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National Parks and Wildlife Service want 8 year old cache removed


corindi
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Below is an email I received today from National Parks in regards to gc1f302.

We’ve had a few concerns raised about the fall risk to users of your geocache in Sherwood Nature Reserve near Woolgoolga. A council engineer has also inspected the site and noted the risks. Increased visitation to the site through the geocache raises the likelihood of public safety risks. To reduce the risks to users, and to comply with the agency geocache policy, could you please relocate it outside the nature reserve boundary.

Should I remove it? 

 

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6 minutes ago, corindi said:

Below is an email I received today from National Parks in regards to gc1f302.

We’ve had a few concerns raised about the fall risk to users of your geocache in Sherwood Nature Reserve near Woolgoolga. A council engineer has also inspected the site and noted the risks. Increased visitation to the site through the geocache raises the likelihood of public safety risks. To reduce the risks to users, and to comply with the agency geocache policy, could you please relocate it outside the nature reserve boundary.

Should I remove it? 

 

Of course you should! And, they sure asked nicely.

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Yes, you should, or at the very least go and talk to the park rangers about it. I don't know what the situation in Queensland is, but in New South Wales it took many years of delicate negotiation to have caches allowed at all in national parks, and even then, getting my cache approved by them last year took several months of back and forth with the local ranger and between her and her supervisor. Leaving a cache there when they've specifically (and politely) asked you to remove it could sour the relationship for everyone else.

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6 minutes ago, corindi said:

This is in NSW and was placed prior to the area becoming a nature reserve. Are there not caches on Mt Everest? 

Wrap everyone in cotton wool ? Society is doomed. 

I will remove it. 

 

Sorry, I don't know what made me think it was in Queensland - there must be somewhere up there that sounds very much like Woolgoolga. That's a tricky one where it was placed prior to the area becoming a reserve, but I guess it's their reserve now.

Edited by barefootjeff
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Using the tone in your NA may result in other caches in the area (as suggested by barefoot Jeff above), being denied. There were issues with the placement of the cache and, quite rightly, NP had concerns, whether it's a safety issue or any other reason. NPs do allow caches but it must be on their terms.

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7 hours ago, corindi said:

Are there not caches on Mt Everest? 

Yes, although it does not have a physical container associated with it.  Link for reference:

https://coord.info/GC2BX63

My suggestion would be to Archive the Listing and ask the Land Manager for a copy of the geocaching policy that they mentioned in their email.  That might be the starting point for a conversation.  Sounds like they allow some "high risk" activities within wider properties that they manage, judging from their website.  It's possible they might allow a cache at some of the established climbing areas, where expectation for risk is a bit better defined.

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To be honest, my first thought was that the OP was trolling. I mean, who would get a cordial email from a land manager asking for cache removal, then come on here and ask us if they should do it or not? But then i see MP's reply and realize the OP was being serious with his question.

Yep, upsetting a land manager, along with the whole Reserve, is a great way to promote geocaching. :rolleyes:

Edited by Mudfrog
mispell
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Like everyone else said, it is ultimately their land and if they are concerned with the safety of the park visitors then they have every right to ask you to move or remove it, a request you should honor. 

That being said, I personally would have spoken to a park ranger or sent a letter to whom it may concern at the park stating why you believe it should stay. Begin by reassuring them that if it is the park owner's wishes you will remove it, but respectfully plead your case. Inform them that your geocache has a disclaimer advising cachers that they take on any responsibility if they choose to attempt your geocache (or assure the park you will add this if it isn't already there and it is allowed to remain) as well as the difficulty and terrain ratings on the cache page adequately detailing the cache. I would also emphasize the fact that it has been there for 8 years and as such has become a part of the park itself, possibly being a destination spot for cachers and potentially even increasing tourism for the park (you could cite historic caches such as The Spot and how many people have visited and love that geocache.) 

Basically, plead your case respectfully but assure them they have the final decision. They should at least hear your side of the story. You must also be careful of how you interact with them, though, like other cachers said. You represent us all as a community when you speak to these people. You have the power to make geocaching very positive in the eyes of these people, or very detrimental. Please try to keep geocaching as a whole in mind when you are in situations like this. 

Edited by Stakmaster
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Perhaps it's a bit late now but I think a better approach would have been:

 

1. temp disable the cache immediately with a simple comment along the lines of:

Quote

This cache is temporarily unavailable due to access issues.

2. write back to the "loser" telling them that you've disabled it in order to prevent anyone else looking for it, and ask them if there's anything you could do to make it acceptable to them, if it genuinely is  health and safety that they're worried about then they might be happy with it being moved  a short distance from the "danger spot".

