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NC STATE PARKS


Guest Hawk-eye
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Guest Hawk-eye

It seems ... like Georgia ... the state of NC is confused by geocaching. I've read everything from ... "you need a special event authr." to "no sporting events off trail" as in the case of the Stone Mtn. cache. I guess they forgot that you can rock climb there. Why I'm writing this is ... simple ... does anyone know how we can address this in a positive way? The rangers at Pilot Mtn and Hanging Rock don't seem to have gone anal retentive yet ... but like Georgia ... who knows when a memo from on high will come down on the negative side of the equation. Any thoughts?

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Guest Justin Thyme

Here's my thought. Why don't you contact the folks on high in NC and talk to them. Find out who the programs director is for NC parks and get him intrigued with Geocaching. I've talked to the programs director for Tennessee state parks, Charlie Tate, and he was interested in finding some way to allow Geocaching that would alleviate possible problems that could occur without the park services involvement.

 

The biggest thing I see in keeping the parks open to Geocaching is that those people wanting to establish a cache on park lands, or any land, need to get permission first. It only takes a few minutes to make a phone call and I've found that these folks are extremely approachable.

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Guest Hawk-eye

I appreciate your response ... this has been done on a lower level in the example of Pilot Mtn and Hanging Rock. Unfortunately in the eastern part of the state it seems to be more of a ... hardnose ... approach from the powers to be. But maybe with the right contact ... someone can see the benefits of this type of activity ... in just bringing people and families into the park. After all ... people being familiar with a park and using it is what ultimately brings support to maintaining the park and establishing its value to a community.

 

Again ... thanks ... I believe I'll start on this myself. If anyone out there has already made some contacts ... I'd appreciate hearing about it.

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Guest erik88L-R

I see geocachers in NC have problems and opportunities analogous to those we have here in GA. Geocaching is not on the list of approved activities for the Georgia State Parks, and is consequently banned. We've formed the GGA - Georgia Geocachers Association - with the intent of presenting a more united voice to the Parks authority.

You're considering having a Charlotte area geocachers gathering - I suggest you think about taking that as an opportunity to discuss common concerns and form an association. Make it more than a fun social event if you can. I drove to North Carolina this past weekend to hunt (and find) two geocaches there and certainly want to be able to continue to do this. Help protect NC geocaching for me and my family!!! Thanks

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Guest Hawk-eye

Sorry to take so long to get back ... I'm in Bolivia ... and seems like it's going to be forever ...

No, to answer your question ... I haven't heard squat from the NC State park boys ... I sent a very nice letter to the head man ... and even followed up with a call ... but other than speaking with a very nice lady in his office ... I haven't heard back from them. I'll be back in country in a couple of weeks ... I'll try again ...

 

I've been using city parks and public land other than the NC State parks since this all started to happen ... they've removed some really nice caches ... very much a shame ...

 

Oh well ... I'm going for a record this weekend ... HIGHEST CACHE IN THE WORLD ... here in Bolivia ... does anyone know of one over 13,380 feet? Don't think the NC State boys will be able to remove "Hawk 6" ... but you never know ... icon_biggrin.gif

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Guest Hawk-eye

Sorry to take so long to get back ... I'm in Bolivia ... and seems like it's going to be forever ...

No, to answer your question ... I haven't heard squat from the NC State park boys ... I sent a very nice letter to the head man ... and even followed up with a call ... but other than speaking with a very nice lady in his office ... I haven't heard back from them. I'll be back in country in a couple of weeks ... I'll try again ...

 

I've been using city parks and public land other than the NC State parks since this all started to happen ... they've removed some really nice caches ... very much a shame ...

 

Oh well ... I'm going for a record this weekend ... HIGHEST CACHE IN THE WORLD ... here in Bolivia ... does anyone know of one over 13,380 feet? Don't think the NC State boys will be able to remove "Hawk 6" ... but you never know ... icon_biggrin.gif

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BEING ONE OF THE FEW? TO HAVE A CACHE BUSTED BY THE STATE I CAN RELATE.THE NCPS NOTIFIED ME THAT THEY HAD MY CACHE.I CALLED TO SEE IF I WOULD GET BUSTED BY CLAIMING IT.THE ANSWER WAS NO.

I CALLED LTL JON AND TOLD HIM WHAT HAPPENED AND BEING THERE WAS A NEW CACHE IN THE PARK WOULD HE LIKE TO GO.LOOKING FOR THE NEW CACHE WE CAME UPON AN AREA THAT LOOKED LIKE IT HAD BEEN ROOTED UP BY HOGS.

CAME TO FIND OUT THE RANGERS HAD ALSO BEEN TRYING TO FIND IT.I BELIEVE THEY DID MORE DAMAGE THAN ANY CACHER EVER WOULD.

