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hydee

Geocaching On National Wildlife Refuges

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One more note: I agree with ju66l3r, we will gain so much more by trying to work with the Fishy Wildlife guys than against them. 100,000 positive geocachers requesting a review of policy may or may not get the intended results, but 1 stupid jerk intentionally tromping around in a Wildlife Refuge, bent on getting arrested for the sole purpose of calling attention to the plight of geochaching on Federal Land will definitely make the rest of us look bad, and not help us in any way. Lets be sensible about it.

 

May I make a suggestion? Rather than waiting for an interminably long time for the Fishy Wildlife guys to email you back, why don't you write your state senators and congressmen? I've gone that route before, and believe me, it works. I don't think the Fishy Wildlife guys will be very receptive to comments from a bunch of geeks with GPS units (no offense intended, I'm in that group), but when the senate office calls, they tend to listen. Give it a try, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. :D

 

Sparky

 

edited for spelling...I make typos when I get excited....

Edited by Sparky-Watts

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I have only had time to read a couple of the posts in this thread, however, it would appear beneficial to Geocaching to work with the various government agencies, instead of against them. The U.S. government has always been good at 'creating' an environment where the public views groups that oppose them as 'outlaws'. And from some of the topics and posts that appear in this forum from time to time, we have enough Geo gun nuts to actually qualify (in the minds of the government and the public) as a Geo militia.

 

So my point is, don't give the various government agencies any reason to cast us as 'outlaws'. Maybe we should work with the various government agencies to establish state and federal Geocaching guidelines that only apply to their jurisdiction. Maybe, with their support, we develop a 'government freindly' geocaching container (my guess is they will not appreciate used ammo boxes hidden on their lands).

 

We should work with them instead of against them. My two cents.

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So my point is, don't give the various government agencies any reason to cast us as 'outlaws'. 

But the guy who wrote the letter that started this thread already believes we're outlaws.

 

We should work with them instead of against them. 

 

Of course this is a good idea, but I don’t think it helps the image of Geocaching if we feel compelled to make a great big slurping sound while doing this.

 

The approach you suggested will not work with the likes of the guy who wrote the letter. From the complete lack of any environmental or wildlife protection concern raised in that letter, it is clear that this enforcer does not have conservation as part of his agenda. What good will it do to try to convince him that Geoacaching is an activity that will enhance the public use of wildlife reserves, without any negative impact. He is the one who has drawn the line in the sand, and we are on the other side of that line (at least I am). If we don't work against him, then our only other choice is to accept that another area of public lands is out of bounds, in the same way we so willingly (and sheepishly) did with NPS lands, which by the way is still out of bounds. (I have not heard of any progress having been made on that front).

Edited by seneca

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Mea culpa. Virtuals can be as damaging as other caches. Your "bushwaking" for virtuals shows that either kind of geocaching has the potential to be damaging to an area.

 

That does not negate the reasoning behind the stance against real caches in the NWRs. It only goes to prove it.

 

I totally understand that there are many locations, even in a NWR, where caches can be placed without any damage whatsoever. The problem comes when the next geocacher assumes that because there is already a cache in the area, that geocaching is acceptable as a rule. They then place another cache in a place that might not be acceptable. I've seen it happen. I've also seen caches that are right on a trail (as stated in the cache page), but the person searching decides to B-line it to the cache instead.

 

Most cachers I believe are sensitive to these issues. But not all. Therein lies the problem.

It strikes me that there are examples of a good balance -- but it requires both geocachers and land managers to take some additional time to make it happen. In certain state parks in Florida, the managers have contacted GC.com and requested that prior to approving a cache, the cache owner must contact the park ranger, indicate the location where the cache will be placed, and then get approval (verbal approval over the phone is OK for now). The idea is that the park ranger will evaluate the proposed location and the risk for environmental impacts by cache hunters, and then approve or not based on that information. I have three caches in a state park, and it took just a phone call and an extra day or two to get the cache started -- well worth the effort, and was pleased that the ranger was considerate enought to do this -- vs. the agency that operates these parks banning caches outright.

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Of course this is a good idea, but I don’t think it helps the image of Geocaching  if we feel compelled to make a great big slurping sound while doing this.

