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Alien Hunter

New Nebraska State Park Geocaching Rules

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Now we need to actually define who can give permission and how to directly contact them in a manner that will facilitate a timely placement of a cache.

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Is this just State Parks? Does this include State Recreation areas? They are unstaffed. I'm guessing not.

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SRA's are allowed and WMA's are allowed. SHP's are not allowed. Parks are allowed with this permission form. The reason for my earlier comment was that I tried to put one of the 3 Germans caches in Mahoney SP so I could spread them around. The hassle factor for MSP is a new level for a local bureaucracy. Needless to say, the 3 Germans went into WMA's and local parks instead.

 

I don't feel that this is a genuine sign of support for caching. I see this as a co-option of geocaching in state parks. Can't ban it, would look bad. Can't tax it, the taxes on 3 dollar ammo cans and 1 cent cache items would cost more to collect than would be recovered. Don't want to let people do this, so I can make the form vague, and I can make getting the form a month long email fest, and then no one will want to do geocaching here and I can go back to appeasing the camper set. (I may be paranoid, but even paranoids have enemies.)

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I don't feel that this is a genuine sign of support for caching. I see this as a co-option of geocaching in state parks. Can't ban it, would look bad. Can't tax it, the taxes on 3 dollar ammo cans and 1 cent cache items would cost more to collect than would be recovered. Don't want to let people do this, so I can make the form vague, and I can make getting the form a month long email fest, and then no one will want to do geocaching here and I can go back to appeasing the camper set. (I may be paranoid, but even paranoids have enemies.)

So is the form the same for all the parks?

Was it actually written for geocaching? Special Occassion permit sounds like some general use form <_<

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I don't feel that this is a genuine sign of support for caching.  I see this as a co-option of geocaching in state parks.  Can't ban it, would look bad.  Can't tax it, the taxes on 3 dollar ammo cans and 1 cent cache items would cost more to collect than would be recovered.  Don't want to let people do this, so I can make the form vague, and I can make getting the form a month long email fest, and then no one will want to do geocaching here and I can go back to appeasing the camper set.  (I may be paranoid, but even paranoids have enemies.)

So is the form the same for all the parks?

Was it actually written for geocaching? Special Occassion permit sounds like some general use form <_<

The one I was finally sent from Mahoney is a general form for picnics/group meetings/building reservations and iincludes a fee for the event. It was generic for all the parks, but its in duplicate so we couldn't scan it and keep it on Nebraskache for general use. You would have to seek one of these each time.

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The one I was finally sent from Mahoney is a general form for picnics/group meetings/building reservations and iincludes a fee for the event. It was generic for all the parks, but its in duplicate so we couldn't scan it and keep it on Nebraskache for general use. You would have to seek one of these each time.

That doesn't help.

 

Duplicate? Like pink sheet, yellow sheet, whith sheet thing?

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The one I was finally sent from Mahoney is a general form for picnics/group meetings/building reservations and iincludes a fee for the event.  It was  generic for all the parks, but its in duplicate so we couldn't scan it and keep it on Nebraskache for general use.    You would have to seek one of these each time.

That doesn't help.

 

Duplicate? Like pink sheet, yellow sheet, whith sheet thing?

Exactly

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Duplicate? Like pink sheet, yellow sheet, whith sheet thing?

Exactly

Thats stupid... since they've already oked caching, they should have a pdf file liked to their website file. Cachers didn't come up with this idea :o

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This seems in line with what I have been hearing recently from people who sought to place caches in parks and rec areas with permission. They were asked to go through a permit process. Before this published policy, there was a policy that permission was required but without mention of permits. It appears that WMAs are still OK without specific permission. I was asked to send a letter from Nebraskache to the State Parks and did not get that done before I went on vacation, but did have it drafted. I need to change it now to ask questions. Please post or email concerns and questions so that I can include them. I will try to find out details and hopefully arrange for easy distribution of paperwork etc. Permits can be a pain, but the upside is that at least they aren't banning caching. I will see what I can do, as I am sure will the other Nebraskache board members. Bummer to come home from vacation and find new rules. :(

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No metal detector to hunt for caches? Where does that come from? If anything it would make the find quicker which is less of an impact the way I see it.