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Keep an eye out for caches posted in state parks by accident or by folks that don't know the policy of our NC State Parks ... I just helped relocate a cache that a fellow cacher (from out of the area) placed in one of our state parks ... What we did was move it to an area not in the boundary of the park. When I stopped by the park office to advise them that we had removed it ... they were very helpful and friendly. As in ALL my contacts with State Park employees (at four different parks) ... I can say one thing for sure ... we have a large group of people that are hard working, rational, underpaid, dedicated to preserving our parks for our use and like most of us ... stuck working within the dictates coming out of Raleigh. There appears to be a large number of new people in the upper levels of the state park system ... hopefully not all of them are just there to make a name for themselves or jockey for position ... but are there to help these rank and file people accomplish their jobs. The job of preserving our state parks for us and future generations. Sadly some in Raleigh appear to think that preserving is the same as making them completely hands-off. If you think I have a gut wrenching hatred for politics (not government) in all forms as well as people that feel they are more important than the job they are tasked to do ... you're right icon_biggrin.gif

 

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Keep an eye out for caches posted in state parks by accident or by folks that don't know the policy of our NC State Parks ... I just helped relocate a cache that a fellow cacher (from out of the area) placed in one of our state parks ... What we did was move it to an area not in the boundary of the park. When I stopped by the park office to advise them that we had removed it ... they were very helpful and friendly. As in ALL my contacts with State Park employees (at four different parks) ... I can say one thing for sure ... we have a large group of people that are hard working, rational, underpaid, dedicated to preserving our parks for our use and like most of us ... stuck working within the dictates coming out of Raleigh. There appears to be a large number of new people in the upper levels of the state park system ... hopefully not all of them are just there to make a name for themselves or jockey for position ... but are there to help these rank and file people accomplish their jobs. The job of preserving our state parks for us and future generations. Sadly some in Raleigh appear to think that preserving is the same as making them completely hands-off. If you think I have a gut wrenching hatred for politics (not government) in all forms as well as people that feel they are more important than the job they are tasked to do ... you're right icon_biggrin.gif

 

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As a former ranger and administrator with NC State Parks there are several ways to be approved to put caches in the parks but they do tend to have lots of hoops to jump through. Raleigh used to have an orienteering club (I'm not sure what the status of that is now) that regularly ran meets at W.B. Umstead State Park. If they could do it, why not you? The Supertindent there is an old frind of mine and I'd be happy to discuss it with her if you like. If you look at my profile, you'll see I'm new at this, but I like what you're doing and will support it. You really need to play up the part about cleaning trails as you go. The division of State Parks that deals with trails would love you to death for that. Let me know if you want advice, assistance, ideas, or agrivation with this issue and I'll help where I can. NC State Government (as all governmental bodies) is a little difficult to deal with, but I think NC State Parks would love to work with you. You just have to show then the "free" benifits that they would get from working with you. After all, look in the paper and see how they will be cutting state jobs. Volunteers are good! Reminds me of another person for you to talk to!!

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I would absolutely love to do this ... what I've experience on the local level is that they are very interested ... Caches were approved ahead of time last year in Pilot and Hanging Rock ... by the local people ... a group of the "new" hires in Raleigh are the problem ... actually a lot of the park's problems seem to come from this definite appearance of Raleigh being out of touch with the local parks! This didn't come from disgruntled employees either ... these were long time dedicated rangers and admins. people. I admire what they are doing under what I consider a handicap ... and I'm not just talking about things like geocaching.

 

Anyway if you'd like to talk some about this ... drop me an email (thru my profile)... oh, and welcome aboard ... there's a great bunch of cachers in NC and I think you'll really enjoy this activity ... Come up toward Greensboro if you get a chance ... got a lot of interesting caches at all levels of difficulties. OK ... most are mine ... but my friend Jerry has a couple of real interesting one's you definitely don't want to miss!

 

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NC Parks is now in the evaluation phase of determining what to do about Caches in NC Parks. If you want to have one there, there will be rules which must followed. What those rules will be is up in the air. There seems to be two problems that I am aware of. First, National Parks ban GeoCaches (true or not?), and NC Parks follows Nationals to some degree. Second, there was a bad incident at Umstead State Park in Raleigh. I don't know who did it, but it shouldn't happen again. It's like this. NC Parks want to preserve their parks, but make them available to all. If you want to cache on park land, you need to work with them. If you want to have input on this, contact any parks you want to work with and talk to the Park Superintendent to see where you can reach an agreement, and get input on regulations. DO IT NOW! Once they write the rules, it'll be a much tougher battle. There are a few people that I can talk who want to know how parks can help you (and how you can help them), but I'm a newbie and can only pass information back and forth right now. Think of me as an information cache! Hey, this could be my first cache!! I like what you folks are doing, but also understand NC Parks position, so I'd like to help if I can.