"great big slurping sound ..." hehehehe, that is funny. I am not in favor of rolling over either. I think we both (and most everyone else) agree that working with them is the best way to go.

 

We are not going to 'win' over everyone. The originator of the letter at the beginning of this thread obviously looks like a tough nut to crack. I still think it is important to minimize this 'outlaw' image that our sport could possibly be labeled. The media would love to create 'something out of nothing' and I could see various government agencies feeding a potential media frenzy.

 

Let us keep our enemies within reach at all times. And if given the opportunity, we make our enemies our friend. It takes more effort but the payoff can be exceptional. This can be done without creating an environment whereby we are constantly "creating big slurping sounds." (where is a 'yuck' emoticon when you need it?)

Edited by clearpath

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The media would love to create 'something out of nothing' and I could see various government agencies feeding a potential media frenzy.

 

I'm sure this has been done, but maybe not. To gain media and public awareness in a positive way, why not have your local TV news follow you or your group on a cache hunt? Or even a local paper? We don't have any organizations very close (nearest is 200 miles away) that I can do this with, which is a shame, because I personally know two reporters (one from a paper, one from TV) who would probably do this for me.

 

Ya, the "big slurping sound" comment got me laughing, too!

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The original letter was the legal version of sales puffery. They came up with everything that might possibly apply and wrote it up in a nice letter with an authoritarian tone. Then for the final polish they reminded us of the punishments that that could be inflicted on us should we not comply.

 

The beauty of the letter is that the person who wrote it isn't the person we need to be dealing with. The letter is from the modern version of a hired gun. Someone made a decision it went down the chain of command and the gunman selected the best tools for the job from his legal arsenal. The person who's decision ultimately caused the hired gun to rattle the federal saber is who we need to take the issue up with. Though a letter like that pretty much tells you what type of negotiations they are interested in. The phrase "Talk to the hand" comes to mind.

Edited by Renegade Knight

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One of my first posts in this thread mentioned that I have received a letter of this type before (this is very similar to a legal C&D....cease and desist). It is even more shallow than RK puts it and that whatever actually set this in motion and the people behind it (both the person who fired out this letter and the person who told them to do it) are not as cold-hearted, brass-balled, or however you want to put it, as you might think.

 

If they sent out a letter that sounded like it came from someone trying to be your pal and suggesting that you not geocache in the NWRs, then they would probably get a chuckle from us and no change in our behavior. By sending out this more harsh-toned and serious letter, they have established only that they don't want us to do it given the status quo. It is our ability (and some might say responsibility) to create a meaningful dialog with a more humanistic tone that should be used as a first step (and I think GS's response letter was just that). I'm willing to bet that when things get straightened out and we are able to discuss our problem with someone at the FWS, then everything will be a lot calmer and more civil than that letter indicates.

 

Much like how this forum goes at times, the FWS is able to hide behind the efficient brutishness of that letter, but if approached in person or on the phone, their tone will be reasonably different.

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Boy, I don't know, juggler.....I've seen what they can do with the properly trained bears and mountain lions. Send a few of them out to guard a cache, and that'll put an end to caching where the Fishy Wildlife guys don't want ya caching!

 

On a serious note, though, their intent (in my opinion) was to scare us into not pushing the argument. Much the same as an attorney will send a frightening letter from his client to the opposite party, in the hopes that it will scare them into dropping whatever action they are attempting to take. Just recently, with the help of an attorney friend of mine, I filed suit against a customer who was refusing to pay for the projects I made for them. The suit asked for damages twice the original bill, and as expected, the defendant suddenly came out of hiding and offered to settle out of court for the original amount, which was fine by me. That seems to be the tactic deployed here, and they are hoping we don't realize that positive conversation might possibly lead to a change in their stance....in other words, they don't want to have to deal with it, and hope we are too meek to challenge them. If they would read some of the latest forums, they will see that there aren't very many who are meek and soft-spoken when it comes to something they are passionate about!

