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If there's a moratorium on caches in National Parks, why is geocaching.com approving caches in them right now?

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...0d-7687fb52ae09

 

That's a brand new cache in Pacific Rim National Park. What's going on?

The cache listing has been removed, MapQuest does not show this to be in a National Park so a mistake was made. :P

Thank you cache-tech.

 

:)

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If there's a moratorium on caches in National Parks, why is geocaching.com approving caches in them right now?

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...0d-7687fb52ae09

 

That's a brand new cache in Pacific Rim National Park. What's going on?

The cache listing has been removed, MapQuest does not show this to be in a National Park so a mistake was made. :laughing:

Thank you cache-tech.

 

:laughing:

Ah. Well mistakes happen. Just glad there wasn't a policy change. :laughing:

 

MapQuest, with regards to Park boundaries (in Canada, at least), is rarely to be trusted.

 

Anyhow, I'm sure Parks Canada will be glad to see the mistake corrected. No doubt someone monitors each Park with a "closest to coord" search from time to time.

Edited by dogbreathcanada

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With the recient posting of the interm policy from PC.... Why doesn't someone from the GC admin or the aprovers contact PC and get all the locations of the lands involved. I thinkl this would be a great move towards a future bond with PC officials. They might even give the aprovers the ability to use there gis system.

 

parker2

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No doubt someone monitors each Park with a "closest to coord" search from time to time.

 

It would seem you have found fit to make that your admirable career choice.

 

You obviously have too much time on your hands that you feel necessary to spout off about something as simple and innocent as this issue in a public forum.

 

You seem to enjoy caching very much, like the rest of us. Why don't you try minding your own business for a while and just enjoy the good things geocaching has to offer instead of being our self proclaimed tattle tale.

 

Unless that is the type of enjoyment geocaching provides for you?! In that case; fill yer boots laddy! Just let the rest of us know and we will give you your own forum so you can bark at the moon to you hearts content and leave the rest of in peace.

 

Catch you on the trail Buddy! :mad:

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There's a moratorium for a reason. If you don't feel it's worth adhering to, or if you feel it should be ignored, then that's your opinion. Not an opinion that's going to help the geocaching cause with Parks Canada, of course.

 

If we're to expect Parks Canada to take the geocaching community seriously, we should abide their regulations and work amicably towards a reasonable solution -- within the initial framework they create.

Edited by dogbreathcanada

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I have had a chat with Claire McNeil with Parks Canada. She is the #1 person to chat with on the making of the Geocaching policy. She would like to have as many comments (good/bad) as well as any input that you might have on the making of the Policy. She does not have too much time to just watch the boards on all the caching sites to see our opinions on the interim policy. So feel free to email her at rec.activities@pc.gc.ca.

In my opinion, we really need to buckle down and come up with a solid policy to hand to PC that we can work around. I have looked at over 100+ policies on geocaching on all types of lands and most of them are about bang on with the interim policy with the exception of physical caches. There is room in the PC policy for physical caches, but with some strict guidelines that must be hammered out with the Canadian Geocaching Community. Hopefully we can come up with something soon before PC just decides to make there own decision without the input there should be from the community.

 

parker2

 

geocaching@parker2.com

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There's a moratorium for a reason. If you don't feel it's worth adhering to, or if you feel it should be ignored, then that's your opinion. Not an opinion that's going to help the geocaching cause with Parks Canada, of course.

 

If we're to expect Parks Canada to take the geocaching community seriously, we should abide their regulations and work amicably towards a reasonable solution -- within the initial framework they create.

What I find upsetting is that you attempted to parade this Cache around like some kind of peacock, in the forums. All that was required was a private message to the Cache Owner, about the Parks Canada moratorium. Not everyone is aware of it at this time. If the Cacher was unresponsive you could then send a message to Cache-Tech or other approver, or maybe a ‘Request to be Archived’ on the cache page.

 

You post sounded accusing (intentional or not) to both the Cacher and to the GC.com approvers. I have not seen the cache but most likely just someone’s honest mistake. Probably a cache this person has been planning for sometime. Then you come along with your post…

 

Yes there is a moratorium on right now and the cache should not be there, but the way it was delt with was not kool at all DBC.