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quote:
Originally posted by Hawk-eye:

HIGHEST CACHE IN THE WORLD ... here in Bolivia ...


 

I didn't know Brunswick County was over 13,000 feet... icon_smile.gif

 

Seriously though, I've gotten a lot of support from the Mecklenburg county parks and rec about our sport. We just need to keep asking the State parks and work with them when placing caches. There are a few places in the system that a well placed cache won't cause any more impact than usual usage. I agree with Hawk-eye in that we need to comply with the rangers until we can work in their system to their satisfaction.

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quote:
Originally posted by Hawk-eye:

HIGHEST CACHE IN THE WORLD ... here in Bolivia ...


 

I didn't know Brunswick County was over 13,000 feet... icon_smile.gif

 

Seriously though, I've gotten a lot of support from the Mecklenburg county parks and rec about our sport. We just need to keep asking the State parks and work with them when placing caches. There are a few places in the system that a well placed cache won't cause any more impact than usual usage. I agree with Hawk-eye in that we need to comply with the rangers until we can work in their system to their satisfaction.

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quote:
Originally posted by Snowtrail:

...I didn't know Brunswick County was over 13,000 feet... icon_smile.gif .....


 

Funny Girl ... not Bolivia, NC silly ... icon_rolleyes.gif

 

but seriously, I'm in contact by email with Kevin to see if we can set something up to make this happen. Probably going to need some assistance eventually. I'll keep the progress updated on this string.

 

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[This message was edited by Hawk-eye on April 03, 2002 at 06:49 PM.]

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quote:
Originally posted by Snowtrail:

...I didn't know Brunswick County was over 13,000 feet... icon_smile.gif .....


 

Funny Girl ... not Bolivia, NC silly ... icon_rolleyes.gif

 

but seriously, I'm in contact by email with Kevin to see if we can set something up to make this happen. Probably going to need some assistance eventually. I'll keep the progress updated on this string.

 

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[This message was edited by Hawk-eye on April 03, 2002 at 06:49 PM.]

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Greetings all NC geocachers

I've been doing this for a year and placed 2 caches last spring. One in Hanging Rock and the other in Pilot Mt. Both removed by rangers. I got so discouraged i quit for a while. Just now getting back into it and another cache located just yards from the boundries of Pilot Mt. state park has vanished. Dont know if the rangers got it or not. This cache was placed by an unknowing person and Hawk took it upon himself to relocate it outside of the park and inform the rangers. Dont get me wrong i'm not upset at the rangers, but this is getting silly. They want us (the general public) to visit the park. The more visitors they have the better they look in the eyes of the people that fund them. What better way than geocaching to help promote more visitors to the park system. It cost them nothing! It is harmless if caches are placed responsibly. And increases traffic into the park. I'm not going to let this one get me down, there are plenty of caches out there to find. But, I have found myself visiting NC state parks less lately. I just might boycott them all together until we get a reprise. Shame too since I can see Pilot Mt. from my front porch.

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So, any status from State Parks since I emailed you who to talk to Hawkeye? I did notice that in the "how to place a cache" area they mention that placing one in National Parks is a big no no, and suspect if they have good reason (which the nationals usually do), NC State Parks will follow unless someone can convience them otherwise. I'm not sure if I'm for or against it. Someone out there please convience me that NC State Parks should allow Geocaching in the parks. I'm really not sure which way to go. Remember, currently, it's totally against NC rules (you are leaving litter and you are participating in an organized activity without their authorization). Sure it's "public" land, but it's for all the "public". Think of this another way. If someone hid a cache anywhere in your backyard that they wanted to (if you owned a bunch of land), and invited people from around the world to visit it (without your permission), how would you deal with it? icon_confused.gif

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So, any status from State Parks since I emailed you who to talk to Hawkeye? I did notice that in the "how to place a cache" area they mention that placing one in National Parks is a big no no, and suspect if they have good reason (which the nationals usually do), NC State Parks will follow unless someone can convience them otherwise. I'm not sure if I'm for or against it. Someone out there please convience me that NC State Parks should allow Geocaching in the parks. I'm really not sure which way to go. Remember, currently, it's totally against NC rules (you are leaving litter and you are participating in an organized activity without their authorization). Sure it's "public" land, but it's for all the "public". Think of this another way. If someone hid a cache anywhere in your backyard that they wanted to (if you owned a bunch of land), and invited people from around the world to visit it (without your permission), how would you deal with it? icon_confused.gif

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So far one phone call ... no response ... two letters no response ... It's getting a little annoying.

 

On your analogy ...

 

quote:
Sure it's "public" land, but it's for all the "public". Think of this another way. If someone hid a cache anywhere in your backyard that they wanted to (if you owned a bunch of land), and invited people from around the world to visit it (without your permission), how would you deal with it?

