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Don't assume......you know what they say.

 

I didn't say that it was a one to one ratio, but 250-300 to 1.....you're the one who is kidding yourself. You've got nothing to back that up whatsoever, and I find it insulting to geocachers in general.

It's an estimate of the number of non-geocaching hikers who leave the trail (and stomp around on the vegetation in a circular pattern) versus the number of geocaching hikers who leave the trail (and stomp around on the vegetation in a circular pattern.)

 

I still don't feel the 250-300:1 ratio is at all unreasonable.

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Well you'd be hard pressed to find anyone to agree with your numbers. What about mountain bikers, partiers, illegal 4x4 activity?? I guess the damage they cause is eclipsed by the damage caused through the rape and pillage strategy you are telling us that we all practice.

 

Your previous post contained two common sense policies which support geocaching and go against many of your previous arguments. They are perfect examples of co-operation between the parties.

 

You don't seem to have any interest in a reasonable solution, you just want to stir things up. If you're not willing to contribute in a meaningful manner then please just go away. You're only making it worse for all of us.

Edited by Curious George

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Well you'd be hard pressed to find anyone to agree with your numbers. What about mountain bikers, partiers, illegal 4x4 activity?

Well, illegal 4x4ing is, as you say, illegal. So it's not worth mentioning, because it's illegal to begin with.

 

Party-goers confine themselves to the car-camping grounds, which are already managed for such activity. They don't head into the backcountry. Have you ever tried hiking into the backcountry with a flat of beer?

 

Mountainbikers have their designated trails, which are already managed by the parks in a manner they deem effective. Not too mention that it's a little difficult to bushwhack with a bicycle.

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You seem to have an answer for anything that doesn't agree with your line of thinking. As much as I'd love to continue this with you it isn't serving any purpose and it isn't helping with the current situation.

 

Meaningful debate is one thing, spewing rhetoric is quite another. I'm going to take the high road here and bow out of this. Most of the people who have been following this thread, and similar threads on other sites, can and likely have already drawn their own conclusions about you.

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Your previous post contained two common sense policies which support geocaching and go against many of your previous arguments. They are perfect examples of co-operation between the parties.

Three strategies.

 

1. No cache to be placed more than 4 metres off a designated trail.

 

2. All cache web pages to contain detailed descriptions for seekers to locate the cache.

 

3. No physical cache to be placed within 500 metres of any other physical cache.

 

Yes, environmental damage will occur 4 metres off a trail. But it will be somewhat minimised due to the location of the cache to the trail. My previous comments were targeted at current caching practices, where hiders often place their caches much further off trails. And targeted at hiders who generally try to make their cache hides hard to locate (the challenge aspect of caching.)

 

On the one hand, I'm arguing in favour of Parks Canada regulations, in their defense against people who feel that Parks Canada has no business regulating the activity. Or that their concerns are completely unfounded. I'm simply arguing that Parks Canada has legitimate concerns.

 

On the other hand, I'm arguing that with some effective regulations, caching and the damage it can cause, can be minimised -- never eliminated, but minimised.

Edited by dogbreathcanada

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There has been a lot of content, some valid and some not so much that has been brought forward in this thread.

 

Therefore I have much to respond to, and honestly, it will probably be a long one if I am to cover most of what has been directed in various directions.

 

I must preface this by saying that all sides in this debate will take issue with one thing or another in this post. Be they cachers, or Parks Canada, or Geocaching.com reps.

 

I don't mean any insult to anyone by what I am about to say, I am just providing either facts as I know them, or opinions I have and share with the other members of the OGA Exec as we have discussed them already, either voice or data.

 

First off, If you are not aware, during our meeting with Parks Canada, OGA did present the option of using the existing cache base as a test group for evaluation. That was posted near the beginning of this thread. At this time, Parks Canada is unwilling to consider the idea of "Grandfathering" any existing caches. I have been told by Parks Canada that they are trying to work out the logistics of leaving a "FEW" caches to help understand the impact that caching is having.

 

It is my opinion that Parks Canada is making a big mistake in forcing all existing caches to be removed. I base this on the fact that currently Parks Canada has not done anything to evaluate the current conditions, or even to find out where exactly these caches are located. That is a poor method of judging anything. To be able to make an informed decision, Parks Canada must identify where caches are located and visit the site for themselves. I know that even cachers will say that this is cost prohibitive. Not so. Currently Parks staff do maintenance along trails. This could be coordinated with a cache placer to visit the site.

 

Secondly, Should groups or individuals decide that instead of waiting for an effective and realistic policy to be created, they are going to go around the system and place their own caches causes several problems. Mainly, Parks Canada is not going to respect the Geocaching groups and not be willing to work with anyone. Your actions make everyone else look guilty. Another important note is that should you decide to become this 'splinter cell' and get caught, then you are not "Geocaching" as you are not seeking an approved geocache. You are just a rogue element that broke the laws or rules of the park. Geocachers will not support you and Parks Canada will know that you are not Geocaching because all of the caches are out of the park. You may be prosecuted, and meanwhile the Geocaching community will have to work a lot harder to get Parks Canada to develop a policy because of your self-centred arrogance.

 

Thirdly, OGA is not mandated to represent anyone except our own members. We have NO authority what-so-ever, with respect to Geocaching. But I guarantee you that Parks Canada is far more like to accept input from an organized group than from individuals. I understand some people's frustrations that they were not included in the initial meeting. We talked about that for the 7 hours we drove up. Honestly, we couldn't help that. We were invited. We had a limited amount of time in many respects. Don't fault us for trying, we believe what we did we did for the good of all concerned.

