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Arkansas State Parks


solohiker
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I wrote a letter to the Director of the Arkansas State Parks asking for policy clarification and permission to maintain my existing caches in Arkansas State Parks.

 

Here is his reply:

 

"Dear Mr. Solohiker: (not my real name)

 

At last month's meeting of the State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission, the Commission directed my office to prepare a policy that would permit geocaching in the Arkansas State Parks system. At this point, geocaching is not permitted in Arkansas State Parks; however, I do realize that the activity has been going on for some time. Some of our staffs have discovered caches, and park visitors have brought other caches to them. There are some environmental and safety issues to work out, but I anticipate we will have a policy within the next 90-120 days. The proposed policy may fall under the administrative rules requirements and therefore require public input, along with review and approval by the Legislative Subcommittee. Until you have an approved policy on the subject, the two caches that you have placed should be removed.

 

Thank you for contacting our office. We will include you on our contact list for review of the policy."

 

 

In response to the Director's request I have archived the two caches in question and removed them from State property.

 

It looks like we may soon have official permission and new rules for geocaching in Arkansas State Parks. I encourage all cache owners to remove any of their caches in Arkansas State Parks until this is resolved. I will post updates as they develop.

 

My thanks to the Director for his prompt response.

 

Solohiker

 

[This message was edited by solohiker on August 12, 2002 at 05:02 AM.]

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I would be interested to hear from any cachers who have had their caches removed from State Parks or have been contacted by the Arkansas Parks Department concerning their caches. The director indicates that there have been caches removed from State Parks. There are less than 100 caches in Arkansas and I am not aware of any that have been removed from State Parks. Do the park employees put them back?

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it has been a few months now, has anybody heard anything new regarding geocaching in arkansas state parks? The Director of the Arkansas State Parks said "90-120 days" in solohikers post.

 

The Mountain Bike Guy from Joplin MO

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

Long Live Long Rides

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Magazine Mountain Mother Load

 

This cache temporarily unavailable.

N 35° 10.545 W 093° 38.737 (WGS84)

 

In Arkansas, United States [state map]

Hidden: 5/19/2002

Use waypoint: GC5893 (what's this?)

Make this page print-friendly (no logs)

 

THIS CACHE HAS BEEN CLOSED BY ORDER OF THE ARKANSAS PARKS DEPARTMENT. THE CONTENTS HAVE BEEN REMOVED BY THE PARK RANGER. HOPEFULLY HE WILL CONVINCE THE COMMISSIONER THAT GEOCACHING IS A GOOD THING. NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO CALL OR WRITE THE PARKS DEPARTMENT!!! Located in Arkansas's newest state park in the Ozark National Forest atop the state's tallest mountain

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quote:
Originally posted by pdumas:

Magazine Mountain Mother Load

 

This cache temporarily unavailable.

N 35° 10.545 W 093° 38.737 (WGS84)

 

In Arkansas, United States [state map]

Hidden: 5/19/2002

Use waypoint: GC5893 (what's this?)

Make this page print-friendly (no logs)

 

THIS CACHE HAS BEEN CLOSED BY ORDER OF THE ARKANSAS PARKS DEPARTMENT. THE CONTENTS HAVE BEEN REMOVED BY THE PARK RANGER. HOPEFULLY HE WILL CONVINCE THE COMMISSIONER THAT GEOCACHING IS A GOOD THING. NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO CALL OR WRITE THE PARKS DEPARTMENT!!! Located in Arkansas's newest state park in the Ozark National Forest atop the state's tallest mountain


 

Why is a state park called Ozark National Park. And if it's a National park, wouldn't the Feds have jurisdiction not Arkansas?

 

Alan

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quote:
Originally posted by Alan2:

quote:
Originally posted by pdumas:

Magazine Mountain Mother Load

 

This cache temporarily unavailable.

N 35° 10.545 W 093° 38.737 (WGS84)

 

In Arkansas, United States [state map]

Hidden: 5/19/2002

Use waypoint: GC5893 (what's this?)

