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Winnebago County Forest Preserves

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We have recently been notified of a new geocaching policy in Winnebago County Forest Preserves:

 

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District

5500 Northrock Drive

Rockford,  Illinois  61103

(815) 877-6100

Fax:  (815) 877-6124

E-mail:  wcfpd@wcfpd.org

 

Geocache Rules & Regulations

 

All placements of proposed caches will be evaluated by Forest Preserve District staff. The evaluation will include:

• Sensitivity of the area

• Land classification (recreational, restoration, sanctuary, dedicated nature preserve, or land & water reserve)

• Potential impacts to habitats or rare, threatened, and endangered species

• Current development or restoration efforts at preserve

• Public safety concerns

• Other issues related to the specific preserve

 

Non-registered caches will be removed by District staff.

All Geocaches to conform to existing preserve codes and regulations.

$10 fee allows two caches to be put in preserves per calendar year.

 

Once approved for placement the Geocache must meet the following requirements. Violation of any of these requirements will necessitate immediate removal of Geocache by District personnel.

 

A.  Permit number on each cache.

B.  Each permit is allowed to have two (2) caches.

C.  Location of caches must be given to office with coordinates and location placed on preserve maps in office.

D.  Container must be made of clear (see through) material, with a size no greater than 4"x8"x12".

E.  Geocache must not contain any food items.

F.  Geocache must not contain any inappropriate, offensive, or hazardous materials.

G. Geocache will not be attached or buried and no vegetation or natural features will be disturbed in any manner.

H.  Geocache must be checked at least every 30 days. Proof of check will be by e-mail, letter, or personal communication by the geocache owner with the office.

I.  There will be a limit of three (3) caches at each preserve.

J.  All caches must be removed by end of year or renewed prior to beginning of the next calendar year.

 

March 2005

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Copy of Permit

 

March 2005

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District

5500 Northrock Drive, Rockford,  IL  61103

 

Request for Geocache Placement

 

Date__________ $10 fee _____ By ______________ 

 

Preserve_____________________________________

 

Name________________________________________

 

Address ______________________________________

 

City____________ State ______ ZipCode ___________

 

Telephone __________________ E-Mail _____________     

 

Cache Name ___________________________________     

Cache Type

_____ Traditional _____ Multi-Cache _____ Puzzle/Mystery _____ Other

 

Description ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Preserve Location (Degrees/Minutes)

N _______    _______  _______

W _______    _______  _______

 

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$10 fee allows two caches to be put in preserves per calendar year.

 

There will be a limit of three (3) caches at each preserve.

 

This kind of Math only makes sense to a Public Entity.

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Suppose it should instead read:

 

$10 fee allows YOU to place two caches per calendar year.

 

Each preserve has a limit of three total caches.

 

Better?

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Suppose I could have said:

 

Cacher "A" pays $10 for a permit and places TWO Caches.

 

Cacher "B" pays $10 for a permit. How many Caches can be placed by Cacher "B" if the limit is THREE.

 

Better?

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How sad! The area has been one of our favorite places to cache. Our days caching in the area have always been thoroughly enjoyable. We almost NEVER see anyone around these MANY GREAT forest preserves. I guess that is their goal - keep them empty, less to worry about. Less people to bother the people hooking up in the parking area. For many FPs this seems to be their major use.

 

A permit fee for only geocache placement? How about a permit for dog owners, especially the many irresponsible ones, that bring their dogs to the FP's to DUMP all over the trails and picnic areas without cleaning up. Please take no offense if your one of the responsible ones. Maybe a permit for fisherman or birders who have no such fee established for their hobby(from a FP standpoint) and can come and go at will. The trash left behind by fisherman along the shoreline is ALWAYS the worst mess in FPs with water access. These hobbles seem no different from an FP usage view, than walking in the woods to find a tupperware container. And we hopefully NEVER leave any trash behind, just CITO some out.

 

Maybe a permit and a special reserved area for the previously mentioned that use the FPs for a hookup location in the parking lot. We've seen more of that than anything else in most FP parking areas. This could be a real revenue generator.

 

Seems all caches will soon be under lampost bases in Walmart parking lots. Oh Boy!

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Suppose I could have said:

 

Cacher "A" pays $10 for a permit and places TWO Caches.

 

Cacher "B" pays $10 for a permit. How many Caches can be placed by Cacher "B" if the limit is THREE.

 

Better?

but if this policy is for the whole district you would think cacher B could use their second placement in another area administered by that district office.

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welch Posted on Mar 23 2005, 02:02 PM

but if this policy is for the whole district you would think cacher B could use their second placement in another area administered by that district office.

Your post prompted me to search for the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District on the Web. I found that their Web information includes snippets of updated information as the Preserve District has expanded. As it stands now, there are nearly 9,000 acres spread out over 37 Preserves. The Preserve sizes vary greatly. I hope you are correct in your quoted presumption, but that is not spelled out in the new Geocache Rules & Regulations.

