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Forest Park Bushwacking (Portland)


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It seems that there are more and more caches that are encouraging bushwacking. I have never been a fan of blazing new trails in forests. And especially in park systems with heavily used existing trails.


In particular, there are quite a few caches along the Wildwood trail and its system of tributary trails that require some bushwacking - mild to ???. Of course, when you don't know your destination there is more bushwacking than might originally be thought.


I realize that on heavily used trails a cache needs to be concealed - but at what cost?


I'd like to know what the level of tolerance and/or concern among geocachers is regarding this characteristic in geocaching.

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It is amazing how quickly the vegetaion in forested areas around here can be trampled, especially in the Winter. I have to admit, following a trail to a cache is not nearly as fun as hiking cross country. That is why I enjoy caching in the Bend area with the other Moondogs. The desert is a wonderful area to hike around in and not have to worry about sensitive habitat. There are already many existing little side trails in places like Forest Park that cachers could use to locate a cache a few feet from. Experienced cachers should be quite adept at spotting any recent disturbances and be able to minimize their impact. It is the newbies and the ignorant that tear up an area that cause the damage and make it difficult for me to discern just where a cache may be. Consequently, I have to broaden my own search pattern because of this, and end up walking where I don't need to. Alas, I remember when "Ione the First" was the only cache in Forest Park. I wonder how long it will be till there is a virtual cache at the drive-up window at a McDonalds?


19973_600.gif The adventures of Navdog, Justdog, and Otterpup

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I agree with Navdog. Depending on the area, bushwhacking in places like the desert might be just fine but I don't much care for it in places like Forest Park. Besides potentially leading people into little nasties like poison oak and bees' nests, trampling sensitive vegetation is exactly the kind of behavior that can give geocaching a bad name. There's no reason why caches can't be placed very close to the main trail or along a side trail to minimize the impact on the area. The trick is in making the effort to find a good hiding spot and being specific enough with the hints. Even then a certain amount of impact is going to occur as happened at Tryon Creek with Patrick and Shirley's cache despite their adamant plea not go off the trail. One thing that might help would be more emphasis on this issue in the cache hiding guidlines; at the moment there's barely any mention of it.




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isn't going to hurt.


If everyone started trampling around in Forest Park, it's gonna be a problem.


I really like when caches specify No Bushwacking req'd. That way, even though my GPS is all over the map, I know I don't need to start heading off the trail -- and I can make a choice. In less sensitive areas (aka THE DESERT, or really remote areas) maybe it's not a problem, but I always feel more than a little bit guilty heading into the bush (plus it makes it really hard to find one's cell phone when it drops off one's belt).

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We also agree with just a few feet off the trail being all you need for hiding a cache in this sensitive area. After having found many of the caches in the Forest Park area we've seen how easy it can be to hide a cache really well within an arms reach of the trail and still have it be invisible to the non-cacher. We would rather see a no bushwhacking mind set, especially when it is in a steep area where new trails straight up or down a hill can start an erosin problem very quickly with the amount of rain we get here. Also anyone who has hunted for a cache in a very hilly and heavy tree cover knows the need for somewhat more specific clues than might be the case in a more open area. We want caches we set out to be found and not be a completely frustrating experience for the seekers. Any cache can be hidden so well that it can be impossible to find. We try to make ours well hidden but with specific clues so that they can be found eventually by any level of cacher that hunts them without having to break new trails. Just our five cents worth, sorry I went too long on this.


Can't complain, no one listens anyway.

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I would have to agree with navdog. There are places where off-trail hiking is OK. Even in the forest this is true, and cachers can do it without leaving a trace if they are aware of their environment, heck in 30 years of wandering these forests I have never seen a bear stay on a trail. However I have to say that bushwhacking is not cool. To me there is a BIG difference between being aware of the environment and following a nature made track, and tromping around whacking the bush and leaving human sign. So I would have to agree with the sentiment that in areas like Forest Park, with it's steep banks prone to erosion without the plant life to hold it together and extensive existing trail system, caches should be within a few feet of a trail, be that a main trail like Wildwood or one of the many animal tracks that exist. And sufficient clues should be given to allow location with minimal impact. The last two caches I have done here required more off-trail hiking than they probably should have. With the proper clues this may not have been the case, but at least one of them probably should be re-thought (I see I am still the only one to find it and I am sure that was on pure luck). One thing I do notice about these two, is the relatively small number of finds the owners have, 10 and 3. It seems that maybe newbies getting caught up in the thrill of the game rush out and hide without much thought to location and accessibility. Perhaps we need to encourage folks to spend a while longer hunting and learning before they go for a hide of their own. And perhaps we should have some guidelines for new hiders to help them learn how to places caches that are fun, FINDABLE, and safe for both the environment and those that hunt it.


If cache owners would like to place caches that require off-trail hiking they should look to the wilder forests to place them in, for example there are thousands of places in the coast range that are much more suitable to off-trail hiking than a managed urban forest is ever going to be. I personally love off-trail hiking, I am not a lemming and have always had a taste for finding new places. But I am also very concerned with keeping those places unspoiled and not destroying the natural habitat of other animals.


Life is as much a journey of discovery, as it is a discovery of the journey...



