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Cache-tech

Parks Canada

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Parks Canada has the Interim Geocaching Policy on their website, this can be found at the following links.

 

English

Parks Canada - Interim Geocaching Policy

 

French

Parcs Canada - Politique Provisoire sur le Geocaching

 

The contact email address for Parks Canada is listed on the pages.

 

rec.activities@pc.gc.ca

 

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Parks Canada has developed a draft policy on Geocaching which will be in effect for the remainder of the calendar year. At the end of the year, Parks Canada will review and revise the policy. The final official draft policy will be posted here once it is released from Parks Canada. The policy will have the following points that will affect Geocaching in Parks Canada protected heritage areas, these include National Historic Sites, Historic Canals and National Parks.

 

No new physical caches will be permitted in Parks Canada protected heritage areas.

 

Existing caches in Parks Canada protected heritage areas will be removed.

 

There will be a contact email address provided by Parks Canada to consult the Geocaching community until December 31, 2005 when recommendations will be made for a final policy on how to manage Geocaching at Parks Canada protected heritage areas.

 

I am hoping we as a Geocaching community can work with Parks Canada and get a final policy mutually benifical to for everyone. For now, we have requested that the cachers who own caches that are in these protected heritage areas will be permitted to remove their own cache with an official from the location in the hope to further educate what Geocaching is about noting that off trail caches are frowned upon. If removed, I am hoping to ensure no one will end up looking for a cache that is no longer in place.

 

***************************************************************

 

edit to place the policy links and contact info on the first page to make it easier to find for everyone.

Edited by cache-tech

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Well it doesn't come as a total suprize....I do hope that the Geocaching community can work with Parks Canada on this so that a well researched policy can be implemented. If it is done well it could serve as a model for the various provincial Parks organizations.

 

This is a perfect example of why we need strong geocaching associations.

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So what exactly is a "Parks Canada protected heritage areas"?

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So what exactly is a "Parks Canada protected heritage areas"?

Any site administered by Parks Canada.

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"Over 700,000 visitors come to Long Beach, the Broken Group Islands, and the West Coast Trail each year."

link

4 of those visitors found my caches.

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Cache-Tech,

 

Is there anything that Geocachers can do in this case to promote our cause? It hurts to sit back and be idle while land gets slowly taken away by various organizations.

 

I know that these are government organizations, but it appears painfully slow in completing legislations in this regard.

 

I guess it is just frustrating to see the situation from this side of the fence as I am sure you know.

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Hmmm... There are three caches hidden in Kluane National Park, two of which would be 5-10 day overland trips. Maybe I can tell Parks Canada that I'd be happy to remove them, as long as they pay for the helicopter trip. Hell, maybe I can even get a consulting fee as a "geocache location expert." :laughing:

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Disappointing and short sighted.

Cache-Tech, any thoughts on loosening the restrictions on Virtuals so that we can still promote and highlight the most interesting things about these National Heritage Sites that belong to us? This may help get the "good" Geocaching name out there.

Then again, if they don't actually want visitors, then I'm not sure what they are doing running it as a park anyway. .

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Existing caches in Parks Canada protected heritage areas will be removed.

 

I wonder what the cost to the taxpayer will be?

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The policy will be in effect until the end of the year, a final draft copy will be provided to me in the next few weeks along with the email contact for input from the Geocaching community. There was a meeting held in Ottawa that was put together quickly after the initial contact from Parks Canada. The Ontario Geocachers Association, with some members traveling several hours just for this meeting, provided Parks Canada with a very well thought out presentation and cache hunt. I would like to thank the OGA for their assistance in getting the presentation together so quickly. Thank you The Blue Quasar, GeoSquid, Trimble Trek, Amazon Annie, and Logger. When the initial draft was sent to me, I was hoping to have it changed before it was implemented, but as it is government, it cannot be changed and will be reviewed at the end of the year.

 

We have over the next several months to provide our feedback and show Parks Canada that we are responsible users of Parks Canada's properties showing the benefits of Geocaching.

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Thank you Cache-tech for being forthright with the information you have.

I am however curious as to whether other Canadian geocaching organizations have been or will be included in these discussions?

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Thank you Cache-tech for being forthright with the information you have.

I am however curious as to whether other Canadian geocaching organizations have been or will be included in these discussions?

All Geocachers will be included with the contact address provided by Parks Canada, the OGA was asked as the meeting took place in Ottawa and was orginized is a very short period of time.

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This is an unfortunate situation.

 

As Cache-Tech has said, the current draft policy does not permitted physical geocaches on any land under the control of Parks Canada.

 

During our meeting meeting In Gattineau, OGA presented an alternative for their consideration as follows

 

- No new physical geocaches during the current evaluation period (the remainder of this calendar year)

 

- Perform an evaluation of each currently active physical geocache site with the aid of the cache owner, to indentify the current conditions, any impact and address any concerns. Relocate any cache that is in an area that is deemed unsuitable to a near-by location that is suitable to Park staff.

 

- Use all of these currently active physical geocaches as the test subjects to evaluate the impact on the locale, based upon number of visits and changes to the ecology and/or terrain.

 

- At the end of the year (November) re-visit the cache sites and evaluate the changes if any, positive or negative, and report back to Parks Canada the status and perception of the impact that the physical geocache has had over the six month test period.