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The State just doesn't want anyone digging around. Remember, one of the rules is you are not allowed to move a rock. And God forbid you find some loose silver coins dropped 40 years ago.

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The thing that I want is clarity in what is and is not allowed.

 

We now have clarity in terms of the historical parks (not allowed). We have clarity in terms of the WMA's (allowed). We need clarity in terms of the SRA's and SP's in terms of the following:

 

A. Who to directly contact for permission to place a cache in a given state park and have an answer within a reasonable length of time (ie: 2-3 hours)? I want to be able to go to a park on a normal day, talk to one person and get permission for a cache or not, and not have it be a month long email fest.

 

B. What are the "double secret probation" rules that apply to geocaching in the SP's ( to wit: last year's ban on hiking in Platte River SP's wilderness area until 4:30 pm so we don't scare the horses...)

 

C. Who is in charge of consistency across the park system? (which one person can I contact for a question and get a response in a reasonable length of time (ie: a week)

 

D. The current event permit requires a fee. We need to clarify this aspect. Is there going to be a fee for placing a cache in the state parks?

 

Copied this over to the Nebraskache group.

Edited by bigredmed

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This is really too bad that they lumped the SRAs into this policy. They want us to bring people into the parks and recreation areas, but make the process as painful as possible.

 

Their policy is not acceptable to me so I will pull our stuff out of the SRA locations. When they include the WMAs we will pull those caches as well.

 

Our stuff got the Neva Seal of Approval a while back and I hate to do this. But we view this as recreation not a job. Therefore we just don't have the time to invest in paperwork and hoops.

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A. Who to directly contact for permission to place a cache in a given state park and have an answer within a reasonable length of time (ie: 2-3 hours)? I want to be able to go to a park on a normal day, talk to one person and get permission for a cache or not, and not have it be a month long email fest.

 

B. What are the "double secret probation" rules that apply to geocaching in the SP's ( to wit: last year's ban on hiking in Platte River SP's wilderness area until 4:30 pm so we don't scare the horses...)

 

C. Who is in charge of consistency across the park system? (which one person can I contact for a question and get a response in a reasonable length of time (ie: a week)

 

D. The current event permit requires a fee. We need to clarify this aspect. Is there going to be a fee for placing a cache in the state parks?

 

A. Sounds good, but might not be possiable. Going from a request to an answer in three hours would mean dropping everything they're doing and reviewing your paperwork, approving the location (whats involved in this? Do they visit the location? looking it up on their own maps?), and going back to the sign off on the paperwork.

 

B. What what?? :laughing:

 

c. Good thing to know. Are the local ranger/manager the sole person to review special occassion apps?

 

d. In addition to the usual park entry fees?

Is this normal for special occassion permits?

 

Carleen, once you get talking to someone I would suggest you ask, Why they are using a general form for something thats special enough to deserve its own set of rules? (Did they consider creating a new form and decide against it??)

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My understanding is that caching would fall under some existing special use permit regulations that they had. So I guess instead of forumulating new regulations, they tried to fit caching in with the existing system. The problem is that makes things fairly complicated. I will try to urge them to use a simpler process. We also need an easy way to get the forms. I have heard from several cachers recently who were told to get permits but then either had problems obtaining the forms or problems locating the park superintentent to approve the cache location.

 

One of my own questions is whether existing caches from before the policy may remain in place.

 

My guess is that some less visited State Rec areas will never get caches now. It is too difficult to find the park superintendent for those areas. That is unfortunate for the park system too since they miss out on some visitors that way.

 

I will also point out potential lost revenue to them. One of my friends today pointed out that he would never have purchased a park permit if it wasn't for caching.

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B. What are the "double secret probation" rules that apply to geocaching in the SP's ( to wit: last year's ban on hiking in Platte River SP's wilderness area until 4:30 pm so we don't scare the horses...)

 

 

B. What what?? :laughing:

 

d. In addition to the usual park entry fees?

Is this normal for special occassion permits?

 

B: Last August, I took a couple of vacations days and went caching on one of them. I wanted to find one of the Platte River SP caches. I went to the Rangers office to get a drink of water and ask about a map of the trails in the wilderness area. I was told directly that I was not allowed to hike there until after 4:30 pm during the summer as they had horses there and didn't want to have hikers scare them.