Make this page print-friendly (no logs)

 

THIS CACHE HAS BEEN CLOSED BY ORDER OF THE ARKANSAS PARKS DEPARTMENT. THE CONTENTS HAVE BEEN REMOVED BY THE PARK RANGER. HOPEFULLY HE WILL CONVINCE THE COMMISSIONER THAT GEOCACHING IS A GOOD THING. NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO CALL OR WRITE THE PARKS DEPARTMENT!!! Located in Arkansas's newest state park in the Ozark National Forest atop the state's tallest mountain


 

Why is a state park called Ozark _National_ Park. And if it's a National park, wouldn't the Feds have jurisdiction not Arkansas?

 

Alan


 

Read it again, it is a STATE park in a National FOREST.

 

The Mountain Bike Guy from Joplin MO

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

Long Live Long Rides

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When did the ranger pick up the cache?

 

I had two caches in State Parks, but I removed them when I got the letter. I sent a reply yesterday so I should hear back in a couple weeks.

 

A couple months ago I met the Governor and Senator Sharon Trusty during the Govenor's boat tour. Theh Gov was pretty busy, but I talked to Senator Trusty about geocaching and she was really into it. It I don't get a favorable response from the Parks director, I will forward all of my coorespondence to the Senator and ask for help.

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I got a reply from the State Parks Director.

 

There will be a public hearing on the new Parks directive 3220 on January 16, 2003 at 10:30 a.m.

The location is:

 

Arkansas Hospitality Association

603 Pulaski Street

Little Rock, AR

 

Prior to the meeting public comments will be accepted. Comments should be mailed to:

 

Director of Arkansas State Parks

One Capitol Mall

Little Rock, AR 72201

 

Verbal comments can be made by calling 501/682-7743.

 

A Legal Notice is currently posted in Newspapers.

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Some of the highlights of Directive 3220:

 

Caches require a permit. Exact location of the cache must be approved by the park supervisor and included on the permit. Any websites that list the cache must be included on the permit.

 

The permit is valid four four months. Cache must be removed in four months and removed from any websites.

 

The cache container must be clear.

 

Nothing hazardous in caches, no food.

 

Caches are subject to random inspection.

 

Caches are not permitted in locations that will cause spur trails.

 

No caches in park buildings or structures.

 

There is some more official jargon, but that is about it.

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4 months, no ammo boxes. Bummer!

 

I don't understand the obsession the authorities have with clear cache containers. If someone was up to no good, they can easily hide whatever in a clear container. And most clear containers are plastic and not animal proof.

 

Bunch of stupid bureaucrats sitting behinds desks with nothing better to do.

 

"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues" - Abraham Lincoln

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As I mentioned in the other thread, at least there is now a formal policy that DOES ALLOW GEOCACHING. Hopefully, if cache placers follow the rules, and the park managers see no ill effects from caching, some of the more obnoxious provisions can be changed.

 

Sure beats what has happened elsewhere, like in Colorado Springs, where geocaching is strictly forbidden.

 

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Except Texas I think that all Public lands are in Trust in the U.S.A.that are not held privately.See the Rights for Arkansas I believe that it is one of the States (Public Lands States) that succeded their lands.This could get to be a very deep subject matter in the near future.It goes back to the Louisiana Purchase and the 5th Principal Meridian,Lewis and Clarks Expadition.

 

When all else fails Geotry again.

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Note: I am making the assumption that the container will likely have to be plastic.

 

There is no mention of the size of the plastic container allowed. There are several types of large plastic containers that are tough and weatherproof and can be found at local pet stores like Petsmart, etc., usually used to store bird and pet foods.

 

Small earthquake tie-down straps used for desktop computer equipment can easily be affixed to ensure the lid stays on.

 

I agree that 4 months seems a bit too short for a cache, unless the cache permit can be renewed once.

 

Don

 

[This message was edited by Cachetrotters on December 21, 2002 at 07:50 AM.]