 

We were lead to believe that this meeting was to discuss the Draft Policy and help fine tune it to make it effective. We were wrong, and intially very angry but we didn't show it. We (OGA) were able to re-educate Parks Canada on some of the misconceptions they had regarding Geocaching. Unfortunately Parks Canada had already released their policy at the park level and say they will not change it till next year. While I don't believe that any policy is carved in stone and cannot be altered at any time as conditions see fit, we are dealing with a multi-level group that has concerns and mandates to protect.

 

Parks Canada, however, could have avoided much of the problems that they are going to face over the next few years if they would have simply talked to Geocahers. I strongly suspect that certain Provincial Parks added a negative influence to Parks Canada, and that caused this policy to be created without any input from Cache-Tech or the Geocaching community.

 

Some people have asked about liability and other items that Parks Canada may be concerned about... here are the four things

 

1. Ecological impact to the environment, off trail use

2. Accidental damage to historic and/or cultural locations

3. Liability of the Parks in the case of injury

4. Pack-in Pack-out, leaving of items behind, littering.

 

Here were our responses.

 

1. Policy to include that all caches MUST be within 3-5 meters of an established trail (this distance to be determined)

2. We don't permit physical caches to be placed such that they require a cacher to directly interact with an historic or cultural location

3. This point is irrelevant if a cache is within 3-5 meters of an established trail (see below) as the liability is the same as for hikers.

4. Littering is the purposeful disposal of material with the intention of abandoning it. As a cache is a montored item, this is irrelevant.

 

The idea of a Parks approval for a cache location would rectify the four concerns by ensuring a eco-friendly location. If it is placed under the scrutiny of a park staff, they can see that the location is relatively safe and not "trampling" the local ecology. Further, they would see that the cache is not affecting an historic site, and is on the trail (or a step or two off). They also would have a contact person should there be an issue in the future with the cache.

 

This investment of 10 minutes would generate free marketing, add awareness to the parks and provide additional recreational content. Normally, a Parks Canada site is a tourist location to begin with, we are just adding a new facet to draw more people to the park.

 

It is clear to me, that should the suggested steps be implemented that there would be very few issues.

 

I still maintain that forcing a removal of all caches is overkill and not required. But if that is the step that must be taking to help create a more effective policy in the near future, then it is an investment I encourage.

 

Parks Canada, will have to commit, at least on the Ontario level, to working to develop physical caching policies. That is a requirement I feel must be made. Parks Canada have told me that it is in their mandate to work with Geocachers to create an effective way to monitor and encourage the activity as it mainly seeks to add interest in their sites.

 

New York State has closed all of its State Parks.... I fear unless Parks Canada, and the other Provincial Parks authorities embrace new methods of generating interest in the parks, that the Federal and/or Provincial governments will be forced to reduce funding and eventually the parks that both Geocachers and Parks staff are trying to protect will be gone.

 

For the British Columbia people, I have to tell you that I have been told by a person with contacts in many provinces that he saw the "British Columbia Parks Policy for Geocaching" and it is exactly the same as the Ontario Parks policy.

 

You might want to review what Ontario is about to deal with, because you will too.

 

Again, I must comment that Parks Canada cannot move slowly on developing a policy that permits physical geocaching on their/our park land. Yes, we are taxpayers and ultimately the land belongs to all Canadians, but Parks Canada is responsible for the creation of rules to protect that land. That doesn't mean they don't make mistakes, and when they do it is the responsibility of the affected groups to stand up for what they believe in. We can affect change, and we have the right to demand that our opinions and beliefs be considered. If Parks Canada is unwilling to listen at all, then of course more drastic steps would have to be taken. I don't believe that this will be the case.

 

This policy was developed by a handful of people. People that have some understanding of caching. People that also have a lot of other things to be concerned about. While we try to educate them on how Virtuals will not work, and how a Multi is a great way to guide people around the park, they are also seeing peopl saying "I'm gonna put caches wherever I want, they can't stop me" It isn't easy for them to tell the difference between a good cache and bad cache. But while we say things like "We are a self-monitoring group", how will we address a rogue element like that? We can only say... "Well they aren't cachers, and we don't approve of that"

 

And if another Provincial group, whether it is Alberta, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Quebec, whatever wants to be "in the loop"... the door is open, but we can't make you come in.... you gotta do that yourself.

 

 

So, in closing....

 

Parks Canada has a long road ahead of them, and I hope they are willing to work better with the Geocaching community because they didn't start off very well, but they seem to know that they can improve things a great deal and even benefit from caching.

 

Geocachers have to learn to place caches more appropriately, and seek them more appropriately.

 

If both sides don't smarten up, there won't be any parks left to argue over.

 

OGA - Admin

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Thirdly, OGA is not mandated to represent anyone except our own members. We have NO authority what-so-ever, with respect to Geocaching. But I guarantee you that Parks Canada is far more like to accept input from an organized group than from individuals.

I completely respect and support your efforts. I feel you've the best interests of the hobby at heart and will do your utmost to ensure reasonable regulations that both Parks Canada and the Canadian geocaching community can live with.

 

On behalf of British Columbia, I apologize for certain "rogue" elements here. But there's likely little to fear, they're really all talk and little action. Their general modus operandi is to simply challenge any and all authority. In the words of Douglas Adams, they're "mostly harmless."

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You couldn't be more wrong.....and no one appointed you to speak on behalf of British Columbia you arrogant twit.

 

Note to Moderator: warn away or suspend me if you must but this guy is a real piece of work and someone has to say something. Have a nice day.