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She would like to have as many comments (good/bad) as well as any input that you might have on the making of the Policy.  She does not have too much time to just watch the boards on all the caching sites to see our opinions on the interim policy.  So feel free to email her at rec.activities@pc.gc.ca

Thanks for your post parker2. The same information has been posted at the BCGA and contact has been made with one of the directors:

 

Parks Canada Policy link

 

It's imperative that enough of us send in our thoughts and responses at this time.

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All that was required was a private message to the Cache Owner, about the Parks Canada moratorium. Not everyone is aware of it at this time. If the Cacher was unresponsive you could then send a message to Cache-Tech or other approver, or maybe a ‘Request to be Archived’ on the cache page.

I considered all of that ... but I felt that immediate attention was required. "Requests to be Archived", for instance, tend to go unanswered for weeks (if the trend I've seen with other requests is any indication.) Better to have the cache shutdown as quickly as possible.

 

I know the cache owner likely had no idea about the Parks Canada policy. But it's not my job to keep them informed, or to debate with them why their cache was approved when it shouldn't have been and why they should archive their cache on their own.

 

If I happen to run across any other new caches that are in National Parks, I'll likely post their links in this forum as well, since the most immediate attention to the matter is nearly guaranteed.

 

(Contrary to the opinions of some, I'm not checking every new approved cache. That I even noticed the cache in question was more an accident than anything.)

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All that was required was a private message to the Cache Owner, about the Parks Canada moratorium.  Not everyone is aware of it at this time.  If the Cacher was unresponsive you could then send a message to Cache-Tech or other approver, or maybe a ‘Request to be Archived’ on the cache page.

I considered all of that ... but I felt that immediate attention was required. "Requests to be Archived", for instance, tend to go unanswered for weeks (if the trend I've seen with other requests is any indication.) Better to have the cache shutdown as quickly as possible.

 

I know the cache owner likely had no idea about the Parks Canada policy. But it's not my job to keep them informed, or to debate with them why their cache was approved when it shouldn't have been and why they should archive their cache on their own.

 

If I happen to run across any other new caches that are in National Parks, I'll likely post their links in this forum as well, since the most immediate attention to the matter is nearly guaranteed.

 

(Contrary to the opinions of some, I'm not checking every new approved cache. That I even noticed the cache in question was more an accident than anything.)

An email to me or any of the other reviewers would actually be preferred. I also get all of the "needs Archived" logs, I look at them immediately and unless there is an immediate problem, appears to be long time missing with no active cache owner or other pertinent issue, I give the cache owner some time to respond first. If I missed any, let me know by email or PM.

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{I am leaving my entire post - but read the one after for my corrections - I was wrong on some items}

 

With regard to "The Canadian Geocaching Community" creating a Policy that WE can hand to Parks Canada.

 

We (OGA) made numerous recommendations during our meettin and subsequently since the meeting, all of which have been posted in this forum thread already.

 

Parks Canada has been fairly open to comments, and while we (OGA) have noticed some glaring discrepancies in statements made by Parks Canada, I am not going to outline them here as that only breeds distrust and comtempt.

 

It is easy for the general population (that would be non-Parks Canada staff) to think they know how Parks Canada should do things. I myself can say that I do not think that Parks Canada has approached this subject in a 100% effective manner and some of the methods they are employing are questionable to say the least.

 

Parks Canada is evaluating Geocaching at this time, and while dozens of effective policies have been created North America wide, Parks Canada has chosen to "Shoot First and Ask Questions Later" but has not made any attempt to get actual raw information from their own staff that are the ones that actually could see the impact of Geocaching.

 

Two caches were removed from Georgian Bay National Park last week, and I was told that the park staff are too busy to prepare a report on the cache removals. I cannot imagine how the policy creators at Parks Canada can effectively do their job without valuable input from the very staff members that removed the caches and ultimately could give the best onsite descriptions and feelings about how Geocaching has/had impacted the land of the park.

 

So while we (OGA or anyone else that caches) attempts to figure out how to best ensure Physical Caching is permitted to be enjoyed in National Parks and Historic Sites, all we can do is send emails to Parks Canada, while their own staff pull caches and does not provide any direct front line information to their own policy makers.

 

Like I said long ago in the Ontario Parks thread.... it didn't have to be like this, they could have consulted with the Geocaching community before charging ahead with a poorly researched and poorly implemented policy. And now that they are attempting to get some feedback, they still could communicate much better to actually become an informed entity, both internally and externally. Communication is the key to success in all business. Some groups are slow to learn effective communication and to be open to new ideas. This kind of dinosaur mentality usually results in either extinction or lack of support.