 

Not really a good one ... it "is" open to the world and the park invites people there as well as many, many other websites commerical and private ... check out several of the online outdoor sites just for example ... virtually all of them promote and list these public lands (not only in NC) for a variety of outdoor activities ... without the Parks permission. Nit picking for sure ... but not much of a position for them to defend.

 

But back to your original question ... so far nothing. icon_frown.gif

 

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So far one phone call ... no response ... two letters no response ... It's getting a little annoying.

 

On your analogy ...

 

quote:
Sure it's "public" land, but it's for all the "public". Think of this another way. If someone hid a cache anywhere in your backyard that they wanted to (if you owned a bunch of land), and invited people from around the world to visit it (without your permission), how would you deal with it?

 

Not really a good one ... it "is" open to the world and the park invites people there as well as many, many other websites commerical and private ... check out several of the online outdoor sites just for example ... virtually all of them promote and list these public lands (not only in NC) for a variety of outdoor activities ... without the Parks permission. Nit picking for sure ... but not much of a position for them to defend.

 

But back to your original question ... so far nothing. icon_frown.gif

 

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UGH! I hate politics. Maybe if those of us who wanted to place caches did it under the supervision of the park staff, they wouldn't get in such a tizzy about it? What if we scoped out the joint first, then showed them how and where we would place it, and how it wouldn't disturb the scenery or anything? Or would that be too easy? I said something to that ranger fella about how it was a shame that they were removing caches, and he just kinda patted me on the head and said, "Yeah, it is." Maybe I didn't approach him the right way, but I thought I went prepared. Did I mention I hated politics?

 

Lone Ranger guy, my grandfather worked for Parks and Recreation years ago. His name was Ralph J. Andrews, and he died a LONG time ago, like over 20 years or so. Don't know how long you worked for them, but do you remember him? I barely knew him, so if he was a poop you can tell me. icon_smile.gif (Actually, I'd like to know.) Great way to treat family, huh? My father said he had a park named after him, either in Raleigh or Cullowhee. I think.

 

I don't have a clue who to call to talk to about this. I promise to be nice if someone will tell me! I know there are people out there who won't play by the rules, but those of us who do outnumber them. Again, I hate to see this sport tainted.

 

Thanks for reading the Gripes.

 

Hugadog icon_confused.gif

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UGH! I hate politics. Maybe if those of us who wanted to place caches did it under the supervision of the park staff, they wouldn't get in such a tizzy about it? What if we scoped out the joint first, then showed them how and where we would place it, and how it wouldn't disturb the scenery or anything? Or would that be too easy? I said something to that ranger fella about how it was a shame that they were removing caches, and he just kinda patted me on the head and said, "Yeah, it is." Maybe I didn't approach him the right way, but I thought I went prepared. Did I mention I hated politics?

 

Lone Ranger guy, my grandfather worked for Parks and Recreation years ago. His name was Ralph J. Andrews, and he died a LONG time ago, like over 20 years or so. Don't know how long you worked for them, but do you remember him? I barely knew him, so if he was a poop you can tell me. icon_smile.gif (Actually, I'd like to know.) Great way to treat family, huh? My father said he had a park named after him, either in Raleigh or Cullowhee. I think.

 

I don't have a clue who to call to talk to about this. I promise to be nice if someone will tell me! I know there are people out there who won't play by the rules, but those of us who do outnumber them. Again, I hate to see this sport tainted.

 

Thanks for reading the Gripes.

 

Hugadog icon_confused.gif

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For starters, try giving Tom Jackson (919-846-9991) a call. I was told that he is on the committee that is working on geocaching in NC Parks. If you visit a local park, talk to the Rangers (or the Superintendent if you can) and ask them who you should talk to and get their feelings on this. I think most parks would be OK with this, but now that they have formed a committee, there will be rules. The folks that I have talked to don't really want to make a big deal out of this, but an easy solution for them would be to just refuse to allow it. If you read earlier posts, the incident an Umstead is one of the problems. Geocachers say the Rangers tore up the area, Rangers say Geocachers did. The State may invite people to visit (like I may invite someone over), but they want to restrict access to certain areas (just like I don't want guests to go where ever they like in my house). If you want to use NC State Parks, you will need to make sure this committee sets up rules that you can live with. If you can't get any response from Tom, you need to go higher up the ladder till you get an ear, and go from there.

 

Oh and sorry, but I'm not sure I know your Grandfather, although the name sounds familiar. I may have been starting with parks about the time he left.

