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US Fish and Wildlife rules against Geocaching


Sandrich
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quote:
Somehow they got a varience to put that thru there.

 

Thats what I'm going to explore. even the DNR guy wasn't aware that the Trail ran through there. Methinks it's time start asking contacts at NCT. Also, Shecacher; Wow! It seems like you do have an excellant working knowledge of these Federal Regulations? Thanx for your well-researched input!

 

migo_sig_logo.jpg

 

[This message was edited by Sandrich on April 21, 2003 at 01:15 PM.]

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quote:
Originally posted by Rusty:

I can say positively that this section receives P-R funds and the trail runs thru the center of it for about 3 miles. In answer to your other questions I don't know and I'm not sure how to find the answer. I think the National Park Service is the managing authority for the National Scenic Trails but I'm not sure. Does anyone else know?

 

Shecacher, I'm curious about your background? You seem to have a lot of expertise in this area and your comments are right on with everything we have been told. Do you work with this or are you just an excellent surfer?

 

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

_Friends don't let friends cache locationless!_

 

http://www.hipcd.com/gps.htm

http://www.mi-geocaching.org


 

Rusty,

You are correct in that The North Country NST is administered by the National Park Service in cooperation with other Federal, State, and local agencies, private organizations, and landowners who host, develop, or maintain portions of the trail.

What you have there is NPS maintained land inside of a state G&F area. The NST areas are not funded by the P-R Act, but by resources of the NSP, which include user fees, Federal budget mandates, and such. The P-R Act does not support the NPS. The NSP is at the mercy of the politians for funding, so they cater to them in a big way.

I doubt if there was a diversion of state funds here. A diversion could/would cause the state to lose future funds. I don't think that is your goal, so to bring one to light may be something adverse to your goal.

 

In answer to your question about my background.

I do have some experience in reading and using Federal Regs, and I am a surfer of sorts. The quality of my surfing would be a subjective determination and I will leave that for others.

Thanks for your kind comments.

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Very interesting thread. As a member of the North Country Trail Association, I did a cursory review of my two latest newsletters. There is usually some info regarding funding, and Tom Gilbert of the National Park Service writes a regular column. Rusty is correct - the North Country National Scenic Trail(NCNST)is under the auspices of the National Park Service, as are all national scenic trails. Basically, the NPS administers the trails. Most of the actual building and maintenance of the trails is done by local and private organizations. However, the NPS does provide some funding to the NCTA. I would guess that even though the trail traverses the section of land mentioned, that the TRAIL ITSELF receives no P-R funding, and exists as a narrow section where hiking is permitted.

 

Catcher24

"You see, you spend a good deal of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time." Jim Bouton

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My other hobby is metal detecting. The county I used to live in declared metal detecting off limits in all parks & schools. The local metal detecting club got together collected the findings from schools and parks and presented them to the county board. The board came back and changed their mind. The stuff that was being found is schools and parks were dangerous, drug needles, nails, thumb tacks, razor blades, oh yea actually found spikes purposely poised at the bottom of the slide. The county's compromise was issueing a permit. You need to read and agree with 10 guidelines that we already do and of course pay money. If you are a member of the club you automatically get the permit.

 

Yes lessons learned from other clubs should be applied. Start with the cache in / trash out and go from there. Maybe the permit states that you cannot sue the city for certain things.

 

Me

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quote:
Originally posted by Gunner226:

so how long before we have to start buying a caching license

 

"The price of freedom isnt Free"


 

 

If it alows us to use these game and wildlife areas again, then the sooner the better.

 

migo_sig_logo.jpg

______________________________________________________________________________________

So far so good, somewhat new owner of a second/new Garmin GPS V 20 plus finds so far with little to no problem. We'll see what happens when there are leaves on the trees again.

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I don't think a permit is going to be an option. If you read about the Pittman-Robertson Act in Shecacher's links you will see that these are not funded for multi-use. Anything that is not in line with wildlife restoration is not allowed. They have made virtually no exceptions in over 60yrs so don't hold your breath.

 

The fact that we are not being singled out makes me feel better about it but it still sucks.

 

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

Friends don't let friends cache locationless!

 

Rusty & Libby's Geocache Page

Michigan Geocaching Organization

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quote:
Originally posted by Sandrich:

quote:
Originally posted by Salvelinus:

e-mail me for more info, and good luck!

 

Salvelinus


 

Just looked at your profile, no email addy? Pls email to addy listed on our profile, thx!

 

http://www.mi-geocaching.org/


 

Sorry for the delay but I have been away lately.

 

Oh yes! Its the new forums at work. It is in my main profile, but here it is.