3. If they still want it removing, then remove it, and archive it without making any rude/unhelpful remarks, which would then leave the door potentially open for dialog and opening the area back up in the future.

 

I would still advise the OP to remove the text in the archive log, and just change it to a plain "archived due to access issues" as the "loser" might not have seen it yet and the situation might be recoverable...

 

 

 

 

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You might want to edit your Temporary Disable Listing log.. in my experience, calling the landowner names won't win you any friends or convince them that you are the kind of person they want to work with in order to make geocaching a safe hobby on their land.

We had an instance where a farmer took offence at being called names by a CO and Groundspeak archived all geocaches within a mile radius of the one the landowner complained about - including many which were long-standing placements which had permission.

Far better to respond in a friendly / rational manner to see if they are willing to compromise.. and if not, you should archive the cache without drama or insults.

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3 hours ago, LFC4eva said:

You might want to edit your Temporary Disable Listing log.. in my experience, calling the landowner names won't win you any friends or convince them that you are the kind of person they want to work with in order to make geocaching a safe hobby on their land.

 -snip -

Far better to respond in a friendly / rational manner to see if they are willing to compromise.. and if not, you should archive the cache without drama or insults.

Yep.  How to make friends and influence people...

We had one (brand new)  park that took us months of meetings to get permission.  They were worried about liability.  Finally got an approval - and within a month  three new caches showed up with no permission...

The OP's landowner states they have an "agency geocache policy" that they probably didn't have eight years earlier.  They're trying to be pleasant, possibly realizing that there may be some consternation.  They don't have to do anything for cachers.  In fact we know some who'd rather cachers stayed away after past experiences.   If you want to stay on their good side, abide by their simple request.

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Several years ago I went to a lot of trouble to determine who owned a large vacant field near me so I could hide a cache. After two trips to the county office i got the contact information and sent a nice letter requesting permission. The property owner responded by letter, stating she did not want a geocache placed there.

Fast forward a year and a local college student placed a cache there. I posted a NA and explained why. The cacher was very upset, told me to remove my log immediately, and that "no one" owned the property so she was allowed to place a cache there.  Despite my documentation the reviewer allowed the cache to remain.

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I'm surprised by the amount of people who think there is property left in inhabited areas that isn't owned by anyone. It's owned by someone or some organization somewhere, even if it looks empty. Though I'm not surprised, perhaps a little disheartened, by the amount of people who don't check or think to ask for permission when placing a cache.

Recently I had asked the local DNR if I could place one at their sign out front, along the road, since the Smokey the Bear sign had been there for decades and was iconic for the extremely small town. While the officers there were super excited over the idea, after taking a week to look into it for me they were disheartened to say it would technically be trespassing on a federal building property and they had to say no.

Despite receiving the "no", I think I had a wonderful interaction with the local field office and will likely be able to continue to have a nice relationship with them in the future because of it. If I had just placed the cache there because its "state property and I should be able to do what I want" wouldn't have boded well for anyone. Especially if I'd had to archive the cache after and called them losers..

Edited by mimaef
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2 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

The OP's landowner states they have an "agency geocache policy" that they probably didn't have eight years earlier.  They're trying to be pleasant, possibly realizing that there may be some consternation.  They don't have to do anything for cachers.  In fact we know some who'd rather cachers stayed away after past experiences.   If you want to stay on their good side, abide by their simple request.

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Geocaching Policy is here. It came into effect in 2010 following years of negotiation by Geocaching NSW, replacing a total ban on caches that was instigated in 2002. There's a lot of helpful information on seeking approval for caches in parks on the Geocaching NSW website here.

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These are the rules on cache location from the NPWS policy document:

Quote

13. Because of specific conservation requirements, physical caches will not be allowed in:

  • Aboriginal areas
  • declared wilderness areas
  • nature reserves
  • caves.

14. You should place caches only where people can reach them with existing tracks and trails and won’t create new ones. It is a good idea to use reference points (a set of coordinates) to ensure geocachers take appropriate pathways. All caches must be accessible from areas open to the public (marked tracks, trails and visitor use areas) and comply with the park’s rules and regulations about public access.

15. Caches must not be located:

  • in areas which may create a risk to the safety of a person visiting the cache or other park visitors
  • within 50 metres of Aboriginal objects
  • in, or within 50 metres of, Aboriginal places
  • in dams, lakes or watercourses.

16. Caches should not be located:

  • in areas known to contain endangered ecological communities, threatened species or populations, or their habitats
  • in wetland areas.