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So the question becomes, what's a trail?


A game trail qualifies in my book. So does a beaten path.


Is it a trail if it's obviousely used as such? Or does it have to be Forsest Service or Park Service (not national park serivce) approved?


Will the 22 people a year who find that bushwacking remote cache really going to denue the area like a tankerplane full of agent orange?


Do people really destroy all the plants? Last time I checked we all liked walking on clear ground and not through thick scrub?


Everything is relative and I sure would dislike a new rule "all caches must be within 5' of an approved geo-trail"


One of my best caches has had about 3 visitors this year and it's only half a mile away from civilization. Alas the trails to it may be rogue trails, or game trails. They sure are not maintained.


Wherever you go there you are.

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I think we all agree that bushwhacking is bad for the environment but worst than that, I don't appreciate having my clothing torn up or getting cut up by thorns If an area has good gps signals maybe a short bushwhack is acceptable but with poor signals bushwhacking is a nightmare. Is the goal to make a cache so difficult to find that only the hardiest will even try? I hope not.


Charlie Trail Duster - When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

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I know of three or four caches in Forest Park that i would want archived because of the necessary bushwhacking and poor clues if i were the land manager there. On the other hand, i know of six or seven that can be reached from the trail. In my opinion, all Forest Park caches should have a 'no bushwhacking' rule.


all rights reserved, all wrongs reversed

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Remember, the main goal of the Parks service staff is to protect their park from damaged caused by uneducated visitors. If we don't show them that we are educated visitors and the our intent is to leave the park in better shape than when we came in, they will assume that we are like the rest of the hordes that visit, trash, and leave thier park. The best course of action IMHO is to place caches near to the trail in more remote areas of the park. Then the caches will have less chance of being discovered by non-cachers and will be better received by the park staff. It doesn't hurt to emphasis cache-in-trash-out policy when speaking with park staff either! Just my 2 cents...



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Originally posted by WrongWayRandall:

Remember, the main goal of the Parks service staff is to protect their park from damaged caused by uneducated visitors


This is really an interesting concept. It seems to me if that was the TRUE purpose I'm wasting my money paying their salaries. This is because they could do a better job protecting the area by keeping it secrete and not building facilites like parking lots, and access roads.


The purpose of a park in my book is to provide and area for people to go to. It helps keep us out of all the other areas they dont' want us to go to, like caves, petroglyphs, wetlands, and archiological sites.


Wherever you go there you are.

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I say keep it on an existing path or trail. I was in Forest Park today with PDXJIM and there were at least 4 of the 7 caches, I did today, that should be archived or moved. PDXJIM and I counted over a dozen (one to two steps off of the main trail) that would be GREAT cache locations. I covered the area from Nature's TeePee to The Hackie Sack Cache.


wavey.gif I maybe lost - but - I'm making good time!

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The problem I usually have with forest caches is that my GPS is clueless and I end up searching in a 300 foot radius. If the cache is on a well traveled trail the cache has to be hidden really well and that makes the problem worse. The caches that are best for me are right on an existing very little used side trail, out of view of the traffic.


The last cache I tried at Forrest Park actually wanted me to go off trail down a steep hill. Simce the vegetation is the only thing keeping the rain from washing away the hill, I couldn't believe the cache hider would do this. I tried going around the cache on a switchback and that didn't help. I left very upset. I'm glad someone has the nerve to speak up, thanks.

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If the forest management notices the area is getting trampled, they may shut down geocaching altogether. This happened in the MacDonald-Dunn forest near Corvallis where several caches were placed in sensitive areas. All caches were removed and geocaching was temporarily banned. They will now allow geocaching under the guidelines that the habitat is not disturbed and the cachers stay on the designated trail system.

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We are new to Oregon. We have done only three caches in Forest Park and could not believe how much bushwhacking we had to do, to find some one of them. We don’t see the need to place it that far from the trial. We saw many good places to hide it closer to the trail. We feel the same way; those geocaches should be place closer to the trial.

We are new to the area so we don’t want to make waves.

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I don't know Portland well, and don't know Forest Park at all, (I'm in Seattle) but I just saw a documentary on PBS on the ''NO IVY LEAGUE'' on the wildwood trail in Forest park. They were bushwacking on purpose! Seem that the place is covered with an invasive invader plant 'English Ivy' and it is killing the place! They are trying to rip it out as best they could. Maybe some bushwacking is a good thing! Maybe you should offer to give them a hand before it kills all the trees.



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Here is the "No Ivy League" volunteering website, and here is a link to the monthly ivy pull at mary s. young state park in lake oz.


Many oregon parks are pretty overrun with english ivy, as anyone who attended last year's gathering at champoeg can attest.


I think the caches in question here are the ones that require steep off-trail ascents or descents that cause obvious trails and erosion. If forest park had as many land supervisors per square acre as, say, Tryon Creek State Park, many of these caches would have been pulled within days of their being posted and geocaching would probably be banned from forest park by now. I've personally passed on about a half dozen caches currently posted in the park due to them being hidden so irresponsibly in this URBAN setting. Other cachers have proven that caches can be hidden well in the park without heading 150 feet off the trail, so maybe it's just a question of experience.


all rights reserved, all wrongs reversed

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