 

bweber347@adelphia.net

 

Salvelinus

 

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"The trail will be long and full of frustrations. Life is a whole and good and evil must be accepted together"

 

Ralph Abele

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I just recieved an email from Scott Zody and I am pasting it here along with the stated policy for ODNR lands.

 

Mr. (name deleted) -

 

Attached please find a copy of the ODNR geocaching policy. This policy was

adopted during 2002, and has not changed, nor will it change in the near

future. I actually wrote the policy based upon input from our land

managment divisions - Parks, Forestry, Wildlife, and Natural Areas. Thus

far, we have had a very positive relationship with the geocaching community.

In fact, the Central Ohio "chapter" is helping Alum Creek State Park this

Saturday with a clean-up day. I would be very interested in knowing if

someone is telling you that we are moving towards disallowing geocaching on

ODNR lands - while we do not permit traditional caching on Wildlife or

Natural Areas, Parks and Forests have been and will be open to the activity.

 

Feel free to e-mail me or call me at (614) 265-6845

 

Thanks

 

Scott Zody

Deputy Director,

Recreation & Resource Management

(Deputy Dog)

 

Geo-Caching Tips for ODNR Properties

 

If you are considering establishing a cache on property owned or managed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, (State Parks, State Forests, State Nature Preserves, State Wildlife Areas) please adhere to the following guidelines to avoid legal complications and/or prosecution:

 

1. Always consult the local facility manager for permission before establishing a cache. Many are eager to help determine safe, scenic, and fun locations.

 

2. Traditional caches are NOT permitted on State Nature Preserves or Wildlife Areas – virtual caches only. Illegally placed caches will be removed.

 

3. If you do not know how to contact a local facility manager, please contact the following staff:

 

State Parks – Phil Hoffman – (614) 265-6561

State Forests – Don Karas – (614) 265-6694

State Nature Preserves – Ron Demmy – (614) 265-6453

State Wildlife Areas – Jennifer Windus – (614) 265-6330

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Originally posted by rayt333:

I just recieved an email from Scott Zody and I am pasting it here along with the stated policy for ODNR lands.

 

Mr. (name deleted) -

 

Attached please find a copy of the ODNR geocaching policy. This policy was

adopted during 2002, and has not changed, nor will it change in the near future.....

 

- while we do not permit traditional caching on Wildlife or

Natural Areas, Parks and Forests have been and will be open to the activity.

 

Feel free to e-mail me or call me at (614) 265-6845

 

Thanks

 

Scott Zody

Deputy Director,

Recreation & Resource Management

(Deputy Dog)

 

2. Traditional caches are NOT permitted on State Nature Preserves or Wildlife Areas – virtual caches only. Illegally placed caches will be removed.

 

END OF QUOTE.......

 

 

This is our point exactly.....read the letter, in Michigan, our State land is still open for Geo-Caching too, it's the "Game Areas"/"Wildlife" areas. It has just closed about 40,000 areas in out state.....

 

I can only hope your states are prepared and have other lands available besides wildlife areas.

 

Earth First!!! We'll cache the other planets later!!

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Here is a copy of the Ohio letter that was sent to our DNR last week:

 

=============================================

FWS/AFA

 

Mr. Michael J. Budzik, Chief

Division of Wildlife

Ohio Department of Natural Resources

1840 Belcher Drive

Columbus, Ohio 43224

 

Dear Mr. Budzik,

 

This responds to your inquiry of March 6, 2002, in which you asked whether geocaching activities could be allowed on Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) lands funded in part with Pittman-Robertson (P-R) Wildlife Restoration grants.

 

Our conclusion is that geocaching is incompatable with the purposes for which Ohio DOW purchased, or is managing, lands under the P-R grants(50 CFR 80.14)

 

This conclusion is based on:

 

1. The likely situations where geocaching activities will conflict with hunting and other wildlife related recreation.

 

2. The likely situations where geocaching activities will interfere with wildlife nesting and breeding, and,

 

3. The certainty that DOW property managers time will be diverted from wildlife resource management to managing the geocaching activities on their wildlife properties(50 CFR 80.4)

 

If the DOW were to allow geocaching on its P-R funded wildlife management areas, it may create a situation that would jeopardize Ohio's eligibility for P-R grants(50 CFR 80.4). Please let us know if you need a more detailed response.

 

Sincerely,

 

Bradley V. Johnson

Chief, Division of Federal Aid

==============================================

 

Any typos are probably mine because I transcribed it from a scan. Do you know who Mr. Budzig is? That may be the person to ask (or avoid) in Ohio.

 

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

Friends don't let friends cache locationless!

