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A Dialogue with the National Park Service


Guest CaptHawke
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Guest CaptHawke

6 USC 1)

 

We count on our park rangers very much to implement the laws governing the National Park Service. Once park personnel are part of the process of setting up an activity on NPS lands, why would they then thwart or remove something that is understood, planned, and permitted? Park staff take their duties very seriously -- and are notified about permitted events on the park lands they help manage. They know what to do and how to respond. If there is an unpermitted event and materials are left on park lands, park staff have the obligation to remove said materials and accost people who some cases, may be actually entering closed areas, unsafe areas, resource-sensitive areas, or otherwise restricted areas (such as no "off-trail use") of these parks to find those unpermitted materials. Rather than report a missing cache back on the geocaching communication lines, you can imagine that the ranger might first actually like to talk to the person who unnecessarily caused all the extra effort and trouble to the park and prevent such occurrences from happening again!

 

As applied to the activity we are discussing -- all the above supposes that geocaching can be considered in some fashion as being an appropriate activity on national park lands. I hope that we can look to the geocaching community, whether the NPS lands are ultimately deemed appropriate or not for specific activities, for their valued partnership and participation in protecting and preserving our national parks. Thanks again for writing.

 

Marcia Keener

NPS Office of Policy

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

 

Author: Cephas Hawke

Date: 7/25/01 1:55 PM

 

---Marcia Keener wrote:

>I believe I totally understand what you are saying. Lots of time and

>effort

>wasted to the geocaching participant and organizer when materials are

>confiscated.

 

Ms Keener, I'm sorry, but you misunderstood completely. My concern is not with the wasted time and effort of the geocaching participant and organizer(?), but with the land the NPS is trying to protect.

 

Removing an illegal geocache from NPS land is not enough. People will continue to search for it until someone lets them know that it has been removed. Hide it, post it on the web and they will come. Take it away, post NOTHING to the web and they will continue to come. And searching for something that is not there is more likely to be destructive that searching for something that is there. A successful geocacher is in and out in no time; unsuccessful geocachers can spend hours trampling around in the bush. For every blade of grass flattened by the successful geocacher, the unsuccessful geocacher will flatten 10.

 

Your concern on this point is with the enforcement of the rules and regulations and that is fine as far as it goes. But once the rules are enforced, people will continue to search unless you tell them there is no longer anything to search for. You have made a good case that geocaching is in violation of current rules. There might be a case to be made that it is a violation to even search for that geocache. But you will be hard pressed to say that it is against the rules to search for something that no longer exists, especially when the NPS made no effort to notify the public that the cache had been removed. I'm no lawyer, but that starts to look like entrapment.

 

Bottom line: If you want to stop geocachers from searching for an illegal cache, first seize the cache, second let potential searchers know that it was confiscated. The first step enforces the law, the second step protects the park. Isn't that what this is all about, protection of the parks? And the second step is easier than the first.

 

C. Hawke

Bedford NH

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

 

Author: Marcia Keener

Date : Thu, 26 Jul 2001 09:01:35 -0400

 

Mr. Hawke,

 

Thank you for pointing this out - I guess we have to assume the ranger knows from the information contained within that it is the the object of a current "hunt," that many people may continue to try to find it, and also where to go on-line to report its removal.

 

To report its confiscation (and why--to educate all would-be geocachers entering the park) on-line would certainly be helpful in stopping further activity....a tip we can pass along.

 

Marcia

 

 

[This message has been edited by CaptHawke (edited 02 August 2001).]

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Guest jxs2151

I get the feeling that the NPS does not want anyone in their parks, as it would make their jobs much easier if they did not have to deal with pesky "visitors". So now Geocaching has to go through a rather extensive education process in order to let NPS know that we are encouraging people to walk around the parks. We have to become an "Officially Sanctioned Activity", complete with permits, lawyers, Environmental Impact Statements, oversight, rules, etc., etc.

 

I think that a part of the problem is that we assumed that the parks actually want people to visit them.

 

Apparently the British Parks folks aren't as much of control freaks as our NPS.

 

My apologies about the sarcastic nature of this post, but I usually get very cynical when dealing with the government and their self-righteous attitude.

 

[This message has been edited by jxs2151 (edited 02 August 2001).]