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Thanks OGA-Admin

You have made a slew of good points.

There really needs to be a focus on the virtue of physical caches.

Geocaching has as broad an appeal as any activity I have ever seen, I see this every day when I read logs from literally everyone, children to grandparents. The basis of this appeal is the physical container, the geocache. It is a tangible thing that appeals in a multitude of ways, children see treasures, workmen see craft, seekers see challenge, no one person can understand every aspect but the appeal is very real. As this activity grows, and it is growing at a tremendous rate, the power of the geocache to decide which locations will be visited will rival that of any other attraction, including National Parks. I was reading a thread on this site where the opening question was how many geocaches are there within a 100 miles of your house ? In Sep/2002 the winner was squeaking in with 700+ caches, that thread was recently bumped and the new number is closer to 8000 caches, this is exponential growth. The growth is caused by the appeal of the physical cache and the fact that geocaching receives it's impetus from the Internet, it blends the inner and outer worlds together in a way that fascinates. I have found a site which centralizes any policy submission, this thread is mentioned on that site

GeocachingPolicy.info.

I know a lot of different groups have prepared presentations on geocaching for a lot of different reasons.

It would be excellent to see some of this material so that different groups could try to co-develop a rough framework that presents a consistent view of this activity and the participants. I would make a pitch for physical caches in parks here if I could be sure that I was presenting material that is consistent and more importantly effective.

I think everyone agrees that we really would like to see physical caches in the best locations, those locations are already parks. Geocaching has the ability to revitallize moribund locations, to re-interest people in history and to increase appreciation for our parks. Parks Canada should weigh this factor in their new policy or they really do stand to lose out on a win-win situation, the very best caches in the very best locations. Every geocacher who seeks a geocache in a National Park will be required to get a sticker for their car window, it will cost a lot money for an annual pass, oh wait, Parks Canada already does that ! Geocachers can save their money this summer, every cloud has a silver lining.

Edited by wavector

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You seem to have an answer for anything that doesn't agree with your line of thinking.

No, I simply have quick answers to your specious arguments. You've not really shown an understanding of the issues involved, especially from the perspective of Parks Canada. I really think you don't fully understand Parks Canada's mandate, especially where the national parks are concerned. They're not maintaining open air zoos for your enjoyment. Their mandate is the protection of the natural wildlife and environment above all else ... the people factor is entirely secondary.

 

Want to bring up "animals in the parks" as an argument for geocaching again? I need the chuckle.

Edited by dogbreathcanada

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Hmmm, interesting... I had read your posts and thought you had added some good content to the thread.

 

You couldn't be more wrong.....and no one appointed you to speak on behalf of British Columbia you arrogant twit.

 

Note to Moderator: warn away or suspend me if you must but this guy is a real piece of work and someone has to say something. Have a nice day.

 

Can you clairify and justify this statement?

 

Please illustrate to me, and the rest of the thread, how I am wrong.

 

And I said I only speak for the Members of OGA, which clearly indicates that I do not speak for British Columbia. Are you a member of BC's main geocaching group? I hope you conduct your meetings with more tact than you have shown in that posting.

 

OGA - Admin

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I have just got off the phone with OGA-Admin (who does not have internet access at this time). They were concerned about the interaction and I have read them the subsequent posts. OGA-Admin says thank you for the clarification, they mis-interpreted the post.

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I have been attempting to keep the moderating to a minimal in this thread and a fine line has been run with a few toes over. Lets work on a solution on how to keep Geocaching within our parks, this thread is not who does more damage then who. A few here needs to take a step back, if not, I will have to insure you do.

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I think he was upset about Dogbreath, not you OGA-Admin.

Absolutely correct - sorry if you interepreted my statements otherwise OGA - Admin.

 

I won't be replying to DBC anymore but I am willing to take part in constructive discussion on this issue because I feel that it is an important one. And I'm more than happy to provide input and information on the real status of caching in B.C.

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For those curious about the general BC feeling, and what Parks Canada would find if they ventured onto the BCGA forums.

 

The government is attempting to regulate our game and they have no business doing so.

 

This seems to be a fairly prevalent attitude within the BCGA organization, at least among the loudest voices. There's not a lot of intelligence to be found among the most outraged members of the community.

 

All I have to say is ...

 

Umm, sorry, but if you're caching on land that is funded by the taxpayer, then the government has every right to regulate the activity on THAT land for the good of ALL taxpayers.

 

Based on your faulty line of reasoning, Parks Canada should drop all regulations and open up the parks to any and all activities, because they shouldn't be regulating anything. So, if you support unregulated geocaching in Canadian parks, then you must support unregulated 4x4ing, unregulated hunting, etc.

Edited by dogbreathcanada

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I asked for a step to be taken back, most have complied and I thank you. I will also have 0 tolerance for bringing arguments from other forums here, take it to that forum, don't bring it here.

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On behalf of British Columbia, I apologize for certain "rogue" elements here.

Please don't apologize for me - it is not your place and you do not represent me nor do you have any authority to speak on my behalf. For the record, I do not apologize for anything I've posted on this subject.

 

Please do not imply that you represent cachers in BC. You do not. We have an association that represents us and Curious George is an elected member of the BCGA board. CG and the other elected members of the BCGA speak for us.

 

Thank you.

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How do you turn a family event like geo caching into a cauldron of bubbling puss.

 

Recipe:

[user names removed by moderator]

 

Tell them something like Canada Parks will have no more geocaching in their preserved areas.

 

Add some normal rational people like [username removed by moderator] who see the whole picture and can be rational .

There you have it.

 

Stir the pot a little by stating facts and watch the ingredients fester.