 

Ultimately it comes down to one thing.... does Parks Canada actually want to promote their Parks through a free marketing vehicle like Geocaching, or is this just a way for Parks Canada to appear to address concerns then ultimately claim they cannot support new intiatives like this as they are too uncontrollable?

 

OGA - Admin

 

edit: Added the opening section requesting you to read the follow-up

Edited by OGA - Admin

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I must correct a few assumptions that I made in my previous posting.

 

First off, Parks Canada does not take the removal of caches lightly and there naturally has been communication between the policy creation developer and the actual park staff.

 

The actual comment that Parks Canada had said to me was that the individual Wardens would not be able to create a report for OGA and send it to us. I did not correctly understand what I had been told.

 

The Wardens, at least in this case, are willing and open to discuss the caches they removed with the cache owner and/or the person that picks up the cache.

 

That is certainly more in line with what we could hope for. Everyone understands that information is best received directly from those involved. I would hope that Parks Canada would openly share any dialogue from their staff with the Geocaching community, in the same regard as the Geocachers have shared their concerns with Parks Canada.

 

I must confess to having been feeling bothered that I have not seen much in the way of information coming back to the Geocaching community. Parks Canada needs time to gather the info, and I should not be so impatient. It would be nice to have a bit of an update once in a while to pass along to the community but looking at things from Parks Canada's perspective... if they give indications that things are looking good, then something happens, it would be difficult for them to back pedal. In the same way it would be for them to change the policy frequently during the evaluation period. Their staff would become discouraged and frustrated with the frequent updates and never know how to proceed.

 

The main challenge that I must learn to face is that, even the most persuasive arguement may take a while to travel up the chain and back down again. That which seems simple to us may take time to get approval due to various internal reasons.

 

I just wish this process could develop faster, it is hard to wait when you are excited about something that you see as a benefit. That is no excuse for lashing out, and I apologize for that.

 

OGA - Admin

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I'm a newly active Geocacher in Canada. (I've been trying to get active for years.)

 

A few weeks ago I stumbled on a Parks Canada administered site (it's a small historical site, unmanned, but well signed). It was fascinating and I initially thought it would make a good cache location. Then I discovered the moratorium.

 

I've subsequently been doing some more research, trying to find a way round the ban, and needed to see the location on a 1:50000 map. It isn't listed. So I Googled the site and went to the appropriate pc.gc.ca link - only to discover there is no description of where the physical site is. Lots of invitations to visit -- but no directions for getting there.

 

So, I have emailed the appropriate person listed asking for directions to the site. I suspect there is no traffic at this site other than drive by chance encounters.

 

I've read through many of the messages in this thread, but not all of them.

 

Would a virtual cache be allowed at this site? Would a physical multi be allowed if the final destination was "off-site", say on the Highway Ministeries right of way, but right next to the sites fence boundary?

 

Greg

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Maybe the approvers need a better piece of software (or mapping website) that more accurately marks the National Park boundaries.

Edited by dogbreathcanada

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Maybe the approvers need a better piece of software (or mapping website) that more accurately marks the National Park boundaries.

Maybe you could suggest something? :lol:

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Maybe the approvers need a better piece of software (or mapping website) that more accurately marks the National Park boundaries.

Maybe you could suggest something? :lol:

Just noticed another cache approved inside a National Park. Mapquest shows it nowhere near park boundaries. Whereas Google Maps, MapPoint, Yahoo Maps, and Garmin MapSource all place it within park boundaries.

 

My suggestion is anything BUT MapQuest.

Edited by dogbreathcanada

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The approvers are volunteers and they do not receive anything additional to verify the location of caches to the best of my knowledge.

 

Given the fact that several people have commented upon the fact that MapQuest, MapSource, M$ Streets and Trips, and numerous other retail software packages do not accurately outline park boundaries, no one can expect the volunteer approvers to be able to identify where each and every cache is with respect to a park boundary.

 

Additionally it is not the responsibilty of any cacher to point out when a cache placement is in violation of a policy. The cache owner is 100% responsible for ensuring that their cache is compliant with land owner permissions.

 

Approvers deal with dozens of requests a day, and I doubt they enjoy getting comments that basically state "You made a mistake"

 

No one is perfect, and there is no reason to tell the entire geocaching community when they do make a mistake.