 

Rusty & Libby's Geocache Page

Michigan Geocaching Organization

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Here is the letter we received:

 

=============================================

 

Thank you for your recent letter of April 8, 2003, concerning our telephone conversation in March regarding "geocaching" activities being allowed on state lands.

 

Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has just received notice from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that geocaching on Division of Wildlife land has been reviewed in Ohio and found to be a use that is incompatable with the purpose for which these lands were purchased and managed. In Michigan, about 400,000 acres of state game areas and wildlife areas are funded in part with Pittman-Robertson (P-R) Wildlife Restoration grants. Geocaching would like conflict with hunting and other wildlife-related recreation, wildlife nesting, and will divert wildlife personnel from wildlife management on these lands. Geocaching on state lands administered by Wildlife Division would jeopardize Michigan's eligibiliy for P-R grants. The Wildlife Division has determined that this activity is an incompatitble use on P-R administered lands (wildlife areas).

 

Therefore, any use permits issued for geocaching activities on DNR Wildlife administered lands as of this date are hereby rescinded immediately. I would ask that those caches already placed on these lands be archived immediately. Additionally, we ask that a statement be placed on your web site that reflects this recent decision.

 

Sincerely,

 

Scott Whitcomb, Assistant Field Coordinator

Wildlife Division

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

===========================================

 

Mr. Whitcomb delivered this to us in person at our CITO event. He was very nice about it and saw our point of view but his hands were tied by the federal regulations.

 

Rusty...

 

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

Friends don't let friends cache locationless!

 

Rusty & Libby's Geocache Page

Michigan Geocaching Organization

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quote:
Originally posted by rayt333:

I just recieved an email from Scott Zody and I am pasting it here along with the stated policy for ODNR lands.

 

Mr. (name deleted) -

 

Attached please find a copy ............

 

Geo-Caching Tips for ODNR Properties

 

If you are considering establishing a cache on property owned or managed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, (State Parks, State Forests, State Nature Preserves, State Wildlife Areas) please adhere to the following guidelines to avoid legal complications and/or prosecution:

 

1. Always consult the local facility manager for permission before establishing a cache. Many are eager to help determine safe, scenic, and fun locations.

 

2. Traditional caches are NOT permitted on State Nature Preserves or Wildlife Areas – virtual caches only. Illegally placed caches will be removed.

 

3. If you do not know how to contact a local facility manager, please contact the following staff:

 


 

It seems that MI adopted the OH language, except for one thing. They did not mention virtual caches.

I point your attention to #2 in the tips above.

Traditional caches are NOT permitted on State Nature Preserves or Wildlife Areas – virtual caches only.

 

Perhaps some of you can (if MI will accept the same thing) figure a way to use a virtual cache or some form of it to use the 400k acres that is P-R funded. Did I read that there is a temp hold on virtuals? Not sure as I type this.

How do the cachers in OH use that #2 language? Have they found a way to geocache there on P-R land with this language?

Has anyone talked to the managers about Mirco caches? Perhaps a container approved in advance, like a film canister. Not a heck of alot of difference in a 35mm film canister and a virtual.

 

We are after all allowed on this P-R land, just like a hunter scouting in pre-season is. And if these are reasonable people, and we show them we (or at least some) are also licensed hunters, perhaps they may let us get afoot in the door.

 

Just some ideas to kick around, because the deck was stacked before we got into the room.

Good Luck!

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Since CFR 50 80.4 has been cited here several times, I thought it might be best if I posted a link to it. With a small portion of it pasted here.

CFR 50 80.4

 

Sec. 80.4 Diversion of license fees.

 

Revenues from license fees paid by hunters and fishermen shall not be diverted to purposes other than administration of the State fish and wildlife agency.

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There is no hold on virtuals, I think it's only locationless.

 

Ray, thanks for sharing that email. Someone pointed it out before me but it bears repeating. This is only for game and wildlife areas, your letter seems to be consistent with our experience.

 

We are making contacts into the "Recreation & Resource Management" equivilant in Michigan as we speak, via our contacts in the Division of Wildlife. It's an odd organization (to an outsider at least) but the two seem to be completely independant of each other, both setting their own policies for the land which they manage.

 

Which is a good word to the wise... inside the DNR... just because you have the blessing from one division, that does not mean it's blessed by another or that the same guidelines apply.

 

Since the Recreation folks have a broad multi-use charter and since we have a solid relationship with someone at the DNR already we are hoping that will be an easy relationship to build up.

 

Seeing that email from you is good news. Perhaps we can reference the Ohio relationship if we need a 'reference'?

 

--------

trippy1976 - Team KKF2A

Saving geocaches - one golf ball at a time.