Edited by cache-tech

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Ok, I meant it, no sniping, inciting or pointing fingers in this thread. Please keep it positive and let try to find a solution to the Parks Canada issue. If you cannot do this, your posts will be moderated. Please take a look at the forum guidelines

 

Forum Guidelines

 

Specifically

 

Personal Attacks and Flames will not be tolerated. If you want to praise or criticize, give examples as to why it is good or bad, general attacks on a person or idea will not be tolerated.

 

Sock Puppet accounts will not be allowed. A sock puppet is an account made on an internet message board by a person who already has an account for the purpose of posting anonymously. Use your own account for posting personal opinions. Posts from known sock puppet accounts will be deleted and both the puppet and actual account may be banned from using the services of Groundspeak.

 

Keep on topic: Responses to a particular thread should be on-topic and pertain to the discussion. Users should use the New Topic button to start a new discussion which would otherwise be off-topic in the current thread. Threads that are off topic may be closed by the moderator.

 

Private Discussions: Sometimes, a discussion thread strays off into a friendly dialogue or a heated debate among a very small number of users. For these exchanges, use the private discussion feature that is provided through the Groundspeak forums, or the Geocaching.com e-mail system. Public forum posts should be reserved for matters of interest to the general community.

 

Thank you for your co-operation.

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I extend my apologies to the people I had mentioned in the above post.

Sorry Mr Moderator.

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I would like to thank "Curious George" for clairifying that the comment was not directed at me. I stared at it wondering what I had said to offend.

 

As for the SOCK PUPPET post by Cache-Tech. I guess in a way OGA - Admin could be viewed as a sock puppet account. So to be fair and honest, I will explain the difference.

 

OGA - Admin is the account that The Blue Quasar (me) uses to bring information and opinions that are a direct result of conversation with some or all of the OGA Executives. It also is used for passing information that OGA has learned.

 

When OGa holds its next election, which is scheduled for the 1st of October, if I am no longer the OGA - Admin, I will be passing this account to the new Administrator of OGA.

 

I would like to suggest at this time that should the head of any recognized Provincial Caching Group wish to have a "Chat Session" that it is something I think would be beneficial.

 

I also would hope that Cache-Tech and/or Cache-Advance and/or Cache-Agent would be welcome to attend as well.

 

I don't mean to cut people out that are not the head of a Provincial Caching Group, but let's face it, sometimes the leaders have to have a meeting alone to get information straight and agree on directions to take.

 

OGA Executives often chat about things, both serious and fun, and it has helped us develop our group a great deal.

 

Due to the timeshift nature of Canada... 7pm PST/10pm EST would probably be best.

 

The Blue Quasar

OGA - Admin

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We here in Saskatchewan do not have a Geocaching group / organization as of yet. I have put up a MSN group (http://groups.msn.com/SaskatchewanGeocaching) to try and see what kind of feedback I would get from the provincial members. If I get enough response, I’ll set up a site and get the ball rolling on setting up an executive.

When and if you have this chat session, I would be interested in sitting in. I know the general idea of using the parks system on the Provincial and Federal level. I have been on our local branch of the SWF executive for over 18 months, and have seen what kind of impact a large group of people can have to influence our governments.

OGA-Admin keep up the good work! You have been a good diplomat for the Canadian Geocaching Community.

Ok, now it time for my two cents on this topic.

I have been involved in Geocaching for quite a few years now. I know how many of you cachers may be feeling about the problems with caching in our parks. I do not care to here about “who did what” or “who has better environmental ethics”, as all of these issues have been addressed when Geocaching posted the rules of placing and finding caches. This has been implemented a long time ago, yet some of the cachers (new & old and of all ages), have over sometime of there caching days, done something to damage the environment. This also extends to the non-geocaching community. We are an elite group of people who have found yet another way to enjoy the great outdoors that has been given to us to take care of. The government as well as other organizations (SWF and DU just to name a few), have taken on the responsibility to take care of our great outdoors, so that our future generations have a better environment for them to Cache, hunt, fish, camp, etc. So with that all said, we should not make any bad comments towards our governments, but join forces with them to help come up with a good, environmentally friendly caching policy on how we as cachers can help preserve the environment. In my opinion, the policy should be watched and reviewed constantly by the government and geocaching officials. Once Parks Canada has made their decision, it will trickle down to the provincial parks so we need to get PC to let us have input into the decision-making. Lets not let them make an onesided decision.

We as people of this earth should all be stewards for the environment!

 

parker2

geocaching@parker2.com

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Well said Parker2. And I extend a thanks to OGA for there hard work in this situation. As stated the final Parks Canada decission will most likely be adopted in some way by the provicial parks to, so this is an important issue.

 

This should be about sustaining the parks for future generations first, and GeoCaching second. I believe that both can co-exist at the same time.

 

Circle of Confusion

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In the meantime, what is the “right” thing to do when seeking established caches in National Parks? We seem to be left in limbo. Do we continue with the status quo until official notification is placed?

 

Down the road, should it survive, I can foresee geocaching to be an activity akin to fishing in National Parks - rules, regulations, and licenses - to try to ensure proper stewardship of the land and resources, which after all, is Parks Canada’s mandate. Do some of the fishing regulations tee me off? Yes, at times, but in the long run I feel that they do more good than harm. I’ve learned to live with them.

 

Does the present draft policy on geocaching rankle me, you bet. Hopefully though, through education and working with the parties concerned we can come up with something that will be acceptable by all. Perhaps not ideal, but workable.

 

I close by asking again, what is the “right” thing to be doing on the presently posted caches.

