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NYS DEC Policy on Setting Caches in Public Lands


LakeGeoBen
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I think it's just lack of cachers in the area. Hopefully the recent article in the Oneonta Daily star will spark some new interest up there.

cool / *phew*! glad it's not somehow another forbidden area. also good to know it ran in an Oneonta newspaper, that's gotta pick up a little interest 'round there.

 

I'm going to look up GCAC2 and pop it on my to do list, hopefully hit it while nearby... not that often I run into another cacher with a cache so close on the forums :ph34r:

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Wow, that's a helluva nice job on the cache itself, the cache's page, and the photos!

 

I'd like to ask a few questions to so I can understand what you went through to get your cache placed:

 

(1) What is the DEC classification of the land in the park where your cache resides?

 

(2) What steps did you need to take to get your cache placed with permission from the DEC?

 

(3) Who did you work with at the DEC to accomplish this? If you do not want to publish this information here, please e-mail it to me at: publicrelations AT ny-geocaching DOT org

 

Your experience can help NYGO greatly in future dealings with the DEC!

 

P.S. I realize your cache page states it's not inside the blue line, but it's still inside the park, correct?

Edited by Ferreter5
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Brian's got it right. The actual cache and the "dummy" cache coordinates are all outside the blue line. I really wanted to do the bridges as I've done many like these in three states.

 

I could not get an anwser to a question I had posted in this topic:"Can you place a cache inside the Blue Line as long as it's not in a Forest or Wilderness Area?" Since no anwser was forthcoming, I had to think "outside the box" or in this case the Blue Line.

 

This could be a good model for doing caches in places like the Catskill that have really beautiful trails and views; as my pictures attest. Another idea, is to pick a trail and find clues along the trail like I did with the bridges that would get you the coordinates for the container outside the Blue Line.

 

We can open the Catskills and the Adirondacks to caching. It's not the perfect answer but it works. Since the point in going to these areas is to view the beauty and use its resourses, you can still do that and have containers as well

 

The limitation for places like the Adirondacks is that you might have to travel a considerable distance to get outside the Blue line. Maybe virtuals should be allowed in these areas. Why close wonderful natural resourses out of caching because of the general rule about virtuals?

 

Now let's see who's FTF on the cache. :mad:

 

Alan

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I realize your cache page states it's not inside the blue line, but it's still inside the park, correct?

 

No if you define Park as everything within the Blue line, which is NYS's definition. In that case, inside the park and Blue line are the covered bridges, tour roads, trails, falls, brooks, photos, clues and black flies, and everything else. Outside are the "dummy" container coordinates and actual container only .

 

But your question does point up the main question that I had.

 

It's my understanding that the Blue Line defines the Catskill Park. However, the park consists of state property such as the Forest and Preserves that no caching is apperantly allowed. However, the area within the Blue line also include private as well as non-Forest and non-preserve county property. Adding another twist, there is NY City property in the form of reservoirs and adjacent lands with the Park. They fall under the NYC own envirnmental group. I have no idea what NY City rules are.

 

So the question I have is can you place a cache on private property including private woods within the Park's Blue Line? There are loads of private hunting areas in the Catskills; I assume that's true in the Adirondacks (I would think so as NFA is doing in the Adirondacks.)

 

So if that would be allowed, would placing a cache on county right of ways such as next to a bridge or under it, or on the roadside be allowed? I don't see the difference. In neither case are you in a Forest or Preserve. (Note: for a really clear picture of these areas, check the New York New Jersey Trail Conference trail maps. They distinguish Preserves, Parks, private araeas etc.

 

On the other hand, I believe even counties have to ask permission to do things to their roads that transverse the parks so the state mgiht have jurisdiction.

 

In summary, it's still very confusing. :lol: Until we get clear answers, the "covered bridge" model might be the way to go for now. :D

 

Alan

Edited by Alan2
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I will add some more here. Mr Messenger is only speaking for his assigned area and cannot speak for the other regions that do not fall within the Catskill and ADK park boundry. And I think the approvers need to realize this. If Mr Forness says region 7 is good to go then there should be no conflict with Geocache.Com posting traditional caches located in this region.

 

Now I had a cache denied by NJadmin by following Mr Messengers letter. Mr Messenger has no jurisdiction on the area where I hid the cache and Mr Messenger even stated that in his latest letter. Granted my region sub station said you need a Temporary Revocable permit, but I am also dealing with a desk clerk and need to go to the head of region 4.