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Guest PharoaH

She does mention how geocaching is off on the wrong foot, so to speak. I mean, when people have placed without permission, what else is the NPS to do? We unfortunately have to overcome this rogue image and present a positive and beneficial appearance to the NPS.

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Guest jxs2151

I disagree with the "off on the wrong foot" assesment. I could just as easily state that the NPS is "off on the wrong foot" with their attitudes and actions toward an obviously low-impact activity. I hate the imperial attitude taken by the parks. How dare she state that geocachers are "off on the wrong foot"? This is a typical D.C. attitude to place the onus on another party and make them justify themselves instead of the other way around.

 

I do understand their need to be good keepers of that which has been entrusted to them. However, the NPS seems to be doing an incredible job of alientating a whole group of people that love the outdoors and are interested in preserving our natural heritage. Seriously, can anyone think of a group of people more in love with the outdoors than geocachers? So, what does NPS do? Proceed to piss them off and start a fight instead of embracing and using the energy in geocaching to meet both of our needs.

 

I'll be dadgum if I am going to kowtow to some "Policy Analyst" from D.C. If she cares to come chase my butt out of a remote forest herself, let her do it. Let's not forget folks, that this is *our* land.

 

[This message has been edited by jxs2151 (edited 02 August 2001).]

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Guest y2kmagazine

Kudos to CaptHawke for being able to deal with the beurocracy and bloat, but unfortuntely, this is a PERFECT example of government bloat - this woman writes pages and pages of dribble while getting paid with our tax dollars. She referrs you to more pages of dribble, legalese, jibberish and nonsense that was created also at the taxpayers expense and says very little. And in the end, it wastes our free time reading it and having to deal with their superintendant, special use coordinator, park manager, rangers, along with loads of other agencies and beurocracies that have their hands in running / maintaining the parks.

 

She talks of the CFR. Can they honestly say that in that CFR there is nothing about people hiding something and then giving out clues to find it. Yeah, geocaching is new and uses leading edge technology (leave it to government bloat to spend billions on something, give it to the public to use, then when the public starts using it, the government, like a spoiled child, says you can't) but the concept - leaving something behind for others to find is not new. But they have nothing to address this? Pitiful. And when would anyone want to bet that they will have something to address this? Long after loads of 'illegal' caches are planted, found and archived. Overall, I like to think that people want to be honest. But the government workers have to protect their social welfare jobs by wrapping themselves in forms, jargon, layers of bloat. oops, I mean management and regulations. We're trying to have fun and they are thumbing through phone book sized rules as we stand at the gate twiddling our thumbs on our own time. Come sit down while we are getting paid and negotiat[e} if the use can modified to be considered favorably. No, tell us what we have to do to get the OK. We are not here to entertain you. But she also says 'I hope that we will see more cooperation and information exchange about geocaching proposals'. Read taht to mean - if I didn't have this to contend with, I'd be twiddling MY thumbs while getting paid, so I suppose I should look busy.

 

And just think - even if you knew what you had to do to be able to place the cache, the permit process likely has a fee and a LONG waiting period for review. What a crime.

 

Follow some of her links - that chapter 8 is as long as a book. And it's peppered with loopholes:

 

Unless mandated by statute, If and when a superintendent has a reasonable basis (so regardless of what the rules say, the superintendant can nix it if he's in a bad mood), The Service will seek consistency in recreation management policies and procedures on both a Service- wide and interagency basis to the extent practicable (if you are willing to wait years to get to this point), and this 'book' really doesn't say much other than plans will be made. Not that they exist now, not that you can find them now, not that one plan doesnt' contradict another, just that we'll soak up your tax dollars to keep ourselves busy from 8-5 to make your lives miserable trying to decipher it on your free time. And even if you find some vaguely written paragraph to support your stance that caching is fine, I'll find other paragraphs in the same document that will conflict with that, and even if you try to get the valid permits, you will waste time, money and your enthusiasm.

