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Cache-tech

Parks Ontario

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I have met with Park Officials of Parks Ontario today. At this time, they have officially asked me not to approve new caches within Parks Ontario and Conservation Reserves (also labeled Nature Reserves). We are working on regulations and hope this can be accomplished as soon as possible. Therefore, I am asking that caches not be placed in Parks Ontario locations until further notice, I regret that new caches will not be approved. They have no plans, at this time, to remove caches that are presently established in the parks. Any caches that have been removed, have been done at a local level.

 

This does not include Conservation Authorities or Federal Parks within Ontario, I have had no contact with them.

 

By complying with their requests, we can show that when regulations are in place, they will be followed. I know some do not want regulations, but this can no longer be avoided.

 

I use the following link to determine if a cache is within Parks Ontario property.

 

Claimaps

 

There are further instructions on its use in my post dated February 16, 2004 below

 

Thank you.

 

Link to Policy post

 

Ontario Policy post

 

Edit: To clarify Conservation Reserve and Nature Reserve are the same.

Edit: Added Claimaps link to this post

Edit: Added link to policy post

Edited by cache-tech

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Can you give us an idea on how the meeting went?

 

Where they generally favorable to allowing caches again once guidelines are established? What are their issues with caching etc. etc.

 

Thanks,

 

Scott

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How does this effect virtuals? Does this mean that virtual caches are now allowed in Provincial Parks in Ontario? Provided of course that they are interesting.

 

And the next thing is, this information about not being allowed to place caches in Provincial Parks needs to get out somewhow to the general geocaching populace in Ontario, so that no one wastes their time placing caches, as I am sure people will continue to place 5/5 caches in places such as Algonquin PP.

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I think this first meeting went ok, save for being asked not to approve new caches in the parks for now, including virtuals. I will find out more of their concerns at our next meeting, so far they are, liability, if you get injured while Geocaching on park property and will Geocaching create more work for an already overworked staff. As far as any caches that have been pulled by parks staff, they have not been ordered from head office. Any caches pulled have been by the local staff at the individual parks and are isolated at this time. I will post updates as they develop.

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Glad to see that you did have some contact in person with Parks Ontario. I hope that they were open to the idea of allowing caching in the parks in the future.

 

While in South Ontario this really only affects two locales (to my knowledge), I do hope that they will see Geocaching as a hobby and not as "more work for them".

 

Perserverance and a positive approach in times like these is probably best.

 

If they see us as mouthy and unco-operative, they will not work with us.

 

All I ask is that if they do plan on removing caches that they contact us directly. It is easy enough to do, since each cache is registered to a local cacher.

 

Thanks for the time, keep up the discussions please.

 

:) The Blue Quasar (24 hidden / 83 found)

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On a Cache outing last friday. My Dad found that several (5 or 6) of the caches he wanted to hit were on Ontario Parks land and had been pulled. :) Now wether it was parks officials or the cache owners who have pulled them I don't know but hopefully we can get to some kind of agreement.

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While in South Ontario this really only affects two locales (to my knowledge), I do hope that they will see Geocaching as a hobby and not as "more work for them".

 

A lot more than two for sure in Southern Ontario - several dozen I believe including a number along the Bruce Trail that are prime caching areas (Mono Cliffs, Hockley Valley etc). You can find many of them Here. And remember that once banning starts it has a habit of spreading - look at what's happening in the US. So now is definitely the time to be opening negotiations and a big thanks to those who have started the discussions.

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We have been in contact and the caches were indeed pulled by Ontario Parks request.

 

Any News on progress?

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I have disabled the caches in question after confirming with the owner of the caches. They will be redistrubted but not on Ontario Parks property. I do not have any news from Ontario Parks and do not expect anything until into the New Year. :(

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forgive me for sounding duh! but if I read this right we can still cache in Conservation areas and Federal Parks?

This does not include Conservation Authorities or Federal Parks within Ontario, I have had no contact with them
:(

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I have not been told otherwise, conservation authorities are each seperate and have nothing to do with provincial parks. Conservation reserves are operated by Ontario Parks and are off limits, they will show up on my map I have access to showing Federal and Provincial lands. I have not had contact with Federal operated parks, but from my last conservation with Ontario Parks, they are aware of Geocaching at least in Ontario.

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There is an umbrella organization for all Conservation areas in Ontario and they do not have a policy on geocaches. If you want to place a geocache on conservation land, you should go to the local land manager and ask permission.

 

Here is a portion of an e-mail I recieved from them.