 

Perhaps the owners of the land in question, be that Parks Canada, or a Provincial Park, or a Conservation Authority, or even City Park can start identifing these caches to the approvers.

 

Every Cache that gets submitted, the owner must check off the two boxes stating they read the terms and conditions. If a cache is placed that is non-compliant with the local land owner permissions, it would be handled by the local land owner.

 

Basically here is the way I see the scenario.

 

1..A cache gets placed and approved in a location that is actually off limits.

 

2..A geocacher goes to look for it, there are two options here

 

3a. They decide that the cache is off limits, post a note to the owner and the owner corrects the problem. That being either relocating the cache, or getting proper permission like they should have done in the first place.

3b. They decide to attempt the cache anyway, and potentially get charged with trespassing or similar.

 

Either way, the problem originally was caused by the cache owner placing a cache in an area that was not permitted, because they failed to acquire "PERMISSION TO PLACE A CACHE".

 

So place the blame in the right place, the cache owner. The approvers can only trust that the cache placer got permission since they clicked on the check boxes indicating that they did. The approvers are not the Cache-Police and have better things to do than chase people around ensuring that they REALLY DID GET PERMISSION.

 

:anitongue: The Blue Quasar

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Additionally it is not the responsibilty of any cacher to point out when a cache placement is in violation of a policy.

No, but it is helpful. It is called self-policing.

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I agree with BQ.

 

A simple note to the cache owner usually does the trick. If it doesn't, a quick note to the cache approver should suffice. Both these methods would be seen as "self-policing".

 

Notifying everyone in the forum about a misplaced cache is a little gauche.

 

Can we get back to the Parks Canada issue?

 

I'm quite sure that Parks Canada staff are monitoring this forum topic.

 

There have been almost 70 posts in this forum topic. Who knows how many emails they've received at rec.activities@pc.gc.ca. I know there has been an ongoing email dialogue with some of the OGA members. Surely at this point in time they should have some kind of public comment on the topic.

 

It costs nothing to join geocaching.com and post in the forums. Come on Parks Canada. The BAN is your policy...let's hear your side of the story. For starters, maybe you can explain to the geocaching community how you came to decide on an outright BAN without consulting anyone in the geocaching community!

 

...waiting patiently....

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Additionally it is not the responsibilty of any cacher to point out when a cache placement is in violation of a policy.

No, but it is helpful. It is called self-policing.

If you want to talk about self policing, here are a few GC.com policies that I might point out. You did read the GC policies didn't you.

 

Cache Permanence

 

When you report a cache on the Geocaching.com web site, geocachers should (and will) expect the cache to be there for a realistic and extended period of time. Therefore...  temporary caches (caches hidden for less than 3 months or for events) most likely will not be listed.

The intention was to keep these Urbana caches going until the logbook filled up.

What size log book did you use that filled up after 14 logs? Two Caches lasted just under 3 months, which you say was your "intention".

 

Off-limit (Physical) Caches

 

Caches may be quickly archived if we see the following (which is not inclusive):

 

Caches hidden in close proximity to active railroad tracks. In general we use a distance of 150 ft but your local area’s trespassing laws may be different. All local laws apply.

 

I have not had the chance to visited any of your caches, but using MapSource I found Two Caches within 150ft of a Railroad. One measures just 30 feet, and I have seen trains on this track before. The other one to be honest, I don't know if it is an active track. Doesn't feel nice to have your caches posted in the forums does it, and yet you still feel the need to do that.

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Approvers deal with dozens of requests a day, and I doubt they enjoy getting comments that basically state "You made a mistake"

 

No one is perfect, and there is no reason to tell the entire geocaching community when they do make a mistake.

Actually, I would like to know if I made a mistake.

 

I am far from perfect, as I have said before. I have and will make mistakes. I cannot learn from them if I do not know about them. By not letting me know I may very well repeat that same mistake again.

 

I do like the idea of cachers letting cachers know about these problems rather than putting the burdon on the parks people. Those folks are very busy. One thing that would help them is for us to try to make sure that we keep caches out of their parks where they don't want them. If we show that we as a group can be responsible and can spot troubles ourselves, then maybe they will allow geocachers to place caches back in the parks again. This keeps them free to do the other things that they have to do. If geocaching is easy for them to manage then they might be more open to allowing it. If it is hard to manage they will simply ban it. We need to help them in any way we can.

