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Ohio - Licking Park District (long but very important)

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Ok, I'm not going to go into detail, I'm just going to copy and paste e-mails that I've received. The point is, it sounds like Geocaching has been banned in the Licking Park District's parks (those specific parks are listed below). It sounds like there's little to nothing that we can do, but I know we're a creative bunch, does anyone have any ideas of how we might change their minds? A CITO event, might be a decent start, but I don't think it would be enough. Below are the e-mails I've gotten, starting with the most recent. The very last one is an e-mail sent from the park district directly to Groundspeak, who in turn contacted me about it. I'm sorry to have to post this, I did what I could, but if the situation is as bad as they say then I guess they would have a right to be upset about it. I'm just at a loss right now of what to do, and I don't want to make the situation any worse than I appearently have.

 

--------------------------

Thank you for your assistance in notifying other geocachers that caches may

not be placed on any Licking Park District property such as Infirmary Mound

Park, Taft Reserve, Lobdell Reserve, Riverview Preserve, Ohio Canal Greenway

and the portions of the Thomas J. Evans bike trail that are maintained by

the Park District. I cannot speak for other park districts or organizations

in Licking County as to whether geocaching has been outlawed on their

facilites, just the properties owned or maintained by the Licking Park

District. The damage that was done on our property was to much damage done.

Trails were cut where they should not have been cut and items were left that

were not permissible on any Licking Park District Property. Due to the

nature of your activity and the layout of our parks,a permit system would

not be effective. Most of our parks are regenerated farm land and there are

still off trail hazards that are in existence. I hope this helps to clarify

the situation. Please notify future geocachers that any cache that is

placed on Licking Park District property will be confiscated and any legal

action that can be taken, will be taken.

-----------------------------------

Because past geocachers vandalized park property, destroyed native species

and strayed off of the main trail, placing geocaches on any Licking Park

District property is ILLEGAL and any cache that is discovered on any of our

properties will immediately be confiscated. If any person is caught in the

act of placing a cache on park property necessary legal action will be

taken. Past geocachers did not ask permission to place their caches on park

property and cut trails from our main trail to where their cache was placed.

This violated several Licking Park District Rules and Regulations including:

Section 1.0 Defacement, Destruction, Removal or Disturbance or Property,

Equipment, Archaeological or Natural Feature, Section 1.3 Defacement of

Surface and 13.6 Riding or Walking on no designated trails. The Licking Park

District painstakingly laid out the trails to ensure visitor safety.

Because much of Park District property is regenerated farm land, there still

is existing field tiles, holes and other hazards that could potentially

injure someone. Your activity by nature encourages participants to stray

from the main trails, which in turn could be devastating to native species

and hazardous to person and body. Since our parks are also nature

preserves, we encourage native species growth, including but not limited to

wildflowers, trees, shrubs and more. By straying off trail, visitors

destroy the plants which causes many of them not to grow back the following

year.

Recently, a geocache was placed on park property and was discovered by our

Park Ranger. Upon reading the log book, the staff of the Licking Park

District discovered that the original owner placed a weapon inside the

cache. It was placed near a well used trail and picnicking area. Had this

cache been found by a school group or child, there could have been serious

implications. Again, more Licking Park District Rules and Regulations were

violated including: Section 3.2 Improper Transportation of A Dangerous

Weapon in a Motor Vehicle and 3.3 Carrying Dangerous weapons which states:

"No person, except law enforcement officers, shall have or carry any knives,

daggers or other edged weapons, metal knuckles, slingshots, blow guns or

other dangerous weapons on or about his or her person while in the parks."

While we encourage visitors to hike our trails and enjoy our facilities,

former geocachers violated several of our rules and regulations, thus our

decision to outlaw geocaching on any Licking Park District property. We are

a small organization and do not have the means to oversee the safety of your

activity unlike many of the park districts that you have been able to work

with. Per our rules and regulations, any person or organization who violates

them could be fined up to $1,000.

----------------------------------

 

Hello. My name is XXXX XXXXX and I am the XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

for the Licking Park District, Licking County, Ohio. While reading an

article in the National Association For Interpretation magazine, we read

about your organization and what you do. After discussing the article, we

remembered a geocache that was placed illegally on park district property

last year. Our Park Ranger confiscated the cache and the contents because

the person who placed it went off trail and then cut a trail back to the

main trail from the cache to place it. This violated several of the park

district's rules and regulations including walking off a marked trail,

vandalism, leaving personal possessions and posting of signs or other

objects on park property.