17. It’s not usually appropriate to place a physical cache at a historic heritage site because doing so can affect the site’s heritage values. However, it may be acceptable if a cache will increase understanding of the cultural and/or historic themes of the site and have minimal impact.

18. When determining the suitability of a proposed cache location, the park authority should also consider how many caches a park or particular site can sustain. This should include assessing:

  • the location and number of existing caches
  • any access constraints
  • the potential environmental impacts of any expected increase in visitation
  • whether clustering or dispersing caches would reduce potential impacts.

Talk with the local ranger. Most are more than willing to help but they're also limited in what they can approve so be prepared to compromise. The site I originally wanted to use for my cache appeared to tick all the above boxes but it turned out that the unofficial track out there passed through an area of Aboriginal engravings. After poring over maps with the ranger, we decided there wasn't really a feasible alternative access route so I set about finding a different spot for the cache, eventually settling on one close to the Great North Walk that they were happy with and which they then approved. All up it took close to four months.

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Yes.  You deal with whatever the property owner requires.  It's their property.  A few years back, New Jersey State Parks decided to require permits for geocaches.  Requirements included minimal bushwhacking.  I archived all mine in the state parks.  (Previously, no permit required.)  I think about four-hundred caches were archived.  Many (great) ones with owners no longer participating were archived.  Sad.  But the property owners can make such decisions.  And we cooperate with them.  We don't insult them.  They manage the property.  

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If this were my cache, and I was interested in trying to keep it,  I'd try to contact them and start off the conversation with " Thanks for letting me know about the issue.  I was wondering if there may be a safer place I could re-locate the cache within the nature preserve?   I'ts such a beautiful place.   If not I'll remove it as soon as possible.  Either way thanks for allowing me the opportunity to bring people to this wonderful area over the last 8 years."   

If you don't hear back within a week,  remove it.   I'd also send them an e-mail letting them know it was removed.   

A land owners wish is the final word and It's always a good idea to part on good terms.    

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Personally, I am shocked by what the OP put in their Temp Disable log. With that type of attitude, I'm not sure why the cache wasn't just Archived instead of Disabled. It certainly doesn't seem that the OP is open to working with their National Parks department, and it would not be surprising if the National Parks department decides not to work with any geocachers in the future based on the OP's comments.

 

On 4/20/2018 at 10:26 PM, corindi said:

This is in NSW and was placed prior to the area becoming a nature reserve. Are there not caches on Mt Everest? 

Wrap everyone in cotton wool ? Society is doomed. 

I will remove it.

Society certainly is doomed if people cannot be civil with each other. If someone is politely asked to move their cache from it's location, and then reacts as did the OP, then perhaps they are the ones that need to be wrapped in cotton wool?

When your cache is gone, then you'll need to "Archive" it, not just "Temporarily Disable" it.

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The Reviewers have deleted the comment and locked the listing. 

Rightly so, too much effort has been put into getting NPWS onside for one upset owner to destroy it with his anger. 

I feel for the owner as this was placed before the ban. But, it has come to the NPWS attention so it must be moved or archived. 

 

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Just now, Team Canary said:

The Reviewers have deleted the comment and locked the listing. 

Rightly so, too much effort has been put into getting NPWS onside for one upset owner to destroy it with his anger. 

I feel for the owner as this was placed before the ban. But, it has come to the NPWS attention so it must be moved or archived. 

 

I was just going to suggest this! Glad it's already been done.

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9 hours ago, noncentric said:

Personally, I am shocked by what the OP put in their Temp Disable log. With that type of attitude, I'm not sure why the cache wasn't just Archived instead of Disabled. It certainly doesn't seem that the OP is open to working with their National Parks department, and it would not be surprising if the National Parks department decides not to work with any geocachers in the future based on the OP's comments.

 

Society certainly is doomed if people cannot be civil with each other. If someone is politely asked to move their cache from it's location, and then reacts as did the OP, then perhaps they are the ones that need to be wrapped in cotton wool?

When your cache is gone, then you'll need to "Archive" it, not just "Temporarily Disable" it.

It's sad that a cache owner would take that approach.   Cache locations are not grandfathered.   If ownership of the land changes so dose the permission.  I'm sure in many cases a cache owner may not know that ownership has changed.   When one becomes aware of the fact it's imperative that they reach out to the new land owners (managers) and re-obtain permission.    Just another example of how cache ownership isn't a passive endeavor. 

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On ‎4‎/‎21‎/‎2018 at 0:22 AM, corindi said:

Below is an email I received today from National Parks in regards to gc1f302.