 

Bottom line is Mr Messenger is not Mr Forness boss in anyway.

 

Another good thing is that region 7 borders region 4 which is only a 1/2 drive for me. I have also contacted Mr Forness and am waiting for a reply.

Latest update. I finally heard back from Mr. Forness.

 

Over the past three weeks we have received numerous requests for placing geocaches on State Forests.  We have recently received clear direction from our Albany supervisors on the way to handle geocache requests.

This will represent a change from our past direction.

 

All individuals, groups or organizations wishing to place a geocache on a State Forest or Unique Area must apply for a Temporary Revocable Permit.  An electronic copy of the application is attached. 

Return the completed application (to the address below) along with the required $25 application fee (educational institutions and government entities are exempt from the fee) and a map of the location or locations where you'd like to place a cache. 

We also need proof that you or your organization has a liability insurance policy in place to cover this activity. This proof, in the form of an insurance certificate, must name the "People of the State of New York,  the Department of Environmental Conservation and it's officers and employees"  as additional  insured parties to the policy.

The limits of the policy must be at least $100,000 per person or $300,000 for multiple persons killed or injured in any accident and at least $5,000 for property damages.

 

 

I have a pdf of the TRP, and will try and get it hosted somewhere. I'll also forward a copy to the NY cache reviewer, since he will be dealing with most of these issues now.

Sorry I don't have better news, it's been quite some time some time since I've heard any official word. I think the insurance is the biggest issue that needs addressing. This same thing came up in PA, and the lawyers for that state eventually decided that the standard insurance they already carry for hikers and other recreational users would suffice. I've mentioned this to the DEC some time ago, but have not heard back.

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I think the insurance is the biggest issue that needs addressing. This same thing came up in PA, and the lawyers for that state eventually decided that the standard insurance they already carry for hikers and other recreational users would suffice.

Yep, that's horrific! It's one of the two big DEC issues NYGO is gearing up to tackle.

 

(1) State Forest Preserves and the regulation about not storing personal property there.

 

(2) The insurance part of the TRP for State Forests and Wildlife Management Areas.

 

Somehow I think they're applying the rules for "an event" to geocaching, which is nuts. I can't believe everyone who holds an event or hikes or traps or otherwise uses State Forests and Wildlife Management Areas has to provide liability insurance. The information about PA is nice to know for reference!

Edited by Ferreter5
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What did you people expect, you emailed, called, and sent registered letters to these people to a point of harassment. They are bureaucrats, only looking to stay under their boss’s radar, not make waves a collect a fat retirement. You said make a decision!!!! Tell us your policy, we demand it!!!! Well now you have it. They had been happy with don’t ask – don’t tell, for the past 4 years.

What makes me most angry is the people on the forums represent a very small percent of cachers, the self-important busy bodies you have ruined it for everybody

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Rocky, thanks for all the constructive input -- not. I'm sure the hard working folks at the DEC will not enjoy reading your opinion of them and the work they do. Insulting the DEC people who geocachers are trying to work with to establish a mutually benefitial relationship will not help in any way.

 

I know I feel tingly all over about your opinion of geocachers who volunteer their personal time and work hard on land management issues -- again, not.

 

Thank you for driving home the point that geocaching does not need geocachers bashing the DEC over our hobby like you did. What we do need is an organized, unified effort that exhibits a whole lot of professionalism -- this is what is underway right now.

 

From reading your cache logs I'd always thought of you as a pretty nice person even though we've never met in-person. Is your lashing out here in the forums not an example of your normal demenor?

 

Please, let's not turn this thread into in-fighting.

Edited by Ferreter5
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NYS DEC Temporary Revocable Permits required for caches

 

I just received the following message from the Region 7 Ranger. He was wrong to give permission to place a cache on State Land. A permit is required. Between the insurance and nonrefundable $25 fee I guess another hobby is ruined. He does not say anything about grandfathering existing caches.

 

Now we should start a campaign that this is ridiculous compared to all the other activities that take place on State Lands.

 

Rangeray

 

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

FROM: David Forness

DATE: Monday, May 10, 2004 3:14 PM

SUBJECT: Re: Request for information on "Temporary Revocable Permits",Geocaching

 

Over the past three weeks we have received numerous requests for placing

geocaches on State Forests. We have recently received clear direction

from our Albany supervisors on the way to handle geocache requests.