Flat_MiGeo_A88.gif

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What about enforcement? Obviously we as a geocaching community want to abide by laws and rulings of governing agencies and work through them to enact positive change. But, who in this situation is the guy who will go out and remove these "illegal" caches from these managed land areas? Sometimes its a good idea to work with the little guy on the totem pole as well as the boys at the top. What is said and what gets done are very different.

 

Grrrrrrrrr...

jackbear

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MiGO has agreed to lead the initiative to get the caches cleared out.

 

The guy from the DNR was extremely cool. He was laid back, completely non-confrontational and to be honest - apologetic. It was one of those "I don't like it any more than you men." messages.

 

HOWEVER, despite his non-confrontational, non manic, attitude towards this he was adamant that we DO need to comply.

 

Not sure as far as fines, etc. what the consequences would be of leaving them in there, but to avoid all that nastiness MiGO is helping to get the word out and will be working to make sure they are archived. DNR is content with that and for their part are not bothering, while they don't need to, to track, collect and take punitive action. They are giving us the chance to comply and we appreciate and are supporting that.

 

--------

trippy1976 - Team KKF2A

Saving geocaches - one golf ball at a time.

Flat_MiGeo_A88.gif

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After reading the post on the Migo site last night I figured I should look into this being I want to place caches in the Pigeon River state forest for an upcoming event. I went to my local DNR office today and explain geocaching and the fact that it could be banned due to F&W ect. THe officer told me geocaching sounds like fun, the at F&W only fund them in a small way and they can't tell them what to do with their land. He told me it wouldn't be a problem to put caches out, the only thing I might want to do is get a permit, but he said not to worry about putting them out. I am taking him information on what geocaching is and hope he'll come join us at the Gaylord Morel Social icon_smile.gif So at this point I'm continuing as planned and not worrying about it till further information, rulings are available in print. Just my 2 cents

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Again...

 

What is affected:

 

*State -->Game Areas<--

*State -->Wildlife Areas<--

 

What is NOT affected:

 

*Everything else including State Forests, State Rec Areas, and State Parks.

 

These are left up to the sole discretion of the local rangers. The DNR encourages us to obtain free use permits when placing them in these places and we are working to establish a formal state-level relationship with the Recreation people so that if a local Ranger says no, we will have a higher level relationship to work with.

 

--------

trippy1976 - Team KKF2A

Saving geocaches - one golf ball at a time.

Flat_MiGeo_A88.gif

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This is certainly sad news, just have completed 3 caches in the Cannonsburg Wildlife area. I just happened on this thread by viewing "Cubic Madness #1" by Rusty and Libby. I was lucky enough to complete this cache Saturday before it was archived. My question is this: are they going to disallowing Mountain Biking in this area as well? I saw at least 50 bikers during my hunt.

 

I fully support the MiGo decision to comply with the ruling by archieving and removing caches, but are they going to enforce it? I think if Mountain Biking is truly off limits to this area, there is going to be a huge uproar from their community, and maybe the cacheing community should jump on their bandwagon.

 

Please let me know how I can help, since the area where I cached this weekend was awesome, and it saddens me that we can no longer cache there.

 

Trevor Dunson

 

Make a sanity check.migo_sig_logo.jpg

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I am getting more and more confused with this issue the more I read about it. As I remember the Sierra Club had a lawsuit against the Forest Service for unlawful distribution of P-R funds. If the Forest Service is allowed to have access to P-R funds it would seem that some of our State Forests would be off limits too.

 

Why does the USFWS consider that geocaching is in violation of their land granted by the P-R funds. They aren't an enforcing or a regulating agency so why do they feel they need to waste time regulating our geocaching community and our caches. By the looks of the state game area that we just cleaned up just over a week ago they certainly aren't spending too much time regulating much of anything. Certainly not trash being dumped illegaly.

Also the formula for the P-R funds is completely lopsided. For example I'm a hunter and I pay for a liscence just like everyone else in MI. I don't hunt on public lands but I still contribute to P-R funds? This doesn't make sense. So basically we have a case where I am paying money for someone to tell me I can't use public property that I am wrongfully being taxed for.

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If the USFWS is funding these state lands then what is the DNR using the money for. I think that all of us have the right to know and I think this is a valid question.

 

Is this equation right? Morally?

 

More USFWS Land = More land for hunters = More hunters = More Funding for P-R funds = More and more land controlled by USFWS = Gigantic P-R funds = Less state land not under grants of the P-R funds = Less and less places to geocache.