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Guest Prime Suspect

Well, I think we need to look towards a solution that every could live with. Such as:

  • A set of pre-approved containers, in a variety of shapes and sizes. Basically, something that seals tight and animals can't open.
  • The paperwork. The NPS would need to know the location and waypoint ID of the cache, and contact information of the cache owner (no aliases). Once approved, a sticker would be issued to be placed on the outside of the container. This "NPS Approved GeoCache" sticker would let rangers and others know it's not trash or abandoned property.
  • Near-Zero environmental impact. No digging, no pulling up plants, nailing things to trees, etc.
  • A ban on food items in the cache. This is to prevent animals from disturbing the cache.

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Guest Robereno

Capthawke, your correspondence with Marcia Keener is done well. You certainly have more patience than I do.

I hope I?m wrong but it looks like an up hill battle to me. From her comments I see that she is already trying to vilify the geocashing community and she is certainly putting the burden on us (you) to promote our cause.

You obviously don?t need this advice but I learned early on not to loose my temper with these people. The one out of control letter where your temper shows will be the one they put fourth as the example of our group. I know a person in the customs department who pins her rude e-mail on the wall like trophies.

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Guest jxs2151

I think that those are all very good ideas. You are thinking logically and rationally. Please keep in mind that you are dealing with a government agency, so logic may or may not apply :-)

 

Normal people think in terms of how to solve the problem at hand.

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Guest MNMartian

I just thought I'd add this little bit of info. Did anyone else see this headline?

 

"House approves Arctic drilling"

"The House voted late wednesday night to allow oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in ALaska, rejecting claims that developement would devastate, "a cathedral of nature" in need of protection.."

 

Seems it's ok for them to go where they wish and destroy.

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Guest arffer

CaptHawke,

 

Thanks for going to all the work to have this dialog with the NPS. We appreciate it.

 

Two thoughts, one for the NPS and one for Jeremy.

 

1) You made the closing statement that the NPS should first remove the cache, and second post that fact to stop folks from hunting for it. The first takes awhile, the second is an easy 10 minute or less task. If the NPS stopped and thought it out, they could sit in their air-conditioned offices and just post that that the cache was removed by the NPS as an illegal cache, and then never actually remove it. The hunters would stop coming, and their park protected.

 

2) If we are under the current position that placing caches in National Parks or Monuments is illegal untill final deliberations are made, then I think that Jeremy and his team that approve cache submissions should deny accepting any that are known to be inside NPS lands.

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Guest jeremy

ing this but I have stuck with the idea that removing caches entirely (and their coordinates) in one location can remove people from visiting those locations and causing environmental harm.

 

This game could have easily gone "the other way" and become an underground sport with passwords and secret handshakes. It hasn't and I like it that way. Instead families, couples, friends, and individuals now go outdoors, possibly more often, and enjoy geocaching as a nice diversion from things like the "downturn of the US Economy."

 

So please, if any official out there can point out which of my feet is the right one to put forward first in order to make right with the world, I'd greatly appreciate it.

 

Jeremy

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Guest jeremy

A simple email from a park official and caches are removed from the site and the owner is informed (we have done this in the past).

 

In addition, if someone indicates that a cache is on NPS lands, we let them know the NPS position on geocaching. They always archive it.

 

This has been a policy all along. There's nothing to change.

 

Jeremy

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Guest jxs2151

quote:
Originally posted by arffer:

CaptHawke,

2) If we are under the current position that placing caches in National Parks or Monuments is illegal untill final deliberations are made, then I think that Jeremy and his team that approve cache submissions should deny accepting any that are known to be inside NPS lands.


 

It was illegal for women to vote. It was also illegal for blacks to sit at a lunch counter with whites in the south. It was illegal ....... Just because it is against the law does not mean it is right. Issues such as this need to be evaluated on their merits.

 

I don't think that the NPS realizes that their best bet is to negotiate with geocaching.com for the very reasons that Jeremy puts forth. This sport will continue with or without their "permission". If they choose to drive it underground than that is where I will show up. They just don't realize the democratizing power of the Internet. Heck, they can even get a court-order to remove the caches from geocaching.com, I will post mine using the peer-to-peer GnuTella network. I know I sound like some "Power to the People" hippie but I am just fed up with the garbage. And please don't give me the reasoning that my attitude will only make things worse, the NPS' mind is already made up, they only use perceived "misbehavior" such as mine to justify after-the-fact.

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Guest arffer

Jeremy,

 

So my suggestion #2 is already geocaching.com's policy. Great, and thanks!