 

Due to concerns of park vandalism, native species destruction and guest

safety, we regret to inform your organization and participants that placing

geocaches on any Park District property is ILLEGAL and any cache that is

discovered on any park property will immediately be confiscated. If any

person is caught in the act of placing a cache on park property necessary

legal action will be taken.

 

Thank you for your attention to this problem and please inform any person(s)

that has placed a cache on park property to please remove it immediately and

that further caches are NOT to be placed on Park District Property.

--------------------------------------------

(Names/titles withheld at my discretion)

 

Mr. 0

 

"Remember that nature and the elements are neither your friend or your enemy - they are actually disinterested."

 

Department of the Army Field Manual FM 21-76 "Survival" Oct. 1970

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I don't see where you have done any damage. I believe you have opened the door by getting them to express their reasons why caches are being banned. At least you have a point of reference now to work with.

 

Is there any way to start off with a virtual that can be viewed using a known trail? A lot of people don't like virtual caches, but it would show the park people not all caches are a bad thing. I would hope that once they get used to cachers being around and not damaging anything, they might get into the spirit later on. icon_smile.gif

 

My apologies that I am unfamiliar with their park system at the moment. icon_frown.gif

 

I'm not Lost, my GPS says I'm right here....no over here......no over here.

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I think the virtual cache idea demonstrates that great problems very often have simple solutions. The best part is that with a virtual cache, many of the "hazards" of caching (such as damage to people and critters and habitats) can be avoided. And sometimes virtuals can be a refreshing change from searching rotted out logs, amongst a sea of logs. They can be very clever when a creative mind is at work (just check out the clues to the ones on the Vegas strip)

 

Its a beautiful suggestion, dwmurphy! =) I hope the Licking Parks people are open to these alternatives that can safely bring traffic to their area.

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is there a way that we can set up a meeting with them, to maybe possibly work through the problems

 

I have no clue where Licking parks is, but I would be willing to support anybody that would like to get a meeting with the park officials

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Licking county is Newark/Heath area. It's one county east of Franklin. When I first contacted them I asked about meeting with them, but they don't seem to be willing to do that. It pretty much sounds like they've got their mind made up right now. But I think that if we treat them well, and can prove to them that Geocaching isn't all bad then they may come around. I think virtuals are a good place to start. I'm going to contact them tomorrow to make sure that virtuals are still ok. I want to make sure first so we don't go stepping on more toes. I also think that either way we look at it, a CITO day isn't a bad idea...like I said before, even if they say "thanks but it doesn't change our minds" we're still doing something good for the environment, and for future visitors. Would anyone be willing to do a CITO day, possibly in May, or June, maybe July? Maybe we could get out there the weekend after Memorial Day, since it's traditionally busy Memorial Day weekend at parks everywhere....or maybe the weekend after The 4th of July, again for the same reason....or both????

 

Mr. 0

 

"Remember that nature and the elements are neither your friend or your enemy - they are actually disinterested."

 

Department of the Army Field Manual FM 21-76 "Survival" Oct. 1970

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quote:
Originally posted by dwmurphy:

I don't see where you have done any damage. I believe you have opened the door by getting them to express their reasons why caches are being banned. At least you have a point of reference now to work with.

 

Is there any way to start off with a virtual that can be viewed using a known trail? A lot of people don't like virtual caches, but it would show the park people not all caches are a bad thing. I would hope that once they get used to cachers being around and not damaging anything, they might get into the spirit later on. icon_smile.gif

 

My apologies that I am unfamiliar with their park system at the moment. icon_frown.gif

 

I'm not Lost, my GPS says I'm right here....no over here......no over here.


 

I meant to reply to this earlier....Anyhow I wanted to thank you for the encouragement. When I started this topic it was right after I received a 3rd e-mail from them and I pretty much knew they were not going to change their position on Geocaching. I guess I just had high hopes in getting them to come around, and since I was asked by Groundspeak to give it a try, I was just disappointed that it happened like it did. I guess I was just feeling some responsibility, but I realize now that Licking County felt the way they do, before I had any knowledge of it, so there's nothing that I really could have done anyhow. But you're right, at least we know why they've banned caching, and we can work with that and try to build a relationship with them.

 

Mr. 0

 

"Remember that nature and the elements are neither your friend or your enemy - they are actually disinterested."