 

Hopefully this is a more suitable alternative, and maybe one they might consider, but as of now there is still the requirement to remove any and all physical geocaches that reside on Parks Canada lands.

 

The Ontario Geocaching Association has no power to enforce such a rule, nor would we, as it is contradictory to the very ideals we were formed to protect. We will however continue to work with Parks Canada to ensure realistic and attainable geocaching policies, and to see that the history of caching be preserved to the best of our ability.

 

It has always been our position that Geocaching in government parks, whether they be Parks Canada, or Ontario Parks, that it is educational, respectful and family oriented.

 

It is therefore part of our future to help Parks Canada understand that Geocaching can be another facet for promoting the parks, and we at OGA would encourage any other organized group in Canada to do the same.

 

This meeting was very quickly brought together, and we literally had a few days to prepare and make arrangements to be there. We were lucky to be able to have the meeting, but it would have been much better if we had actually been a part of the policy creation in the first place and perhaps much of this would have been different.

 

Now we are working from a 'correction' position, and a re-education of what Geocaching is. There is evidence that Parks Canada was quite impressed with the meeting and that they learned a great deal from it, and discovered a few things they didn't know or thought they knew but were incorrect about. That is natural, and it is great that Parks Canada was willing to listen. Now we just need them to take a step in our direction, as we have done with them.

 

OGA - Admin

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I continue to think of what I was able to see on my Honeymoon in Banff, AB while visiting several geocaches in Banff National Park. The caches we found there were like none-other. To think, quite frankly, that ALL of the caches in this area might never return frightens me. Without Geocaches in the area, we would likely have planned to go elsewhere where we could enjoy our hobby.

 

Much applause for the members of the OGA that participated with Parks Canada in their recent meeting. Thank you for representing us and doing everything in your power to assist.

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Much applause for the members of the OGA that participated with Parks Canada in their recent meeting. Thank you for representing us and doing everything in your power to assist.

My thanks to this group too. I hope we can work with Parks Canada to come up with a agreement.

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Well admittedly this initial news is very disappointing. As usual the Government officials have panicked at something new that they do not understand..

 

What we as the GeoCaching community must do now is take a deep breath. I am sure that many reading this post so far are now upset with these recent developments. Even more so when the parks start to remove the caches.

 

The best thing we can all do is co-operate and advocate. As much as it hurts bombarding the offices of Parks Canada with angry complaints and compliance refusal will do nothing but hurt us in the long run. Each GeoCaching organization will need diplomatic representatives to speak and meet with the offices in their region to try and work out an agreement and educate the ignorant on what GeoCaching is all about. Let them see it from our eyes as a tool that can improve the environment and help to protect it by educating our youth through involvement, CITO and bringing people into the parks.

 

At the same time many of us need to re-educate ourselves on how to be a part of the environment without damaging it. I am sure we have all seen in our travels the effects of those whom do not respect the environment around a cache. Using terms and practices like "BUSHWACKING" does not sound, nor is it, environmentally friendly. Crashing thru the bush stepping on protected plants, ecosystem, moving rocks, climbing around old buildings, leaving the trails. All of this I am sure is what is freaking Parks Canada out.

 

So in the meantime let’s sit back, reload, plan, learn, educate and win our parks back through co-operation. They are OUR parks and we must protect them. For everyone forever.

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A Line in the Sand

This is a very serious development, is there a national geocaching organization in Canada ?

Should there be a national association that can act as a co-ordinating voice for the representation of all the various regional organizations ?

The OGA met the challenge and established a temporary firebreak but it won't hold without reinforcing action from all regional associations and groups. The Calgary Cachers have critical links re: Banff National Park. There a new associations in Manitoba and Edmonton. The Maritime Geocachers are well established and have a strong presence as do the BC Geocachers.

I don't know if a new group needs to be created, we have a lot of strong associations with excellent ties already established with many land stewards.

I suggest that we need groundspeakers for each regional group that can co-ordinate the voice of the community, possibly through a national forum.

Geocaching is an evolving activity and needs to be represented to land stewards in some form that is consistent. geocaching.com can and does try to protect the commons through the listing process but that does little to reassure an organization like Parks, Canada.

I know the forum regulars will tell you that angst is a waste of time, everyone will play the game the way they want to, but this cannot be the face the community presents to Parks, Canada.

An umbrella that connects all the various regional groups could have a positive role in situations like this one. Parks, Canada is going to have an open email policy until December of this year, are they going to hear what they need to hear ?

 

Possibilities ?

I understand in New York State Parks you need a permit and there are many regs to meet with the hide itself, most of the rules are proximity to trail, sensitive area specified container type rules, geocaches must be removed after a certain period of time.

In South Carolina they are being faced with a bill that will close off many areas to geocachers, this may be our fate.

Number limits, I understand some parks only allow a specified number of geocaches, once that number is reached no more can be introduced.

 

The community could make suggestions rather than listen to rulings. A good response might be voluntarily adopting and proposing a scheme already in place in another park system. Collecting and condensing exsiting policy and proposed new policy would give a good idea of where the legislation is going in regards to geocaching. I am guessing it would not make a pleasant precis for most geocachers.

I fear that many provincial parks will be inclined to follow the Parks, Canada lead unless some action is taken. Presentations and suggestions, pitches if you will, sound a lot better when they are not made under duress.