 

Conservation Ontario does not have a policy with regards to geocaches. I would suggest that you speak directly with the Conservation Authority of interest as to whether they have established any such policy. To find a particular conservation authority please visit Conservation Ontario's website at http://www.conservation-ontario.on.ca/profile/consareas.htm

 

I don't know about federal parks. If and when I find out, I'll post the info here.

 

Les.

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There is an umbrella organization for all Conservation areas in Ontario and they do not have a policy on geocaches

 

Why are you starting to get another organization involved here when it was only the Ontario Parks that we had a problem with about geocaching.

 

Never has been a problem with conservation areas, yet and there are hundreds of caches placed in them.

 

Lets get the parks staff onside and then if there is a complaint from others deal with it later.

 

Let a sleeping dog alone........

 

:ph34r:

Edited by gm100guy

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"...I think this first meeting went ok, save for being asked not to approve new caches in the parks for now, including virtuals..."

I've been away from GC'ing and the GC forums for awhile, so forgive me if I'm not quite up to speed with how this particular subject has evolved over the past few months ...but why the nix'ing of virtuals?

 

Unless things have really changed, a virtual doesn't require the placement or finding of a physical cache, simply the navigation to a specific point of interest (points of interest that are also hiked to by non-GC'ers ...who would appear to do so without attracting similar 'censure' from Parks Ontario). Assuming that virtuals within Provincial Park boundaries would be in areas open to the public anyway, how did using a GPSr and web-posted waypoints to locate them become objectionable?

 

This is like saying that you can't have someone point out to you on a park map where a great vantage point for taking photos is located...

 

:ph34r:

Edited by Cache Canucks

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The ban on virtuals comes from 'head office.' Not sure exactly what the reasoning is. Hopefully this will be changed soon, as there are still a few good locations with historical/cultural value. I understand the idea of trying to find a way to place a micro instead, but not every location has 'cover.'

 

Wulf

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"...The ban on virtuals comes from 'head office.'  Not sure exactly what the reasoning is..."

Well, I'd be interested to know what that 'reasoning' is ...I can understand Parks Ontario exhibiting concern for any activity that would involve the placement of physical caches within their areas of responsibility and respect their authority to curtail or ban that part of GC'ing at their discretion. What I can't understand (and would indeed question) is the idea that virtuals are subject to the same type of sanctions. Unless it becomes an internal and voluntary policy adopted by TPTB at GC.com, I don't see how the posting of waypoints for virtuals located on public property in areas that are open to public travel (and the use of GPSrs to navigate to them) can be 'banned' by Parks Ontario.

 

Virtual cache hunting in Provincial Parks is no different than a someone who goes for a 'regular' hike to a predetermined point with a map in his pocket.

Edited by Cache Canucks

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I was asked by Parks Ontario to not approve all caches with their parks until things are worked out. This has nothing to do with Geocaching.com, I am following a request from the parks. Virtuals are not banned from as stated "Head Office", there are virtuals being approved, they have to be really special, unique locations and this is not the thread to discuss virtuals. This thread is to keep members informed about the current situation with Parks Ontario, please keep to the subject. Thank you.

 

Cache-tech

Geocaching.com Admin

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hello Cache-tech

 

Can you go to this web site below and correct the information they have posted about placing caches in Ontario.

 

Ontario

 

They are including Conservation Areas, which are seperate from Ontario Parks.

 

:P

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Does anyone get the feeling these people of authority (Parks Canada, Conservation Areas, and the Bruce Trail) would sooner just say no, (its easier) than try to work out rules and dealing with the public and geocachers?

 

Is the purpose of parks to preserve nature or allow people to enjoy these nature areas?

 

I think it is both.

 

However when I talked with the Bruce Trail Authority last year about geocaching, the person I talked to knew nothing about geocaching and absolutely refused to allow the placing of caches on BT lands. This person stated the BT authority was established to protect this environment, not catering to the public. She stated they wanted a limited number of people using the Trail so it can be preserved as long as possible.

 

I found this attitude amazing, given I know of a number of rock climbing training companies using a couple rocky areas of the trail for teaching their students. Why is it ok for companies to use the trial to make a profit, yet the general public (geocachers) seem to be banned from utilizing the BT? I even came across OPP officers using a rocky area to practice their skills.

Edited by P38manCdn

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Can you go to this web site below and correct the information they have posted about placing caches in Ontario.

 

Ontario

 

They are including Conservation Areas, which are seperate from Ontario Parks.