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Additionally it is not the responsibilty of any cacher to point out when a cache placement is in violation of a policy.

No, but it is helpful. It is called self-policing.

If you want to talk about self policing, here are a few GC.com policies that I might point out. You did read the GC policies didn't you.

 

Cache Permanence

 

When you report a cache on the Geocaching.com web site, geocachers should (and will) expect the cache to be there for a realistic and extended period of time. Therefore...  temporary caches (caches hidden for less than 3 months or for events) most likely will not be listed.

The intention was to keep these Urbana caches going until the logbook filled up.

What size log book did you use that filled up after 14 logs? Two Caches lasted just under 3 months, which you say was your "intention".

 

Off-limit (Physical) Caches

 

Caches may be quickly archived if we see the following (which is not inclusive):

 

Caches hidden in close proximity to active railroad tracks. In general we use a distance of 150 ft but your local area’s trespassing laws may be different. All local laws apply.

 

I have not had the chance to visited any of your caches, but using MapSource I found Two Caches within 150ft of a Railroad. One measures just 30 feet, and I have seen trains on this track before. The other one to be honest, I don't know if it is an active track. Doesn't feel nice to have your caches posted in the forums does it, and yet you still feel the need to do that.

Sorry, but you guys are going off topic with this line of discussion. This sounds like a discussion for email or private messaging.

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I have not had the chance to visited any of your caches, but using MapSource I found Two Caches within 150ft of a Railroad. One measures just 30 feet, and I have seen trains on this track before. The other one to be honest, I don't know if it is an active track. Doesn't feel nice to have your caches posted in the forums does it, and yet you still feel the need to do that.

The cache you're referring too is within site of a railway bridge (about 30 feet as you mentioned), but there's a chainlink fence separating the walkway from the track.

 

And the other cache is 39 metres (127 feet) from a railway track. And there's a pond/bog seperating the cache from the track. The cache is called "Richmond Nature Park", thus the obvious point of egress is from the nature park itself, not via the train tracks.

 

All my caches are legal and safe, so I'm not too fussed with your attempt at whatever it is you're attempting to do.

 

BTW, the second cache that I noticed was placed in a National Park, I did post an "Archive" note for the cache, which an approver saw. The cache was thus archived. I didn't post a link to the second cache here in the forums (as requested by cache-tech), so you're fussing about nothing.

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I do like the idea of cachers letting cachers know about these problems rather than putting the burdon on the parks people.  Those folks are very busy.  One thing that would help them is for us to try to make sure that we keep caches out of their parks where they don't want them.  If we show that we as a group can be responsible and can spot troubles ourselves, then maybe they will allow geocachers to place caches back in the parks again.  This keeps them free to do the other things that they have to do.  If geocaching is easy for them to manage then they might be more open to allowing it.  If it is hard to manage they will simply ban it.  We need to help them in any way we can.

Excelent post mtn-man..... I have mentioned this a few times. I have drawn up a couple of ideas and emailed Claire of PC in respect to caching on Federal Lands. I know what kind of position they are in, along with the Provincial CO's. They are getting so spread thin that it will be a burden on them to police another activity let alone the poachers and kids destroying the campgrounds. In my opinion we as a group should come up with some key points and hand it to PC and get there feed back, before they draw up a one sided policy. I know that they have received a fairly large amount of email on the interm policy, and are watching as many of the boards as time permits (including the poor taste posts and the bickering), but this will not be enough. We need PC to realize that we can so called "police" the caches places on federal lands without issues. There is no problem in locating caches in any of the parks. I have located 2 in our province without issues.

There are so many variables that will have to be in place as well, and some will have to be put in the hands of the person(s) placing the cache. It will have to safe for the ecosystem (ie no nesting/breding areas, x amount away from riparian zones, inspected frequently.... so on and so forth) and fair for both the GC community and PC.

Since I received the interm policy in my email, I have been reserching policies from all over the world and PC is not too far off from there decision..... we just need to find a way to work together to make this work for everything that is involved..... especially our enviroment. I know that there was a topic brought up about rogue trails.... but in my opinion this will not be a factor as there is very low cache log counts in the parks as it is.

Well that was my 2 cents again

Lets come together to make this work out

 

parker2

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Actually, I would like to know if I made a mistake.