We’ve had a few concerns raised about the fall risk to users of your geocache in Sherwood Nature Reserve near Woolgoolga. A council engineer has also inspected the site and noted the risks. Increased visitation to the site through the geocache raises the likelihood of public safety risks. To reduce the risks to users, and to comply with the agency geocache policy, could you please relocate it outside the nature reserve boundary.

Should I remove it? 

 

it's there prerogative.  it is a shame you took offense.

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On 4/21/2018 at 4:59 PM, Team Microdot said:

I'm always stunned by the attitude of people who seem to believe that a landowner isn't fully entitled to dictate what is and is not allowed to happen on their property.

 

Seriously.

I gotta say...it's the reactions like the one from the OP that will lead to caches being banned altogether in those areas.  

"Should I remove it?"...um...yeah!  What would happen next is the LM going straight to Groundspeak to get it pulled.  I pulled one of my own because, even though I had land owner permission, the security personnel were not aware and it was more of a hassle than it was worth.  At the slightest hint of land owner/manager issues, you hop to it to get that ironed out.  

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Aaand, remember that the listing on gc.com is only an online listing. The OP also needs to retrieve the container and not have it listed anywhere else. Hopefully the park understands that there's only so much Groundspeak can do, and really the issue lies between them and the CO. GS acting quickly to get the listing down should hopefully keep the relationship for caches in the realm of geocaching.com on good terms. But if legal action were to be taken, it has to be with the cache owners.

Hopefully the container is retrieved properly and quickly so as not to continue to encourage people to go looking for it from some other information source.

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I read the cache description and I can understand why the CO is upset. It felt like a lot of love went into this cache. It’s a bummer that things turned out this way. I’m working on some designs for my own future caches and I would feel awful if rules changed and the caches had to be modified or removed.

That said, I completely agree with all that has been said about civility, cooperating, and fostering goodwill for the future of the game.

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On 4/21/2018 at 7:21 PM, Harry Dolphin said:

Yes.  You deal with whatever the property owner requires.  It's their property.  A few years back, New Jersey State Parks decided to require permits for geocaches.  Requirements included minimal bushwhacking.  I archived all mine in the state parks.  (Previously, no permit required.)  I think about four-hundred caches were archived.  Many (great) ones with owners no longer participating were archived.  Sad.  But the property owners can make such decisions.  And we cooperate with them.  We don't insult them.  They manage the property.  

No, Harry. It is our property. They manage it for us, they do not own it. Whether they make good decisions about land use is open to discussion. All I ask is that public land managers get input from the parties concerned before making ill-informed decisions. There are managers that allow rock climbing in their jurisdictions while others forbid tree climbing. It is impossible to make everyone happy. Again, all I ask is for the opportunity to have input.

In this case that opportunity, if it existed, was thrown away by the CO.

Edited by Michaelcycle
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2 hours ago, Michaelcycle said:

No, Harry. It is our property. They manage it for us, they do not own it. Whether they make good decisions about land use is open to discussion. All I ask is that public land managers get input from the parties concerned before making ill-informed decisions. There are managers that allow rock climbing in their jurisdictions while others forbid tree climbing. It is impossible to make everyone happy. Again, all I ask is for the opportunity to have input.

In this case that opportunity, if it existed, was thrown away by the CO.

Our town abides by the open meeting law.   All meetings are posted and anyone is welcome to attend.  It's at these meetings we discuss land conservation, management and possible activities in which the land can be used.    We've had people disagree with some of the decisions we've made, people who have never attended a single meeting.   Of course you get the few locals that were previously using the property to ride their ATV's and are now upset that they no longer can.  That's understandable to a point.   My response to them is always the same.   "The citizens of the town voted, on a ballet, to purchase the land and protect it as open space for the use of everyone now and in the future.   It was decided in an open meeting that ATV's would be prohibited.  All voted in favor with no further discussion." 

My point is I'm quite sure that any decision to prohibit geocaching on public land was held in a public forum.  That would have been the time to voice an opposition.  No one is going to stop a meeting and say "Hey,  did anyone call justintim1999 and ask him what he thinks?"   It's up to us to get involved in the process or live with the decisions others make.      

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7 hours ago, justintim1999 said:

Just another example of how cache ownership isn't a passive endeavor. 

And, unfortunately, this cache shows that just because a CO is active and responsive, that may not be such a great outcome either. This CO's response could've been more damaging to the hobby than no response at all, but hopefully no one from the National Parks saw the TD log that was posted before TPTB removed it.