 

jxs2151,

 

You are correct, just because its the law doesn't mean its right. No one said it was. But I would differ that there is an order of magnitude in difference in the civil dis-obedience you suggest when comparing civil-rights, woman's sufferage, and hiding caches on NPS lands.

 

I sincerly doubt that geocaching will have to go underground as you suggest simply because we are denied access to NPS' land.

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Guest Vargaus

Yes, people tend to make emotional decisions within seconds of a circumstance. Then all the energy tends to be supported by that decision. This happens subconsciously. All the support now is to justify or rationalize the subconscious emotional decision that one was unaware of making until long after anchored into that decision.

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Guest jxs2151

quote:
Originally posted by arffer:

Jeremy,

 

 

jxs2151,

 

You are correct, just because its the law doesn't mean its right. No one said it was. But I would differ that there is an order of magnitude in difference in the civil dis-obedience you suggest when comparing civil-rights, woman's sufferage, and hiding caches on NPS lands.

 

I sincerly doubt that geocaching will have to go underground as you suggest simply because we are denied access to NPS' land.


 

My intention was to demonstrate that at those points in history they could have just said "Oh, if it's illegal then we just shouldn't do it".

 

I agree that geocaching will not have to go underground. My point was that the behemoth beauracracy just doesn't realize that they are in a rather weak position.

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Guest PharoaH

quote:
Originally posted by CaptHawke:

Exceprt from Marcia's e-mail:

While the verdict is still out on how the NPS will ultimately view geocaching, given its brief and somewhat negative track record with the national parks, I hope that we will see more cooperation and information exchange about geocaching proposals.


This is the section I was referring to. Jeremy, it sounds like you have been reasonable and conscientous with this site in regards to the NPS. It sounds as if you have never allowed a cache in NPS land. In fact, it sounds like you have cooperated fully with them. So, what is she alluding to here?

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Guest zilla

As usual a gov'ment employee dodges the question and affirms what I have known for years.. The BLM, National Park Service and National Forest people look upon those lands as their own.. They know what is best for the public.. Classic example of the tail wagging the dog.. I doubt very much that anyone will ever get permission to cache in a park.. As far as I'm concerned these people are out of control, at least that's been my experience. I'll find other places to cache for now..

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Guest Count de Cache

You have to realize that almost all government employees or elected "officials" have the ability to say "no" to anything, and such a "policy decision" rarely hurts their career. They never have the authority to say "yes" and if they do, it can be dangerous to their careers. Remember, almost all government employees work for the government because they do not have the brains or balls to work for a real enterprise. Immediately upon getting their jobs, they become self-righteous, empire-building, and dedicated only to suriviing long enough to get the pension. They cloak all this in obfuscatory and hypocritical language about "serving the public" which is the last thing in their little minds. I suspect we have already lost this battle, just as we have lost our govenrment to bureaucrats.

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Guest jeremy

I take offense to the perception of government officials. Being from Baltimore you probably know quite a bit of folks in the government. It is true that many in the government are hosers, but after leaving the Washington area I figured out that there are just as many in the private sector. Except in the private sector those same hosers have bigger paychecks.

 

Lets keep the badmouthing and stereotyping out of the forums, shall we?

 

Jeremy

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Guest bunkerdave

h you had stayed home. "Let's protect these national treasures by building hotels and restaurants and cabins and hiring guides to show people around. Oh, and lets PAVE the ROADS, too. That'll PROTECT it.

 

Why all the fuss over caching on NPS land anyway? Why should anyone have to pay to hunt a cache? It's not as if there aren't MILLIONS of great *free* locations to place caches. If you need the NPS to tell you what a significant and interesting location is, you need to get out more. icon_wink.gif

 

Well, that's my opinion. If you were crazy enough to read all this, I'd like to hear yours. Try and keep it at least as civil as I kept mine. icon_redface.gif

 

[This message has been edited by bunkerdave (edited 02 August 2001).]

 

[This message has been edited by bunkerdave (edited 13 August 2001).]

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Guest bunkerdave

h you had stayed home. "Let's protect these national treasures by building hotels and restaurants and cabins and hiring guides to show people around. Oh, and lets PAVE the ROADS, too. That'll PROTECT it.