 

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District

 

I also found this interesting. Published Editorial Opinion - Forest oversight needs structure; not this one

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seems someone in the office reads it the same as I did

 

"Evelyn Winckler" <ewinckler at co.winnebago.il.us>    Save Address  Block Sender  This Is Spam 

To: "REMOVED" <REMOVED>

CC:

Subject: RE: geocache rules and regs

Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2005 08:07:56 -0600

 

Show Full Headers Back To [iNBOX]

 

Dear Welch,

 

Thank you for your interest in the Winnebago County Forest Preserve

District.

 

No, they don't have to be in the same managed area or the same preserve.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Evelyn Winckler

Administrative Assistant

Winnebago County Forest Preserve District

5500 Northrock Drive

Rockford,  IL    61103

Telephone:  (815) 877-6100

Fax:  (815) 877-6124

E-mail:  ewinckler at co.winnebago.il.us

 

 

-----Original Message-----

From: REMOVED[mailto:REMOVED]

Sent: Saturday, March 26, 2005 9:59 AM

To: wcfpd at wcfpd.org

Subject: geocache rules and regs

 

I was wondering if both geocaches (one permit for two places) have to be in

the same managed area? Like geocache 1 in area A,  geocache 2 in area B, as

opposed to both in area A.

 

thanks for clearing this up

 

welch

--

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That's nice. This is about as silly as Rockford's city sticker scam. Just another way to squeeze the taxpayer.

 

Maybe I'll hide a nice cache of dog turds for them to "evaluate". :lol:

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Just post a virtual cache with a description of some perminant landmark as the "checkpoint". Can not charge for a virtual cache. Unless your goal is to collect signatures?? For some it is.

 

Just seems like some draconian rules.

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:D Geez,, I suppose I'll have to archieve my Winnebago County Forest Preserve geocache'.

Is this something the Groundspeak administrators will over see? Will we be notified by some bot that our geocache' have been taken down from the geocaching site pending official notification of permitted activity?

We have yet begun to fight!

(However I do not want to have my containers grabbed by paid muggles.)

That would be if they could find them.

What is the trend nationally? Are other municipalities taking this course of action?

I see a similarity between the Illinois state park regulations and Winnebago county's regulations. :laughing: The difference being that there is no required fee and no limit; IF you can get the site managers approval.

One more box to check. <_<

Edited by tishman

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What is the trend nationally? Are other municipalities taking this course of action?

I

Policies, yes, fees not so much. A few others areas have just banned caching instead of bothering with it.

If it will be over looked or is anyone's guess. You could ask your nearest reviewer, but that might be counter productive. If the park ranger person can get online your sunk.

Couldn't you just pay the feel and while your there tell them how stupid it is??

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It is puzzling to me why geocachers should be charged.

 

But no fee for those that take their dogs to the FPs to take a c%&p so they don't have to clean it up.!

 

No fees for the fisherman that LITTER the places up.

 

No fees for those that go out to collect antler sheds

 

No fees for those that use the sometimes maintained trails for running or biking.

 

No fees for the others that use the parks that I've failed to mention.

 

Please take no offense it your are a responsible member of any of the mentioned groups.

 

What makes geocaching any different that it should be 'taxed'?

 

I'd happily fork over some $$$ for a 'parking permit' that ALL users of park or forest preserve facilities would have to purchase. It would have to be a blanket kind of thing though. I'd not be willing to purchase permits for every state, county and local park or FP. It would provide more necessary revenue(while being an accounting nightmare) for the parks and FPs and might help keep out some of the irresponsible users who just go to hang out cause it is free.

 

Oh well, enough soapbox time.

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I had a few capture the flag hides in WCFP perserves. They are MIA. Checked other caches in some of the other perserves today, they are gone, too. Gee....seems the WCFP is very zealous about enforcing their new policies. Wish that they could have been as zealous about contacting the owners. I would have liked some notice to retrieve the containers. Some of the hides were not very apparent and would not have been found by happenstance..........they would have to have been hunted. Our tax dollars at work.

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Wish it was a joke, or that I had been notified some way before they raided the cache'. There was NO PUBLIC notice of this policy going into effect.

Some of the hides had 30 visits in a year.

Pretty heavy traffic, don't you think?

 

:wub: Winnebago County Forest Preserve Staff: CONFISCATED :(

 

Your tax dollars at work! B)

Edited by tishman

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Wish it was a joke, or that I had been notified some way before they raided the cache'. There was NO PUBLIC notice of this policy going into effect.

Some of the hides had 30 visits in a year.

Pretty heavy traffic, don't you think?