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There have been a couple of caches located in NC State Parks lately that may or may not be removed depending on how the park folks decide. Do you think it's a good idea to warn folks about it? I, for one don't like the idea of hiking my butt off and thinking it may not be there. I noticed a few virtual caches in state parks and think it's a great idea. Maybe if state parks see that we're good, they will accept us using their areas in the future. I noticed that there is a warning about placing caches in National Parks who prohibit them.

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I found one of the caches hidden in South Mountain State Park before it was removed. I found it after the Park Rangers had already started looking for it according to the logs. But the cache was very well hidden. The Park Service or Rangers (might be some finger pointin' goin' on here) labeled the cache as litter. When I hunted this cache, I also picked up a ton (figuratively speaking) along the stream feeding the big falls. The area looked like it hadn't been cleared of trash in a long time. But "by Goosh" they found that geocache litter. I also hunted a geocache in Lake Norman State Park. After not finding it, I actually talked to the Park Supervisor. He told me that geocachers were not very good people in his mind icon_confused.gif . He said he would check with his supervisor about the viability of placing caches there with permission, but nothing has ever come of that. In May I attended the Columbia Convergence (an event-cache) at Sesquicentennial State Park in Columbia, South Carolina. Participants there were actually showing a very eager Park Ranger how to hunt a geocache. And then (get this), he said he had several locations that would be good to hide a cache in, and would they mind icon_razz.gif . I guess the North Carolina State Park Service would have fired that traitor on the spot. I really have a hard time following the NC Parks logic on this one icon_mad.gif!

 

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I found one of the caches hidden in South Mountain State Park before it was removed. I found it after the Park Rangers had already started looking for it according to the logs. But the cache was very well hidden. The Park Service or Rangers (might be some finger pointin' goin' on here) labeled the cache as litter. When I hunted this cache, I also picked up a ton (figuratively speaking) along the stream feeding the big falls. The area looked like it hadn't been cleared of trash in a long time. But "by Goosh" they found that geocache litter. I also hunted a geocache in Lake Norman State Park. After not finding it, I actually talked to the Park Supervisor. He told me that geocachers were not very good people in his mind icon_confused.gif . He said he would check with his supervisor about the viability of placing caches there with permission, but nothing has ever come of that. In May I attended the Columbia Convergence (an event-cache) at Sesquicentennial State Park in Columbia, South Carolina. Participants there were actually showing a very eager Park Ranger how to hunt a geocache. And then (get this), he said he had several locations that would be good to hide a cache in, and would they mind icon_razz.gif . I guess the North Carolina State Park Service would have fired that traitor on the spot. I really have a hard time following the NC Parks logic on this one icon_mad.gif!

 

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I just got an email that NC Parks have adopted a policy as follows: "FYI - NC State parks now has a directive on geocaching in NC State Parks. Anyone wanting to put one in a park has to fill out a Special Activity Permit, pay $25.00, and agree to the restrictions that are spelled out in the directive. The biggest thing I (personally) disagree with is that they restrict a geocache to remaining in a park for only three months." So who's ready to pass $25 on to the park? Also FYI, money that you pay to a park goes to the general fund. That means that the park doesn't get to use the money.

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Congratulations and thanks to whoever pushed through the new directive that allows geocaching in NC Parks. Getting a legitimate process for placing caches in State Parks sounds like a battle victory to me.

 

The war's not over. Maybe over time the fee can get whittled down and the length of permitted placement extended through the Parks seeing successful geocaching activities with positive instead of negative impacts.

 

Perhaps the fee could be reworked so it doesn't serve as an individual cache permit, but becomes a license fee of sorts whereby an individual geocacher through demonstration of respect for the needs of the parks is able to place geocaches in any park. I would suggest hunting and fishing licenses as a possible precedent. Just food for thought.

 

Be Seeing You!

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I mentioned the 3 month limit to another geocacher and his immediate reply, "to stop extra trails, huh?" Makes sense to me from seeing new trails created by geocachers' wanderings. Some caches around here are really easy to find just from the packed down vegetation that point right at them.

 

Be Seeing You!

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While it can be said that something is better than nothing ... charging $25 for a 3 month cache ... and the money not even going to the park (ie, the general fund ... where our "spend like there's no tomorrow" governor can get his hands on it ... while probably laying off x% of park employees down the road) ... really bites. Are they really repsonding to growing need ... or just identifying another source of revenues. I don't think I'll bother placing one myself. No disrespect intended, but you can't compare this to hunting and fishing licences ... that money actually goes into programs for wildlife management.

Sorry about the rant ... maybe it's just the anticipation of the heat (90 plus Degrees) we're suppose to get today! icon_wink.gif

 

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Co-founder of the "NC/VA GEO-HOG ASSOCIATION"

... when you absolutely have to find it first!