Edited by wavector

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My thanks to goes to the people of the OGA as well your efforts are very much appreciated :( Please share or post to your site what you did so we can prepare our regions for similar possibilities if provincial or civic parks systems consider similar actions.

 

The main reason we started our website (geocachingedmonton.com) was to educate the local public in general about geocaching as well as provide a forum for discussion for members. Further I believe we all aim to be good community citizens to build up the bank of good will through CITO events and the information we place on our website.

 

I agree there should only be footprints left in our parks but that's because I'm getting tired of the crowds in L. Louse, Jasper and Banff. But I also believe virtuals at the very least, can only bring odd areas of interest to light to draw people away from the more popular areas.

 

I hope Parks Canada considers some of what the OGA said, it would be a shame to lose even small micro caches in these areas.

 

Okay rant off thanks for reading. :rolleyes:

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The unfortunate part for all of this is a timing issue.

 

This Draft policy was created by Parks Canada and probably with input from other Parks Authorities of a 'provincial' level over the course of one and half years. It was done so without input from any member of the Geocaching community.

 

Now, the draft is soon to be implemented and very soon we will be able to do nothing until the end of the year review. It was created over eightteen months and we have no time at all to respond.

 

We, in Ontario, have waited over two years for a policy from Ontario Parks with promises of "We will include you in the policy creation, and get input and feedback from Geocachers". I am beginning to doubt this will happen.

 

Suddenly, the entire country has a policy thrust upon us, with little time to affect change and we are expected to consolodate our individual groups across the country. A daunting task to say the least since to my knowledge, none of the groups have had any reason to contact each other as we have all been dealing with local matters.

 

So here we are.... fragmented, and unprepared for a challenge that we should have had a place in developing.

 

If Ontario Parks plan to adopt the same policy, and they may be waiting to see what the result of the Parks Canada policy is, then we in Ontario will have to petition.

 

The rest of the provinces will probably have the exact same experience. Some before Ontario, some after, or maybe it will sweep through at the same time.

 

The parts that are key to note is that Parks Canada believes they did a great deal of research into Geocaching. I believe from an outside observer position that they did. I am still not convinced that Parks Canada's approach of archiving all current physical geocaches will teach anyone anything. We were told that the draft policy will not change this year. They said they will revisit this at the end of the year.

 

I still do not see the rational to remove the current cache base.... it just hasn't been illustrated to any level of justification.

 

I will say that should this draft policy not be amended to permit current physical caches to remain for evaluation, I would encourage all Geocaching groups across Canada to join together to lobby for our hobby.

 

Should the need arise, we can contact our local government, provincial and federal. We can send petitions for change. We can contact various forms of media to rally our cause.

 

But that is a serious step. Don't be fooled into thinking that a small percentage of the population can make change just by writing a few letters or making a few phone calls... doesn't work like that.

 

If we are to eventually need to join together for the cause of perserving Geocaching on Government Lands, federal, provincial or otherwise, then we must be organized, and polite and able to express our concerns intellegently. We cannot come off as arrogant, spoiled brats or some unorganized bunch of rebels that do not respect proceedures.

 

The immediate step is to gain support for Geocaching by encouraging every Geocacher you know to join a Geocaching club. Get names on a list, build numbers and build your strength.

 

OGA - Admin

Edited by OGA - Admin

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:D

 

Sounds like a good election issue to me.

 

We should be at every canidates meeting and bring it up in front of the media etc.

 

Ask all the canidates what there postion is on cacheing in federal parks?

 

;)

Edited by gm100guy

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It's not the politicians we have to worry about..... We can vote them out....

Bureaucrats are the problem... I can see a bunch of them now, Hummmm Department of Geocaching..... Only a couple of million B) for this department should get us started... We all know where it would end up.....AAAhhhhhhh

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B) Great! Now I have to explain to my kids why I can buy alcohol in the park. I can smoke cigarettes in the park, but we can't take part in the harmful practice of geocaching in the park. :(

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I look forward to Parks Canada staff kayaking out in the Pacific Rim islands with Dagg collecting up his illegal geocaches. That should be fun.

 

Time to go underground as someone said.

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Parks Canada's draft policy is not a policy, its an outright ban on caching in national parks. So they're going to review this "policy" at the end of the year? The caching community just isn't large enough or powerful enough for their lobbying to have any meaningful impact on the bureaucrats making these decisions. I'm willing to bet money that the review will merely turn the "draft policy" (aka ban) into official policy. I also predict that within a year of the draft policy becoming official that one or more provinces will enact similar policies/bans.

 

This is what happens when you raise the visibility of caching via media interviews and appearances. We have the media hounds seeking their 15 minutes of fame to thanks for this.

 

I have to take the unusual position of agreeing with Zuuky - it's time to take this game underground.

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I agree with a number of suggestion.

 

1. Small local groups can not speak for cachers across Canada, on an issue of Federal nature.

 

2. If negoiation is to continue with the federal government the local and regional club are going to have to form a National Organization to represent their interests.

 

or

 

3. Continue as normal and play hide and side with the authorities whenever. The Parks offical are not going to put up with uncontrolled trapsing around their parks.

 

So what is the will of Canadian Geocachers. Do we want a voice in Federal Policy? Do we want to take Geocaching underground? Who is will to take the time to contact local and regoinal clubs and from a National Organization which can speak for all Canadian Geocachers and sit as equals with Parks Canada Officals.