 

:wub: Winnebago County Forest Preserve Staff: CONFISCATED :(

 

Your tax dollars at work! B)

Some agencies recognize that geocaches are not worth regulating as it creates work for a harmless activity. If they do oversee a sensitive area they generally don't let the public in anyway. If they do allow public use it’s not the kind of sensitive that geocaching would impact.

 

When you check the caches every 30 days what are you supposed to be looking for?

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Most of the caches I have seen are in the less used FPs and there is not a lot of traffic. Geocaching or otherwise. In fact one of the caches I archived today I had temporarily disabled earlier this year. The last cacher there discovered a rotting carcass of a dog in a tarp. I was waiting for warmer days to move the carcass. When I went out today to check the cache. My hide was no longer there. This was a well hidden...well camo'd hide. Would not be an accidental find. The carcass however was there. Still wrapped in the blue tarp mentioned in the cachers log. Not 10 feet away from the hide. Hmmmm......some priority huh? "Took cache. Left rotting carcass. Didn't sign log ".

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So who's in with me to create the "Marmaduke Tootsie Rolls" cache?? I'm thinking about making it a 9-stage multi so they'll burn the better part of the day hunting a container of dog turds. :(

 

I sent a nasty-gram to the WCFPD about the new rules and their enforcement measures. Feel free to do the same:

http://www.wcfpd.org/guestbook.htm

mailto:wcfpd@wcfpd.org

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Sarcasm and venting aside...........I know that we have to educate and work with WCFP. The issue here is that the FP is in throws of a power grab. Afore mentioned Christiansen and Olson ( see editorial mentioned in previous post) have ties to realtors and powers that be in the county. They want to run things their way...period. This was not meant to sound political. These guys tend to make committes and legislate things to death. There is an ill wind in Winn. County, unfortunately........we are down wind. So anyone got any constructive suggestions on changing things around? Do I even want to start this?

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I don't pretend to have an answer, but I do recognize that attacking the powers that be will almost never lead to the sought after conclusion. I would suggest organizing a CITO event in one of the parks. I would assume anyone can get a picnic permit with little or no hassle. Once you have a decent number of people commited, maybe you can engage the site manager in a conversation about geocaching. That might be a way to receive permission to place several caches for CITO participants to find. If it goes well, maybe this administrator will be on our side. I have no idea if that would work. I have no more insight into Winnebago County politics than any other cacher. I just have hope that people are reasonable. :grin:

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has anyone dug through the county records to see who pushed this policy through?

it had to start with someone with a brain fart.

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It really does not matter who, for now at least. :D

I would like to find out the disposition of the geocache containers and log books that were confiscated. :D:(

Taking the high road I have donated $10.00 to the county forest preserves and will be placing two new geocache' soon.

My advice: Where a big smile :( and let the folks at the office know what a great sport geocaching is and how it can put a good light on our county when we invite geocachers to enjoy our forest preserves. Pony up the $10.00 and put out a couple of nice multis. Lets not scare them into even more regulations before we can get a hearing.

Hmmm last time I ponied up $10.00 to a county authority we got an airline.

One can never tell what we could get from this. :D

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:blink: A funny thing happened while out hunting for a cache location.

 

Letterboxing and GPS Games are under the radar of WCFP, for now at least.

 

Wonder if they monitor this forum? :huh:

Why single out one site/activity while simular activities go on elsewhere in the FP from differnt sites?

 

Hmmmm :huh:

 

<_<

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Should all new caches in WCFPD now be 'members only'? The district employees would not have easy access at our logs and locations that way. And would it be better if the issue were out in the public more? An article in the paper, the news with some debate and history of the sport as well. It would be nice to gain some supporters and who knows mabe a power player will support us cachers.

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(1) Should all new caches in WCFPD now be 'members only'?  The district employees would not have easy access at our logs and locations that way. 

(2) And would it be better if the issue were out in the public more?  An article in the paper, the news with some debate and history of the sport as well. 

(3) It would be nice to gain some supporters and who knows mabe a power player will support us cachers.

(1) Not likely that Groundspeak would approve and list such geocache'.

 

(2) Absolutely! Try getting the editor of the local daily to give you a hearing.

Or maybe the RockRiver Times. At least write a letter to the editor.

 

(3) Some support would be nice; or someone who wanted a good fight or catchy head line.

(But you didn't hear that from me)

 

Never kick a bees nest unless you like a buzzing sound around your ears.

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As for making all caches in those areas MOCs, i don't think that would work. Even if the reviewer would list them here (I doubt), all the parks people have to do is pay in $3 and they'll have full access to the pages. Not to meation if the cache titles and general locations don't tell them what area its in anyways. Do you think this site will willing help you violate park rules? <_< If ranger gord contacts the correct person at GC.com and explains they're having trouble seeing such and such, and could someone please give them info so they can see if its in the park, do you think they would be helped? I do.

