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New Policy For Iowa Caches

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Hello,

Just wanted to know if anyone as heard anything on when the new Iowa Cache policy by the DNR will be released or where we can get a copy. I have heard that the policy will be infect soon. Please leave a post here with any information or please email me.

 

Thanks for your help........ :rolleyes:

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Hello,

Just wanted to know if anyone as heard anything on when the new Iowa Cache policy by the DNR will be released or where we can get a copy. I have heard that the policy will be infect soon. Please leave a post here with any information or please email me.

 

Thanks for your help........ :rolleyes:

The last I heard they are still working on it but hope to have (final approval? or whatever its waiting for) it done and ready for March. Maybe the one of the people that was at Smillersmiller's most recent even can provide more info?

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The Iowa State Parks policy is set to be introduced to the legislature in the next session. One of the concerns of the policy is that it requires that the geocacher apply for a permit using UTM considering that the software provided to the individual park managers only uses UTM. Kind of a pain, but it appears that gc.com is now publishing that on the cache page now. Story County Conservation (Iowa) has modified their "model" policy to allow the geocacher to hide the cache before applying for the permit, which is free, but you are not allowed to post it to gc.com until its been approved. Story County can most often use satellite pictures to determine if the placement is okay with them, but they have a problem with a certain plant species that is killing everything in its path. And in one case, someone hid a cache in a big patch of that plant and they are now seeing that plant growing at a nearby cache site. So its seeds are getting tracked across the park on our shoes and causing problems for them in keeping it under control. In any case, there is often a very good reason for park officials to need to keep geocaching supervised, so please ALWAYS check with park rangers.

 

I've been asked NOT to post the policy, in an effort to control the misinformation. Your best bet is to talk with park officials in your area and get a copy from them and ask them about their impression of the policy. And then please let me know what their reaction is to it. We will help you to explain the game and provide other park manager's names/contact info if they'd like to speak with others in their same position. When they understand our game, they are much more likely to be open to our presence in the parks.

 

My favorite story is one from the Ozark Mountain geocachers email group where a Jefferson City, MO, park official went on a cache hunt and posted his find as a newbie. One of our long term geocachers saw the newbie's post and sent him a message asking him if he had obtained permission to hide the cache in that location and if the container was properly marked. Considering that the official was the cache owner, he did have permission, but having another geocacher, a stranger, encourage him to get permission, clinched it for him. He knew that this was a game bent on enjoying the outdoors and taking care of the parks we play in.

 

I have more stories along those lines, but I wont take up space here for that. Trust me, its far better to make that contact and build a good relationship, than to create difficulty for those that follow.

 

And when they post the proposed policy for Iowa parks, I'll be sure to post a link on the forums so that you can contact your legislators and let them know your concerns. Keep in mind, most of these people have no clue, so take them on a hunt, and show them. They'll get the idea real quick, when they learn how many people enjoy the parks, that may not have stopped there otherwise.

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" The Iowa State Parks policy is set to be introduced to the legislature in the next session.". Does anyone know if the general public get to read this proposed legislation and comment before it becomes law? And has the DNR had any public meetings/forums where one can discuss their proposed geocaching policy?

 

RooBoy

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" The Iowa State Parks policy is set to be introduced to the legislature in the next session.". Does anyone know if the general public get to read this proposed legislation and comment before it becomes law? And has the DNR had any public meetings/forums where one can discuss their proposed geocaching policy?

 

RooBoy

I would guess your nearest park manager might have a copy, but you would have to check with them to be sure.

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" The Iowa State Parks policy is set to be introduced to the legislature in the next session.". Does anyone know if the general public get to read this proposed legislation and comment before it becomes law? And has the DNR had any public meetings/forums where one can discuss their proposed geocaching policy?

 

I don't know for sure, but I assume that anything brought before the legislature would be available to the public and that there would at least be a committee hearing (normally open to the public, at least in my state anyway) including the matter.

 

What I find interesting is the need to go to the Legislature. In Nebraska (and I suspect many areas) the agency that oversees the parks would already have legislatively granted rule making authority.

 

Jennifer (or someone), please let me know when the policy is available publically for comment.

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The park managers have copies of the proposed policy. I'll see if I can obtain permission to pass it along now.

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Great News!!! The following is a link to a Word document given to Iowa State Park managers as a guideline during this interim period. The message sent to me was...

 

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

Jennifer,

I have attached the most current draft of Iowa DNR's proposed policy on geocaching. We will soon be deciding whether we need to add the policy to administrative rules. Until then, Iowa State Parks will be implementing this policy on an interim basis. You are welcome to distribute the attached policy with the understanding that it is being implemented on an interim basis. Also, we welcome comments on the policy at any time. If we decide to put the policy into the administrative code, you will have opportunities to submit comments during the formal public input process.

 

Thank you for helping inform geocachers about our policy,

 

Kevin Szcodronski, Chief

Iowa State Parks

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

 

The link to the document is...

 

http://www.gpgeocaching.com/userdocs/iowas...chingpolicy.doc

 

If you would like to post your comments on this forum, I'd be happy to pass them along to Kevin. We have already provided our comments to this, so I'm eager to see if others see the same issues we have seen with this.

 

Please note, that Jerry Keys from the Story County Conservation Board, a geocacher and key person in the history of this policy, is mentioned in this document. And due to his efforts to educate the naturalists about this game we love, he deserves a HUGE thanks.

 

BTW, Happy New Year!!!