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The problem is that they insist on a clear container with a latch (I guess a screw on top is OK too). This rules out an awful lot of stuff. No Rubbermaid, no Tupperware, no Gladware (thank goodness on that last one) The only compliant containers that I can think of are the lexan dry boxes which run for $20+ and various food containers. The latter tend to retain the smell of whatever food was in it, which attracts animals. I've found a few old food containers that had been gnawed into. It's very hard to get the smell out.

 

I still don't understand their concerns about opaque containers.

 

"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues" - Abraham Lincoln

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I intend to call and ask about container specifications. The first thing that comes to my mind is a large plastic jar like some bulk package of pretzels or candy from Sams Club.

 

Paragraph 2 Section A states:

 

"Cache containers must be non-breakable, transparent and have some form of latch or other closing mechanism to prohibit content exposure to wildlife."

 

There has evidently been some input from Park officials who support geocaching. One of the caches currently in a State Park is sponsored by the Parks department.

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?ID=16165

 

I will emailed them and asked for container suggestions.

 

Oddly they are currently in violation of the current parks directive, but government is people too and evidently someone in State Government supports geocaching.

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I have been using plastic screw top jars for several of my caches. While mine are translucent rather than transparent, they have held up well in Michigna winter weather. I got several jars (1-1/2 gallon) from a place called U.S. Plastics in Lima, OH and others (1 gallon) at a dollar store which where only $1. I painted the jars to camoflague them but that's another issue.

You can buy clear "Pet" (food grade) jars and PVC jars from a number of suppliers for $2 to $5. The real limitation with them is the mouth opening. A CD would fit inside them but won't go through the opening. The screw top works out better than snap lids since most animals can't unscrew a lid but can pop a Tupperware.

 

Hard work often pays off after time,

but laziness always pays off now!

migo_sig_logo.jpg

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quote:
Originally posted by Scook:

You can buy clear "Pet" (food grade) jars and PVC jars from a number of suppliers for $2 to $5.


Yes, but if you're going to spend $5 you might as well get an ammo can. They are non-breakable, and would be very hard for an animal to chew/claw through icon_biggrin.gif But of cousre they are not transparent icon_razz.gif

 

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Yes I see the concerns here on this issue.In The Western States where there are bigger critters it seems likely that certian containers are more readily demolished than others, even here in Missouri the critters can chew their way through plastic containers and like one of mine carried off when not strapped or set with something.It is good to see that they are concerned for the critters safety but at the same time look at all the trash that has built up around certian areas that contain that same plastics, the petroleum that they worry about.I am not against either view i am just putting in my 2cents.

 

When all else fails Geotry again.

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quote:
Originally posted by Trailblazer # 1:

Yes I see the concerns here on this issue.In The Western States where there are bigger critters it seems likely that certian containers are more readily demolished than others, even here in Missouri the critters can chew their way through plastic containers and like one of mine carried off when not strapped or set with something.


If it the container isn't carried off it can be rendered useless. Ive seen more than one plastic cache thats had hole nibbed threw it by small animals (mice, probly).

quote:
by MaxEntropy:

The four month limit is probably to reduce social trails. Perhaps perission can be obtained to move the cache rather than remove it. That might require another permit, but if it's a good cache, it's worth it.


It says right in the policy that the cache has to be removed at the end of four months, or if its moved before then the old permit has to be canceled and you have to get another one icon_rolleyes.gif My idea would be at the four month mark have a ranger go check the cache and if there it isnt causing problems, (a big trail isnt forming) then the permit could be extended. If there is a forming then it be removed, of course if theres a trail forming theres not really a good reason to wait four months to pull the cache...

 

However, I think it would be best if the default time limit was set longer.

 

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quote:
It says right in the policy that the cache has to be removed at the end of four months

 

From my experience, the vast majority of cache visits occur over the first two months. After a cache has been out there 4 months, visits are very sporadic and the impact negligible.

 

This is just another example of some clueless bureacrat setting arbitrary rules.

