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Hamilton Region Conservation Authority


Rogue_monkey
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i contacted the HRCA the other day and got this in return i think its good start.

 

Memorandum

 

TO: CONSERVATION AREAS ADVISORY BOARD

 

FROM: Tony Horvat, P. Eng., Director of Land Management Division

 

PREPARED BY: Sandy Bell, Manager, Design and Development

 

DATE: May 10, 2004

 

RE: Geocaching Activities on HCA Lands

 

Geocaching is a game for GPS (Global Positioning Systems) users. The basic concept is for individuals/organizations to place caches and share the locations of these caches on the Internet (www.geocaching.com). GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, the user may record their visit at the cache or they can record their find back on the Internet site. A further explanation of the activity is provided on the information pamphlet attached to this report.

 

This relatively new activity has gained popularity as more people own a GPS unit. HCA staff became interested in the geocaching activities after a number of cache sites described on the Internet were noted to be on HCA lands. The main concern was that these caches were being placed without permission from the Authority. In addition, several of the caches were placed in locations that had the potential to impact ecological features and create safety concerns. These were removed after these concerns were brought forward.

 

In order to be proactive in addressing this issue, staff initiated a meeting with several members of the Ontario Geocaching group to discuss our concerns and requirements. In general, staff are supportive of this form of healthy outdoor recreation but recognize that cache locations need to be placed in a safe, specific manner that minimizes impacts on the natural and cultural resources of our areas. It is also desirable to have cache locations that promote the use of our trail systems and do not encourage bushwhacking. The Authority wants cache directions that direct people to use our designated parking areas and pay the appropriate user fees. A number of management guidelines were discussed for the activity to be permitted on HCA lands.

 

Staff undertook a search for management policies on this activity that have been established elsewhere. In Canada, there is not much in the way of management strategies that have been developed. However, there is a wide range of policy guidelines that have been developed in a number of states in the USA. Staff have used several of these as a basis for the proposed management guidelines for HCA lands.

 

The following guidelines are recommended:

 

1. Any person wishing to place a cache on HCA lands must have a permit granted by the HCA.

2. Authority to approve the permit will be responsibility of the Area Superintendent responsible for the cache location with assistance from planning staff.

3. Caches are not to be placed in sensitive ecological, historical or archaeological locations.

4. No digging or disruption of the ground is permitted when placing the cache.

5. Caches are not to be placed in areas that could potentially cause danger to visitors trying to locate the cache.

6. The cache owner is to monitor the site monthly and maintain family friendly contents. This means the cache is not to contain food, alcohol, drugs, dangerous items or adult items. An explanation of the geocaching activity is to be included in the container.

7. If the location of a cache becomes a risk to park visitors or is causing ecological damage as a result of visitation, the owner will be requested to move the cache to a safer location or remove it. The relocated cache will require a new permit.

8. If any terms of the permit are violated, the permit will be voided and owner requested to remove the cache.

9. If a non-permitted cache is found, it will be removed. An attempt will be made to contact the cache owner to explain the HCA requirements and allow them to claim their cache.

10. A cache owner is limited to 3 cache permits on HCA lands at any one time.

11. A limit of 3 cache permits will be permitted in any one Conservation Area at one time.

12. Permits will be valid for a period of 12 months from the date of approval.

 

Recommendation

 

That the activity of geocaching be permitted on HCA lands under the guidelines outlined in the staff report dated May 10, 2004.

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I was at the initial meeting with the HCA, along with Bear & Ducky and Amazon Annie.

 

Most of what is listed above addressed the concerns of both the HCA and Geocaching.

 

I would however like to remind everyone that the OGA is not a policing agency and merely a group of Geocachers that promote the sensible policies of Geocaching.

 

To that end, and now that a semi-formalized policy has been outlined by the HCA we as the OGA can prepare a province wide policy that can be used for future policy discussions.

 

With respect to the 'recommended guidelines' of the HCA, the OGA will be following up to clairify item #6. Specifically the statement 'Monitor the site monthly'. Also item #12 to find out if a permit may be re-issued or renewed on an annual basis. We will also need to find out how geocachers can arrange for this permit and if geocaches that are currently in place will need to apply as well.

 

The OGA has already committed our services to assist the HCA in the following forms... Removal of non-approved caches, checking site locations with park staff, contacting geocache owners in the event of any concerns, and advising Cache Tech when any concerns are raised.

 

Should you have any content to include or request clairifaction please contact me directly at.

 

thebluequasar@cogeco.ca

 

I feel that the recommended guidelines are very accommodating and fair.

 

:huh: The Blue Quasar

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my exact question has now been taken by emma bean, does anyone know if there will be a fee. i replied to the hca e-mail about that but i guess other people my know before they get back to me.

 

and yes thanks guys for your work it has allowed or sport to move in the right direction with the HCA.

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