 

Why all the fuss over caching on NPS land anyway? Why should anyone have to pay to hunt a cache? It's not as if there aren't MILLIONS of great *free* locations to place caches. If you need the NPS to tell you what a significant and interesting location is, you need to get out more. icon_wink.gif

 

Well, that's my opinion. If you were crazy enough to read all this, I'd like to hear yours. Try and keep it at least as civil as I kept mine. icon_redface.gif

 

[This message has been edited by bunkerdave (edited 02 August 2001).]

 

[This message has been edited by bunkerdave (edited 13 August 2001).]

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Guest chrome

Screw the NPS. Just go get permission from your State, County and City parks. We have had much success getting permission from these parks. Easy to deal with, understand that we aren't carrying pickaxes and shovels, and welcome the increased traffic to their parks.

If we ignore the NPS and only use other public parks with permission, they'll soon learn what they missed out on.

 

One last comment. If George Bush can drill for oil in a NP, then I ought to dadgum well be able to hide a piece of tupperware under a piece of bark, and share the beauty of the place with someone who has never been there before and wouldn't have come except for the cache. They may not believe that's true, but I know it is. I've been so many places searching for caches and places to hide caches that I would have never gone to otherwise.

 

[This message has been edited by chrome (edited 02 August 2001).]

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Guest navdog

Jeremy;

 

So much for keeping badmouthing out of the forums. I can't help but see how this thread winds it's way back to the concept of commercial caches. Think about how much new "stuff" is being placed in the enviroment by geocachers, it is certainly growing at an exponential rate. Eventually the ramifications of all these caches placed is going to bring up an enviromental question looked at by the public and government agencies. How many of these caches will be abandonded, left to litter our enviroment. Allowing the onslaught( ie..25 cache n nuts caches)of commercial caches may percipitate the notion that geocaching is a detriment to the enviromnet and is as much a commercial enterprise as well as a recreational pursuit in the eyes of a government agency.

 

navdog

 

[This message has been edited by navdog (edited 02 August 2001).]

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Guest PharoaH

Wow, this one got thrown for a loop. Hawke, I applaud you for your efforts to work with "the system". I am truly optomistic that some of these posts are just trolling and that the greater number of us are sensible people.

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Guest jxs2151

quote:
Originally posted by PharoaH:

Wow, this one got thrown for a loop. Hawke, I applaud you for your efforts to work with "the system". I am truly optomistic that some of these posts are just trolling and that the greater number of us are sensible people.


 

PharoaH, I have read some of your other posts and am quite surprised that you can so easily dismiss the opinions of others as "trolls". If that was your intent...

 

Being dismissive in such a manner is not conducive to generating healthy debate since one simply applies the 'troll' label to any post he disagrees with. And then to imply that anyone who does not fall on your side is not 'sensible'? Was this your intent or am I badly misreading your post?

 

[This message has been edited by jxs2151 (edited 03 August 2001).]

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If the NPS won't let us do our thing at the parks then they won't be getting into my wallet to drive through a gate to see a hole in the ground (grand canyon etc)....and and and how can they call it treasure hunting? I don't think dime store trinkets qualify as treasure......cache in pack out...does litter removal constitute treasure hunting?

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Guest EraSeek

What do you think about this idea. They might go for this kind of compromise.

 

I remember when around here in the Cascades almost every peak did have a register. It is less and less so now but My feeling is that the NPS should allow "logbook only" caches as part of an understanding with us. A logbook in a small tupperware container. And perhaps an understanding that two of these physical caches cannot be located within the same area (say a peak or valley). All others in the area must be virtual.

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Guest Chris Juricich

Hmm. So am I to understand then, that one needs permission to place a cache in a national park? But policy-wise, nobody on the park level knows what the policy is from above so chances are they'd say 'No' on general bureacratic principles, right?

 

So that's interesting. I guess, then, that we're not going to be putting any caches in national park lands, are we?

 

I'm reminded of the time I planned to build a tree house in my backyard for my son. I called up the city's building permit and zoning section to ask questions on how I should proceed. They mentioned setbacks from the property line, permits required, people I needed to see, etc. The cost in permits and zoning variances to build a tree house on my own property was estimated at about $600. I thanked them politely, hung up the phone, and built the treehouse.