 

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Just now, noncentric said:

And, unfortunately, this cache shows that just because a CO is active and responsive, that may not be such a great outcome either. This CO's response could've been more damaging to the hobby than no response at all, but hopefully no one from the National Parks saw the TD log that was posted before TPTB removed it.

 

Your right on the money.   Sometimes we forget that we're guest in someone else's home.   

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7 hours ago, justintim1999 said:

Our town abides by the open meeting law.   All meetings are posted and anyone is welcome to attend.  It's at these meetings we discuss land conservation, management and possible activities in which the land can be used.    We've had people disagree with some of the decisions we've made, people who have never attended a single meeting.   Of course you get the few locals that were previously using the property to ride their ATV's and are now upset that they no longer can.  That's understandable to a point.   My response to them is always the same.   "The citizens of the town voted, on a ballet, to purchase the land and protect it as open space for the use of everyone now and in the future.   It was decided in an open meeting that ATV's would be prohibited.  All voted in favor with no further discussion." 

My point is I'm quite sure that any decision to prohibit geocaching on public land was held in a public forum.  That would have been the time to voice an opposition.  No one is going to stop a meeting and say "Hey,  did anyone call justintim1999 and ask him what he thinks?"   It's up to us to get involved in the process or live with the decisions others make.      

I can assure you that no open meeting was held when the decision was taken by DEP to require the removal of hundreds of geocaches on public land in New Jersey.

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10 hours ago, Michaelcycle said:

I can assure you that no open meeting was held when the decision was taken by DEP to require the removal of hundreds of geocaches on public land in New Jersey.

I find that hard to believe but if so it doesn't really matter anyway.    Public land doesn't mean the public can do whatever they want on it.   In fact public land usually has more restrictions due to town and state liability.   If the DEP manages the property and they've decided geocaching is no longer allowed,  than that's that.   You can accept it and leave on good terms or you can go kicking and screaming.  Either way your going so why not do it in a respectable manor?   

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12 hours ago, Michaelcycle said:

I can assure you that no open meeting was held when the decision was taken by DEP to require the removal of hundreds of geocaches on public land in New Jersey.

IIRC, any opportunity for discussion with cachers was ignored by a caching organization, who "needed the property" for a series of caches and an event, and the "policy" somehow carried on to other parks kinda by default.    Close?

 

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1 hour ago, cerberus1 said:

IIRC, any opportunity for discussion with cachers was ignored by a caching organization, who "needed the property" for a series of caches and an event, and the "policy" somehow carried on to other parks kinda by default.    Close?

 

No. I'm am not going to rehash the events in this forum but that would be a mistaken reading of what happened.

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On 4/24/2018 at 5:11 AM, justintim1999 said:

My point is I'm quite sure that any decision to prohibit geocaching on public land was held in a public forum.  That would have been the time to voice an opposition.  No one is going to stop a meeting and say "Hey,  did anyone call justintim1999 and ask him what he thinks?"   It's up to us to get involved in the process or live with the decisions others make.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service is a state government department. I very much doubt there was any sort of public forum when they banned all geocaches from their lands in 2002, it would've just been the stroke of a pen by a bureaucrat. Likewise in 2010 when they introduced their current policy allowing some placing of caches. I can't imagine any level of government here being overly swayed by public meetings as those are too easily tilted by the vocal minority.

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12 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

The National Parks and Wildlife Service is a state government department. I very much doubt there was any sort of public forum when they banned all geocaches from their lands in 2002, it would've just been the stroke of a pen by a bureaucrat. Likewise in 2010 when they introduced their current policy allowing some placing of caches. I can't imagine any level of government here being overly swayed by public meetings as those are too easily tilted by the vocal minority.

Reading the OP I find it odd that the request was to move the cache out of the Nature Preserve.   Why not ask that the cache be moved to a safer location?   When I contacted them the first thing I'd have asked is would it be ok to move the cache to a safer location inside the preserve?  If the answer was "No,  we'd prefer they be removed completely from the area."  That's exactly what I'd do.  No more questions asked.   

Here the Department of Conservation and Recreation have meetings that are open to the public.   You can also sign up for e-mail notices regarding meetings and current projects as well as request public records.   I have no idea how or why this decision was made.   For the most part these are knowledgeable people who's sole purpose is to protect the land and it's wildlife.   If they feel that geocaching is detrimental to that goal,  I respect that and will comply with their wishes with a smile on my face. 

I happen to believe that geocaching is a great way to re-connect people with nature and with any luck some of them will develop an interest in conservation.   It's too bad that this particular institution doesn't share this view.   The fact remains that the decision has been made.   How we respond as cache owners will go a long way toward how others perceive Geocaching.    

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