 

D. The special use permit that I received was the same one used to rent a meeting room or a lodge for a meeting. Fees were attached to that activity. It is not clear on the form that geocaching would not require a fee. It is also not clear that if a fee is paid, that the cache fee would not be a re-occurring fee.

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A Permit is a License. A new permit requires the payment of a new fee. Just like license plates. So are the caches already in place in these areas Grandfathered In? Most laws work that way. But wait, we don't work under laws anymore but from the "edicts" of an unelected bureaucracy. Somebody must have gotten bored or had to justify their exsistance to come up with this ambiguous tripe. Like most of these "edicts" it is so vague that the "Sheriff of Nottingham" could refuse your permit because he doesn't like the way you look and you have no recourse under these "edicts" to challenge his decision. This is not the way to run any part of our government.

 

Its good that most geocachers think MDing is uncool or one of my favorite hobbies would be slowly dying this bureaucratic death. Soon they will pull the Terrorist Card to stop Geocaching, "We Must Protect You From The Evil Terrorists Who Will Plant Bombs in the Caches." Sorry but we all have seen weirder laws coming out in the last few years.

 

My Political Whine Of The Day. :laughing:

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The ban on metal detectors must be explained. I agree with Alien Hunter, I certainly don't plan on getting into a metal detector anytime soon, but really, what is that about?

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The ban on metal detectors must be explained. I agree with Alien Hunter, I certainly don't plan on getting into a metal detector anytime soon, but really, what is that about?

Weird yes, but IMO worry about the FEE and the not available except by special request form problems, first.

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My MDing activities was just a passing thought. I wasn't trying to muddy the water. My gripe was with the system. If you really want to clean this mess up get in touch with a State Representitive who cares about either the Hobby or Public Land Use Rights. He/She would be able to cut through the Red Tape faster then any letter to an UnElected Bureaucrat.

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Horses are not native. They were introduced. If we can no longer hike because of horses I'd support rounding them all up and selling them at a public auction. They eat native plants after all.

 

That you can disturb something that came from outside settled in, and did well enough to establish a wild population is just not good thinking. I like wild horses, but I'm not going to support a new rule to protect them from hikers. They were domesticated before they went ferral. That means they bred, ate and thrived in farm conditions, and would do so again. What a concept. "Hikers, Disturb the horses" Ha!

 

I can't get that sign posted about the neighberhood kids. But the horse have one. Sheesh.

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Horses are not native. They were introduced. If we can no longer hike because of horses I'd support rounding them all up and selling them at a public auction. They eat native plants after all.

 

That you can disturb something that came from outside settled in, and did well enough to establish a wild population is just not good thinking. I like wild horses, but I'm not going to support a new rule to protect them from hikers. They were domesticated before they went ferral. That means they bred, ate and thrived in farm conditions, and would do so again. What a concept. "Hikers, Disturb the horses" Ha!

 

I can't get that sign posted about the neighberhood kids. But the horse have one. Sheesh.

They are not wild, they are horses used for horse rides. Still a pain in the backside to drive to the park and find out that I am not allowed to hike where I need to to find the cache. You think that they could have put that info on a website somewhere.

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I started re-drafting my letter and printing brochures and such for the info package today. I am going to try to finish it this weekend, but I have a ton of things going on and am leaving town for 10 days next Fri. I think I will aim to finish it up on my trip and that will also allow some extra time for people to let me know of questions and concerns. I will then send it as soon as I return. Also, if anyone wants to write a POLITE letter urging the parks to simplify and clarify the policies please do so and email it to me. I already know of one cacher who would like to write and point out that he would not own a park sticker if not for caching. Please keep letters polite and diplomatic though. That always carries more weight.

 

From talking with a few parks people, I think that the State Parks generally do support caching, but maybe don't entirely understand it. I think they also have some problems trying to fit it in with existing regulations. Hopefully we can get a dialog started with them and maybe arrange a meeting. Jim, I assume you would be more than happy to go meet with them if I can arrange that? I could go too, but I figure having you and maybe other Nebraskache board members happy to meet with them would help. I think Starbrand from the WYO/NE group (and also on the Nebraskache Board) might be interested too. I will check on if they want to also send something.

 

On a total off topic side note, Lincoln Parks never responded to me, even after I sent a follow up letter! So for now, I am assuming they have calmed down? Now I wonder if I should try a follow up phone call or just let it drop. Maybe I should not stir that pot anymore if it doesn't need stirring?