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I've read too much of this thread for one night. I have serious objections to the restrictions being placed on MY LAND. After all, I pay the taxes that bought it and maintain it. The problem is that the government already owns too much land (check how much here). It may not be obvious in the eastern states but take a look at most of the western states. I enjoy caching (haven't been doing much of it lately, but I enjoy it) and it concerns me that we have to be involved with any government agency to walk in the woods. As the saying goes, I'm just glad I don't get all the government I pay for.......

Edited by Team Titus213

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I've read too much of this thread for one night. I have serious objections to the restrictions being placed on MY LAND. After all, I pay the taxes that bought it and maintain it. The problem is that the government already owns too much land (check how much here). It may not be obvious in the eastern states but take a look at most of the western states. I enjoy caching (haven't been doing much of it lately, but I enjoy it) and it concerns me that we have to be involved with any government agency to walk in the woods. As the saying goes, I'm just glad I don't get all the government I pay for.......

I guess that's where I'm fortunate. I own 120 acres of land in Eastern Kansas that looks mostly like the land in Missouri and Arkansas. Rugged, hilly, and over 80acres of dense timber. I rarely use the National or State Parks, because I don't like to be walking through "virgin" forests and come upon a trail marker set in concrete. My land is far off the beaten track, and only a handful of local hunters and farmers know where it is. I can go there, and truly be free to do with it what I want. My great-great-great grandfather homesteaded the land, and the foundation to the original house he built is still there, along with two hand-dug wells, one 50'deep, the other 75' deep. What's that got to do with this topic? I guess it's just my way of saying, that though it seems the government owns all the land worth seeing, not quite. If the government won't humor this gc crowd by letting us cache on their lands, then I won't humor them by spending my hard earned dollars on vacation there, either. I'll just set my tent on my land and listen to the coyotes and whiporwills all night.

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Sparky it sounds like you have a beautiful place to escape to. I hope you can hold on to it. And further I hope you can do what you want with it. I've had some sleep and this issue is still very bothersome. Does anyone know WHY the government owns so much land? They are certainly not engaged in any 'commerce' that produces income so they shouldn't need it. And they are evidently not holding it for the use of citizens. According to the charts government owns over 40% of the state of Washington and over 60% of the state of Oregon. All I'm getting at is that restrictions on use could become a huge problem for folks who enjoy the outdoors. And unfortunately it will only impact those who are concerned with following the rules.

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Yes, and in your previous post you mentioned that you pay the taxes that bought it and maintain it. Unfortunately, the government didn't actually BUY very much of what it owns, only a very very small percentage. True, your taxes maintain some of it, but actually, it's user fees that take care of most of that maintainence.

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Does anyone know WHY the government owns so much land?

 

Good question. Here's some resources to get your answer.

 

URL

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I got this from another post some time ago. It shows that the BLM has a policy for Geocaching. In fact this is a direct quote, "The BLM believes that geocaching is an appropriate casual use of the Public Lands."

 

Please read.

 

http://www.blm.gov/nhp/efoia/wo/fy02/im2002-017.html

 

I believe the BLM manages more land than USFWS. USFWS is not listed in the link below but the link does show the BLM as the largest of most federal agencies

 

http://www.nwi.org/Maps/LandChart.html

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Instead the question should be "Can we establish a fair use policy with you for the future?".

 

BINGO!

 

The same anger and desire for change that we're expressing here is what brought the existing rules about in the first place. Take a step back, a bit farther into history. Take a look at the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire at the turn of the century. It was a scarred desolate moonscape. Look at it today - in practicality it has returned to wilderness. Without reasoned persistent voices working to bring about change we would not have areas such as the WMNF to enjoy at all. Today's rules and bureacracy evolved to embrace hunting, hiking, camping, etc. They can evolve to include geocaching in some form if we are patient but vocal.

One suggestion is to tap into the existing lobbying efforts of groups like the Appalachian Mountain Club. I see strong ties between their ongoing efforts and the sport of geocaching. Geocaching is just another great reason to get out there and enjoy the outdoors, and part of the USFWS charter is to promote similar activities. So let's exercise our privilege in this "land of the free" to start a dialogue on the subject of geocaching with the bureacracy that WE put in place, by way of our duly elected representatives.

 

You DID vote, right?