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This is the IDNR Geocache policy that is "in the process of being approved and implemented" with illinois dnr im not sure if this if from the us fish and wildlife but this is a change for this year

 

Policy for Placement of Geocache on IDNR Managed Properties

 

POLICY: It is the policy of the Department to manage properties under its jurisdiction in a manner consistent with its role as a statewide natural resource/outdoor recreation agency, and to protect the resources at the site and provide safety and security of the site visitor. Responses to requests for placement must weigh the relative impact of this use of Department managed properties against the potential program impacts which may be anticipated. All requests for placement shall be regulated by the procedures found in the Procedures Section of this policy. The Department highly encourages the use of “virtual” caches rather than actual caches which require the placement of a physical container at a site.

 

PROCEDURE:

 

I. General Provisions

 

All requests for Geocache placement on Department managed properties will be in writing and must be submitted to the Site Superintendent for approval and authorization.

 

II. Required Information

 

At a minimum the following information is required to be submitted with each request before the approval process will begin.

 

A. Proposed Geocache location shown on USGS 7.5 minute Topographic Map.

 

B. Name and contact information of person(s) or organization requesting authorization for placement of Geocache.

 

C. List of items to be initially placed in Geocache.

 

D. Representative example, actual container, or picture of container to be used for Geocache.

 

III. Criteria for Review of Proposals

 

The following list if criteria will be looked at when determining the relative impact of this use of Department managed properties. Additional site specific factors may need to be taken into consideration.

 

A. Impact to Threatened and/or Endangered Species.

 

B. Is proposed location of Geocache consistent with the current designated land use?

1. Designated Hunting Area

2. Sensitive Wetland, vegetation or wildlife habitat area where disturbance from activity or trampling could occur.

3. Nature Preserve

4. Cultural or Historic Site

5. Wildlife Rest Area

 

C. Would area present physical challenges or hazards and introduce site users to unnecessary risks?

 

IV. Requirements for Geocache

 

Once approved for placement the Geocache must meet the following requirements. Violation of any of these requirements will necessitate immediate removal of Geocache by Department personnel.

 

A. Container must be made of clear (see through) material, with a size no greater than 4"x8"x12".

 

B. Geocache must not contain any food items.

 

C. Geocache must not contain any inappropriate, offensive, or hazardous materials.

 

D. Geocache will not be attached or buried and no vegetation or natural features will be disturbed in any manner.

 

V. Requirement for Geocache Owners

 

Once approved for placement the Geocache owners must meet the following requirements. Violation of any of these requirements will necessitate immediate removal of Geocache by Department personnel.

 

A. Geocache must be checked at least every 30 days. Proof of check will be by e-mail, letter, or personal communication by the Geocache owner with the Site Superintendent.

 

B. Notice on Geocache web site must state the following information:

 

1. Geocache is placed on Department managed property with permission.

2. Do not place the following items in the Geocache: Food items,inappropriate,offensive, or hazardous materials.

3. It is the visitors responsibility or orient themselves with policies and rules pertaining to this Department managed site.

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I am going back through the thread in more detail. But as of today,in Missouri,I called our D.N.R. here and there was no mention of this.They approved the Missouri Earth Day Clean up and allowed it to be posted indefinately.This also does not agree with what I think the President is putting forward right now at http://www.usafreedomcorp.gov and http://www.Earthday.gov see his statement there.

 

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS***GEO-TRY-AGAIN*** THE *******RE-DISCOVERY******* http://www.lapurchase.org ***1803--2003*** "LOUSIANA PURCHASE" 200TH ANNIVERSARY AND THE "LEWIS AND CLARK EXPADITION" http://www.msnusers.com/MissouriTrails

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sommd, wow! It sounds like the IDNR does not want any nonvirtual caches there! That's quite a list of hoops to jump through, before and after approval. Hopefully you (or someone in your state) can interface with the IDNR decision makers and perhaps get Geocaching on a more user-friendly basis? Yeah, I know, easier said than done! (Really, I do know!) thanx fo rthe update.

 

migo_sig_logo.jpg

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quote:
Originally posted by Sandrich:

sommd, wow! It sounds like the IDNR does not want any nonvirtual caches there! That's quite a list of hoops to jump through, before and after approval...


 

I thought it was extreme also, at first. Then I reread the post. On second look, it seems very reasonable.

 

1. They want you to identify yourself and ask to place a container.

2. They want to know where it will be hidden and the manner of the hide.

3. They want only containers which are transparent and not too large.

4. They want to know what you are going to hide initially.

5. They want you to manage your cache. This requirement being very important as 'transparent' typically means 'leaky'.

 

They will review your request and determine potential site impact based on specific and reasonable factors.

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How come this link says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife are partnering to help out in these Public Land Matters?? http://www.takepride.gov/partners.htm

What do the folks at Geocaching think about becoming a partner in this?/?