 

I fear without this we are looking at a total ban or restrictions to caching which make Geocaching impossible in our nations parks.

 

--

DancesWithWords

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I actually agree with all the cachers that have said that we need to get organized. The voice of many out weighs the voice of one. I belong to the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation (also on the executive of our branch for fisheries) and it i9s the voice of many that contributes to the resolutions that we pass to the Provincial government.

I am going to get a Saskatchewan Geocaching Group set up on the net where we can meet at a provincial level as many of the provinces already have set up. The provinces that do not have a site or group set up should follow suit. Then all we need it to get a few of the members that are willing to spend a bit of time (2-4 hours a week) to get the ball rolling. With as many of the combined groups adding input from there local members, I think this will show the governments (municipal/Provincial/Federal) that we mean business and that we are ready to sit down an negotiate a fair deal for all.

 

parker2

geocaching@parker2.com

Edited by parker2

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The problem of being restricted or prohibited in geocaching on federal land seems to be widespread. Here is a note I saw posted on another forum at http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php...ic=68361&st=150

 

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

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Status update from OGA

 

I spoke with the National representative from Parks Canada this morning. They were the chair of the meeting we attended earlier in April.

 

After we cleared the air of a few miscommunications and misunderstandings we have come to the follow understandings.

 

-> Parks Canada will be editing the 'draft policy' to better word some questionable statements and it will no longer be called 'draft', rather 'interum'. This change better reflects the effective policy for the next year.

 

-> Parks Canada is looking into developing a method to allow "a few" physical caches either to remain, or new ones placed, to better determine the impact of caching. That is not to say they will adopt this, but they are trying to work out the logistics of this idea to illustrate to the Geocaching community that they do understand our position.

 

-> OGA has pledged its support to their current policy, and suggests that if any Geocacher is contacted about a cache that they own, they should make arrangements to meet with the Parks staff to assist in visiting the cache site. I realize that many of you would feel that they will be removing your cache unfairly. The positive effect of meeting with the staff and talking about your cache and evaluating the site and impact will reflect in the future when Parks Canada revisits the policy in a years time. If we illustrate to Parks Canada that we are willing to work with them then we have a better chance of getting our caches back into place next year, or at least create a more Geocacher-friendly policy.

 

-> OGA also would like to be informed by the cacher that is contacted that they were contacted, preferably before going to the cache site. OGA needs to know what caches are affected and what the outcome of the discussion with Parks staff is. This information is invaluable for when we talk with Parks Canada in the future to help design policies to enable caching again.

 

I certainly understand everyone's idea of "Taking the game underground" or placing lots of caches to keep Parks staff busy.... believe me, I too have entertained the same ideas because I feel threatened too. But this is simply a bad idea. Parks staff will remove the caches they are able to identify, and they have the right to charge people with littering. Just because you placed your cache under an alias doesn't mean that your IP address isn't tracked and you cannot be found. Is this really the way we are going to illustrate that Geocaching is a family activity and we are a serious group of responsible people?

 

We, as cachers, are building a bridge together with Parks Canada. They have concerns, and we have concerns. They are listening, and we must listen too. And both sides know that there are going to be some problems. But let's all address these problems with maturity and understanding.

 

No one is saying that we will meet in the middle of that bridge, or that the bridge will be complete in a year. More likely it won't. But this is the foundation of the bridge. Parks Canada is going to take it slowly, but at least they are willing to talk and work on things.

 

Parks Canada is very excited about the possibilities that Geocaching can present on a park level. They told me so to my face. They cannot simply jump in with both feet. There are items to resolve, things to look into.

 

But I strongly believe that Parks Canada, if they are willing to move forward as they have suggested, will come to see how wonderful Geocaching can be.

 

Are you willing to work to see that caching is represented properly?

 

If so, work to promote caching practices. Work to show how we are willing to develop with Parks Canada.

 

I think giving Parks Canada a year to come up with an effective "physical" cache policy is something we can accomplish. After all, we have waited nearly two years for Ontario Parks to talk about Geocaching. At least Parks Canada is talking.

 

OGA - Admin

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As for New York State and the attached information from "Pintoponies"

 

To the best of my knowledge, from speaking with New York Geocaching Organization members (NYGO) I have been told the following

 

"New York State has closed all of their state parks. Each one is no longer maintained and closed to the public"

 

This would indicate also that NY has removed all of their insurance on those lands, or at least reduced it a great deal as a cost saving measure.

 

No staff, and no liability.

 

No wonder they are making people buy $25 permits to hide a cache (which no one in the sane mind would do, IMHO) and additionally provide liability insurance and state that New York will not be held accountable for any injuries that result from Geocaching.

 

I do not know facts, just what I have been told.

 

I don't know if the public are still allowed to be in the parks but I cannot see the State putting up gates everywhere. Probably it is more likely that the public can use the sites at their own risk, and that would be posted.

 

OGA - Admin

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I don't know if the public are still allowed to be in the parks but I cannot see the State putting up gates everywhere. Probably it is more likely that the public can use the sites at their own risk, and that would be posted.

 

I have been caching in NY State parks. They seemed to have spent quite a bit of $$ putting up HUGE signs saying Keep out, trespassers will be prosecuted, enter at your own risk etc, etc. When we drove up there were lots of cars going in and out of the park. We stopped a local resident and they said "Oh sure, go on in. If the Sheriff drives by, just wave at him, he will smile and wave back!" (the Sheriff's office was located in the park). I've never seen a busier park and that was with lots of snow on the ground. Nope, no gates but lots of activity.