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Until a Cache Owner is contacted by a Parks Canada Park Superintendent any and all caches are still active.

 

You may seek them, but be aware that should Parks Staff talk to you about it, I would advise you to say that you are aware of the Policy.

 

Be careful not to violate any rules of the Park, which I assume are posted. Just because a cache is off trail, does not give you permission to violate any posted rules regarding off-trail activity.

 

Ultimately, you the seeker are responsible for your actions.

 

Parks Staff will contact the Cache Owners regarding the cache placement, to arrange to meet with the Cache Owner and remove the cache as well as get information to help create a better policy for the Parks and Cachers alike.

 

This communication is critical if we ever hope to establish physical Caches on land governed by Parks Canada.

 

OGA - Admin

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Parks Staff will contact the Cache Owners regarding the cache placement, to arrange to meet with the Cache Owner and remove the cache as well as get information to help create a better policy for the Parks and Cachers alike.

 

This communication is critical if we ever hope to establish physical Caches on land governed by Parks Canada.

Nicely put OGA

 

It would be nice to expedite the parks officials in all the provinces to seek the cache with the owners and remove them if deemed necessary. I would also suggest that each cacher that has one placed in a park (Prov. or Fed.), should seek their own information on the environmental effect of the cache on the land or lands in question. Take a few fellow cachers, along with any other backing that might be available to you that knows the environmental aspects. There is more than walking on a field of grass or accidentally breaking a small sapling near the shore of a river or creek. Any plant, stone, or fallen log can have an impact on the ecosystem. So when you go out to your cache in the park, take a close look at the paths that may have to be taken. Take pictures and document the whole process of retrieving the cache. Then with the info collected, there may be issues that can be overcome. There are so many environmental issues that have to be addressed with many different acts and regulations before a policy can be made that will reflect all parties involved. The federal government will stall this process as long as they can as there will be $$$$$ involved.

I would be willing to give any pointers that I may have for the removal of the caches. In my opinion, make sure there is going to be a biologist in the group when the parks officials want to see the cache locations.

 

Parker2

geocaching@parker2.com

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I have been asked to clarify that only Parks Canada administered locations will be affected by the policy. Stanley Park is administered by the city of Vancouver and will not be affected by this policy from Parks Canada. The city of Vancouver may adopt the policy or create their own policy at a future date but this will be by their direction and not Parks Canada. This may change as the policy develops, but for now this is the information I was asked to pass along.

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I have been asked to clarify that only Parks Canada administered locations will be affected by the policy. Stanley Park is administered by the city of Vancouver and will not be affected by this policy from Parks Canada. The city of Vancouver may adopt the policy or create their own policy at a future date but this will be by their direction and not Parks Canada. This may change as the policy develops, but for now this is the information I was asked to pass along.

Well, I know GVRD Parks are actively monitoring certain caches. One of the caches that I maintain has had parks personnel visits and a log entry (in the logbook) from such. I'm not positive why they're monitoring, but it may be with a view to the impact caching has on their parks. Cache owners are advised to place their GVRD Parks caches responsibly, and cache seekers are advised to seek them responsibly.

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I think that a great example of how we can work in co-operation with the park governing bodies. It lets them see what's involved first hand, and monitor the situation. If they have any concerns they can contact the cache owner for a resolution.

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One thing that is very important for us all to remember is that we are all just visitors here. Caretakers. If we do a good job future generations will have the Parks to enjoy down the road.

It really isnt a bad thing to limit use and enforce rules that in the end beefit others who are not here to have a say in what thye will one day, inherit

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I had a big long post all typed up a week ago on this topic, but then a few people started bantering back and forth with mindless dribble, and some new things have come to light on this topic. So with that I think I will post a few of my thoughts and observations, and not really taking a side either way. And most of this will also apply to the Parks Ontario thread as well.

 

1) The most important question to ask Parks Canada is, "What will it take for you to allow geocaching to be allowed in your parks and how can we help to get this done." I would like to see an answer to this one. I think this is a fair and reasonable question. If they can’t answer, then it doesn’t sound like they want to embrace our activity. If they provide an answer, let’s do our best to meet those criteria.

 

2) It's been said that Parks Canada is monitoring this thread. Why don't they get involved in the discussion. It's sort of hard to talk about something if we aren't able to discuss the issues with all involved first hand.

 

3) The way I see it now, Parks Canada is basically banning caching in their parks. In all honesty I really don't think that they are going to change their minds in a year from now, when the policy is up for review. If they were open to changing their minds, it would need to be done in the present. I am not sure what the timeframe is of those involved in the discussion, but I feel it's better to push the matter now, and not take a wait and see approach...from what I have seen in these 100+ posts on this topic, I don't see anyone stepping up and taking action (at least not by the posts here in this thread), although I have heard of some plans, but not sure of the timeframe. I feel that if someone wants something bad enough, they can get it done, even if it's just one person, but I haven't seen any of us here step up to the plate to start these actions. Using the media and contacting politicians I feel would be good ways to start. We have seen it countless times where one person was able to make a big difference and I feel that the potential is here too, if someone is really passionate about getting it done. It might even help if someone within Parks Canada became an actual geocacher...by that I mean not just a handful of finds over a couple weeks, but actually taking up geocaching as a hobby.