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS***GEO-TRY-AGAIN*** THE *******RE-DISCOVERY******* http://www.lapurchase.org ***1803--2003*** "LOUSIANA PURCHASE" 200TH ANNIVERSARY AND THE "LEWIS AND CLARK EXPADITION" http://www.msnusers.com/MissouriTrails

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quote:
Originally posted by GhostWolf:

I am getting more and more confused with this issue the more I read about it. As I remember the Sierra Club had a lawsuit against the Forest Service for unlawful distribution of P-R funds. If the Forest Service is allowed to have access to P-R funds it would seem that some of our State Forests would be off limits too.

 

Why does the USFWS consider that geocaching is in violation of their land granted by the P-R funds. They aren't an enforcing or a regulating agency so why do they feel they need to waste time regulating our geocaching community and our caches. By the looks of the state game area that we just cleaned up just over a week ago they certainly aren't spending too much time regulating much of anything. Certainly not trash being dumped illegaly.

Also the formula for the P-R funds is completely lopsided. For example I'm a hunter and I pay for a liscence just like everyone else in MI. I don't hunt on public lands but I still contribute to P-R funds? This doesn't make sense. So basically we have a case where I am paying money for someone to tell me I can't use public property that I am wrongfully being taxed for.


 

This may be getting way off the subject, but...

 

Ghostwolf, I don't recall any Seirra Club lawsuit (doesn't mean there wasn't one), but there was something about misappropriation of P-R funds by the USFWS or NFS (can't remember which) under the Clinton administration. Pressure was brought to bear by the NRA and other groups (I seriously doubt if Seirra Club was one of them - correct me if I'm wrong) to correct this situation.

Whether this has any bearing on the subject at hand is doubtful, IMO.

 

"Also the formula for the P-R funds is completely lopsided. For example I'm a hunter and I pay for a liscence just like everyone else in MI. I don't hunt on public lands but I still contribute to P-R funds? This doesn't make sense...."

 

It does not matter hwere you hunt, and you should not care. The money goes to the benifit of ALL game animals in your state (and some that have the gall to cross state borders). Wild game generally has the run of all land in the state, from public to private, to public again - so your contributions are not unfair. Even if you hunt only on private land (unless you only hunt overseas) - at some time, your hunting has been positively influencecd by P-R funded game management - directly or indirectly.

 

And, lest we forget, the P-R program was REQUESTED by sportsmen.

 

Also - don't confuse license fees with P-R funds. The P-R funds come from an excise tax we all pay on firearms and fishing tackle. What your state does with license fees is a state issue. But most states apply this to accounting and enforcement, if I am not mistaken. Even if you hunt on your own land - the F&G dept. (or whatever you call it in your state) is still responsible for enforceement of game laws. And that is to your benifit.

 

So sit back, pour yourself a drink, and relax. Your not a victim here.

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The Sierra club sued the Forestry Service here in Michigan, I think in 96 for the alleged "Wrongfull distribution of P-R funds" I think that the basis of their argument was the fact that the Forest Service would use P-R funds to go in and clearcut an area of forest in an attempt to regenerate aspen. The newly regenerated aspen was thought to enhance habitat for deer. Sierra club said that under NEPA contract rules all that land should have been tested/studied to make sure that it was actually enhancing wildlife but the Forest Service was not testing it. It was ruled that the P-R funds were inherently good for wildlife and therefore did not need to be studied to make sure it was enhanicing wildlife. Forest Service won and Sierra club lost. Because of that lawsuit P-R funded lands are not subject to NEPA contract rules even though they are federally funded properties. So it does have a very large impact on what we're talking about.

 

Bottom line is that the USFWS is too puckered up in the south end. It makes it look like the USFWS has something against geocaching. Why? All they said was that geocaching is not compatible to whatever their wildlife goals are. All I'm asking is give me a few reasons why it's not. They can't do that? Why sould they? According to the results of the Sierra Club lawsuit they don't have to because the land is funded by P-R and therefore automatically considered "inherently good for wildlife". How is snowmobiling and illegaly dumped trash good for wildlife? USFWS/DNR didn't seem too quick to pick up that trash because the stuff we picked up had been there for a while. The way I see it we did more good for wildlife in one afternoon than the hunters in the area have for generations. I'm also taking this ruling by the USFWS as a direct slap in the face.

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I'm relative new to the sport and to this discussion topic. It's obvious that the issue is complicated by funding issues and related control issues between the feds and the states.

 

Some thoughts:

 

If the USFWS does this, then other agencies of US Dept of Interior, such as Natl Park Service, will start thinking about it. Maybe other agnecies that own land and offer recreational uses will think about it too, such as US Forest Service (agency of US Dept of Agriculture). Fortunately Forest Service and Park Service are a lot more recreation oriented than USFWS.