 

I know, I know...we should be thankful that our government is gracious enough to even allow us to pursue our sport on their land.

 

"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues" - Abraham Lincoln

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A question about clear containers.

 

What does being clear solve?

 

Is it so someone can just walk up to it and see what's in the cache? Most cache I've come across are covered by debris to hide the cache. It's be very hard to see what's inside covered like that. If they are concerned about it being a bomb, couldn't moving it set it off?

 

If it's so they can see what's inside without opening it? In other words, they want to be able to pick up the cache and see what's inside without risk of it being booby trapped with skunk urine? Wouldn't it be more likely to get a fellow cacher than a park official?

 

This brings me to my point.

 

Open-to-view (not covered and hidden) containers could be considered an eyesore to muggles and make it likely the cache would be plundered. People stumbling across the cache could scatter the containers as a joke. Being plastic and vunerable to critters, wouldn't plastic be the last choice on those grounds?

 

I just never got the logic behind requiring clear containers in the middle of the woods. Do they fear Al Qaeda planting booby trapped caches to pick off one or two people at a time?

 

To me, plastic, clear or otherwise, is the last choice I'd make if I were making policy.

 

CR

 

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The policy is poorly thought out by people with no practical geocaching experience. I believe, from what I read, that there is a public comment period that ends on Jan 16th. Perhaps we should all forward our concerns to where they will be heard by the proper people.

 

I know I don't live in Arkansas and it's unlikely I'll ever do any Geocaching there, but since government agencies tend to follow each other's lead in many instances, the Arkansas policy is a concern to me. What is policy in Arkansas today, may become policy in NJ tomorrow.

 

"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues" - Abraham Lincoln

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quote:
E. All permits will be in effect for a period of four (4) months. The exact starting and ending dates will be recorded on the permit.

 

Note: If, during the four (4) month effective period of a permit, a permit holder wants to change the location of the cache, a new permit must be issued and the effective permit cancelled.


 

It looks llike there is a loophole in the rules that will allow you to move the cache to a nearby location (maybe even just a few feet) and get a new permit that will last for another four months. BTW solohiker, is there an email address for the parks director or somebody that we can email to as BrianSnat suggested?

 

The Mountain Bike Guy from Joplin MO

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

Long Live Long Rides

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The whole idea of a permit(and asking permission) is ponderous. It is a State Park and the whole point of it is to give citizens a place to go enjoy the outdoors. The dept of parks is there to take care of the state park and not to restict its use. What if the janitor at your place of business locked the restroom door or made you give him $5 everytime you wanted to use it because it was getting dirty and he was tired of cleaning it. Whats the point of having the restroom and you already pay him for cleaning it.

 

"Public Lands---No Trespassing"

 

Now please excuse me while I go dump these cases of tea into the harbor.

 

MGGPS

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Well, this will certainly prevent me from considering placing any caches on Arkansas State Park property. The 4-month limit is pretty severe, since most caches around here get one or two visits a month. Clearly they don't understand geocaching, or more likely, just don't care. It is the old mentality that the parks aren't for the people, and the people are just a nusance to those in charge of the parks. icon_frown.gif

 

I'm sure they feel we should be grateful they'll allow geocachers the privelege of entering their property.

 

I'll remember this next time a vote comes up to raise taxes to support the parks!

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I submitted comments about my concerns.

 

I suggested they extend the permit to one year so the parks department would benefit from out of State cachers who may plan vacations to geocache. I also recommended that the cacher check his/her cache every four months and log the visits on the permit.

 

I asked that a sample container be made available at the meeting. I hope they have something inexpensive and functional in mind.

 

I think the restriction on caches that 'may' cause a spur trail is too subjective. I gave examples of caches that I had previously located in State Parks that did not result in spur trails. I recommended that they change to policy to state, "Caches that create spur trails must be removed."

 

I recommend that folks with concerns submit them for review and show up at the public meeting.

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quote:
Originally posted by solohiker:

I asked that a sample container be made available at the meeting. I hope they have something inexpensive and functional in mind.