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I will try to be at the meeting if schedule permits. I will hold off on a letter though. I could be polite, but I suspect that your letter will be more effective.

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...They are not wild, they are horses used for horse rides. Still a pain in the backside to drive to the park and find out that I am not allowed to hike where I need to to find the cache. You think that they could have put that info on a website somewhere.

That's even worse. Thats like going to the zoo and not being let in. "I'm sorry but your visiting the zoo will disturb the animals and so we can't let you in. However we would like your support at tax time, thanks and don't come again"

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Ha ha. When I got home today there were two big envelopes in my box from Game and Parks. One addressed to me and one to Nebraskache. Thinking "wow, they wrote to me about the new policies" I opened them. Nope.... Just certificates thanking us for our volunteer efforts when we did the Take Pride in America Day CITO. I will include a copy of the letter and certificate in my package to them! :D

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Ha ha. When I got home today there were two big envelopes in my box from Game and Parks. One addressed to me and one to Nebraskache. Thinking "wow, they wrote to me about the new policies" I opened them. Nope.... Just certificates thanking us for our volunteer efforts when we did the Take Pride in America Day CITO. I will include a copy of the letter and certificate in my package to them! :D

Let's see, 5 geocachers at $10/hr for general labor. 6 hours of volunteer work. 1 geocacher with 6 more hours of coordination work for the Take Pride in America Day at $10/hr. I make that 30 hours at the park and 6 more before that. $360 of free work should get us $360 in free geocaches. :D

 

Certainly think that this year is the last CITO we set up at a state park/rec area. If we are welcome at WMA's, then this is where we concentrate our future efforts.

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bigredmed I like the way you think! Why help someone who turns around and makes you jump thru hoops like a circus dawg.

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Ha ha. When I got home today there were two big envelopes in my box from Game and Parks. One addressed to me and one to Nebraskache. Thinking "wow, they wrote to me about the new policies" I opened them. Nope.... Just certificates thanking us for our volunteer efforts when we did the Take Pride in America Day CITO. I will include a copy of the letter and certificate in my package to them!  :P

Let's see, 5 geocachers at $10/hr for general labor. 6 hours of volunteer work. 1 geocacher with 6 more hours of coordination work for the Take Pride in America Day at $10/hr. I make that 30 hours at the park and 6 more before that. $360 of free work should get us $360 in free geocaches. :(

 

Certainly think that this year is the last CITO we set up at a state park/rec area. If we are welcome at WMA's, then this is where we concentrate our future efforts.

Jim you are exactly right about this. You East Nebr cachers have done a lot for NGPC and this permit system should not be accepted. No anger and hostile words, just No Thank You, we opt out in the SP and SRA sites.

 

After we pull our two from SRA sites, I am going to send Game and Park a letter with printouts of the logs. There are comments about finding this nice area and coming back to fish or camp.

 

We are promoting these areas and they should help us not hinder the process. I would hope that NGPC would reconsider this, but I doubt it.

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I received some information from a local cacher who obtained a permit for a cache at Branched Oak Lake. He said the process took a phone call and a 10 minute meeting and was pretty easy.

 

That is a good sign!

Edited by carleenp

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I received some information from a local cacher who obtained a permit for a cache at Branched Oak Lake. He said the process took a phone call and a 10 minute meeting and was pretty easy.

 

That is a good sign!

So it may be problem of getting each park manager used to caching?

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I think that is likely it. I have heard from several cachers who had no problems getting a permit and others who had problems contacting the park superindendent, getting the forms, and getting the superintendent to meet with them to Ok it etc. Apparently Branched Oak Lake and Kearny State Park have been pretty easy. But I know that someone gave up trying for Mephis Lakes.

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I think that is likely it. I have heard from several cachers who had no problems getting a permit and others who had problems contacting the park superindendent, getting the forms, and getting the superintendent to meet with them to Ok it etc. Apparently Branched Oak Lake and Kearny State Park have been pretty easy. But I know that someone gave up trying for Mephis Lakes.

The weird thing is that there is a pretty nice WMA just north of Memphis Lakes that has a geocache in it and the geocache is causing no problems. Odd, how the state parks will vary so much.