 

I think you should pay the fee, and place some dandy caches. Be friendly, polite, the nice and helpful geocachers you are. Then early next spring (parks usually less busy in the winterish seasons), get together with the county head person(s) and ask for them to change the policy to no fee. Point out that XX caches are not causing problems (trails, litter, etc), are drawing visitors, and whatever money they're collecting isn't that great a return. And maybe bring up that they may make out better (and without having to have an accountant or whatever keep track of those monies) if they encouraged geocaching by dropping the fee. This would help improve the changes of free Cito (or other projects), things rented for events like shelters / other activates geocacher might do while visiting or come back later to do (especially those that are a fee. I see they have a fee for using the horseback trails, golfing, and camping), and finally just better general relationship with geocachers.

 

You could I suppose do those things now, but since noone seems to know who/when this happened. It seems maybe many of the caches they stole weren't registered, (or the message didn't get to the right person). Either way, they may not be too sympathic to 'we can follow directions, and be good helpful park patrons'.

But thats just my opinion, you attack things however you want.

 

edit: deleted question for tishman

Edited by welch

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Have the caches that were removed been disabled/archived? Is the WCFPD logging notes to the cache pages to indicate that they've removed the cache?

 

I was going to head up to Rockford for the day with a bunch of other Chicagolanders last weekend, but we had to cancel the plans at the last minute. I would have been royally p***ed if we'd made the trip up there only to log 30 DNFs for the day.

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There were lots of great caches, some of our favorites, that apparently are no longer there. We always highly recommended the Rockford area - mostly because of the great caches outside of town in the great FP's. One actually had to get out of there car and walk a bit.

 

We bought gas, patronized restaurants and grocery stores, bought some more gas etc. on every trip there. No more of our dollars to be spent at local businesses for the forseeable future. I'm sure the Chamber of Commerce will highly endorse the new WCFPD geocaching policy. Someone should let them know. Drive some people away instead of draw them to your area.

 

I'm glad we spent a lot of quality days caching, some of our best, out that way before the year ended to log, I believe, just about all of the caches in the WCFPD locations. Too bad many other cachers will not be able to enjoy the same - and leave some dollars behind while in the area.

 

Makes perfect sense to me.... not.

 

Glad that Tishman is accepting the new policy and hiding a few(and paying for our pleasure) but I wonder if the quantity of caches will ever be replaced. Who knows though. I doubt that any $$$ generated from cache placement fees will even come close to the salary $$$ it cost to have a public employee out hunting caches for a few days. At least that person had a few enjoyable days out of the office at the taxpayers expense.

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I've added notes, but only on the ones that have had no finds as of recent.

there are a copule that are unknown right now.

 

using SA2005 I entered in the ~ area of the WCFP and have 9 caches that are possably removed or in danger of.

 

GCMDX6 http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...X6&Submit6=Find

GCGY3F http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...3F&Submit6=Find

GCGZ9A http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...9A&Submit6=Find

 

GCMP51 http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...51&Submit6=Find

GCHNW1 http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...W1&Submit6=Find

GCF752 http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...52&Submit6=Find

GCJ76Q http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...6Q&Submit6=Find

GCMCYY http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...YY&Submit6=Find

GCMCJX http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...JX&Submit6=Find

 

there may be more, as I haven't done the parks to the west of Rockford yet.

Edited by Buda2832

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Here's a couple favorites to check out unless of course they too have already disappeared.

 

I39 Underbelly

 

Hell Fish Bonanza

 

There used to be another great cache here at the Gorge but I believe it was already recently archived.

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:huh: I would guess that Hell Fish Bonanza is gone except for the final. It had been broken awhile back so the WCFP couldn't follow the trail of way points to the final.

The I39 underbelly could , according to regulations, still be active as it is not 'on' WCFP managed property. It is accessed through the WCFP near by it though and is a worthwhile geocache hunt.

Greenbacks -Georgeous Gorge, has probably been conficated and archieved but was near the final to Hell Fish Bonanza.

Points well taken Marty.

I asked if they would hire me to hunt down any strays but they said they couldn't pay volunteers.

My big chance at being a paid geocache hunter crushed. :huh:

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good point!. i never bothered to check the one's that i,ve done. I hope Hell's Fish will continue, it was one of the first few that I did last year while recovering from my 2nd spinale injury. (started the Geocaching for the exersize/rehabilitation).

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My family is new to this geocaching thing and we love it. The reason we got involved is because we saw a write-up on it in the Rockford paper, found this web site & started hunting (found 2 so far). We live in the area of a lot of WCFP's it would be a shame if we loose more caches and revenue for the area. If I remember right it was a Sunday paper article wrote by Doug Goodman he may be a good start to get something published in the paper not to mention just a letter to the editor.I truly understand why people from out of the area would not want to spend the dollars for fuel, food, and just a waste of time looking for caches that have been pulled. Yes the views can be awsome but that is only part of why we do this thing.

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