 

I recommend that folks with concerns submit them for review and show up at the public meeting.


Theres no chance of me showing up at that meeting icon_biggrin.gif, but I sent a letter off last week, but I'm not from Arkansas so who knows if it will even get read.

Keep us posted about what kind of container they're thinking of (assuming they bring one).

 

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quote:
Originally posted by LongDogs:

Well, this will certainly prevent me from considering placing any caches on Arkansas State Park property. The 4-month limit is pretty severe, since most caches around here get one or two visits a month. Clearly they don't understand geocaching, or more likely, just don't care.


 

I am giving the Parks Director the benefit of the doubt. I don't think they fully understand geocaching. I am not sure I understand it all the time. I think they are making steps in the right direction and it is incumbent upon the geocaching community to help them understand the positive aspects of geocaching.

 

All of my communication with the Parks Department has been positive. They are adopting a policy to support geocaching! We need to support them and help them make the best policy for geocachers, the parks department and the citizens of Arkansas.

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We shouldn't roll over & play dead yet. the policy isn't set in stone & when it is we should still keep trying to get the best policy made that we can. We can't let park officials think that we are all a bunch of pushovers. We've got to let them know, not just in Arkansas, that we care for the areas as much as or more that they do.

 

Everyone got their letters sent yet? We've got one week from Thursday to get them there!

 

I'll look into making this an event cache, I'd have to get coords somehow though, anybody close enough to help with that? Also, whoever does make it to the meeting, could you report back here how it goes?

 

The Mountain Bike Guy from Joplin MO

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

Long Live Long Rides

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I received a reply to my letter.

 

They seem to want to maintain the 4 month limit, but they will allow you to move the cache in four months and get another permit.

 

Permits are FREE!

 

They want clear containers for safety reasons. They don't have any sample containers or recomendations. As cachers we need to pick up the ball come up with some inexpensive practical options. I am bringing a big pretzel jar to the meeting. Anyone hungry?

 

The placement of the caches will have to be approved by the park supervisors.

 

Since the Parks Department supports geocaching maybe they can help promote it too. Geocaching info in the Park Office might attract more cachers.

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So, find and hide the cache. Get the coordinats. Remove the cache. Put the coordinates on the permit application. Attach a photo of the clear container with stuff in it to the spot that has initial contents. Give the permit to the parks dept. Wait for approval. Go back and place the cache. Wait 4 months. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

 

The random inpspections are fine. Actually I like the idea. If an area is too damaged or a spur trails develops the parks dept can contact you and say so. That seems like it should have priority over 4 months. But then that's just my opinion and I've got enough of those to where as hard as I try I can't get rid of them all.

 

Wherever you go there you are.

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quote:
Originally posted by MGGPS:

What would make a clear container safer than a "non-clear" container and by clear do they mean see thru or translucent. Many of the TupperWare (and RubberMaid) containers I've come across you can't tell whats inside of them.


 

They want the Park Rangers and everyone else to see what is in the cache before/without opening it. My sense of adventure pooh pooh's this cowardly requirement, but I am not going to get sued when someone opens a cache with a copperhead snake in it either.

 

I will ask about the tupperware container at the meeting. Good suggestion.

 

There is also a container requirement for latching. I guess we need to test the sealing power of rubbermaid vs tupperware. icon_smile.gif

 

[This message was edited by solohiker on January 09, 2003 at 03:32 PM.]

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What kind of safety does a clear container add? My guess is that they're paranoid about some sort of booby trap in a cache.

 

First off, we have some 40,000+ caches placed. Figure conservatively 10 finds per cache. That's nearly a half million cache finds without one known instance of a booby trapped cache. I'm not saying it can't, or won't happen, but chances are that you're more likely get injured driving to the cache site.

 

Second, if somone is dead set on booby trapping a cache, they can easily conceal it inside a clear cache. If someone is going to go through all that trouble, they won't let a clear cache stop them.

 

"Paternalism is the greatist despotism" - Emmanual Kant

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