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Where are we on this?  Hydee?

We are on government time. Give it 6 months...

So about the middle of May I can bother checking this thread again? :blink:

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I asked about hiding a cache in a US Dept of Agriculture managed National Forest in another forum. We got one response advising no problem. Now we find all this going on.

 

So we ask again, is it ok to place a cache in a National Forest, run by the Dept. of Ag? Or are they in the same camp as the fish folks? Will the cache be approved and posted on GeoCaching.com when we submit it?

 

BTW, there are other caches in the same forest area which are listed on the website...

 

The specific area we have in mind is 2000 acres with public access for hiking, cross country skiing, rustic camping, wildlife viewing, and 'non-motororized recreation'. There are numerous access points with established and maintained parking areas, and many miles of trails.

 

Hope it is ok, because we plan to put it out this weekend. Maybe we'll reserve it for private use for a little while if concensus is it might be shaky. Too bad if that is the case, there are hundreds of thousands of acres of really cool National Forest countryside up north which is supposed to be for public use. Geo Caching would sure get more of the public into these areas!

 

Thanks for the info. Gram & Gramps

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1. I don't think that Groundspeak has heard anything back from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. No new information has come to the attention of the volunteer cache reviewers. Normally we would be informed promptly of material developments.

 

2. Gram&Gramps, you should check with the Wisconsin Geocaching Association or with WGA, the Wisconsin volunteer cache reviewer, for advice on the National Forest policies for or against geocaching there. National Forests are managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture which is not a part of the Department of the Interior. (The National Park Service and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service are part of the Department of the Interior.) In general, National Forests are receptive to geocaching, but practices may vary from one to the next. In particular, designated "wilderness areas" within National Forests are almost always off-limits to geocaching. In any event, National Forests are off-topic for the concerns being discussed in this thread.

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This came to the attention of others in Florida several weeks ago. A friend and fellow geocacher gathered some information regarding who's who on the committees that approve their budget. Some of us have already e-mailed our representatives as well to gain insight into this line of reasoning.

First, the list:

 

Here are the committees, their members, and their homepages for the congressional oversight of the FWS. (Hilary Clinton is on the Senate committee, but maybe Bob Graham is the way to go since we are his beloved constituents.) There are no Floridians on the House committee.

 

The House Resources Committee, Resources Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, 108th Congress http://www.house.gov/resources/

which has jurisdiction over Western water and lands issues, ESA and the Fish and Wildlife Service,. Republicans already named Richard Pombo (CA) as Chairman of the Resources Committee,

 

U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

http://www.senate.gov/~epw/

 

Committee Members, 108th Congress

 

James M. Inhofe, R-Oklahoma James M. Jeffords,I-Vermont John W. Warner,R-Virginia Max Baucus,D-Montana Christopher S. Bond,R-Missouri Harry Reid,D-Nevada George V. Voinovich,R-Ohio Bob Graham,D-Florida

Michael D. Crapo,R-Idaho Joseph I. Lieberman,D-Connecticut Lincoln Chafee,R-Rhode Island Barbara Boxer,D-California John Cornyn,R-Texas Ron Wyden,D-Oregon Lisa Murkowski,R-AlaskaThomas R. Carper,D-Delaware Craig Thomas,R-WyomingHillary Rodham Clinton,D-New York Wayne Allard,R-Colorado

 

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over

the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act and other major environmental laws, as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency.The new Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) is a conservative and frequent critic of the ESA and the Resources Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, 108th Congress Environmental Protection Agency.

 

A letter from the Northeast Florida Geocachers Association:

 

November 20, 2003

 

 

Congressman Ander Crenshaw

127 Cannon House Office Building,

Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Representative Crenshaw

 

I am an avid participant in the sport of Geocaching. In this sport, a person hides a container and then posts the coordinates on a Web page. Others then to try to find the container using a Global Positioning System (GPS) device. As such, the sport often involves hiking on land controlled by various government agencies.

 

It has come to my attention that the US Fish and Wildlife Service has recently banned our activities from the land that they manage. Not only have they banned our activities, they have refused to explain or discuss the matter with representatives of our sport who have approached them.