 

4) Parks Canada, if you are listening, read this. There are lots of ways to make geocaching work in a Parks Canada park. Many parks have maps, brochures and even newspapers that they put out, which highlight the many attractions in a park. A Multi-cache could easily be made that could bring people to the various locations (interpretive signs, counting things along the trail, etc) in the park, and the final could be a specific box located in plain view, perhaps even attached to the outside of a park office (Doesn't really matter what it's called, be it a geocache, a treasure hunt, a scavenger hunt or whatever...a very good example is what the Halton Regional Museum in Kelso Conservation Area has in place that makes you visit about 15 different displays and gather information and in the end you return to the main desk to claim a prize). No harm done to the environment or historic/cultural location, no reason to worry about liability, and no worries about leaving a container hidden in the woods. These essentially would be an activity that would attract people to the park, and that means more revenue due to admission/day use fees. It would be something else that would add value to both the park and the people visiting the park for their enjoyment.

 

5) Now, in all honestly it really does not bother me in the slightest as to whether or not geocaching were to be allowed in Parks Canada parks. As far as I know I have only done 1 cache (out of 1700+ found) that was on a Parks Canada administered land and in that case there was no admission. I am not keen at all about paying a fee to enter a Park just to spend 30 minutes or so to find a geocache. If these parks are really for us to enjoy, they should be free, but that's another issue. I however have no problem paying to get into a park if I feel I am getting my money's worth or if I am going to be there for another reason anyways...finding a geocache in that case would just be a bonus to add to my enjoyment. Similarly I also feel that caches should not be placed in a location that charges any sort of admission (I see caches are not allowed in amusement parks, etc, so any other type of park should be no different, but that is a geocaching.com policy and again something that would be for another topic to discuss).

 

6) Someone suggested and many people supported the idea of a cache not being more than 4 meters from a trail. I disagree with this. Whether it is 1 meter or 4 meters or 50 meters, it will essentially involve going off trail and most likely trampling vegetation. Lets face it, if a cache is hidden well, even if it is right beside the trail, so that you could find it without leaving the trail, if someone doesn't find it, they will increase their search area by about a 20 meter radius and even more and then start disturbing the environment (turning over rocks, etc)...and I am sure not one of us can say that we have never done any damage to the environment, intentially or not. At a recent event a few weeks ago, a cache was very well hidden, and well, I saw the dozens of people trampling through the woods (myself included), expanding their search to find the elusive cache. Also many times in the woods or along rock walls, GPS signal can be very erratic and also the cache may be on a trail, the GPS could easily point 20 meters into the woods. Also, each time I have gone out caching in the past couple of weeks, I know for a fact that I have trampled over a lot of fresh growing vegetation, and I am sure there were lots of trilliums I trampled over, because of where the cache was hidden...does it bother me that I trampled through the environment? Not really. You know why? Because I know that mother nature has her way of being able to regenerate herself in a short period of time). I also found one area along the Bruce Trail on the way to a cache that had at least 20-30 (and probably even more) tags nailed to equally as many trees in a 30-50 meter radius, which had nothing to do with geocaching, but I assume with some other sort of activity that may have been going on in that area. There were also a lot of fresh young trilliums beginning to grow, in addition to other flowering plants. I decided to leave the trail and investigate further. I do know that none of these tags, etc were here the previous time I had hiked this trail, which I have hiked many times over the past year. So this shows that whether it's geocaching or any other activity (even something as simple as hiking and someone getting curious as to something they notice in the woods and go to investigate), they all effect the environment somehow. Official trails were not always in every park, and had to be created by someone, so that too affected the environment. I am also sure that a bear walking through the woods has the potential to do a lot more damage to the environment than a geocacher would. If a park system is so concerned about people causing environmental damage, then they should just close the parks entirely. I don't feel that any one activity is any less environmentally friendly or harmful than the next. Item #4 I noted above certainly addresses this issue in a big way.

 

7) As I said above, it doesn't bother me really one way or another if caching is allowed in these parks, but it starts getting banned in Federal and Provincial parks, then there is a chance that this healthy and family friendly activity would get banned in other parks and locations too. And on the other hand if the Federal and Provincial parks embraced and encouraged geocaching, then other organizations and land managers would be more willing to accept geocaching too.

 

I hope I have made some good points here and perhaps added some worthwhile ideas to this issue. Most people who know me, know that my son and I really enjoy geocaching and we are always out there each week enjoying the various areas and adventures that are all part of geocaching. Because of geocaching my 7 year old son has seen more and experienced more areas of our province than most people have throughout their whole life...I have too since we started geocaching 2.5 years ago. It has also been an educational experience for my son as well. I am sure many others here enjoy geocaching as much as we do.

 

http://ca.geocities.com/geocachingcanada/geocaching.html

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I will continue to suggest that Canada and US have more than enough rules already without adding more rules to the pot. Existing Parks legislation outlines in great detail the acceptable use permitted in the various parks. I believe that there is plenty of room in the existing legislation for caching. (generalizing as we are talking about a whole bunch of different jurisdictions here, but I feel the generalization is warranted and does not invalidate my argument)

 

People who do not adhere to the rules can be charged as also defined within the legislation. This can apply to the owner of a cache who hid it in violation of a rule, or a cacher who transgressed a rule in searching inappropriately for a cache. With the exception of leaving things behind (the cache), a well placed cache contravenes none of these rules and the activity and the leaving things behind can be argued in most of the current ambiguous legislation and in case law.

 

If the various parks boards think that there is a problem with use of their park, then start by enforcing their own rules on ALL of the people using their parks rather than creating new rules to target a specific group, such as geocachers. Doing so will just result in eventual civil action by a user community down the road where some professional lawyers will tie the current legislation and rules up into knots with case law and loopholes (such as what has happened in the past with regard to Logging and Mining in parks (allowed within the legislation with appropriate paperwork), or mountain bike riding (allowed in many parks), or dogs/pets, or park improvements to allow handicap access, or private enterprise in parks for commercial use (Ski hills, hotdog stands, private campsites, private contractors running the parks etc...), or cellular and microwave antenna sites or...