 

Department of the Army Field Manual FM 21-76 "Survival" Oct. 1970

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Let me play 'Devil's Advocate' here, and try to defend the Licking Park District. Keep in mind that I am not familiar with it, so this is a best guess.

 

All park systems must balance the conservation and recreation aspects of the area that they are responsible for. Are they there for people or nature? They have to make policy decisions based on the purpose of the park. Some parks put more emphasis on conservation, Johnson Woods in Wayne County comes to mind. Some parks put more emphasis on recreation, such as community parks. Licking seems to lean more toward the consevation side, but they allow some recreational activities, if you follow the rules. And it looks like one of the rules is to stay on the trail. It's the same rule for everyone, and geocachers broke it. If others were allowed off trail, but not geocaching (like in the National Parks, but that's a whole other subject,) I could see a problem, but that doesn't look like the case here.

 

The Licking Park people seem like they're nice folks, and Mr. O is developing a good rapport with them. Try for a virtual cache, or maybe a box and a logbook in their visitor center (if they have one,) but don't get your hopes up for a traditional cache. Unless they change the basic rules of the park.

 

 

RichardMoore

 

www.geocities.com/richardsrunaway

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quote:
Originally posted by Mr. 0:

Licking county is Newark/Heath area. It's one county east of Franklin. When I first contacted them I asked about meeting with them, but they don't seem to be willing to do that. It pretty much sounds like they've got their mind made up right now. But I think that if we treat them well, and can prove to them that Geocaching isn't all bad then they may come around. I think virtuals are a good place to start. I'm going to contact them tomorrow to make sure that virtuals are still ok. I want to make sure first so we don't go stepping on more toes. I also think that either way we look at it, a CITO day isn't a bad idea...like I said before, even if they say "thanks but it doesn't change our minds" we're still doing something good for the environment, and for future visitors. Would anyone be willing to do a CITO day, possibly in May, or June, maybe July? Maybe we could get out there the weekend after Memorial Day, since it's traditionally busy Memorial Day weekend at parks everywhere....or maybe the weekend after The 4th of July, again for the same reason....or both????

 

Mr. 0

 

"Remember that nature and the elements are neither your friend or your enemy - they are actually disinterested."

 

Department of the Army Field Manual FM 21-76 "Survival" Oct. 1970


 

Uh-oh. I've got an idea...

 

Set up a virtual CITO Cache somewhere that they say has a lot of trash. The reqirement for a log is a photo of your cleanup in front of a particular sign or structure, maybe a dumpster on the grounds. Can't go wrong with that... Of course, whoever sets it up will need to communicate the idea and intent.

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The really big question here is how to say we're sorry for the past indiscretions.

 

They have already caught geocachers breaking some major rules (as I read in the first post).

And now we need to improve a bad image. icon_frown.gif

 

I whole heartily agree we should be doing something, but we must also be wary of "overdoing things" which would cause more trouble (being a pest). A CITO should probably follow some sort of letter of apology, I don't have a clue who should write it, I would guess the original hider?, followed by something from Groundspeak? With the invention of COG maybe a short formal letter from them?

 

Your thoughts?

 

I'm not Lost, my GPS says I'm right here....no over here......no over here.

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I guess a start of any kind is good. Virtuals will draw most cachers to an area. Especially if it is a nice park or nature preserve. I don't mind CITO events. Might as well pick up some garbage while meeting new cachers and what not. Bjorn's idea seems like a good mix of both caching for virtuals and cleaning up.

 

Perhaps if we have another CITO event within the next couple of months we can get some kind of press coverage on that. It would give the park and GeoCaching some exposure.

 

Just my two cents. No real solutions I guess since we seem to be at a dead end with some of these parks.

 

imurevenge.gif

"Look at the bones!"

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I have lived in licking county for 56 years. The Licking Parks District people are the very same ones who have vastly exagerated, twisted, and otherwise distorted the facts (as any good propaganda expert would) in order to achieve their desired (and personal) objectives. In this case it was to get geocaching banned. I see it as a very childish responce to finding something they didn't know was there. this encroached on their very fragile ego's. So they (one or two) have twisted and exagerated the facts to make them look as sinister and illeagal as possible.

 

The park in which they found the cache "near a main trail and picnic area" which they reported having a "weapon" in it, and had been placed off the trail and "a trail had been cut to the site", was Infirmary Mound Park.

 

The truth of the matter is this.