 

People of all ages and backgrounds enjoy our sport. It is a way for individuals, families and friends to get outdoors and enjoy the many areas of this wonderful country that they might not otherwise take the opportunity to explore. As a group, we take great pride in our concern and care for the areas to which our sport takes us. One of our mottos is, “Cache in, Trash Out.“ There are often events sponsored at parks to help with picking up the refuse that others have left behind. Not to mention the payment of park fees which, in this time of fiscal crisis, can only be welcomed. There are many other reasons these citizens should be welcomed on lands that are set aside for all to enjoy.

 

Our sport has established organizations that have worked with local, state and federal government entities to establish guidelines for our activities on government controlled lands. We would love the opportunity to establish such discussions with the USFWS.

 

I urge you to look into this matter and at least ask that the USFWS explain their decision and discuss it with representatives of our sport. The National Park Service has a similar ban of long standing and I urge you to look into that as well.

 

If you would like more information on our sport, it can be found at www.geocaching.com and at http://home.earthlink.net/~nefga/.

 

Thank you for your help and attention.

 

Sincerely

 

 

David C. Klug

Northeast Florida Geocachers Association

 

If elections count for anything (other than in Florida :unsure: ), perhaps a deluge of e-mail and letters will at least get some people to pay attention.

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Ok folks, when this first started I advocated that we start e-mailing the following person:

Chief of Public Affairs:

Jeffrey_M_Fleming

E-mail: Jeffrey_M_Fleming@fws.gov

Phone: (202) 208-4131

Fax: (202) 219-2428

 

But like many others agreed to give Hydee and company a chance to work on this. Based on the post from Keystone Approver I'd say that F&WS has taken the stance of, we have made our decision and if you don't like it to bad, we are the FEDERAL government.

 

Here is what I would like to suggest. This coming week everyone take a minute to E-mail a copy of David Klug's letter to the people he has listed in his post as well as fax and e-mail Jeffery Flemming. David's letter is to the point and easy to read, its time we started to take a stand as a group. By doing this on a specific week it makes it harder to ignore if they get hit with large numbers of faxes and e-mails on the same subject. And yes senators and congressmen do log the letters/e-mails they recive by subject.

 

Otherwise we run the risk of other agencies(local, state, federal) going well if the NPS and F&WS banned geocaching they must have had a good reason, so we should ban Geocaching to. Without bothering to investigate properly.

 

To quote John Belsuhi from Animal House: Who's with me!!!??? If we can come up with 800 votes for the Geocaching for love story, we can do the same here. Think about 800 e-mails and 800 faxes at F&WS and all of the senaotrs on the committee

Edited by magellan315

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Just as a note here, I've noticed a number of people in this thread mention that they have received permission from various government agencies to geocache, and later find out that they no longer have permission.

 

ALWAYS request the permission in writing! You can simply say you don't want there to be any problems caused with others in the area, and would like a written, DATED form stating what is being permitted.

 

Maybe these same letters could be used later if the permission is rescinded, as a legal argument for continuing the privilege.

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Remember Geocachers, we must be politically correct! To publish the name of a government bureaucrat could be construed to hold said bureaucrat responsible for that which he (or, she) included in his (or, her) correspond-dance. The Geocaching chain of command will protect us! Don't get involved. Some poor soul might get the wrong idea.

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Where have you been??? B)

There are several threads related to this baby in the "GPS Units and Software" forum B)

 

Let's keep this discussion here on NWRs, please.

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This decisions are being made by mid-level beauraucrats that don't want to make an effort to learn about what they're deciding. I'd say we should make them work --- start filing FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests to Department of Interior, National Park Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service asking for all documents pertaining to their policies on geocaching, documents pertaining to the development of such policies, documents pertaining to legal interpretations of geocaching, documents pertaining to any prosecutions of individuals for participating in geocaching, etc. (You might want to ask for the same documents for hide-and-go-seek, since this is basically just a variant of that game). By law, each FOIA request must be filled within a certain period of time. There are several exemptions to the FOIA that allow one to have these requests filled at no cost. FOIAs are the biggest pain in the a** for my agency, I'm sure it is for DOI also.

