Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 4
the federation

Ban On Caching By The Usfws

Recommended Posts

This message was recently posted at Cacheflorida.com by Crow T Robot the admin for Florida. We are assuming it is true but I don't see any discussion here on the forums about it. Maybe I am just overlooking the thread, but it has gotten a lot of cachers concerned here in Florida. Jeremy if you are watching can you please address this for us? We are already actively writing letters and emails to anyone who will listen to us. We are currently contacting our State Represenatives and State Senators to express our concern over this matter. I would suggest that others help us take up thecause before we lose more public land to the Governement of the People.

Greg Smith(The Federation)

President Northeast Florida Geocachers Assoc.

Joined: 10 Oct 2003

Posts: 4

 

Posted: Wed Nov 19, 2003 1:08 pm Post subject: Geocaching prohibited in National Wildlife Refuges

 

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

 

Jeremy and company were recently contacted by a representative of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. That agency has decided to ban geocaching in all National Wildlife Refuges immediately. In addition, they indicate a willingness to take action against all persons hiding or seeking geocaches on their sites. They have instructed their rangers to seek and remove all caches. We have no idea about their ability or inclination to write tickets, but we have no choice but to add NWR lands to the list of off-limits areas.

 

We are not immediately requring that existing caches being removed and archived, but that may happen in the near future. I am contacting the owners of every NWR cache I can locate and asking them to voluntarily remove the caches before the USFWS rangers get to them. If you know of any of these caches, please help me spread the word so we can make sure the owners retrieve them before they get tossed in the trash. Quite a few caches were confiscated from the Merritt Island NWR erlier this year and thrown away.

 

Jeremy and Heidi are attempting to open a dialogue with the USFWS and see what precipitated this decision but they don't seem willing to discuss the matter. I'll post any updates as they happen. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news; I'll see if I can find some good news to make up for it.

Share this post


Link to post

Is a National Wildfile Refuge different from other National park property. I thought caches were already off limits on National Property.

Share this post


Link to post

Hmmm... there is a Wildlife Refuge in the beat area where I work.... although it is quite small (and swampy and unsuitable for a cache) I will have to do a bit of investigating about this latest announcement.

 

I really hate to see more land placed 'off limits' by the Feds. FWIW, the refuge I speak of above is Federally marked and protected, yet is right next to a very busy road where all kinds of trash is often thrown from vehicles. In fact, I cited an individual there once for tossing litter from their vehicle. Maybe a good Cache In, Trash Out campaign with the US F&W might be in order.

Share this post


Link to post

It is my understanding that physical caches are not allowed in National Parks (per geocaching.com policy). Even if caches really do get banned by the Forestry Service, then virtual caches will take their place. I seriously doubt USFWS workers can do much to enforce a ban on virtual caches. They would have to literally ban the USE of GPSr. They might as well just ban the use of maps and compass.

 

Adam P

Share this post


Link to post

Not all National Properties are off limits. For instance National Parks are off but not National Forests and now it seems that National Wildlife Refuges will be. What we are most concerned about is this growing trend of Federal Lands being taken off limits. Some of our prime caching area around here are National Forests so we are trying to take a stand here before we lose those also.

the federation

Share this post


Link to post

The Federation wrote:

Some of our prime caching area around here are National Forests so we are trying to take a stand here before we lose those also.

 

You'd better.

 

I don't see Garmin or Magellan spending lobbying money to reverse these decisions. I suspect the snowmobile and jet ski trade associations played a big part in reversing the bans on that equipment in many of the same places we're talking about, but in our case it'll have to be individuals and state geocaching associations.

 

I'd hate to see signs in parks saying you'll be fined for the possession of a GPSr the way you would be for having a metal detector in an NPS historic park. Perhaps those are not valid analogies, but I'd rather argue the point before a ban, not after.

 

AdamPierson wrote

Even if caches really do get banned by the Forestry Service, then virtual caches will take their place.

The problem with virts in such locations is that the park managers will point to them as a more palatable alternative if you request permission to place a physical cache - so it's a self fulfilling prophesy. Once the virts start being placed in lieu of a physical cache you've closed the door to ever having physical caches there.