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I was hoping to get a list of cachs along the Trent Severn Waterway. We are going to be there soon with our boat that we left in upper-state NY last fall. I did not find many the further along (nw) you traveled on the Waterway. If Parks Canada has the negative reaction to geocaching in their parks, I guess I see why. Is there a listing of ones near lock walls that I could access while we overnight on our boat?

Grandma Dall

Palm City, FL

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I was hoping to get a list of cachs along the Trent Severn Waterway. We are going to be there soon with our boat that we left in upper-state NY last fall. I did not find many the further along (nw) you traveled on the Waterway. If Parks Canada has the negative reaction to geocaching in their parks, I guess I see why. Is there a listing of ones near lock walls that I could access while we overnight on our boat?

Grandma Dall

Palm City, FL

Grandma how far up are you going? Will you have bicycles or just walking/hiking distances?

I gotta tell you, doing the Trent on a Houseboat/Party-Boat is a long time dream of mine. Combine that with geocaching - Priceless!

I'll email you a list of caches.

 

Cheers, Olar

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Status update from OGA

 

I spoke with the National representative from Parks Canada this morning. They were the chair of the meeting we attended earlier in April.

 

After we cleared the air of a few miscommunications and misunderstandings we have come to the follow understandings.

 

-> Parks Canada will be editing the 'draft policy' to better word some questionable statements and it will no longer be called 'draft', rather 'interum'. This change better reflects the effective policy for the next year.

 

SNIP...

These are good moves. I hope we can continue to see more movement on the various issues. I do understand the Parks officals positon though. If I knew that people where moving through ecogolically sensitive areas I'd be concerned to.

 

I look forward to more positive annoucements.

 

--

DancesWithWords

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I look forward to more positive annoucements.

I'm looking forward to any positive announcements. I haven't heard any yet. Right now the policy is, "remove all caches from Parks Canada parks and don't place any more". Redefining this policy from a "draft" policy to an "interim" policy is neither positive nor encouraging. It's merely bafflegab.

 

Nor is it reassuring that "OGA has pledged its support to their current policy". How is supporting an outright ban of caching in public parks a positive move? How can OGA representatives actually believe that the spectre of Parks Canada maybe allowing a "few" caches to exist in the parks in a year (more likely a few years) be a positive outcome? I think you guys are deluding yourselves.

 

And why isn't OGA actively involving other caching associations in other provinces? Who gave OGA the mandate to "negotiate" for the rest of the country?

 

Sorry, but I'm not buying into any of this and, from the discussions I've had with other local cachers, very few around here are buying into it either.

 

Here's a better solution: start a private, underground caching group with a membership restricted to known, like-minded cachers. Cachers hide caches where ever they want and list them on a private web site. After a defined period of time, or when everyone in the group has found a particular cache, the cache owner retrieves the cache and hides it somewhere else to ensure that there are always new caches to hunt. So you don't get a GC smiley - big deal.

 

I have no intention of giving up caching in Stanley Park or the Marine Parks in the Gulf Islands just because some government bureaucrat 3000 miles away has an issue with it. These are our public parks and the bureaucrats making these stupid decisions are public servants whose salaries are paid by our tax dollars. I'm amazed that you guys are willing to grab your ankles and go along with this.

 

Edit - fixed typo

Edited by Gorak

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Perhaps a more effective interim policy would be to allow existing caches to remain in place and put a "temoprary" ban on approving new caches in parks until a policy is finalized.

 

During the period of the interim policy the impacts of geocaches could be studied - here is where we could do a great deal of education. Any negative impacts caused by geocaching can be mitigated by a well researched policy which is created by Parks Canada AND the geocaching community.

 

The list of positive benefits associated with geocaching should also be stressed - here are just a few off the top of my head:

 

- introduces people to and educates them about our parks

- extra eyes in remote areas watching for suspicious activities/fires etc.

- gets people active - spindown benefit on health care system

 

I could go on and on.

 

I feel that the provincial associations should be working together and be proactive. Once caches are removed it will be much harder to get them back.

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And why isn't OGA actively involving other caching associations in other provinces? Who gave OGA the mandate to "negotiate" for the rest of the country?

 

I think the better question would be: Why hasn't there been any input from other provincial groups in this thread? Lack of interest? That's fine. Figure it's a losing battle? That's OK too. Afraid of being chastised by other people in the discussion that have nothing positive to bring to the group? No problem. People stay away from issues like this all the time.

 

At least OGA has been providing some input here! And the way I see it, OGA isn't negotiating for the rest of the country. OGA is negotiating for OGA. You want to be heard? Step up to the mike!

 

If, after getting all the information they need to make an informed decision, the government bodies decide that Geocaching is not a suitable activity for our national parks, I'll abide by their decision. To any scoff-laws that decide anarchy is a better way to go, well... go ahead... teach your children well.

 

-TT- ;)

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Parks Canada is monitoring this forum thread, so any input here is being read. We are working on having the currently placed caches reviewed by the park staff and if not in a sensitive location be allowed to remain or relocated for the remainder of the year. No new caches will be listed, unless permission is given by the parks.