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Spinwebby,

 

Thank you for a link to the proposed Iowa geocaching policy document. I will read.

 

Ciao

RooBoy

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Thanks for the link Spinwebby. My first impression is that the policy is very reasonable compared to others Ive read about.

 

I think it will be a bit of a hassle to move the cache each year, especially since gc.com now requires reapproval if the coords change significantly (AFAIK the other site(s) dont require this). But, that is a small price to pay.

 

I like that they are already planning what would get added to the DNR web site. They mentioned having a list of lands where geocaching is permitted. Hopefully it will include the contact info for each.

 

Thanks again

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Thanks. I'll read it. Although we are not in Iowa, it is possible that Nebraskache will want to submit a comment.

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The thing I notice is page 3, number 3, last sentence (conclusion section?). 'in general only one to three caches per area'

How flexible will this limit be? ;)

 

Also, the permit form requests UTM... that would be annoying if it actually is used.

 

Theres a few other things but those are less important.

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BINGO!! Welch you've found the trick! I didn't notice it until Jerry Keys pointed us to it. But he explained that the State provided some software that the park officials can use to get some idea of the location without actually hiking there, and it uses UTM for coords. I don't think its a big deal, but wanted your feedback.

 

As far as the number of caches in an area, its pretty much up to the individual park managers. I kinda liked the way the one of the counties in Illinois handled it by saying "for each x number of acres, you could have one cache" with exceptions for some special protected lands that were defined on their web site. I could point Iowa that direction, too, but I don't think its necessary and it might limit those who might be more open.

 

Otherwise, I didn't notice anything we couldn't work with. Please tell me if you see any red flags.

Edited by spinwebby

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I have read this proposed Iowa DNR geocaching policy.

 

Here are what I believe are the positives:

 

1. There will be a policy which gives the sport of geocaching a legitimacy in the eyes of various authorities. It will also be useful as this policy can be refernced by anyone promotong geocaching to local conservation/park managers. I know that the Johnson County conservation board will not even consider geocaching without this DNR policy (at least the last time I asked in August 2003).

 

2. They talk about adding a geocaching secion to the DNR web site. I believe that this is a must.

 

3. Here is a quote from the document:

"Coordination with the USFWS will be needed to demonstrate to the FWS that this activity does not impact wildlife production or the use of fish and wildlife lands by hunters and anglers."

 

This is a real bonus. The more official recognition that geocaching is not a destructive sport the more likely that certain Federal agencies will have to reevaluate their no geocaching here policies.

 

4. The cache container requirements only specify that the container must be clearly labeled. I think that this is better than saying one can oly use clear plastic containers.

 

5. No fee for permit.

 

Now for my one concern, and Welch has already touched on this area. "The number of permits issued is not expected to exceed 100 in any one year.." (page 3, bottom of paragraph 1). Even if a local park manager allows more than three caches placed in his/her park, I don't want to be denied permission to place a cache in another park just because the quota of 100 has been reached. This might be just an initial guestimate of the demand (used to determine feasibility of $5 permit fee) and might not be an issue.

 

I think that I would give this policy a gold start for being balanced but positive towards geocaching.

 

I am wondering if anyone has done any statistical analysis (say using the gc.com data) on Iowa geocaches. i.e. total caches in IA, maybe broken down by county, average visits per cache per year, average lifetime of cache. etc... I would be interested in working together with someone to do this type of analysis.

 

While I am no ecologist, it would be also intersting to see a professional environmental impact study done on some randomly placed caches just to prove that geocaching is non-destructive.

 

I also believe that when promoting geocaching to various authorities, we should promote the economic benefits of geocaching--people (including out of state people) are travelling and spending money.

 

Well enough talk.

 

Spinwebby, thank you for posting this Iowa DNR geocaching policy proposal on the web.

 

Ciao

RooBoy

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The policy for Worth County in North Central Iowa is that all cache's have to be registered in the conservation office.

 

When it was discussed and presented by the Naturalist, who read about it in one of his magazines, the director was against it at first as he thought the cachers would litter and trash the place. But he was quickly introduced to CITO. The rest of the board thought it was interesting and they never heard of it. Also he was told what about hunters. They litter the place worse by leaving shell boxes and garbage in the parking lots, and also the empty shells out in the wildlife areas. Any negative he brought up was quickly answered with a positive. It was decided that they would not stop geocaching from county areas in Worth County, as long as they are registered.

 

Just call their office to register. To this date there are 4 cache's on county public ground, hope you find them!!!

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I initially saw the UTM thing as a hassle also, but there are so many places online (and on some GPS units) to do the conversion that I wasnt worried about it.

 

this area. "The number of permits issued is not expected to exceed 100 in any one year.." (page 3, bottom of paragraph 1). Even if a local park manager allows more than three caches placed in his/her park, I don't want to be denied permission to place a cache in another park just because the quota of 100 has been reached. This might be just an initial guestimate of the demand (used to determine feasibility of $5 permit fee) and might not be an issue.

 

 

I read this as a guestimate to determine if they should charge.

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I have removed the only cache which I managed which was in a state park, and placed a new one nearby in a county park. County parks in my area are much more numerous and much more used than Iowa State parks, which suffer from too little services, and for one year, even required fees to be paid!

 

So, at the moment, I am not considering any caches in state parks at all.

When the DNR gets their act together, and provides useful services, and allows

legal caching without a lot of red tape, I may consider using state parks again.

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