 

But I get it. No caches in national park lands. Thanks, everybody.

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Guest y2kmagazine

Chris - you said it so elequently (I likely can't even spell it). dadgum the bureaucrats. They need to give you a hard time to substantiate their existence and have something to do - you have to debate them on your free time while they get paid to abuse you. BUt in the end they win - they have (our) unlimited resources to drag you into court for littering, zoning violations, etc. again, they are getting paid to be there and you likely have to pay (a lawyer) to be there. a real crime. And in the end - why can't we be allowed to enjoy national parks this way? They'll tell you they will look into it, hold hearings, etc... again, all while they are getting paid (and they will argue - if they weren't there, who would be there to hodl these hearing and look out for your interests!) and you attend on your free time.

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Guest Eoghan

quote:
Originally posted by CaptHawke:

I am going to maintain my dialogue with the NPS. Their policy manual says:

 

'The Service will monitor new or changing patterns of use or trends in recreational activities, and assess their potential impacts on park resources. A new form of recreational activity will not be allowed within a park until after an environmental analysis has determined that it will not result in unacceptable impacts on park resources.'

 

Cephas Hawke

Bedford NH

 

Live Free or Die.

B]


 

This seems to hit on the fundamental divide between the Land managers and most geocachers. Land managers believe that "all that is not permitted is prohibited" while geocachers and most other recreationists believe "all that is not prohibited is permitted." The latter is the more quintessentially American perspective on a government's powers but is rapidly loosing ground to the former. These mutually exclusive principles seem to be the basic stumbling block in all our dealings with the NPS. I'm not sure how to get around this difference or if it is even possible short of compromise. "There is no argument with the barrel of a gun" may be their ultimate response if pushed. I personally think it appropriate to stand firm by the principle of free use but not so trenchantly that it becomes a barrier to discussions that look for a work-around that puts it in the permissible category for both groups. I also think that the burden of proof should rest with the NPS to show that geocaching is harmful before it is prohibited, but that is not the way that the laws are written. We can complain about the situation, but short of fundamental reform in the legal/political approach for managing public lands, I think we're stuck on their playing field. Perhaps we'd all make better progress at getting geocaching accepted if we followed Cephas' approach.

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Guest BigDoggie

The reaction of the bureaucrats is not surprising, once you understand the basic nature of the govt worker. That basic nature, from the guy who hauls trash at your local city park to your state's US Senator, is this: That person will NEVER have a better job than being on the public payroll, and knows it, and will protect that job at all costs.

 

No bureaucrat has ever been fired, nor will ever be fired, for saying NO. Yet, if he should say YES, there is a non-zero probability that "SOMETHING COULD HAPPEN" and injury/damage could result... and he might get fired because of it.

 

Sure, SOMETHING COULD HAPPEN. But, isn't this true of EVERY activity that the govt authorizes in the parks? Hiking is allowed... but someone could booby-trap the trails. Camping is allowed, but someone could plant explosives in a firepit. Wading is allowed, but someone could dump broken glass in the wading area. Cabin rentals are allowed, but people could bring/use drugs/liquor/alcohol/weapons. Toilets are allowed, but people could put superglue on the toilet seats.

 

This last one pushes it a bit... but isn't the basic premise true? With a bit of thought, vandals or other criminals could sabotage ANY allowed park activity.

 

When this happens, you don't close the parks, you catch and prosecute the criminals.

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Guest drydune

Cephas keep up the good work. Let us know what we can do. I could not sleep tonight or actually now this morning and these forums sure do not help!

 

I can't help but to feel negative about these situations with the government.

 

I have an idea but someone may have already thought about it. Could we partner somehow as a collective with the NPS and help them in some way? Example: By using our website the NPS could post coordinates of a cleanup or project they need volunteers for and we show up in numbers to help.

Example: They need help looking for someone lost and need people to search. I am sure there are some involved with geocaching that are qualified for search and rescue.