 

So please add your input, this policy was given to me suddenly, I asked the association that was local to the head office to put together a presentation.

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Personally, I can see Parks Canada's concerns. Far too many cachers don't give a hoot about the environment, and many cache sites I've visited look like a herd of caribou have run over them.

 

Personally, I could care less if a physical cache is placed at a location. I just want to know that the coords I'm given are bringing me to a memorable location.

 

So, if physical caches are disallowed, I assume that GC.com will be a little more lenient in allowing us to create VIRTUAL caches within the parks, especially to areas of scenic, historic, scientific or aritistic significance.

 

If GC.com is going to allow us to "place" VIRTUAL caches in the parks, then I'm really quite nonplussed about the whole issue of PHYSICAL caches. It's not like I can't get McCrap from a local McDonalds that I have to hike a day into the mountains to get it.

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How can OGA representatives actually believe that the spectre of Parks Canada maybe allowing a "few" caches to exist in the parks in a year (more likely a few years) be a positive outcome? I think you guys are deluding yourselves.

 

I guess it's a matter of "you had to be there" on this issue. After our discussion with the park officials we felt that they heard what we had to say and were open to our discussion of the validity of caching in their parks. They have their way of doing things and sure, we may not agree with the way they decided to erase the board and start clean, but they have not slammed the door on us and refused to listen. Yet. I am hoping that the discussion here will remain on an even keel and we can show Park officials that we are mature individuals that are willing to cooperate with them.

 

And why isn't OGA actively involving other caching associations in other provinces? Who gave OGA the mandate to "negotiate" for the rest of the country?

 

As stated, this was a last minute meeting and we were not given much time to prepare. We went up to Ottawa and met with Parks Canada on short notice and made I feel that the presentations made by the executive were professional and I hope reflected the geocaching community as a whole. Was my time, effort and expenses wasted ? I hope not.

 

Personally, I can see Parks Canada's concerns. Far too many cachers don't give a hoot about the environment, and many cache sites I've visited look like a herd of caribou have run over them.

 

Thank you. You have certainly help our cause immensely. The cache sites around Ontario are for the most part in great shape and the surroundings are respected. If there is any environmental impact, we are pretty well self monitoring and tend to report these to each other through the OGA representatives. That's why we are here - to prevent this sort of activity and to help each other to preserve what we hope is a fun family sport.

 

If Parks Canada are using B.C. as an example then I can understand their concerns. I am sorry that your cache sites are in such disrepair. It would break my heart to see something like that and I would probably call for a ban myself. Sounds like you might want to organize and educate your fellow cachers. Read the Geocaching site - "The cache owner will assume all responsibility of their cache listings. " - that includes what is happening around it. You are defeating our attempts by not following the GC.com guidelines. I hope B.C. is an isolated case. I have not heard anything of this nature from other provinces. Please don't make our efforts go down the drain.

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Personally, I can see Parks Canada's concerns. Far too many cachers don't give a hoot about the environment, and many cache sites I've visited look like a herd of caribou have run over them.

Funny, I haven't noticed that except for a couple nano-caches in urban forests.

 

So, if physical caches are disallowed, I assume that GC.com will be a little more lenient in allowing us to create VIRTUAL caches within the parks, especially to areas of scenic, historic, scientific or aritistic significance.

Don't count on GC easing up on their virtual ban of virtual caches just because of this turn of events. I've seen that argument presented unsuccessfully too many times by people whose virtual caches were rejected. It isn't going to happen.

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If Parks Canada are using B.C. as an example then I can understand their concerns.  I am sorry that your cache sites are in such disrepair.  It would break my heart to see something like that and I would probably call for a ban myself.  Sounds like you might want to organize and educate your fellow cachers.  Read the Geocaching site - "The cache owner will assume all responsibility of their cache listings. "  - that includes what is happening around it.    You are defeating our attempts by not following the GC.com guidelines.  I hope B.C. is an isolated case.  I have not heard anything of this nature from other provinces.  Please don't make our efforts go down the drain.

This is a very slanted opinion from someone who does not represent British Columbia or it's local association. It is not indicative of the attitude or the situation - this comment refers to DBC and not to Amazon Annie

Edited by Curious George

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caching in their parks. 

OUR parks.

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Personally, I can see Parks Canada's concerns. Far too many cachers don't give a hoot about the environment, and many cache sites I've visited look like a herd of caribou have run over them.

 

Thank you. You have certainly help our cause immensely. The cache sites around Ontario are for the most part in great shape and the surroundings are respected. Please don't make our efforts go down the drain.

I'm not throwing anything down the drain. Just telling it like it is.

 

You can tell people as much as you want "no bushwhacking required", it only takes three or four idiots to ignore that message to effectivly destroy an area environmentally. And that is what Parks Canada is concerned about. They're trying to nip this in the bud before the game explodes. They don't want 500 cache sites per national park. The environmental impact of that would be enormous.

 

I've seen cache comments from folks (actually from some of the same people defending BC environmentally here in this thread) who have written things like "we went in at night, unfortunately missing the trail because of darkness, so we bushwhacked in ..."

 

I realize that sometimes bushwhacking is necessary (simply because the owner stuck the cache in an inaccessible location ... which is another problem). But in the instance above it wasn't necessary, and instead of looking harder for a trail (night or not), those cachers decided on the easy route of destroying the foliage for the cache find.