 

~erik~

Edited by erik88l-r

Share this post


Link to post
That information is correct.

 

Iwas in the same meeting where it was discussed

Can you give me more information? I need to know who in the Govt. gave this directive. Is this in writing? Is there any way to get a copy of the letter? Is there a # associated with the rule?

 

I would like to have this information to include in the letter that I am drafting to my congressman.

 

Thanks,

 

Michelle

Share this post


Link to post
Can you give me more information? I need to know who in the Govt. gave this directive. Is this in writing? Is there any way to get a copy of the letter? Is there a # associated with the rule?

 

I would like to have this information to include in the letter that I am drafting to my congressman.

I agree with the above post whole-heartedly. If someone would be kind enough to post the information of who to contact, I would certainly write a letter and also encourage my other friends (geocachers and non-geocachers) to write as well.

 

Maybe even a couple of sample letters would be helpful to others to guide them in how to make their own letter. Even if the letter is copied verbatim that would be fine, many grass-roots lobbists use form letters sent via email, fax or regular mail.

Share this post


Link to post

Someone tell me, who has that much time on their hands that they could get confunked over something as small as geocaching? Maybe its just me, but I thought that these were areas that were to be enjoyed. Also, I thought Geocaching was about getting people to see places that would otherwise be ignored.

Someone PLEASE get me out of my confusion

Share this post


Link to post
Someone tell me, who has that much time on their hands that they could get confunked over something as small as geocaching? Maybe its just me, but I thought that these were areas that were to be enjoyed. Also, I thought Geocaching was about getting people to see places that would otherwise be ignored.

Someone PLEASE get me out of my confusion

One Word: POLITICIANS

 

Or another term is Power hungry wanna-bees

 

 

30296_400.gif30296_1700.gif

Share this post


Link to post

You know there are alternative views on this and good willed intelligent people will disagree with your right to put a cache on public land.

 

Dismissing them out of hand as "power hungry wannabees" does not do your cause any favors. If you want to continue your right to put geocaches on public land then argue the facts and convince the decision makers that there is are better reasons to allow this than there are to ban it.

 

Personally, I don't think you should be allowed to put caches on public land. So it really comes down to the fact that people with my opinion will argue one side, you the other and let the "power hungry wanabees" make an informed decision.

 

In the meantime, what is wrong with virtual caches? Isn't this 95% of the fun without the hassle that getting permission to place it?

 

Les.

Share this post


Link to post
Someone tell me, who has that much time on their hands that they could get confunked over something as small as geocaching? Maybe its just me, but I thought that these were areas that were to be enjoyed. Also, I thought Geocaching was about getting people to see places that would otherwise be ignored.

Someone PLEASE get me out of my confusion

It's all about exercising the little power they have in a very big world. Around here, there is a land steward who has basically made it her life's mission to see Geocaching die. Fortunately, her voice is not echoed by many others in her field, so it probably isn't going to happen. But any chance she gets, the voice thunders to whoever will listen so she can slam the sport/hobby/fetish/game.

Share this post


Link to post

I urge everyone to write and/or fax a letter to their Congressman, both their Senators, the Secretary of the Interior and any offices of the US Fish and Wildlife Service in your area. Email is nice but it doesn't have near the impact of a snail mail letter or a fax. A phone call to your congressman is also a nice addition to the letter/fax. The key here is numbers. Each letter counts. It's time to act now or forever hold your whinning.

 

I was not a cacher when the ban on geocaching was put in place by the National Park Service, so I've never really addressed that inequity. I'm guessing that the number of cachers has grown considerably since that time. If we all make our views know to our elected representatives and the bureaucrats, we can do something about this. And perhaps the NPS situation to boot.

 

Besure to keep in simple and keep it nice. Flamming is counterproductive. The folowing links might be helpful...

 

www.senate.gov

www.house.gov

www.doi.gov

Share this post


Link to post
I don't see Garmin or Magellan spending lobbying money to reverse these decisions.

It sure would be nice to have Magellan and Garmin on board. Such lobbying often occures behind the scenes so who knows. Even if they are on this, their efforts would have little impact compared to the views of thousands of voters who take the time to sit down and write a letter, address and envelope, find a stamp and walk said letter to a mailbox.