 

Furthermore, if I have this right, neither the NPS, BLM nor USFS can actually ban geocaching without going through a rule making process, open for public comment, and published in the Federal Register. The process may be opposite for USFWS, where they have to publish permissable new uses of their lands in the Federal Register and open those up for public comment.

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There are two national parks in the Texas coastal bend area and both have virtual Geocaches. One is at the visitors center as there are items to be reported. The second is at a popular birding view station. Rangers in both parks know they are there and allow if not acively approve.

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Mea culpa. Virtuals can be as damaging as other caches. Your "bushwaking" for virtuals shows that either kind of geocaching has the potential to be damaging to an area.

 

Where does this nonsense come from? Why is it always assumed that bushwhacking will damage the forest? I think you should run out right now and KILL every animal the has legs and refuses to use the trail system. I guess it's easier to spout that kind of BS than it is to engage any brain cells and really think.

Not to mention those persons who created those trails in the first place.

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Not to mention those persons who created those trails in the first place.

Uhm, in most cases that would again be the animals, or perhaps native american indians, or early settlers to the area.

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Just as a note here, I've noticed a number of people in this thread mention that they have received permission from various government agencies to geocache, and later find out that they no longer have permission.

 

ALWAYS request the permission in writing! You can simply say you don't want there to be any problems caused with others in the area, and would like a written, DATED form stating what is being permitted.

 

Maybe these same letters could be used later if the permission is rescinded, as a legal argument for continuing the privilege.

Great idea, but if you press the issue, the "yes" may quickly turn into a "no".

 

If you detect hesitation in putting it in writing it is probably because the grantor does not want to be held accountable if it turns out badly.

 

Confirm your verbal permission with a follow-up email or letter (from you) stating the gist of your agreement. Then the grantor has an "out" if he/she gets heat from higher up- he/she can just say he/she forgot or didn't get the letter or didn't respond to the nut case that wrote it like so much other junk mail/spam or whatever.

 

You, however have your assets covered. While not quite as good as a signed paper from a person who really has the authority to grant permission (few know who that really is), it negates any argument you might get that you have committed an illegal act, because you at least HONESTLY BELIEVED you had permission.

 

So then when you get "official" notice that it is an illegal cache, all you gotta do is remove it. It's a game and the world won't end when your cache is gone. (necessarily)

 

GDAE

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I have to ask this question, and I haven't seen it addressed..

 

Has anyone even verified that the letter is indeed genuine, and that this is the official stance of the USFWS?? I mean the person that wrote it could be a janitor with a FWS email address. If it was an email, it doesn't qualify as a legal notice anyway. Try certified/registered mail next time, Proof of signature required.

 

I just have visions of some low level FWS intern pissed off at their "significant other" because they spent the weekend caching with friends, and figured that they'd shut that down quick.

 

While we're all sitting here posturing about what to do, I'd be chasing whether that is INDEED the official be all-end all stance of the FWS before we start going off on our legislators.

 

Just a thought..

 

-Roger

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That's a good thought. When I saw the bit in the e-mail signature with the person's name withheld, I too questioned the credibility of the sender.

 

I mean when you read the reg's it seems like so much BS.

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I have been wondering about this a while. I know it takes time to deal with government agencies - but I figured if this was "real" they eventually post something on the USFWS website - last time I checked I saw no mention of this "ban". I've been planning to go speak to the Ranger at the local NWR.

 

However - this came up in a neighboring state:

 

Morgan's Treasure - read RevJohn and Kimsfriends logs.

 

I know GC.com has been in contact and it's a slow process but perhaps it's time for geocachers to start contacting people? I don't know - just seems like we have nothing to lose when it comes to NWR's....

 

southdeltan

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I have been wondering about this a while.  I know it takes time to deal with government agencies - but I figured if this was "real" they eventually post something on the USFWS website - last time I checked I saw no mention of this "ban".  I've been planning to go speak to the Ranger at the local NWR.

 

However - this came up in a neighboring state:

 

Morgan's Treasure  -  read RevJohn and Kimsfriends logs.

 

I know GC.com has been in contact and it's a slow process but perhaps it's time for geocachers to start contacting people?  I don't know - just seems like we have nothing to lose when it comes to NWR's....