 

(I'll admit I've bushwhacked a couple of times. And I've felt bad and guilty about it. In one instance there were no directions to the cache from the trail. Took the hard way in, but fortunately found an easier way out, and relayed that information to all future cachers, so that environmental impact could be minimised. Cache owners should always supply information on getting to their cache sites in as environmentally friendly a way possible, especially when there are multiple routes to their cache site.)

 

It would be great to have physical caches in our National Parks, under some very strict guidelines (such as always within 4 metres of a marked trail), but until the idiots in our "sport" (I use that term loosely) wise up, Parks Canada will always have legitimate concerns. But who's going to police those regulations? Parks Canada doesn't want to. Self policing in the community might work. Far too many people (in this thread) have come up with ideas such as "take geocaching underground." Why? So that you don't have to worry about such things as protecting the environment? Following regulations?

 

(As for your notion of self-policing. The OGA and other provinicial geocaching organizations have no ability to police anything. They can't remove caches, they can't force geocaching.com to remove them, they can't ban people from caching, nor can they reliably prove who's destroying the environment and who isn't.)

 

That was all very rambly. Sorry.

Edited by dogbreathcanada

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I've seen cache comments  from folks (actually from some of the same people defending BC environmentally here in this thread) who have written things like "we went in at night, unfortunately missing the trail because of darkness, so we bushwhacked in ..."

Can you quote specific examples of this, other than the one below?

 

(I'll admit I've bushwhacked a couple of times. And I've felt bad and guilty about it. In one instance there were no directions to the cache from the trail.

<_<

 

Cache owners should always supply information on getting to their cache sites in as environmentally friendly a way possible, especially when there are multiple routes to their cache site.)

Isn't that what maps are for? There are usually trail maps of some description available for most parks. Doing a little homework before you leave the house would be prudent rather than expecting the cache owner to draw you a map directly to the cache.

 

Far too many people (in this thread) have come up with ideas such as "take geocaching underground." Why? So that you don't have to worry about such things as protecting the environment? Following regulations?

Wrong. Taking some aspects of caching underground has nothing to do with avoiding environmental responsibilities. I'm not sure how you even came to that conclusion. Continuously banging your head against an immovable object, like a government bureaucracy, is usually a frustrating, nonproductive waste of time and effort and usually only results in a headache. Stepping around those objects makes much more sense. I'd rather spend my limited spare time caching than playing politics with bureaucrats. I'll leave that to those who enjoy that sort of thing.

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I've seen cache comments  from folks (actually from some of the same people defending BC environmentally here in this thread) who have written things like "we went in at night, unfortunately missing the trail because of darkness, so we bushwhacked in ..."

Can you quote specific examples of this ...

Well, I was specifically referring to something you wrote awhile back. I ran across it month or so ago, and it's stuck in my mind ever since. If I'd known this conversation would come up, I'd have archived it for posterity.

 

But a little searching and I've come across other instances from other people:

 

"We shrugged and continued on our way. Close to the water our GPSs honed in on the cache very quickly, so we decided to sign the log before anyone else arrived. Replaced the cache in its hiding place in order to allow the rest of the group to attain a full cache experience. As soon as the stragglers appeared, we told them we had a secret and chose a nice spot overlooking the ocean as a secret circle. We expected everyone would uncover the cache in short order, but to our amazement we were treated to the spectacle of the rest of the group wandering in circles, more or less tripping over the container from time to time without actually finding it. Standing alone in the secret circle, we began to feel almost alienated from the rest of our fellow cachers. As we seriously debated whether some clues needed to be proffered, somebody finally stumbled into the find. Slowly the rest - now having a restricted area to search - were able to discover the location."

 

Great fun, watching a whole troupe of people tromp haphazardly over all the vegatation in the area.

 

Ah here it is, your cache comment of Dec 6 2003:

 

"Found this night caching with J5. The rain stopped and the full moon was shining through the clouds as we hiked the 2k in from the locked gate. We had no problems locating the manmade object or the cache, other than missing the obvious trail to the cache in the dark and doing a small amount of bushwhacking."

 

Oh, and here's another of yours:

 

"There were more than a couple of spots in the vicinity of the cache that matched the clues so I had to search around for a bit in the dark while J5, who's been here before, stood off to the side grinning."

 

Grinning while you stomped around on all the vegetation.

 

Like I said before ... sometimes it can be avoided (bushwhacking) and sometimes not. It both of those instances, it probably could have been avoided.

 

Anyhow, Parks Canada has legitimate concerns. From all of us, you're not on the pedestal you think you are, Gorak.

Edited by dogbreathcanada

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Cache owners should always supply information on getting to their cache sites in as environmentally friendly a way possible, especially when there are multiple routes to their cache site.)

Isn't that what maps are for? There are usually trail maps of some description available for most parks.

 

Of course there are. I visit the park websites and download their trail maps, if they have them. I have a fair number of PDF trail maps on my PDA (Lynn Headwaters, Mount Seymour, Cypress, Pinecone Burke, Stanley Park, etc.)

 

But the cache in question was 200 metres off the trail. The cache owner had made zero attempt to at least navigate an acceptable route to his location for seekers.

 

I did find a reasonable route in with no bushwhacking required, and posted as a comment a detailed description of the route. Even suggested to the cache owner that they might want to post the route in the main cache description, to reduce environmental impact. I was ignored.