 

All individuals, groups or organizations wishing to place a geocache on

a State Forest or Unique Area must apply for a Temporary Revocable

Permit. An electronic copy of the application is attached. Return the

completed application (to the address below) along with the required $25

application fee (educational institutions and government entities are

exempt from the fee) and a map of the location or locations where you'd

like to place a cache. We also need proof that you or your organization

has a liability insurance policy in place to cover this activity. This

proof, in the form of an insurance certificate, must name the "People of

the State of New York, the Department of Environmental Conservation and

it's officers and employees" as additional insured parties to the

policy. The limits of the policy must be at least $100,000 per person or

$300,000 for multiple persons killed or injured in any accident and at

least $5,000 for property damages.

 

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks,

Dave

 

Dave Forness

Supervising Forester

NYS - DEC

1285 Fisher Avenue

Cortland, NY 13045

 

[edited to remove personal contact info]

Edited by NJ Admin
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I posted this in the NYGO forums, but thought I would also post it here. I sent the following email to request quotes for the liability insurance. I will post the information when I hear back from them. I suspect that the quote will be very high, and perhaps we can use it to show the DEC that this is an unfair and impossible requirement.

 

 

Dear Sir/Madame:

 

I am the President of a local outdoors group called the New York Geocaching Organization (www.ny-geocaching.org). Geocaching is an adventure game for Global Positioning Systems (GPS) users. Basically, someone hides a container, marks the coordinates with their GPS and posts them on a central Website (www.geocaching.com). Others then download those coordinates to their GPS and go out to try to find the hidden item.

 

Recently, the DEC has issued new requirements for geocaches placed on State Forest land in New York. Their policy requirements are as follows:

  • All individuals, groups or organizations wishing to place a geocache on a State Forest or Unique Area must apply for a Temporary Revocable Permit. An electronic copy of the application is attached. Return the completed application (to the address below) along with the required $25 application fee (educational institutions and government entities are exempt from the fee) and a map of the location or locations where you'd like to place a cache.

  • We also need proof that you or your organization has a liability insurance policy in place to cover this activity. This proof, in the form of an insurance certificate, must name the "People of the State of New York, the Department of Environmental Conservation and it's officers and employees" as additional insured parties to the policy. The limits of the policy must be at least $100,000 per person or $300,000 for multiple persons killed or injured in any accident and at least $5,000 for property damages.

I am looking for two quotes here. Please let me know what the cost would be for an individual to obtain this type of insurance coverage for a single cache. I would also like to know the cost if the New York Geocaching Organization were to obtain a blanket coverage for all caches throughout the state.

 

If you have any questions, please let me know. Thank you.

 

Sandra Forbes

President, NYGO

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I posted this in the NYGO forums, but thought I would also post it here. I sent the following email to request quotes for the liability insurance. I will post the information when I hear back from them. I suspect that the quote will be very high, and perhaps we can use it to show the DEC that this is an unfair and impossible requirement.

 

 

I'm concerned about the precedent this could set. Despite the existence of some local clubs and organizations, geocaching is not an organized activity. There is no governing body, or central organization for the sport. We should try to negotiate with them to get rid of this ridiculious requirement, rather than try to fulfill it. Dozens of states and probably hundreds of local and county park systems have allowed geocaching without any such requirement. Geocaching is in line with dozens of other legitimate outdoor activities that have no such requirement.

 

Hiking groups, bird watchers, hunters and mountain bikers don't require liability insurance, nor should we.

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I'm concerned about the precedent this could set. Despite the existence of some local clubs and organizations, geocaching is not an organized activity. There is no governing body, or central organization for the sport. We should try to negotiate with them to get rid of this ridiculious requirement, rather than try to fulfill it.

NYGO won't be purchasing any insurance at all. It cannot afford thousands of dollars in insurance policies. But don't you think it is a good piece of information to have when/if we sit down with the DEC eventually? The idea was to get a "quote" not to actually purchase anything.

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I'm concerned about the precedent this could set. Despite the existence of some local clubs and organizations, geocaching is not an organized activity. There is no governing body, or central organization for the sport. We should try to negotiate with them to get rid of this ridiculious requirement, rather than try to fulfill it.

Sorry, I should have clarified that. As OurWoods mentioned, I requested the quote so that we can present the information to State. We are still focusing on trying to work with them to reverse this decision.

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The DEC insurance issue is a bit of a kick-in-the-pants. Excellent points on why it would even be required given similar uses by "hiking groups, birdwatcher, hunters," etc.