 

I would challenge the parks to be pro-active and come up with a set of rules and guidelines to HELP cachers use the parks WITHIN the current rules and mandate. People who don't follow the rules can still be punished, just as any current rule breakers can currently. The genie is out of the bottle - the people are going to do what they want and they will find a way to do it, whether through legal action, civil disobedience or politicking. Let's save a whole bunch of time and effort and see what we can do to set this behind us and get on with enjoying the great outdoors and our parks.

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When Parks canada reads all the nonsense here in these forums they will no doubt carry forward with the ban. As far as I am concerned they should.

Parks Canada does not need the added liability and doesnt not need to baby sit caches and cachers and definately doesnt need a foreign based website directing people from all over the world to our parks to tears up th elandscape searching out hidden treasure that usually isnt treasure at all but useless junk like McToys and garbage from dollar stores.

Thats my opinion and I am sticking to it.

Parks Canada---do the right thing.

thankyou

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Well, this was some nonsense indeed. A bit like saying that people bring their cat geocaching, therefore creating a bigger trail than if they were alone... no, seriously, I just read that argument a few minutes ago in the now closed other thread on the subject. Please don`t fill this thread with the same nonsense.

 

And a clear example of xenophobia

 

foreign based website

 

So, if I understand correctly, it's the geocaching.com website that you find offensive. If it was a .ca adress, it would be ok?

 

Here is my suggestion : people who have clearly made their opînion on the subject known are adding nothing by posting the same arguments 10 times. Step back and let new people give their opinion. That`s what I plan to do.

 

Honestly, I don't think Parks Canada will give any weight to what is posted here if it looks like a shouting match. They might not give it much weight nyway considering it is an Internet message board, where people don`t even post under their real name, but well, we can at least try to look civilized.

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Yes you read correctly. A foreign (american) based website (GC.Com)

We do not want or need any support from you we'll do it ourselves thankyou.

Edited by Kermode

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Well.... here ya all go folks..... I got some info back from Parks Canada today. I was really impressed on the speedy reply. Here is a few quotes from that email....

 

"There will be a copy of Parks Canada's interim

policy on geocaching made available in the next few days - I am

collaborating with a few geocaching representatives to ensure that it is

widely posted on geocaching websites."

 

"Parks Canada 's interim policy is that virtual caches are appropriate in

protected heritage areas, but will be restricted to official trails/other

publicly accessible areas. Additionally, a virtual cache in a protected

heritage area will include educational messages specific to the park/site

where the cache is located. A moratorium on new physical caches in

protected heritage areas is in effect and existing physical caches will be

removed and returned to their owners."

 

"Parks Canada believes that the activity of geocaching offers excellent

educational opportunities and that virtual geocaching, in particular,

integrates new technology and outdoor recreation in an innovative way that

provides an interesting educational experience. We will be consulting

with the geocaching community and with other interested stakeholders until

December 31, 2005 to consider alternate management scenarios. The interim

policy will be in effect until a final policy is developed in early 2006."

 

Well that was the bulk of it. There was some explaination on why they went this route, but it has been mentioned in most of the post in this thread already.

 

***OGA - Admin - If you would like to see a copy of the email, just drop me a line

 

parker2

geocaching@parker2.com

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Additionally, a virtual cache in a protected heritage area will include educational messages specific to the park/site where the cache is located.

Parks Canada obviously has the legal authority to ban physical caches in their parks, but under what authority do they have the right to dictate the theme or cache description of a virtual cache? Assuming, for the sake of argument, that one was actually able to get a virtual approved on GC, how are they in a position to determine what is on the cache page? I realize it's a moot point given that it is virtually impossible to get a virtual cache approved these days...

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Additionally, a virtual cache in a protected heritage area will include educational messages specific to the park/site where the cache is located.

Parks Canada obviously has the legal authority to ban physical caches in their parks, but under what authority do they have the right to dictate the theme or cache description of a virtual cache? Assuming, for the sake of argument, that one was actually able to get a virtual approved on GC, how are they in a position to determine what is on the cache page? I realize it's a moot point given that it is virtually impossible to get a virtual cache approved these days...

I think they're just defining what they didn't like about physical caches. They're defining that they don't want people "placing" virtual caches in areas that may be off-trail or in areas that may be sensitive, otherwise they'll have the same problem they did before. You'd have clowns walking 20 metres into the woods, carving s*** on trees, and then asking people to take pictures of themselves or their GPSrs next to the carved images.

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That's not now I interpret the phrase, "a virtual cache in a protected heritage area will include educational messages"

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That's not now I interpret the phrase, "a virtual cache in a protected heritage area will include educational messages"

They seem to be talking about a Earth Cache type virtual. I don't think that is a bad compermise. Most Caches really don't hold that much worth trading for anyways.

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OGA, who only speaks for Ontario, is fully aware of Parks Canada's current Policy.

 

We also are working to create ways to add physical caching to Parks and Historic Sites. Parks Canada knows that Virtual Caches are no longer an option. But the policy was created before Parks Canada understood that. This is an example of an area that will change in future versions of the Policy.

 

Honestly, current physical caches WILL HAVE TO BE REMOVED. This requirement will allow future physical caches to meet guidelines. If 'grandfathered' caches were left and didn't meet guidelunes it would be unfair to new placements and difficult to monitor which cache belongs to which rule.