 

southdeltan

I should note that I've recieved two letters back from one of my Senators after I send her a letter about this. The second one, while lacking in any detail seems promising.

 

(I'm still not going to vote for her when she comes up for re-election in a few years).

 

EDIT: spelling

Edited by Right Wing Wacko

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I recently noticed that all of the cache's planted on the boundary of a wildlife refuge have been moved. I guess in Idaho they are pushing the issue. I don't understand how geocaching is worse than than goose and duck hunting. :rolleyes:

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Someone may have contacted you about allowing “virtual” geocaches on NWR properties. Unlike actual physical caches, these caches do not hide anything, but merely require viewing an area. There is no physical damage to an area, and nothing left behind. Further, these virtual caches bring people to an area that they would not have otherwise visited. This type of cache could and would benefit the NWR by making people aware of the work the government is doing to protect our sensitive wildlife ecosystems. I urge you to consider this when making any decisions.

 

So someone walking through a "sensitive area" to find a virtual cache causes less damage than the same person looking for a real cache?

 

A virtual cache in a "sensitive area" will have less impact than a real cache in the same area?

 

Interesting how that happens. Can you please explain? Do the plants and animals in the area know that the seeker is looking for a virtual, rather than a real cache?

I agree with this and almost all the other posts. Unless the plan is to make all NWR areas private and not allow any public access, then banning geocaching is a stupid idea.

 

Most geocachers I know, are one of the best assests the parks and NWR areas have. We do no damage, bring in more visitors and take out a lot of trash on the way. What more can they ask for, sounds like free services they are getting.

 

Well that should cover it for now,

Cliff

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Groundspeak received the following email from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Refuge Law Enforcement:  ...

Hydee. It has been four month to the day since the this first post. Anything at all that can be posted to bring us all up to date?

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Groundspeak received the following email from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Refuge Law Enforcement:  ...

Hydee. It has been four month to the day since the this first post. Anything at all that can be posted to bring us all up to date?

Nope.

 

You can only flog a dead horse for so long...

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Are the National Forests still open?

 

I don't think the UFWS can speak for the National Forest Service. They are all separate agencies.

 

The UFWS and NPS are part of the Dept of the Interior. The National Forest Service is part of the Dept of Agriculture, two distinctively different agencies with much different missions.

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It is interesting that the search engine on the USFWS webpage can find no reference to either geocache, or geocaching. You would think that they would want the people (you know the ones they are supposed to work for) to know about such policies. I guess it is easier to have signs printed, haul them out to distant places and have them be left where folks are supposed to be enjoying nature.

Signs like these are a much bigger eyesore, and probably have more impact on the animals than a well concealed tupperware container. IMHO

Edited by Gary and Mary Adventurers

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I will no longer be carrying trash out of NWRs (they might consider that ''valued property too!'') as I have done. I will no longer be helping them in maintaining and reclearing trails on NWRs as I have done. I will no longer be reporting fires on NWRs that I spot as I have done.

 

I don't think its fair to quit helping National Parks just because they don't support geocaching. Some of my favorite places in the world are on National Park property. I would hope that someone wouldn't stop doing their part to make these places more beautiful just because they don't support everything you do. And by saying that you won't help them you are basically doing what they are doing to us, just because there are some places that you can't geocache.

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I will no longer be carrying trash out of NWRs (they might consider that ''valued property too!'') as I have done. I will no longer be helping them in maintaining and reclearing trails on NWRs as I have done. I will no longer be reporting fires on NWRs that I spot as I have done.

 

I don't think its fair to quit helping National Parks just because they don't support geocaching. Some of my favorite places in the world are on National Park property. I would hope that someone wouldn't stop doing their part to make these places more beautiful just because they don't support everything you do. And by saying that you won't help them you are basically doing what they are doing to us, just because there are some places that you can't geocache.

He said NWR's - not National Parks. I can't say I blame him.

 

Incidentally - the supposed NWR ban (well it looks to be real based on one cache being confiscated) comes several months before the NPS may actually be addressing geocaching. There's another thread around here somewhere about that...

 

southdeltan

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