 

I'd like to post the .pdf of the application somewhere. Can someone guide me to where it could be posted for download?

 

Fran

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Has anyone tried to discuss he insurance issue with Mr. Messanger or anyone else? I'm wondering if there is any flexibility on that. Do hunters even need insurance? They carry guns for crying out loud and we need 100k/300k liability for freaking Tupperware!

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I dont know.....this new policy seems more geared toward large usage by agricultural, lumber, county, town, or for other invovled purposes....

 

I mean, heck, hunters, trappers, fishermen, hikers, bikers, horseback riders all USE this same land, but do THEY have to pay $25 and file a permit every time they want to "use" this land?

 

I would be interested to find that out....

 

I do realise we are leaving a little something behind, the "equipment", meaning cache container, which shouldnt in and of itself have that much of an impact on the environment....

 

I would like to see something like a geocaching license, where you pay a fee just like a hunting/fishing/trapping license, and are allowed to place as many caches on whatever DEC land you like, but still be required to apply for a permit for each cache, but with no per-application fee.

 

I'm pretty sure cache density would NOT become much of an issue....We police ourselves pretty well on that count...And DEC would still have final say in the approval of each application, if they thought density was becoming an issue.

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As one who frequents the wildlife management and wilderness areas of the Adirondacks and nearby areas, and one who has also found a few geocaches, and a NY resident and tax payer, I frankly am glad the DEC has the regulations against leaving personal property on state land. As far as the argument that hunters use the land, and don't need insurance, well, they are under many rules and regulations, have to have a license, and are also not supposed to leave personal property on the land. I think the permit that the DEC has proposed probably has been designed for other purposes, and is being offered as a solution for those of you eager to leave geocaches in these areas. I never put out a cache in these areas because I knew it wasn't permitted, and I didn't want to bother getting permission. But I do know of several "illegal" caches. I hope they will be removed. In any event, as far as the Adirondack park and the wilderness areas, they are protected and supposed to be "forever wild". The DEC has removed leantos, ranger stations, and other non-conforming structures, so if you think that geocaching is being mistreated, I don't believe it is. I'm for leaving the wilderness areas as is, without physical geocaches. There are plenty of opportunities for virtual caches. Isn't it more about the hunt, and less about some dollar store trinkets?

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In any event, as far as the Adirondack park and the wilderness areas, they are protected and supposed to be "forever wild". The DEC has removed leantos, ranger stations, and other non-conforming structures, so if you think that geocaching is being mistreated, I don't believe it is. I'm for leaving the wilderness areas as is, without physical geocaches.

 

In some instances they have removed lean-tos, but there are also numerous lean-tos still on forest preserve land, not to mention summit registers for hikers and climbers. What's a summit register? A waterproof container with a logbook and pencil. Sounds an awful lot like a geocache to me. But OK, we'll give you the forest preserves and keep them free of the scourge of concealed Tupperware. What about the hundreds of thousands of acres of DEC managed lands that are not forest preserve?

 

Apparently the DEC doesn't have an issue with geocaching itself, otherwise they would ban it outright. They're just afraid of being sued by someone tripping over a rock while hiking to a cache.

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The initial issue with State Forest Preserves (aka Adirondaks/Catskills) is the regulation cited by Rob Messenger regarding no leaving of private property in State Forest Preserves. Once we get past this initial issue we'll have to see what's next in line to address State Forest Preserves.

 

The issue with State Forests and Wildlife Management Areas is the Temporary Revokable Permit (approval, cost, and insurance requirement) that do not seem to apply to other activities on these same lands.

 

Thanks to several helpful geocachers, NYGO now has some initial DEC contact information to try out for both of these issues.

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The initial issue with State Forest Preserves (aka Adirondaks/Catskills) is the regulation cited by Rob Messenger regarding no leaving of private property in State Forest Preserves. Once we get past this initial issue we'll have to see what's next in line to address State Forest Preserves.

 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, forest preserves have a special status under NY's constitution. I doubt geocaching will ever be allowed there because of that. You're best off focusing your efforts on other DEC lands.

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The initial issue with State Forest Preserves (aka Adirondaks/Catskills) is the regulation cited by Rob Messenger regarding no leaving of private property in State Forest Preserves. Once we get past this initial issue we'll have to see what's next in line to address State Forest Preserves.