 

In any case, it may not hurt to write some letters to these company's PR departments.

Edited by IceCreamMan

Share this post


Link to post

I'm probably going to get flamed for saying this, but I think this ban is probably a good idea. National Wildlife Refuges are just that, refuges for wildlife, not recreation areas for humans (we've got plenty of that). There is relatively little land set aside for this kind of use, and it needs to be protected, or it will become trashed.

 

To those clamorring that this is the result of power-mad politicians, I say: Have we become so policitally reactionary that any desicion with which we disagree is automatically taken as a sign of corruption and/or capitulating to the special interests? Is this what fox news hath wrought? What is the special interest here? the powerful brown tree vole lobby?

 

How many of us really know enough about an ecosystem to avoid doing major damage? How many know how that new "volunteer" trail created by our cache will affect errosion, plant life, etc?

 

I say: get over it. There are (usually) plenty of good places to hide caches without trashing more wilderness!

 

-- Pneumatic

Share this post


Link to post
I'm probably going to get flamed for saying this, but I think this ban is probably a good idea. National Wildlife Refuges are just that, refuges for wildlife, not recreation areas for humans (we've got plenty of that). There is relatively little land set aside for this kind of use, and it needs to be protected, or it will become trashed.

 

To those clamorring that this is the result of power-mad politicians, I say: Have we become so policitally reactionary that any desicion with which we disagree is automatically taken as a sign of corruption and/or capitulating to the special interests? Is this what fox news hath wrought? What is the special interest here? the powerful brown tree vole lobby?

 

How many of us really know enough about an ecosystem to avoid doing major damage? How many know how that new "volunteer" trail created by our cache will affect errosion, plant life, etc?

 

I say: get over it. There are (usually) plenty of good places to hide caches without trashing more wilderness!

 

-- Pneumatic

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in Florida allows all of the following:

 

Wildlife observation.

Hiking trails.

Bicycling.

Photography.

Observation tower.

Fishing.

Hunting (archery, primitive gun).

 

 

With hunting allowed how is that a refuge for wildlife? How would geocaching hurt?

Share this post


Link to post
It is my understanding that  physical caches are not allowed in National Parks (per geocaching.com policy).

Actually this is a matter of National Park Service policy. GC.com is simply respecting that policy.

Share this post


Link to post
Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge in Florida allows all of the following:

....

Hiking trails.

....

Hunting (archery, primitive gun).

 

With hunting allowed how is that a refuge for wildlife?  How would geocaching hurt?

If you go to their website, you'll notice that you can only hike on trail.

 

If you look at their hunting regulations, they don't allow stalking (walking off trail) or any type of hunting except for hunting from a pre-approved stand. Also, limited numbers of hunting permits are granted.

 

Basically, geocaching, by it's nature involves off trail hiking, and the numbers of people who do it aren't well regulated. Also, how people approach the cache varies, and so while the way the placer intended for you to approach it might now cause too much damage, the person who is just following the arrow and bushwacking (we've all done it... some more that others) can cause an amazing amount of damage.

 

-- Pneumatic

Share this post


Link to post
Jeremy and company were recently contacted by a representative of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. That agency has decided to ban geocaching in all National Wildlife Refuges immediately. In addition, they indicate a willingness to take action against all persons hiding or seeking geocaches on their sites.


 

Could the contact info of said representative (and preferably, their boss) be shared please?

 

Having volunteered for the US Fish & Wildlife service in the past monitoring endangered Piping Plovers here in CT, I have seen the challenges they face.

 

Their enforcement power is HUGE! However, the main function of said 'monitors' was educating the public--NOT monitoring the birds.

 

Their task is an under-funded (VERY dependant on the current administration) rather thankless one. However, geocaching can be 'packaged' as part of their education effort.

 

Priority one however, is to prevent an outright ban because once that is in place, getting overturned it will be veritably impossible.

 

If there are any caches in wildlife lands that are themed toward conservation, particularly supporting the specific endangered species of that region would be great examples to cite.

 

If we package geocaching as another outreach program (that costs them NOTHING), they will embrace it wholeheartedly.

 

So, for those who know, to whom shall we direct our correspondence?

