we would like to continue our fun activity in the parks. Thank you again for taking the time to work with us Mr. Moriarty. Bob

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quote:
Originally posted by John Moriarty:

 

(snip)

 

Yes, we monitor the geocaching sites and know what is being said. Making multi-step caches, so that we chase hints around the parks is not a positive move either. Virtual caches are a good idea. I have already communicated with a geocacher about setting one up in our parks. Virtual cache sites still have to be respectful of the resource manager’s concerns.

 

(snip)

 

Thanks,

 

John Moriarty, Natural Resources Specialist

Ramsey County Parks and Recreation

John.moriarty@co.ramsey.mn.us

http://www.co.ramsey.mn.us/parks/parks_trails/hiking.html (our geocaching policy)

 

p.s. When corresponding with resource managers please use your real names, not your nicknames.


 

For the record, my earlier post about multi-caches was said in jest. Of course nothing like this should be done with the goal to annoy park managers. And caches without permission should be removed from State Parks, even though you know the government doesn’t have the man power, (due to budget problems), to remove them themselves.

 

eroom

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I have to rebut the statement about my cache. It is NOT buried, although I guess that depends on how you define 'buried'. I placed that cache in a low area, then covered it with grass/weeds/twigs. I did NOT dig, widen, enhance the hiding spot. I never thought of it as being buried.

 

I certainly appreciate Ramsey County's policy. I will correct the problem with the Grass Lake cache ASAP, and never intended any problems or confusion with this cache.

 

I currently have three others that have apparently been plundered, and wish to check those out. The situation at Grass Lake will be corrected.

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