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Illinois State Parks: IMPORTANT!

Guest rdwatson78
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Guest rdwatson78

I had the bizarre experience yesterday of having a cache removed by state park authorities as I was going to get it. They passed me on the way in and further down the trail I saw them go into the woods looking around the area the GPS was pointing me to. As I got within a couple hundred feet I saw them leaving the other way (it was a loop trail) with the cache. I made my way back around to the car realizing I had a big geocaching.com static cling sign on the back window. I decided to go to the park office to see what was going on.


I got to the office and had a long talk with the site manager (I think. He was high level.) and a conservation police officer.


1. They were not happy that someone had placed the cache on park property without their knowledge or permission. They had several legitimate concerns, including many that we have discussed in relation to federal land. What a weirdo might put in the cache, injuries to people searching for caches in off trail areas, various concerns related to Sept. 11 and increased security worries since then, the issue of abandoned property, non-geocachers finding them leading to bomb squad calls, etc.


2. They did not object to geocaching in general, just the way it had been done there. We went over several ideas such as virtual caches, caches where a marker is hidden that directs you to the park office for the container, and clear containers that are hidden with the permission of park officials. They seemed quite receptive to these ideas.


3. It sounded like news of this was heading to the state-wide level so many caches are now in danger of being removed without notice. Most caches in this state are on state property. (State parks, forests, fish and wildlife areas, etc.) I would strongly suggest that you get in touch with whoever runs the land that your cache is on if you did not get permission when you placed your cache. If you don't want to do that, you should consider archiving and picking up your cache before someone confiscates it for you.


4. If we go at this the wrong way, we could easily end up like North Carolina, with geocaching banned in state parks. This would certainly not help our attempts to use federal lands either. If we go at this the right way, we make the job of state parks easier, give ourselves a good name (especially if we are caught picking up trash), and help our case with federal lands. We will lose badly if we try to go head to head with the state.


5. I told them I would spread the word. I hope you will help me with this. You must get permission to hide on any state property. Do NOT assume that it is OK because other people have hidden caches there. Get permission for every cache!


6. Let's keep level heads here. Nothing good will happen if we start bi**hing and moaning at the parks, park system, or park employees. Keep discussions and actions constructive.


7. They have found the website. There is no way to sneak around them so don't try. They will probably be quite stunned when they see just how many there are.


rdw icon_frown.gif


[This message has been edited by rdwatson78 (edited 16 October 2001).]

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Guest RCharlier

Just as an FYI, I placed a cache at Jubilie College State park, just outside of Peoria with Permission from the park management. As you work with state park staff in cache placements, you might want to mention this cache. The agreement that we have is that the park management is to know exactly where the cache was placed, they wanted a single contact point for all caches placed in the park, and the cache container was to be clearly marked to identify that it was a geocache. A singe cache was placed in this park this year and next year we will work with park management on additional placements. I have been working with the local Orienteering club to take on Geocaching as an official side activity of that club. It seems that the Orienteering people have a very good relationship with the local parks and I believe this will relieve some of the concern that park officials have with the activity. The URL for the cache is http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.asp?ID=8150

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