 

The cache originally contained one of the smallest swiss army knives made. you know them. tweezers,tooth pick, nail file, scissor, and one blade. the kind you can use as a key chain fob.

 

the cache was placed about 100 feet off of a main trail down a VERY prominent footpath made by deer, humans, other animals etc. and is a path which has been there in the park since as far back as I can remember. ( I know I walked on it at least 15 years ago) It may not be one of their new trails which lead you along wonderfully scenic old fence rows at the edges of bare meadows, but it was NOT cut through sensitve habitats to create a path to the cache.

 

The cache was however placed about three steps off of that path behind a tree.

 

During the 6 months the cache existed 19 people total visited the cache.

 

It should be pointed out that every year they have a Civil War Reenactment in the parks 400 or so acres. During this event hundreds of reenactors, walk, run, and stomp across most of them, doing much more in one day than those 19 cachers ever could.

 

It is too bad that they were able to establish a policy based on distortion and exageration, for now it will be an up hill fight to change it.

 

$1000 Bill geocaching is living in a 30 foot circle

 

[This message was edited by Treasure Hunters Inc. on May 01, 2003 at 07:10 PM.]

 

[This message was edited by Treasure Hunters Inc. on May 01, 2003 at 07:12 PM.]

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I tend to believe Treasure Hunters Inc.'s view of the situation. That doesn't mean that the suggestions about trying to work with the park aren't GREAT - - they are - - but the efforts may fall on deaf ears and hardened hearts. Yet, I recently had great success in placing several caches in a park after organizing a CITO event there, when the park had previously asked for its only geocache to be removed. There's always hope!

 

I have actually found two caches that would appear to be swept up in this "edict." I won't post links, for fear of drawing attention to them, as both caches are still active, but you can find them pretty easily if you're curious. One is in a park with ancient mounds, and the other is along a bike trail. Both were VERY easy finds, hidden in hollow trees that weren't even in a densely wooded area, more like a few trees in the middle of a grassy field. Neither site showed ANY of the "telltale signs" of a geocache: no pile of sticks, no rocks out of place, no social path leading up to the tree. At the "mounds" cache, there is a bridge built over the mound, inviting visitors to walk into the area where the cache is located. During our visit, we spotted lots of joggers and dog-walkers roaming all over the open space. We trashed out some trash, as we always do. The bike trail cache was within sight of a picnic area, and the only delicate plants we saw between the cache area and the picnic tables were millions of blades of common green grass. We saw a LOT of trash in this area from the picnickers, and prior logs say it's a teenager's hangout. We are history buffs as well as bicyclists, so these two caches were great to hunt for, even if they were level one's.

 

I truly regret that the evil Leprechauns contributed to the degradation of the sensitive Licking County Park District properties as described above. icon_wink.gif Our SOLE reason for stopping in Licking County was geocaching -- discovering yet more parks we didn't know about. We drove all the way over from Pittsburgh to move along some Cannonball Run travel bugs. If there are no new caches allowed, we will have no reason to ever return there, and our tourist dollars can easily be spent elsewhere.

 

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

Some mornings, it just doesn't pay to chew through the leather straps. - Emo Phillips

 

[This message was edited by The Leprechauns on May 02, 2003 at 11:23 AM.]

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It's been pointed out to me by a helpful local cacher that one of the geocaches I described in my prior post is NOT on Licking County Park District property, and is therefore "safe." Apparently there are multiple Native American "Mounds" sites in Licking County. I visited a different one, which is not county property. Way cool place.

 

x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x

Some mornings, it just doesn't pay to chew through the leather straps. - Emo Phillips

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we had a cache at Infirmary Mound Park and it is now missing,guess we will not replace this one

 

I'm a man and I can change if I have to,I guess.

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This is the latest e-mail I've received from them. So we're allowed to do virts, and they're going to be in contact about a CITO day.

 

"Thank you for your assistance. I have talked to our director about virtual

caches and he stated that as long as nothing is left, people are not going

off trail and that our rules and regulations are being followed, he does not

have a problem with them.

 

We are in the process of scheduling a park clean up at one of our newest

facilities. As soon as we get that pertinent information, we would love to

have the assistance of your organization! The preserve is currently the

site of a canoe launch into the Licking River."

 

Mr. 0

 

"Remember that nature and the elements are neither your friend or your enemy - they are actually disinterested."

 

Department of the Army Field Manual FM 21-76 "Survival" Oct. 1970

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