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While it can be said that something is better than nothing ... charging $25 for a 3 month cache ... and the money not even going to the park (ie, the general fund ... where our "spend like there's no tomorrow" governor can get his hands on it ... while probably laying off x% of park employees down the road) ... really bites. Are they really repsonding to growing need ... or just identifying another source of revenues. I don't think I'll bother placing one myself. No disrespect intended, but you can't compare this to hunting and fishing licences ... that money actually goes into programs for wildlife management.

Sorry about the rant ... maybe it's just the anticipation of the heat (90 plus Degrees) we're suppose to get today! icon_wink.gif

 

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

Co-founder of the "NC/VA GEO-HOG ASSOCIATION"

... when you absolutely have to find it first!

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I agree that cache fees should go directly back to the parks and that the current situation is far from ideal. My suggestion comparing the possibility of geocaching licenses to hunting and fishing licenses has nothing to do with the current policy.

 

What I am suggesting as something to work towards is a policy would connect a geocacher to a formal acceptance of rules no more invasive than what Geocaching.com already provides (which is a pretty good balance between fun and responsibility). Collected fees should go to support the parks in the manner that I assume hunting and fishing license fees support those venues (do they?). The State will probably want some kind of notification of each cache location which could be easily handled by mailing in the cache page.

 

As an aside, please be respectful to government officials you encounter or contact. I've read in the forums of instances where geocachers were successfully working the system only to have someone go off on a ranger or politician about how we own the parks and they have no right to tell us how to use them. Yes, we own the parks though they own the rules and have the responsiblity of managing the properties on our behalf. This new policy should indicate that it is possible to work the system though it does take work to achieve the ideal.

 

Number 6 has left the soap box.

 

Be Seeing You!

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OK, I've been watching all the opinions stated here and have a few responses. I may have interpreted a few responses due to what I hear of a whiney nature.

1) "We pay for State Parks so we should do what we want in them." Response - How many geocachers are there in NC? Last I checked, taxpayers payed less than $1 each towards State Parks, so how much clout do Geocachers have? Any state system is political, so you have to realize where the influence comes from.

2) :"Money for parks should go to parks." Response - GREAT IDEA! Share it with your legislator.

3) "The State is spending too much already (or not enough on State Parks)!" Response - OK, lets cut spending on schools, roads, etc., etc. Sure I don't want to see Parks go under (remember I'm a strong supporter of parks), but this is a bad year. What's more important? Education, Roads, Parks? You're a voter, you decide (if you express you're opinion somewhere other than here).

4) "I want to be a part of the decision process." Response - Good start, but this is not the place that your legislator will look. Join an group with some clout like the Siera Club, Friends of State Parks (I'm a Board Member, so ask me how), or something else that interests you. Write your legislator and state clearly and nicely what your views are.

OK, I'm going on too long here and appreciate anyone who read this much. State Parks belong to everyone in NC, and Geocachers are a very small portion of the figure. The parks are run to provide for everyone. Thanks to whoever wrote not to abuse the park staff. I dealt with it too much. Imagine someone walking into your work place and saying that they payed your salary so do it their way (and you're not allowed to laugh at them). I think that virtual caches (date on a tombstone, etc.) are great and hope to get a few going in the future in parks that I worked in. (Believe me, these will be some tough caches since I know the areas so well) But I also like real caches, and if we have to do this in order to establish ourselves I think it's worth it. In fact, I will do one (once the weather cools down) and hope to be the first cache paying member! That's a challange for anyone out there who wants to go for it. Thanks and I've been passing your opinions on to some folks I know at State Parks.

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I got a copy of the directive. It is dated June 26, 2002, from Philip K. McKnelly with the subject of "Geocaching Policy." My OCR didn't too well with this, so I'm keying it in from scratch; please give me a break on the discovery of typos icon_wink.gif The opening description of geocaching is something you are all familiar with it, but I wanted you to have the entire text of the directive.

 

* * *

 

This staff directive is to establish a policy to manage geocaching. Geocaching (GPS Stash, GeoStash) involves the placement of a container with various items within it in a specific location and then posting the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) coordinates to a website. Visitors to the website then attempt to locate this container using the GPS. This activity started soon after the U.S. Department of Defense turned off the selective availability of the GPS signals in May 2000. This improved the accuracy of most recreational GPS units to 10-20 meters. Contents of the container can be anything and typically involves the exchange of items. Another aspect of this activity is virtual caching. This does not involve the actual placement of a cache; rather, coordinates are provided for a specific location where there is a unique natural feature, park sign, etc.

 

Geocaches have been placed in our state paks without the approval of park staff. These placements have resulted in the following concerns:

 

* Caches have been placed in sensitive natural or cultural areas.

 

* Caches may contain inappropriate or dangerous items. (One park cache contained prescription drugs.)

 

* Caches have lead to the creation of spur trails resulting in resource damage and the possibility of visitors leaving established trails and becoming lost.