 

We need to have some consistent or at least pre-knowable (you can learn it in advance) policy. The SHP ban makes some sense now that they explained it. The areas of the park (at least as it applies to Ft Atkinson) that are not obviously historic may be or archeologic interest given floods and earth movements that move artifacts to areas that are not obviously attached to the given monument. We all can live with that. Its also pre-knowable, we all know before we even consider a cache placement, that the area is off limits.

 

Variance in the approval process that goes from a 10 minute okie dokie to a month long email endurance contest is beyond acceptable. This needs to get fixed at their end. I still maintain the opinion that the NGPC develops a geocaching policy that is standard and pre-knowable, or we, as an organization, simply stop supporting them.

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Okie Dokeie...

 

<OPINION>

 

For people to go ask any government agency for rules about anything it doesn't already have rules about...is just BEGGING for copious amounts of hassles, new regulations, and of course, as this is Nebraska, FEES!!

 

Please DONT ask the City Of Lincoln for new rules as well. If they have chosen to ignore us....all the better!

 

As for the State Game and Parks Dept.....well heck.... :ph34r: SOMEONE :lol: had to go and open up that can of worms. Now we all will have to deal with it. Personally, I have deliberately NOT went after caches in their "YOU GOTTA PAY TO USE THIS AREA" places. I pay my taxes (including the REC ROADS fee on my car) every year, my sales taxes daily, etc....THAT should allow me to use a SP for a couple hours once or twice a year.

 

</OPINION>

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Since were going off toward the permission debate anyways...

At some point 'they' will become aware of caching. Maybe they will not bother to do anything, but they will ban and remove everything they can find. There is no way to tell which 'type' they are. Yes, going and asking for regs is asking for regs, but since they will (unfortunatly) happen at some point, its a matter of time and intensity(?).

Sending some park info about caching, or contacting some to confirm there is nothing forbiding a cache is not the same as calling up the director and saying "hey you don't have any fees and paperwork for this thing, would you please write some because I need structure to feel secure" :ph34r:

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Agree with you Welch.

 

The thing about the parks here in Neb is that some people get one answer and some people get an answer that is 180 degrees from that answer. If person C gets the OK from person A, then the parks says that the info person B got is correct. If person C acts on the info person B got, then the parks people look shocked and hurt that they would be perceived as less than supportive and take offense at the notion that person B's data is even out there. Of course, when person C or person D acts on the relaxed stance, they get burned.

 

Rules are for the benefit of all parties involved. I have personally decided that I will never place a geocache in our game and parks commission property. While I have stopped placing caches, when and if I resume, they will not be in these locations.

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Okie Dokeie...

 

<OPINION>

 

For people to go ask any government agency for rules about anything it doesn't already have rules about...is just BEGGING for copious amounts of hassles, new regulations, and of course, as this is Nebraska, FEES!!

 

Please DONT ask the City Of Lincoln for new rules as well. If they have chosen to ignore us....all the better!

 

As for the State Game and Parks Dept.....well heck.... :lol: SOMEONE :ph34r: had to go and open up that can of worms. Now we all will have to deal with it. Personally, I have deliberately NOT went after caches in their "YOU GOTTA PAY TO USE THIS AREA" places. I pay my taxes (including the REC ROADS fee on my car) every year, my sales taxes daily, etc....THAT should allow me to use a SP for a couple hours once or twice a year.

 

</OPINION>

I contacted Lincoln after there was an indication that they were concerned about caching. Since they have not replied, I do not intend to contact them again unless I hear of a new issue.

 

With the State, they became aware of caching on their own and I think perhaps the policy would have been clearer if we had been working with them earlier. I don't think contacting parks first is always bad. I see the concern with it, but as has been pointed out, most are going to learn about caching on their own. If cachers contact them first, the impression of and response to caching might be better. For example, Omaha happily gave blanket permission when approached by Great Plains Geocaching several years ago. Perhaps the response would have been different if they learned about caching after someone found a cache in a park and complained? I was given the impression that was the problem in Lincoln. A park manager was somewhat offended that no one asked or informed the park about a cache there.

 

There has been no indication that there are fees for a state permit or that fees are being considered. I know of several cachers who have obtained permits and they were not charged. Certainly I hope that remains the case. Ignoring the parks is not the way to avoid that though.

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