 

Another thing Parks Canada should be concerned about ... irresponsible cache owners.

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Here are two things Parks Canada could adopt to greatly reduce the environmental impact of caching:

 

1. No cache shall be located no more than 4 metres from a marked trail.

 

2. All caches must contain detailed descriptions on how to find the cache, to reduce the enviromental impact of searching an area that could have a radius of up to 25 metres (depending on satellite signal strength in an area.)

 

All of my non-urban caches have detailed descriptions on how to locate the cache, for exactly those reasons.

Edited by dogbreathcanada

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Well, I was specifically referring to something you wrote awhile back. I ran across it month or so ago, and it's stuck in my mind ever since. If I'd known this conversation would come up, I'd have archived it for posterity.

 

But a little searching and I've come across other instances from other people:

 

"We shrugged and continued on our way. Close to the water our GPSs honed in on the cache very quickly, so we decided to sign the log before anyone else arrived. Replaced the cache in its hiding place in order to allow the rest of the group to attain a full cache experience. As soon as the stragglers appeared, we told them we had a secret and chose a nice spot overlooking the ocean as a secret circle. We expected everyone would uncover the cache in short order, but to our amazement we were treated to the spectacle of the rest of the group wandering in circles, more or less tripping over the container from time to time without actually finding it. Standing alone in the secret circle, we began to feel almost alienated from the rest of our fellow cachers. As we seriously debated whether some clues needed to be proffered, somebody finally stumbled into the find. Slowly the rest - now having a restricted area to search - were able to discover the location."

 

Great fun, watching a whole troupe of people tromp haphazardly over all the vegatation in the area.

Well, I didn't write that log, but I was one of the people tromping around the rocks on the beach at the base of the cliff face where the cache was hidden. I didn't check before we left, but I don't think we did much damage to the rocks. :huh: You really should check your facts before making these sorts of assumptions and accusations. :huh:

 

Ah here it is, your cache comment of Dec 6 2003:

 

"Found this night caching with J5. The rain stopped and the full moon was shining through the clouds as we hiked the 2k in from the locked gate. We had no problems locating the manmade object or the cache, other than missing the obvious trail to the cache in the dark and doing a small amount of bushwhacking."

Yes, I remember that cache. Given the amount of litter in the bush left by non-cachers, I'm pretty sure the 20 or 30 meters of bushwacking that we did was not even detectable by the next day. Point taken, though. What's your excuse for bushwacking?

 

Oh, and here's another of yours:

 

"There were more than a couple of spots in the vicinity of the cache that matched the clues so I had to search around for a bit in the dark while J5, who's been here before, stood off to the side grinning."

 

Grinning while you stomped around on all the vegetation.

Again, you are making erroneous assumptions and jumping to incorrect conclusions. No bushwacking took place and no vegetation was "stomped". Searching for a cache is not synonymous with bushwacking. Have you never had to search for a cache or are you so good that you just walk right up to them without ever leaving any footprints? <_<

 

You must have read through quite a number of my logs to even come up with these two gems as examples of my environmentally unsound caching habits. Is this is the best you could come up with to support your assumptions that cachers, in general, lay waste to any and all vegetation in their path? :blink:

 

Anyhow, Parks Canada has legitimate concerns. From all of us, you're not on the pedestal you think you are, Gorak.

I don't have any pretentions of being on any pedestals, nor do I understand why you are attempting to make this a personal issue. I speak for myself and myself only, unlike some others who claim to speak for "all of us", which I doubt you do - especially given that you've been banned from both local caching websites for sending harrasing and vulgar PM's to several other cachers that you have personal issues with. Your credibility leaves much to be desired. :huh:

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You must have read through quite a number of my logs to even come up with these two gems.

 

Anyhow, Parks Canada has legitimate concerns. From all of us, you're not on the pedestal you think you are, Gorak.

I don't have any pretentions of being on any pedestals, nor do I understand why you are attempting to make this a personal issue. I speak for myself and myself only, unlike some others who claim to speak for "all of us", which I doubt you do - especially given that you've been banned from both local caching websites for sending harrasing and vulgar PM's to several other cachers that you have personal issues with. Your credibility leaves much to be desired. <_<

Read through all your logs? No. Just a few that I have on my watch list. I just scanned your cache finds list for names that sounded familiar. I looked at a total of about 10 caches, out of the 250+ that you've found. There are probably lots of other instances, but I don't have the inclination or time to go looking through them all.

 

It's not a witch hunt. Just pointing out that Parks Canada's concerns are legitimate, even based on the acitivities of such "eco-friendly" cachers as yourself.

 

As for my bans. I was banned from the BCGA for arguing with Jomarac5, who has been banned from geocaching.com's forums for quite awhile. I believe you've been banned from the BCGA forums a couple of times yourself, Gorak. Being banned from the BCGA isn't particularly difficult. But it's their website, they can do what they want. I don't raise a stink about it.

 

As for being banned from gocaching.com. That site is owned by Jomarac5, so it's no surprise he's in the habit of banning anyone who takes him to task.

 

Have a nice day,

DBC.

 

PS I consider bushwhacking to be anything the destroys vegetation, whether that be waist high vegetation or ground cover vegetation. Obviously a certain amount of destruction will always occur ... but often cache owners and seekers make little attempt to minimise the impact.

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