 

* Caches may be placed in dangerous or inappropriate areas such as on a cliff or underwater.

 

* The location of a cache may invite the public into an area we do not inspect for hazards.

 

In consideration of the above concerns it has been decided to manage geocaching through the use of the special activity permit procedure on a trial basis. If this activity is found to have a negative impact on the park resources or presents public safety issues the park superintendent may ban geocaching from specific park areas or the entire park. The following conditions are to be addressed when issuing a geocaching special activity permit:

 

* Virtual caches should be encouraged in lieu of physical caches.

 

* The $25 permit fee is to be waived for virtual caches.

 

* The persona applying for the permit shall provide a valid address and telephone number.

 

* The cache placement location, including GPS coordinates, must be stated on the permit and approved by the park superintendent to minimize undesirable impacts to cultural and natural resources as well as minimize hazards to the public.

 

* A specific time period when a cache may be left in place shall be designated to minimize the creation of spur trails. At the end of the designated time period the cache is to be removed and the web site posting retired by the permit holder. The actual time period the cache is permitted to be in place will be determined by the park superintendent, not to exceed three months.

 

* Caches may not be buried, nor may vegetation or stones be disturbed when selecting cache locations.

 

* Cache containers are to be transparent and have some form of latch or other closure to deter wildlife.

 

* Contents of the cache are subject to inspection by park staff at any time; park staff will have the authority to remove any items deemed unacceptable. Examples include food, medications of any type, pornography, weapons of any type, etc. A log book is encouraged in lieu of exchange items.

 

* All cache website postings must request the cache searchers to leave a note on their vehicle dashboard identifying the operator as being a geocachers (sic). Orienteering groups in parks currently do this for safety reasons.

 

Geocaches and any contents that are removed by park staff are to be documents in a case incident report. Park staff should periodically review the geocachings websites to monitor caches placed within the park.

 

This staff directive is effective immediately.

 

* * *

 

That's the end of the directive. I'll post my comments separately to avoid confusion.

 

-honeychile-

 

'*+.,_,.+*'`'*+.,_A joyful heart is good medicine!_,.+*'`'*+.,_,.+*'`

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I got a copy of the directive. It is dated June 26, 2002, from Philip K. McKnelly with the subject of "Geocaching Policy." My OCR didn't too well with this, so I'm keying it in from scratch; please give me a break on the discovery of typos icon_wink.gif The opening description of geocaching is something you are all familiar with it, but I wanted you to have the entire text of the directive.

 

* * *

 

This staff directive is to establish a policy to manage geocaching. Geocaching (GPS Stash, GeoStash) involves the placement of a container with various items within it in a specific location and then posting the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) coordinates to a website. Visitors to the website then attempt to locate this container using the GPS. This activity started soon after the U.S. Department of Defense turned off the selective availability of the GPS signals in May 2000. This improved the accuracy of most recreational GPS units to 10-20 meters. Contents of the container can be anything and typically involves the exchange of items. Another aspect of this activity is virtual caching. This does not involve the actual placement of a cache; rather, coordinates are provided for a specific location where there is a unique natural feature, park sign, etc.

 

Geocaches have been placed in our state paks without the approval of park staff. These placements have resulted in the following concerns:

 

* Caches have been placed in sensitive natural or cultural areas.

 

* Caches may contain inappropriate or dangerous items. (One park cache contained prescription drugs.)

 

* Caches have lead to the creation of spur trails resulting in resource damage and the possibility of visitors leaving established trails and becoming lost.

 

* Caches may be placed in dangerous or inappropriate areas such as on a cliff or underwater.

 

* The location of a cache may invite the public into an area we do not inspect for hazards.

 

In consideration of the above concerns it has been decided to manage geocaching through the use of the special activity permit procedure on a trial basis. If this activity is found to have a negative impact on the park resources or presents public safety issues the park superintendent may ban geocaching from specific park areas or the entire park. The following conditions are to be addressed when issuing a geocaching special activity permit:

 

* Virtual caches should be encouraged in lieu of physical caches.

 

* The $25 permit fee is to be waived for virtual caches.

 

* The persona applying for the permit shall provide a valid address and telephone number.

 

* The cache placement location, including GPS coordinates, must be stated on the permit and approved by the park superintendent to minimize undesirable impacts to cultural and natural resources as well as minimize hazards to the public.

 

* A specific time period when a cache may be left in place shall be designated to minimize the creation of spur trails. At the end of the designated time period the cache is to be removed and the web site posting retired by the permit holder. The actual time period the cache is permitted to be in place will be determined by the park superintendent, not to exceed three months.

 

* Caches may not be buried, nor may vegetation or stones be disturbed when selecting cache locations.

 

* Cache containers are to be transparent and have some form of latch or other closure to deter wildlife.