 

Enjoy,

 

Randy

Share this post


Link to post
I'm probably going to get flamed for saying this, but I think this ban is probably a good idea.  National Wildlife Refuges are just that, refuges for wildlife, not recreation areas for humans (we've got plenty of that).  There is relatively little land set aside for this kind of use, and it needs to be protected, or it will become trashed.

 

  -- Pneumatic

You're not going to get flamed from me! I agree wholeheartedly.

 

As for hunting in a NWR, sometimes hunting is the only way to preserve a healthy species in an area because many natural predators have been eradicated.

Share this post


Link to post
If you look at their hunting regulations, they don't allow stalking (walking off trail) or any type of hunting except for hunting from a pre-approved stand. Also, limited numbers of hunting permits are granted.

 

Basically, geocaching, by it's nature involves off trail hiking, and the numbers of people who do it aren't well regulated. Also, how people approach the cache varies, and so while the way the placer intended for you to approach it might now cause too much damage, the person who is just following the arrow and bushwacking (we've all done it... some more that others) can cause an amazing amount of damage.

 

-- Pneumatic

Not allways, I have hidden a multi cache that covers 10miles of hiking in a state park and not once do you need to leave a trail (as stated in the cache description.) You can hide caches without causing damage or creating new trails.

Share this post


Link to post
With hunting allowed how is that a refuge for wildlife? How would geocaching hurt?

 

Hunting is carefully regulated for the purposes of controlling populations of animals detrimental to endangered species.

 

Here in CT, they sponsor hunts of overpopulated whitetail deer for exactly that purpose.

 

However, bicycling does significant vegetative and trail damage (and although prohibited in Spring in a nearby area--every Sunday features tons of riders in this nationally known area).

 

Hiking requires leaving the trail to 'relieve' oneself--even digging a hole if necessary.

 

Geocaching is a less known and understood activity--therefore they'd rather ban 'cause they don't have the time and money to learn. If we can teach them the huge benefits, at no cost to them, they'll desire it (where appropriate).

 

Enjoy,

 

Randy

Share this post


Link to post

The problems with "good" geocaches in areas is that other geocachers take that as a sign that geocaching is generally allowed in the area. I have placed some geocaches is state parks (Texas), with permission, and other geocachers followed (without permission). In one of those parks, the rangers were quite upset to learn that the second one was placed without their knowledge.

Share this post


Link to post
they don't allow stalking (walking off trail) or any type of hunting except for hunting from a pre-approved stand.

I guess the game is also required to walk only on paths, and to remain on the path after the shot? I have done some hunting and also some geocaching, and hunting has a much greater environmental impact. But usually the deer being hunted have an even greater impact than the hunters ... they make trails, damage trees, tear up the ground, and carry ticks. The hunters have a better lobby than geocachers ... that's what its really about ... not relative impact.

 

FWIW,

CharlieP

Share this post


Link to post

Very true, I've made, er used the same assumption.

 

A simple note on the cache page and in the cache would correct that however, similar to the logo (is it PA state parks?) a cache-permit area uses.

 

Enjoy,

 

Randy

Share this post


Link to post
but I'd rather argue the point before a ban, not after.

That is THE important thing to remember ... bureaucracies are hard to reverse, once they take a position, even if it is ridiculous, they will usually defend it to the bitter end. And I fear we are in a bad position as a result of the NPS position on geocaching. Bureaucrats tend to stick together, especially if their chain of command converges ... and ultimately their chains all meet at the top. So this means that if you accept the NPS arguments, you may be saying bye-bye to ALL Federally controlled lands ... that would probably affect about half the geocaches in the state of Georgia. At some point we need to get organized on this ... any retired politicians or lobbyists out there itchin' to get back into the fray?

 

FWIW,

CharlieP

Share this post


Link to post
...bad position as a result of the NPS position...

 

(Shhh... Don't tell them... The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing...)

 

Randy

Share this post


Link to post

Momentarily, we'll be posting the official letter at the top of the General forum, along with our response.

Share this post


Link to post

Closing this topic to avoid confusion. I opened the new topic so that we could start the conversation with solid information. And it was easy to find (top of the tread).

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 4

×
×
  • Create New...