 

Geocachers need to be represented in the decision making process. I suggest some goals:

 

Goal 1: Find a funded group that represents the interests of outdoor recreation users. The critical feature is that the group monitors decision processes for policy, regulations and legislation. In other words, they do some lobbying, some grass-roots campaigning, or both. Join the group. Make your interests clear. Show them this thread.

 

Goal 2: Often the decision making process involves either public meetings or an appointed group of public advisors. Attend the hearings, or volunteer to join the group of public advisors.

 

Find an elected representative who enjoys outdoor activities, and educate that person about the wonders of geocaching. In particular, emphasize the CITO and the positive effects on kids. My 14-year-old cannot be pried away from AIM except for geocache hunts.

 

One of my good friends is the chair of the advisory group for my county's Parks & Rec Dept. I am going to contact him and ask if Parks & Rec has a policy, or is even aware of geocaching. I hope I can become the info source for our Parks & Rec people, and I will definitely emphasize the CITO, benefits to kids, etc. It also happens that a Regional Park Authority operates parks in our county, and hosts an approved multicache. Their experience will at least be considered relevant by Parks & Rec.

 

Dreamer of Pictures

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A couple of observations..one, the USFWS was asked for an interpretation...they gave one...as of today, the USFWS has not even begun a rulemaking process to formalize a geocache policy for lands...being one who has spent quite a bit of time around rulemakers at the state/federal level, it appears MI...jumped the gun to be aggressive in the enforcement of an "opinion"....that being said...the USFWS mission statement is:

 

"The mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to work with others, to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people."

 

How does caching enhance the ability of the service to fulfill this mission? I think there is a pitch to be made...

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quote:
Originally posted by timberlane74 & pumpkin:

it appears MI...jumped the gun to be aggressive in the enforcement of an "opinion"


 

Regardless of what the USFWS mission statement is, I respectfully disagree that we 'jumped the gun'. We were presented with a written statement from the Wildlife Division of the Michigan DNR, on DNR letterhead, signed by DNR officers, MANDATING - not /suggesting/, that caches be removed immediately from Game and Wildlife areas.

 

How that determination was made... we're not yet certain. But when presented with this kind of document, you have to take appropriate action. Work continues to improve the situation. In the mean time, it's hardly wise to blow off an officiall mandate from a DNR officer.

 

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trippy1976 - Team KKF2A

Saving geocaches - one golf ball at a time.

Flat_MiGeo_A88.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by trippy1976:

quote:
Originally posted by timberlane74 & pumpkin:

it appears MI...jumped the gun to be aggressive in the enforcement of an "opinion"


 

Regardless of what the USFWS mission statement is, I respectfully disagree that we 'jumped the gun'. We were presented with a written statement from the Wildlife Division of the Michigan DNR, on DNR letterhead, signed by DNR officers, MANDATING - not /suggesting/, that caches be removed immediately from Game and Wildlife areas.


 

I think he was reffering to the MDNR is the one who jumped the gun, not you or any other cacher. But if the USF&W hasn't completed their own policy yet and already the Michigan DNR are saying "NO" to any caches on that land.

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You're probably right.

 

I've heard comments that try to pin some kind of 'blame' for the situation on the way it was handled by MiGO. I guess I've become over-sensitive to this kind of thing. I try not to, but sometimes... well... you know. Not enough sleep/sun/beer or something icon_smile.gif

 

It's definitely an ongoing saga here. We dove into this whole thing when we heard the DNR was going to just ban caching here. With this exception that's not the case any longer. It's been a lot of work (primarily on the part of Sandrich) and continues to be. So like I said... I get sensitive about it at times icon_smile.gif

 

I'm a sensitive guy, what can I say? icon_wink.gif But thanks for pointing that out to me.

 

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trippy1976 - Team KKF2A

Saving geocaches - one golf ball at a time.

Flat_MiGeo_A88.gif

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Here's an idea for the folks in MI - Have an organized group Cache Out / Trash Out day to remove one or more of the current caches that are no longer permited. Then make sure some of the local media attend and get a good shot of the small cache being removed compaired to the large amount of trash that the group also cleaned-up. Then get the sound bite about how if the cache had been allowed to stay the trash would continue to be removed.