Example: We could report things to the park rangers that we notice while out geocaching like, eroded trails, missing signs, substantial litter and give the exact location! Hell I will even go out and put the sign up if they want. ( I have gotten lost before because of a missing sign if you cant tell)

 

It does amaze me that our NPS does not recognize the potential here. Geocaching for me is only a fun fun addition to the hiking I am already addicted to. I love the environment and respect it. From the forums I have seen, I would be hard pressed to find a person on this website that is anti-environment protection. Many of you have probably already been active outdoors people before you tried this hobby. So what we have here is a large group of people that love the environment and were probably out using those parks before geocaching. The NPS has their own "gold cache" right here with us and we just need to make them see that.

 

I know Jeremy posts pictures of trash clean-ups but we could take it a step further by having the Rangers call us when they need help.

 

I am sure may people participating in this hobby have a wide area of skills that could be put to use on a volunteer basis in a national park. Amateur Radio has always lent its services at a time of public need or crisis for no charge. That is what brings a hobby into a positive light. We should do the same for the NPS. I work for a corporation that spends a lot of money on charity but sometimes what makes an even bigger impact than money are volunteers. Surely the NPS has something we can help them with.

 

Sorry if this does not make sense, I have only had 2 hours sleep and if I don?t put these ideas on here now it may not get done icon_smile.gif.

 

Drydune

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Guest drydune

Cephas keep up the good work. Let us know what we can do. I could not sleep tonight or actually now this morning and these forums sure do not help!

 

I can't help but to feel negative about these situations with the government.

 

I have an idea but someone may have already thought about it. Could we partner somehow as a collective with the NPS and help them in some way? Example: By using our website the NPS could post coordinates of a cleanup or project they need volunteers for and we show up in numbers to help.

Example: They need help looking for someone lost and need people to search. I am sure there are some involved with geocaching that are qualified for search and rescue.

Example: We could report things to the park rangers that we notice while out geocaching like, eroded trails, missing signs, substantial litter and give the exact location! Hell I will even go out and put the sign up if they want. ( I have gotten lost before because of a missing sign if you cant tell)

 

It does amaze me that our NPS does not recognize the potential here. Geocaching for me is only a fun fun addition to the hiking I am already addicted to. I love the environment and respect it. From the forums I have seen, I would be hard pressed to find a person on this website that is anti-environment protection. Many of you have probably already been active outdoors people before you tried this hobby. So what we have here is a large group of people that love the environment and were probably out using those parks before geocaching. The NPS has their own "gold cache" right here with us and we just need to make them see that.

 

I know Jeremy posts pictures of trash clean-ups but we could take it a step further by having the Rangers call us when they need help.

 

I am sure may people participating in this hobby have a wide area of skills that could be put to use on a volunteer basis in a national park. Amateur Radio has always lent its services at a time of public need or crisis for no charge. That is what brings a hobby into a positive light. We should do the same for the NPS. I work for a corporation that spends a lot of money on charity but sometimes what makes an even bigger impact than money are volunteers. Surely the NPS has something we can help them with.

 

Sorry if this does not make sense, I have only had 2 hours sleep and if I don?t put these ideas on here now it may not get done icon_smile.gif.

 

Drydune

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Guest chipveres

Never mind protecting the park land. Protect your own butt. Ms. Keener says that Rangers have an "obligation" to "accost" people who don't play by the rules, although she doesn't know what the rules are. So hide your caches in local parks, where Rangers feel an obligation to *talk* to people instead of to accost them.

 

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

Chip the Big Folk

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Guest Alphawolf

Hang on just a minute......It's always been illegal to leave anything in a National Park! Just as it's always been illegal to remove anything! Just because we call it a "geocache" doesn't make it o.k to leave something in the backcountry of Yellowstone or anywhere else for that matter! Walk into any NPS land and drop a sack full of trash and walk away from it and see what's going to happen if you get caught! What's the real difference? (yes I am a geocacher, and yes, I'd love to be able to use our National Parks! But I never even entertained the idea it would be o.k....Duh!)

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Guest Glynnfam

You folks have got me out of "lurk" mode tonight....

 

I might have missed it, but has anyone pointed out (again and again, and with pictures and examples) to the NPS how actually LOW IMPACT this is?

 

Maybe someone like Moun10Bike (who is good w/ numbers & statistics) can paint a useful picture of, say, how many times a month/quarter/year on average a cache is "seeked." I bet it's just a few.

 

And even IF the sport grows exponentially, those numbers shouldn't change a LOT, as there will be more caches to find, keeping us seekers spread out.