 

* Contents of the cache are subject to inspection by park staff at any time; park staff will have the authority to remove any items deemed unacceptable. Examples include food, medications of any type, pornography, weapons of any type, etc. A log book is encouraged in lieu of exchange items.

 

* All cache website postings must request the cache searchers to leave a note on their vehicle dashboard identifying the operator as being a geocachers (sic). Orienteering groups in parks currently do this for safety reasons.

 

Geocaches and any contents that are removed by park staff are to be documents in a case incident report. Park staff should periodically review the geocachings websites to monitor caches placed within the park.

 

This staff directive is effective immediately.

 

* * *

 

That's the end of the directive. I'll post my comments separately to avoid confusion.

 

-honeychile-

 

'*+.,_,.+*'`'*+.,_A joyful heart is good medicine!_,.+*'`'*+.,_,.+*'`

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It's "foot in the door time" for us in North Carolina. Now's not the time to bellyache about the restrictions. Now's the time to put our best foot forward and cache wisely in state parks, observing the regulations to the nth degree.

 

I believe every one of their concerns is valid, although probably not to the degree they are fearful of. Here are my comments, for what they're worth.

 

SPUR TRAILS: Before I had actual experience, I would've pooh-pooh'ed their "spur trail" concern. But after conducting maintenance on caches of mine that are only a couple of months old, I'm a believer. There are two in particular that were hidden in thick brush -- now that are almost visible from 100' feet away because of cachers thrashing through the brush to get there. And I'm not blaming them because these were "off trail" caches...it's just that caching has put them on their own little trail!

 

Personally, I believe by using artful camouflague and clever thinking, it is entirely possible to put small caches within a few steps of the trail, defusing the concern about spur trails. And there are many trails in NC parks that are challenging all by themselves -- no need to develop a separate trail, but use what is already there.

 

INAPPROPRIATE ITEMS: Again, I have to agree that I've come across very inappropriate items in caches (half a pack of m&m's comes to mind). I generally trash them out and replace them with better loot.

 

SENSITIVE NATURAL OR CULTURAL AREAS: I concede there are such places; I also concede there are those among us who would not respect these places were rules not in place.

 

DANGEROUS LOCATIONS: Yes, sometimes caches are placed in dangerous locations. Sometimes that's part of the fun. But since taxpayers are the ones who ultimately foot the bill for litigation due to injury, I agree that caches in state parks should be as safe as is reasonably possible. I also agree that placement of a cache is an invitation -- it is reasonable that park staff be aware of cache locations and have veto power over their placement.

 

None of the requirements for caches seemed overly restrictive to me. The $25 fee for 3 months makes me wince a little, but I can see this evolving into an annual fee for a cache which rotates position every 3 months.

 

All in all, I'm pleased. I'll probably be placing a cache very soon (if not this weekend...I just happen to have one ready) and I'll let you know how it goes.

 

Keep 'Caching!

 

-honeychile-

 

'*+.,_,.+*'`'*+.,_A joyful heart is good medicine!_,.+*'`'*+.,_,.+*'`

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quote:
In consideration of the above concerns it has been decided to manage geocaching through the use of the special activity permit procedure on a trial basis. If this activity is found to have a negative impact on the park resources or presents public safety issues the park superintendent may ban geocaching from specific park areas or the entire park. The following conditions are to be addressed when issuing a geocaching special activity permit:

 

This directive sounds very reasonable to me. The state certainly hasn't taken a negative stance on Geocaching. However, they are looking out for themselves, and keeping the public's best interests in mind.

 

I'll bet that there are Geocachers in the ranks that developed this directive. It's obvious that it has been very thoroughly researched. It seems to be a well-written, non-biased approach.

 

As honeychile said, it's not time to complain about their restrictive policies. This is a start, albeit a small one, but a few responsible cachers can make it all worthwhile.

 

57027_900.gif

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FYI:

In the last couple of months, some headway has been made in GA...Mostly thanks to Eric and the GGA Steering Committee.

By way of explanation, the GA Park Service wasn't really being too anal or anything. They had some legitimate concerns. For example, they often use state prisoners to clean parks and geocachers often leave items in caches that could be used as weapons.

Nevertheless, at least on a trial basis, it seems that a cache will be placed at Tallulah Gorge.

Like Erik, I do a little caching in NC and Tenn since I live only about 10 miles from the three corner point where all three states meet.

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The cache has been placed, the park manager has approved it. So the first approved Ga State Parks cache is open for business.

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.asp?ID=32274

 

I tend to cache in NC, SC, and GA because I live close to that corner. Even had a cache almost on the exact corner but it was stolen. I hope we can replace it in same area, but not same spot this fall.

 

[This message was edited by AllenLacy on August 19, 2002 at 08:32 AM.]

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