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icon_razz.gif As much as I personally like the idea, I don't think it actually would work. What MiGO has been doing is trying very hard to develop our relationships with the land use agencies all over the state. I wish I had more news that was substantial, but for now I don't. The only thing that I can say, is that our efforts have been paying off with other agencies besides just the DNR. And with respect to the DNR, the other departments are (mostly) not bound by Pittman-Roberts funding, and those areas have not banned Geocaching. So MiGO is in this for the long haul, and this will take quite a bit of time to get sorted out. When I have something else substantial to report, I will be happy to do so. Until then, I am just going to continue to do my job. icon_cool.gif

 

migo_sig_logo.jpg

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Ghandi walked to the sea to make salt. The Authorities forbade it. Ghandi made salt. Passive civil disobediance is an honored tradition against injustice. The publicity of an honest geocacher being arrested for just hiding or finding a cache on public lands would do more for this sport than just about anything I can think of. What would Thereau do?

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Thoreau would most likely build a hut half a mile from civilization and act as if he's living like a hermit. icon_smile.gif

 

The most obvious thing I see here is a complete misunderstanding of geocaching by many of the parties involved. Unfortunately, once the government bans something, your chances of getting it unbanned are about as much as sprouting antlers.

 

I'm starting to lean towards the "what they don't know won't hurt them" mentality. If I hide a cache, and they never know its there, then obviously it isn't a problem. The whole idea should be that, unless you're a cacher, you'll never have any indication that a cache is there. The only problem I see is the authorities using this site to locate caches on "their" lands.

 

And by the way... I see absolutely no way that they can ban virtual caches in any of these areas. As long as you're not travelling into a prohibited area, you have every right to use a GPS to find a particular location on public land. But what were to happen if some of those "virtual" caches actually had containers hidden? The authorities obviously can't take the time to try and search every virtual cache site for a container, and if its well hidden (as it should be), the chances of their finding it would be slim.

 

As for Limulus comment on an honest geocacher being arrested, remember that media spin controls the story. They could just as easily make the geocacher out to look like a potential terrorist as they could a harmless cacher.

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I don't think the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) has much to do with the ruling other than enforcement. I think they are binded by contract to adhere to the mission statement of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because through the Pitman-Robertson funds the DNR is receiving money for their property from the USFWS. Other states have nothing to worry about because Michigan's DNR and USFWS have a unique relationship unlike any other states. That's why I think the people that we really want to deal with is the USFWS. Forget the DNR they are just following orders because they are forced to because of the funding they get from the USFWS. I think the best thing we could do is somehow try to get some of the money used to buy GPS units to go towards the Pitman-Robertson funds, much like the same way ammo is taxed and is then appropraiated towards Pitmann-Robertson funds. If geocaching can somehow contribute to P-R funds in any sort of way then the USFWS will be forced to change their ruling due to the fact that Geocaching will then be considered an activity that will "enhance wildlife".

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The only problem with trying to deal with the USFW is that, as per my telephone cal with Mr. Bradley Johnson (Chief of Financial Aid; USFW), any and all requests for Geocaching to be considered either compatible or not compatible with regards to Pittman-roberts funded lands must come exclusively from the appropriate State officials. Any type of request of this nature will only be considered if it does come from the state; not the public, not a special interest group, only the state. I don't like this type of system that effectively tells me that as a taxpayer I really have NO say in what is happenning. This is espcially frustrating as we all know that these P-R funded lands are used for other purposes than just hunting or fishing. But thats what we got to work with. Sooooo, we are trying to get onboard with the DNR here in Michigan, and work internally for our goal.

 

migo_sig_logo.jpg

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Read the whole thread before you crap on it.

http://ubbx.Groundspeak.com/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&s=5726007311&f=4016058331&m=59060025&r=56760525#56760525

 

The true outcome of this situation was that we were limited LESS. If we had not approached them, then ALL DNR land would be off-limits. I suppose that would have been better?

 

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trippy1976 - Team KKF2A

Saving geocaches - one golf ball at a time.

Flat_MiGeo_A88.gif

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If who didn't ask? And what shouldn't we have not asked? Perhaps we should all have stuck our heads in the sand and pretend that the various land use agencies would never of heard of Geocaching? Or maybe you are referring to the cachers in the state of Ohio? Because the USFW replied to an inquiry from the officials of that state. So, maybe nobody should have ever tried to do anything proper and right for our sport and just ignorantly stumble along? Thank you! Thank you for your absolute lack of knowledge of this whole situation, thank you for your lack of courage in suggesting that we blithely ignore regulations and laws, thus setting a great examlpe for others to follow. Thank you for responding in such a way as to alleviate yourself from ANY obligation to roll up your own sleeves and try to get something positive done. Thank you for taking the easy way out, and not even trying to consider an alternative. Oh yes, High Desert Fish; thank you for your oh so valuable input on how to merely bellyache and not have a substantial comment.

 

migo_sig_logo.jpg

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