 

Also, is there an organized effort by geocachers to educate the bureaucrats? I would be happy to participate/help in any way I can.

 

LOVE the sport. Would jump at the chance to help shape its future.

 

[This message has been edited by Glynnfam (edited 26 August 2001).]

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Guest LoCache

For my two cents worth, I would just like to say that here in Georgia, we have faced similar woes with the State Parks. We chose to handle it by forming a group called GGA (Georgia Geocachers Association) to present a united effort to change this negative view of the activity. In so doing, we have so far (still in it's infancy) been VERY successful! The state parks officials came to our meeting and were VERY interested in trying to work something out with us. Our next meeting is with some county officials that are EAGER to allow Geocaching. Things are going very well and we seem to be on a run of good communication with them and other land management groups to allow Geocaching. We are just beginning, but it's going GREAT!

 

I would say for all of you interested in Geocaching on NPS (or any other land), these two things:

 

1) Be positive! We all feel...I guess...let down, by these kinds of things. Maybe even enraged, but we have discovered that through being positive and working with them you CAN change their minds. It's easier to gripe about it, but it's better to do something about it!

 

2) Start locally! The NPS is a GIANT organization. My personal recommendation would be to form an organization in your state or town or whatever, and start promoting Geocaching in a positive way...once there are a number of organizations like the GGA, maybe we can unite and tackle the NPS issue as a NATIONAL organization with example after example of the good things we have worked out with county, city, state land management! By then Geocaching will be an activity to be reckoned with. Start with the "easy" smaller steps and them build momentum. For any of you interested, we will be happy to advise you on how we started our organization, and share any resources that might assist you in doing the same. Just think if we could come to them six months or a year from now with a roster of groups from all over the country...GGA, AGA, NCGA, CGA, and so on...

 

Thanks for your time, and I will be adding our GGA URL to the geocaching web ring, and here soon.

 

Good caching!

Geo

My Geocaching Site

Georgia Geocachers Association

 

 

[This message has been edited by LoCache (edited 30 August 2001).]

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Guest bhench

I want to go back to a point made earlier by Glynnfam: what is the actual environmental impact of Geocaching? How many people do we attract to our caches in a year? Is it reasonable to assume that a certain number of people would randomly "blunder" into areas where caches have been placed without knowing anything about Geocaching? Is there likely to be any environmental impact from the placement of a plastic or metal container under a rock or in a hollow log?

A while back I posted a message about the Lancaster County Land Conservancy using Geocaching as a means of attracting people to their properties. I recently read an article in the Lancaster, PA, newspaper which gave some more insight into their decision to embrace this game. Originally they were not too happy to find that someone had placed a cache on one of their parcels of land without their permission. With their newly acquired GPS, Jeff Devine (a Conservancy Land Steward) set out to find the cache. What he found was a log book filled with comments from people like myself remarking about the beauty of the area and how, if it hadn't been for Geocaching, we never would had know of its existence. These entries and the email that he received helped to convince the Conservancy to place their own caches on their lands. I've email Jeff a number of times to applaud their efforts and just recently I posed the same sort of questions that I started this posting with. Does it make sense to attempt to ban a game due to a negative environmental impact that, in fact, has never been established? When I hear from Jeff, I'll be glad to pass on his responses.

 

Bob Hench

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Man talk about something blown out of proportion.This has got to be one of the most harmless thing man has ever done(geocaching).I have never understanded how the gov. thinks. I live on a lake that is owned by the army corp.of engineers,the parks are ran by the NPS,the parks have posts at the gate for people to pay to get in,but there is never no one at the post to take the money and these parks stay packed. I'am not kiddind PACKED!! They can't pay someone $8 bucks an hour to take money to enter the park,but they can spend time and money trying to find a harmless geocach.Just think about that for a minute.Someone said in a post "this kind of stuff goes on in the in the private sector also" One big difference they make money not waste money.I will give you a good example, the rangers that patrol the parks and the work crews all drive V-8 pickups,they don't have any towing hitchs on them so why a V-8? Maybe its to help pass the artic drilling act.Just rember someone once said "A gov. for the people by the people".And by the way if the NPS reads this I would gladly pay 10 bucks for a permit to hide a cache on OUR land.

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