 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, forest preserves have a special status under NY's constitution. I doubt geocaching will ever be allowed there because of that. You're best off focusing your efforts on other DEC lands.

hi,

 

deja said... <_<

 

nfa

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In some instances they have removed lean-tos, but there are also numerous lean-tos still on forest preserve land, not to mention summit registers for hikers and climbers. What's a summit register? A waterproof container with a logbook and pencil.  Sounds an awful lot like a geocache to me.  But OK, we'll give you the forest preserves and keep them free of the scourge of concealed Tupperware.  What about the hundreds of thousands of acres of DEC managed lands that are not forest preserve?

 

Apparently the DEC doesn't have an issue with geocaching itself, otherwise they would ban it outright. They're just afraid of being sued by someone tripping over a rock while hiking to a cache.

Actually, they have removed the canisters on the "trailless peaks". I know, I am also a 46er. If the DEC or the Parks dept. wants to allow geocaches in other areas like state parks, or the non-wilderness areas, I guess that's fine. Just like to see something that approaches wilderness left as such as much as possible.

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Actually, they have removed the canisters on the "trailless peaks". I know, I am also a 46er. If the DEC or the Parks dept. wants to allow geocaches in other areas like state parks, or the non-wilderness areas, I guess that's fine. Just like to see something that approaches wilderness left as such as much as possible.

 

Why do you feel caches would not let you "see" the "wilderness"? Unlike canisters on peaks, caches are hidden from view. Even the park official stated above that their concern was not the impact on the woods but liability in case of injury hence the insurance requirement and the "permit".

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Actually, they have removed the canisters on the "trailless peaks". I know, I am also a 46er. If the DEC or the Parks dept. wants to allow geocaches in other areas like state parks, or the non-wilderness areas, I guess that's fine. Just like to see something that approaches wilderness left as such as much as possible.

Ahh yes, a small hidden tupperware in the woods and all of a sudden it's not wilderness anymore. ;)

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Actually, they have removed the canisters on the "trailless peaks". I know, I am also a 46er. If the DEC or the Parks dept. wants to allow geocaches in other areas like state parks, or the non-wilderness areas, I guess that's fine. Just like to see something that approaches wilderness left as such as much as possible.

 

After some complaining, an agreement was reached to leave the cannisters in the Catskill Forest Preserve. Apparently the DEC now "owns" them and the 3500 club maintians them.

Edited by briansnat
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I can see the point of people like Wildman who believe that geocaches negatively affect the wilderness experience and don't want to see them in forest preserve lands, although I don't agree with it. Then you read stuff like this where environmental groups had to sue the DEC to make them enforce rules against ATVs on forest preserve lands.

 

According to the article, they closed many of the roads to ATV's, but left 5 open. This is in the "forever wild" Adirondack Forest Preserve, where trail maintainers aren't even allowed to use chainsaws to clear down trees from trails . In essence the DEC is saying, go ahead and tear up these lands with your noisy, exaust spewing machines, but don't you dare hide some Tupperware in a stump :P .

 

By MICHAEL GORMLEY, Associated Press

First published: Thursday, May 27, 2004

 

ALBANY -- The state has agreed to close 54 forest roads to increasingly popular

all-terrain vehicles following the state's research and a lawsuit by an

environmental group.

 

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has studied and decided to

close the roads within the Aldrich Pond, Independence River, Black River and

Watson's East Wild River forest areas, DEC Commissioner Erin Crotty said

Wednesday. Five roads will remain open by seasonal permit for up to three years.

 

"This is the result of pressure from our lawsuit," said Peter Bauer of the

Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks, which sued the DEC in April.

 

"They realized that there's no lawful way to keep these roads open. We

congratulate the department, for the first time in the last 15 years that these

roads have been open, for obeying the laws on the books regarding ATVs," Bauer

said. "If they do that, there's no way these roads can remain open."

 

The group has agreed to at least temporarily suspend its lawsuit until next

April. The state has agreed to spend what may be millions of dollars to fix the

roads damaged by ATVs and develop a policy for ATV use and road maintenance in the forest preserve, Bauer said.

 

The five roads that will remain open are primarily in four wild forest areas in

the western Adirondacks, according to the residents' committee.

 

ATV clubs and local business owners have sought to expand areas where vehicles

can travel. They have said it will help the economy in the park, where

unemployment is high.

 

In the last two years, communities in some other states, including Duluth,

Minn., and Stroudsburg, Pa., have restricted ATVs because of environmental

concerns.

 

The powerful vehicles, usually with four-wheel drive and large knobby tires,

churn up trails and open forest land, Bauer said.

Edited by briansnat
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