 

If cachers expect Parks Canada to accept some changes,the Geocaching community also has to accept some changes.

 

And trust me, these unfounded statements about the vicious environmental destruction being heinously committed by cachers is not being believed because Parks Canada isn't stupid. They know what they want and know that caching can be added providing some control is in place.

 

I do have to counter some of Res's comments...

 

1... Keeping a cache 5m from the trail at most will reduce people 'trampling' the plant life. Very little 'fragile' plant life exists that close to an established trail. And since ALL CACHES would have the same rule in Parks Canada locations, cachers would KNOW they don't need to 'expand their search radius'.

 

I know how important caching is to Res and his son. I think that the real issue for you will be the loss of 'historic sites'. You talked about being able to learn about places and such... without a policy for National Historical Sites, that won't happen through caching either.

 

I know several 'so-called' environmental groups turn around and nail signs to trees, paint trees, dig holes and pour concrete to stick benches into the ground, and other non-ecology friendly practices.

 

And these sacrifices are done because the overall effect enhances the park and makes the visitor's experience more positive.

 

In comparison, the potential low impact version of Geocaching OGA has proposed, is far more environmentally aware.

 

But we need to improve too. And that means staying very close to the trail. Is that too much to ask?

 

OGA - Admin

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Honestly, current physical caches WILL HAVE TO BE REMOVED. 

Or what?

Mine are all within 5m of a trail.

They get appx 2-3 cachers a YEAR!

Some of them were placed before Canada Parks took over.

 

Not to mention it will cost me hundreds of dollars and several days in the wilderness to retrieve the caches. For maintenance, I’m more then willing to do this. To remove them because of this “policy” is ludicrous.

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Sorry, I posted under the wrong account.... (it was late, and I was on a Pocket PC)

 

QUOTE (The Blue Quasar @ May 11 2005, 08:18 PM)

 

Honestly, current physical caches WILL HAVE TO BE REMOVED. 

 

Or what?

Mine are all within 5m of a trail.

They get appx 2-3 cachers a YEAR!

Some of them were placed before Canada Parks took over.

 

Not to mention it will cost me hundreds of dollars and several days in the wilderness to retrieve the caches. For maintenance, I’m more then willing to do this. To remove them because of this “policy” is ludicrous.

 

I am only passing on what I was told, and why. Parks Canada has made that a term of moving forward. We tried to change that, but we were not able to convince them to leave them.

 

Two of my favourite caches are placed on Parks Canada - National Historic Site locations. One of those isn't even actually on their land but the initial coordinates are (it's a multi)

 

Imagine my fun when I get to call my friend and say "You know what, that cache you have that starts at the fort... you gotta move the coordinates off the land and bring the people there second cause you can't post the coordinates of where they count the windows because they referrence an exactly spot that is a protected location."

 

How do you explain that to someone... the cache location is fine, no one has a concern there.... but the posted coordinates for the multi is a source of concern for the Historic Site staff?

 

Maybe that won't be the issue.

 

Anyways, I was just passing on what I was told by Parks Canada. I think everyone deserves to know how they may be affected. I believe in being open with information.

 

Remember also that for everything I end up appearing to be sticking up for Parks Canada, there have been probably an equal number of emails sent to Parks Canada pointing out that things that they have suggested won't work, or are not possible etc etc.

 

So if you want to talk nasty... then here are both sides

 

Parks Canada can force Cache Tech or other volunteers to Archive the physical caches based upon their policy and cachers can do little about it. A lock could be placed to prevent people logging it after it is archived

Geocachers can place caches and lie about where the cache is, and no one from the Parks will know. Completely unregulated, caches would be so far off trail in locations that are sensitive and Parks Canada would be unable to stop it.

 

Is this how our "family friendly" hobby should operate?

 

Is this how our "governement officials" should treat those that want to enjoy the park?

 

I think everyone knows that the above statements are not responsible ways to act, on either side.

 

Let me ask this.... why are you so opposed to archiving the current caches, if it means that you can put it back in just over 6 months under a new policy that permits you to use that spot because it meets the guidelines?

 

It becomes a new cache, ready to be enjoyed again. Updated, and revisited... recycled if you will. Older caches can get stale. Imagine if people removed their caches every year or two and allowed a new cache near that spot.

 

A constant supply of new caches, and you get to enjoy the same locations repeatedly.

 

Instead of now, where unless a new cache is placed most cachers rarely go back to enjoy the park again.

 

OGA - Admin

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Let me ask this.... why are you so opposed to archiving the current caches, if it means that you can put it back in just over 6 months under a new policy that permits you to use that spot because it meets the guidelines?

 

I currently do not have any cache placements in National or Provincial parks however if I did, and had to remove it until a new policy was born, I would want some sort of guarantee that I had the first right to a placement under the new system. If and when physical caches are allowed back I'm sure it will be governed by a permit system of some sort with a preset maximum number awarded and probably on a first-come first-serve basis.

I suppose this would best be monitored by a local cache approver and would certainly take some of the work and pressure off Park management when it comes time to decide who gets what.

 

Olar

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Forgive me if this has already been suggested, but shouldn't we do a "write in" to our Federal MP's protesting this move by PC?

 

If every geocacher wrote his or he representative, cc'd to the PC Minister, Stéphane Dion, and this list, we might apply some pressure from the political side.

 

Of course, they current events on Parliment Hill are not conducive to getting anyone to listen, but individual MP's will be looking for support and are therefore going to listen if they get multiple complaints from constituents.

 

For what it's worth and hoping I am going over old ground.

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OGA - Admin

What were the sugestions to keep/place physical caches in the National Parks?

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