Conservation Reserves are covered by Ontario Parks, Conservation Authorities are not. Thank you the link, that is new, they have used the information here as I have not contacted them. I will contact them, however when the regulations are in place to ensure they have the most up to date infomation when the time comes.

 

Cache-tech

Geocaching.com Admin

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If we need to correct the description or the wording on our web site listing for Parks Ontario just drop us a line and we'll be happy to make the changes. Email the address given at the web site, or you can email me through geocaching.com.

 

If there is similar information available for any other land managment agencies in Canada we'd like to know about them so we can include them as well.

 

Steve

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I mentioned it earlier, but I felt the need to do so again...I was just checking the guidelines for placing a cache at the following link http://www.geocaching.com/about/guidelines.aspx and noticed that there is still no mention that phsyical caches are not allowed in Ontario Provincial Parks. Shouldn't this be listed there? We all know that someone will place a cache in a provincial Park at some point, and I think it would be unfair of them to go through the effort of placing it and get frustrated when their cache is disallowed to no fault of their own...not everyone reads the forums.

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I have met with Park Officials of Parks Ontario today. At this time, they have officially asked me not to approve new caches within Parks Ontario and Conservation Reserves.

Here goes another resource down the drain. I'm not being critical, but out of curiosity, have we actually won any of these discussions?

 

It seems that as soon as a government body finds out about caching, there are discussions, then it's banned.

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Nothing has been won or lost and with the Christmas holiday fast approaching, things are slow. If we are positive and demonstrate that we will not be a burden and have positive aspects, then we can keep regulated caching permited within the parks.

 

Cache-tech

Geocaching.com Admin

Edited by cache-tech

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I'm sorry for asking this, I truly do not wish to be stupid here but...

 

Is a conservation reserve the same as a conservation area ? I am sorry, I need to know becuase if we take the area around Port Perry here there are some fine conservation areas, is it the province that runs these ? And if so, what does that mean for the caches already out there ?

 

I am sorry for my ignorance but I truly do not know.

 

Thanks

DirtRunner.

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Until I started working with the parks, I was aware of Parks Ontario (which operate the provincial parks and conservation reserves), Conservation Areas (which are seperate, run by Conservation Authorities, I think the link is above), Federal Parks and Municipal Parks. I only discovered during my meeting about the conservation reserves, but have a map of Ontario that displays all of the properties that Parks Ontario. I don't know how to seperate a park from a reserve on the map, but I can tell if it belongs to Parks Ontario or not. I enter the coordinates and do a quick check when approving a cache. So to answer your not so stupid question, it was the same question I asked during my meeting with the wardens from Parks Ontario, Conservation Reserves and Conservation Areas are not the same in Ontario.

 

Cache-tech

Geocaching.com Admin

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Forgive my pessimism, but when someone says that they're drafting regulations and in the interim, please stop putting caches on our land, it sounds to me like "no" is soon to follow.

 

My experiences in life tell me that once a regulation is on the books, it's virtually impossible to get it changed.

 

Having said that, the old saying that "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" is also true. I believe it's time for the Ontario / Canadian Geocachers to organize ourselves and make our local MPP / MPs aware of our possition - emphasize the positive aspects of caching and enlist their support.

 

Otherwise, I think we're going to find that caching in Canada is going to go the way of the States - there's more places you can't place a cache than places you can. And once the rules are in place, nobody is going to give us the time of day.

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Having dealt with many forms of government bureaucracy at many levels I can tell you from experience that unless you present a WELL organized group effort outlining in detail the advantages to your plea you will never succeed in swaying a government body to see your point. This is how and why lobbyist groups thrive in a democracy. I would think that a good starting point would be a petition of some sort directed at government officials that are even remotely connected with Ontario Parks.

 

But I have to stress that any movement would have to be extremely well organized and not present themselves as a bunch of redneck bushwhackers.

 

I for one, am all for preservation of the enviroment, but to ban access to areas seems somewhat draconian.

 

I can say that cache-tech is doing a great job so far in trying to preserve our sport, but quite honestly one voice can never be as loud as a 1000 singing in harmony.

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I agree completely with what Logger & Ail is saying.

 

We have to organize ourselves and present ourselves to the powers that be in an effort to save our sport.

 

Perhaps setting up an Ontario / Canadian Geocacher's website might be a good beginning - provide online information about what's going on and provide for a mechanism for cachers to sign a petition.

 

Cache-Tech: Would Geocaching.com be willing to help by proving a list of cachers / email addresses within the province that can be contacted for this purpose?

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I agree completely with what Logger & Ail is saying.

 

We have to organize ourselves and present ourselves to the powers that be in an effort to save our sport.

 

Perhaps setting up an Ontario / Canadian Geocacher's website might be a good beginning - provide online information about what's going on and provide for a mechanism for cachers to sign a petition.

 

Cache-Tech: Would Geocaching.com be willing to help by proving a list of cachers / email addresses within the province that can be contacted for this purpose?

You can count me in. You could also try contacting my father canomaitre.

 

I would be willing to assist in any way to the construction/maintenance of a website.

 

Maybe we should start a thread to organize this?

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Not everyone indicates where they are from when they sign up, so it would not be a complete list and email addresses are not given out unless permission is given by the player. Even when reviewing a cache, unless I am contacted and they check "I want to send my email address along with this message" on the email a user page, I do not have and cannot get the email address. So I would have to say no to any sort of list for a number of privacy reasons and that we do not keep a list of users within a region. Sorry.

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The idea of a website is a great start as well as a place where we can organize.

 

Maybe if we have a presentation aside from GC.com which is more specific to Ontario geocaching we can offer a presentation of cachers in a good light. Such as photos from cache days, people practicing CITO as they cache, etc. This way it is much easier to go to a landowner and if they have questions we can direct them to the website to get better, more informed information about what geocaching truly is. Also we can put an online petition where we can rally support from other cachers in the Ontario area.

 

I'm sure I can either put space on one of my servers or get space donated for a website.

 

Would this be useful to you Cache Tech in your discussions with the various organizations?

 

Logger

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I am cross posting so both threads can see this post on the history of this topic.

 

All the past info on Ontario Parks

 

 

For all you newbies the discussion about the parks has been going on here for over a year and a half.

 

We had a bunch of us working on the situation until Geocache.com appointed cach-tach and others as approvers for Canada. They now have taken up the fight with the Government as official reps of this web site.

 

The big wheels that will make the policy on this have been moving very slow and most of the ones that were talking to the government have stopped talking and are letting TPTB handle the situation.

 

Go to the above link and read the history and do a forum search and get informed first before making hasty plans about fighting the government.

 

Letting one official voice representing us I think is the way to go for now.

 

:lol:

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I would like to get a few CITO events orginized in the spring and invite some of the park officials along on some cache hunt demostrations, hidden for the CITO event, not listed on the site. For now I think it is best if I continue to work with the Parks Ontario Office that I am dealing with. I more then welcome discussion and ideas. A few associations have been discussed, which I think would be positive and not only for working with the parks. Things are going slowly, but I don't think trying to rush things will help at this time.

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Cache-tech,

 

I agree rushing the situation would be a serious mistake. I understand all too well that government branches move very slowly and any serious push WILL cause a knee jerk reaction most likely NOT in our favour.

 

I love your idea of organizing some posiitve events involving CITO that we can expose the people we are dealing with to would be a very positive move. Like in all other things in life respect is earned and not just given arbitrarily.

 

I do feel though that we will have to begin to develop a united group effort to pull together in order to show that we are, by and large a group of concerned people who can have a very positive influence on the enviroment not only for today, but for generations to come. The number of children who are involved with geocaching are learning a very powerful experience by coming out with adults and experiencing firsthand how important our ecology really is. No amount of classroom rhetoric and textbook reading can have the kind of impact on a young mind that being exposed to the outside world can.

 

I would love to see the CITO days idea come to fruition and hopefully become a regular event. It is sad to see the number of potentially great cache sites I have found only to go there and find them literally having been turned into a garbage dump by those who don't care.

 

Any help I can offer is yours for the asking.

 

Logger

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Well I would like to think that I have read and re-read this and other similar threads about organization of a Geocaching group for 'self-protection' reasons.

 

So, with that in mind I propose the following. Not that my voice has any more weight or would sway any powers that be.

 

Cache Tech should be all means continue to speak with Parks Ontario and the like. I will agree that I am wondering why the actual geocachers don't seem to have any input to these discussions but since as a group we have not unified it seems appropriate.

 

Then it seems to me that a group for Ontario should be formed. Canada is just far too big, in fact Ontario is probably too big but like many have said if there is a group then it can be fleshed out to fill a role.

 

I however do not think that the group should be formed for political reasons or 'soap-boxing'. A group can easily be set up to just be informative and a contact point for any required discussion.

 

If the group is formed and Parks Ontario or Cache-Tech or Bruce Trail Association or whomever wants to discuss the nature of our pasttime then Cache Tech can certainly direct them to us or contact us for support.

 

I just don't see a reason to NOT form a group. There is a lot to be gained from the position of being unified. And there is nothing that says we have to start ironing out problems, let's just get our act together and everyone will be what we are capable of, what we plan to do, and how we will have a positive impact.

 

Lastly, since 40+ states have an organization there must be a good reason for it, if only to have a place for people to take their devotion to Geocaching to what may be perceived as the next level.

 

Let's be honest, Cache Tech is not going to say "Gang... you really need to get a group together to show that you are serious about your devotion"

 

Even if we did get a group going and it turned out to be a waste of time, what have we really lost?

 

Sorry for the length.

 

:D The Blue Quasar

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I think the idea of an Ontario caching group is a good start. This gives us a central 'organization' to work with. From there we'd need to have sub-groups, since the northern cachers would have different 'issues' than the southern cachers. The Ontario group could be a clearinghouse for infomation and discussion of issues related to the province as a whole. We could list any events that are happening in a central place for all to see. The regional groups could reinforce things by being able to focus on issues on a more local level, and create a place for local cachers to get together to share ideas. It also allows us to pass along info that would be of importance to cachers on a more local level.

Cache-tech is doing his best to lay the groundwork for all of us in Ontario, and once we've got a possitive, cache freindly policy setup for Ontario, we can take that to the regional and local levels to show that this is a good thing for everyone.

Who here hasn't uttered that now famous phrase "If not for caching, I'd have never visited this place"?

Maybe someone could organize a site where we'd have access to policies set by the various parks in Canada and the US, so that we could bring more to the table when we're trying to work out the details.

 

Wulf

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Maybe someone could organize a site where we'd have access to policies set by the various parks in Canada and the US, so that we could bring more to the table when we're trying to work out the details.

 

Geocaching Ontario Page

 

I have had a page for these discussions now for almost a year now.

 

On the page you will find guidelines for numerous States that have a ploicy and these were already sent to the govrnment to help them with there policy.

 

I do not know when the guidelines or a policy will be ready for geocaching

in provincial parks.  We are still making some progress toward evaluating

new uses in provincial parks.  I do understand your concerns regarding time

and "re-inventing the wheel".

 

I just had an email from the Parks staff and the above is the answer that I received from them about a time frame for a policy. So from our first contact with them and a study paper that they have had and done almost 6 months ago, all we can do is wait and see what happens.

 

So we can do all we want to get a provoincial organization together, but when it comes to a policy for Ontario Parks the ball right now is there court and we have to wait for them to come up with said policy

 

:lol:

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I agree with B.Q and the others. It's time to get our own ball rolling.

 

We've had this "Let's get something going" discussion quite a few times... at Pub Nights, picnics, in my own forums (which are temporarily down), and on these forums.

 

Our previous discussions have revolved mainly around who is going to take the reins. Well, I'm nominating Blue Quasar. He has a good insight into S.Ontario geocaching, has shown interest in the position, throws a decent Pub Night, and, well heck, he's just a likeable guy.

 

Any seconder's? Any other nominees?

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I agree with B.Q and the others.  It's time to get our own ball rolling.

 

We've had this "Let's get something going" discussion quite a few times... at Pub Nights, picnics, in my own forums (which are temporarily down), and on these forums.

 

Our previous discussions have revolved mainly around who is going to take the reins.  Well, I'm nominating Blue Quasar.  He has a good insight into S.Ontario geocaching, has shown interest in the position, throws a decent Pub Night, and, well heck, he's just a likeable guy.

 

Any seconder's?  Any other nominees?

I second that suggestion. When I look just across the border from me and see what the Michigan Geocaching Organization MIGO is doing I see a lot of benefits and no debits from getting an organization started. Just takes someone with the time and enthusiasm to kick start it.

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Found this link from the Pennsylvania State Park site.........http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/geocaching.aspx

In a state with so many open pit mines, working and abandonned and a wealth of industrial relics, these rules must apply to a very small amount of real estate (where park gestapo wander around in they're own little dictatorships).

 

Only 3 year lifespan for a cache? That barely seems worth the effort.

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Just out of curiosity... after reading the Pennsylvania State Park site info... why would they ban the use of ABS pipe for cache construction?

 

I agree it's a good starting point for a policy...

Edited by DRCRNP

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