 

I am far from perfect, as I have said before. I have and will make mistakes. I cannot learn from them if I do not know about them. By not letting me know I may very well repeat that same mistake again.

If you're the fella that approved those Pacific Rim caches, I don't blame you at all. I blame MapQuest, which I'm guessing is the manner in which you quickly verify cache locations.

 

MapQuest is terrible at marking National Park boundaries here in Canada. I find that MapPoint or Google Maps or, even, Garmin Map Source are far far superior. I don't know how much extra trouble it is for you to make use of one of those other websites, over MapQuest.

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I was trying to make the same point that Trimbles Trek did make much better

 

If a geocacher discovers a cache that they believe is located within the boundaries of a Parks Canada, or other regulated land, then they could

 

1... Post a note on the specific cache page, so the owner gets an email and also everyone else that plans to seek the cache knows the situation.

2... Send the owner a quick note explaining the situation.

3... Send a note to the approver, found at the bottom of the cache page.

 

I cannot see any reason to make a big public announcement.

 

Self-Policing is an excellent method, but there is no need to shame, intentionally or not, the people involved in the placement of the cache, or approval of the cache for making an honest mistake.

 

That is probably why Cache-Tech requested that the cache not be identified. If it was, everyone would be clicking the link or searching it out to see what the big deal was.

 

It's a private matter between the people that notice, the cache owner and the approver.

 

If someone is concerned that Parks Canada should be aware, then by all means send them a note through their rec.activities@pc.gc.ca address and let them know that the people involved have been advised, and that the Geocaching community is on top of thngs, you might even look like a hero.

 

But telling the entire forum only ends up generating feelings of contempt. I'm sure people aren't happy about the cache being approved, I'm sure people aren't happy the cache was placed, I'm sure people aren't happy that this discussion is even occurring. Why cause more of that?

 

Wait a minute.... isn't there a cache I should be looking for?

 

Ciao for Niao!

 

:ph34r: The Blue Quasar

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And the other cache is 39 metres (127 feet) from a railway track. And there's a pond/bog seperating the cache from the track. The cache is called "Richmond Nature Park", thus the obvious point of egress is from the nature park itself, not via the train tracks.

I found that cache by parking on Shell Rd. and crossing the railroad tracks because it is much faster than accessing it via the park trails. The pond you refer to only exists in the winter. The cache is on an animal trail well off the main trail. BTW - there is a sign in the park at the entrance to the trails asking that you stay on the main trails as it is an environmentally sensitive area. :ph34r:

 

Edit - added link

Edited by Gorak

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And the other cache is 39 metres (127 feet) from a railway track. And there's a pond/bog seperating the cache from the track. The cache is called "Richmond Nature Park", thus the obvious point of egress is from the nature park itself, not via the train tracks.

I found that cache by parking on Shell Rd. and crossing the railroad tracks because it is much faster than accessing it via the park trails. The pond you refer to only exists in the winter. The cache is on an animal trail well off the main trail. BTW - there is a sign in the park at the entrance to the trails asking that you stay on the main trails as it is an environmentally sensitive area. :ph34r:

Really? What month were you there?

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Nice edit. And I especially like how you're posting a January find today. :P

Yea, I have about 50 caches that I haven't got around to logging online yet. I even have several finds on the Gulf Islands from last summer that I haven't logged online yet. :mad: Your question about what month motivated me to check my notebook and log it online. :blink: I notice from the logs that a few people have crossed the railroad tracks to find that cache. :huh:

Edited by Gorak

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(^ ^ ^ Note the angry face?)

 

For the second time... take it to email or private messages. Please stay on topic.

 

I don't want to have to say it for a third time in this topic.

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Keeping on Topic:

 

I read through the Canada Parks policy today straight through at This Site

 

After noticing the link near the bottom of the page to contact the Parks Staff correspondant who is accepting feedback regarding these policies, I proceeded to do so.

 

I emailed them with my concerns, and with ways that I figured would be viable options to work around some of the concerns that were obvious from the interim policy. I provided a bit of history regarding how long I have been Caching and how I have been involved in this sport.

 

I was surprised to find that I had a response to my email less than 15 hours later thanking me for my feedback and going over some of my concerns. the one thing that I thought should be noted especially here in the forum is that my response back from the Parks Canada representative indicated that this forum is being monitored however any comments here or from the online petition will not be counted as part of the consultation record. Laymans Terms? while this forum is good for informational purposes for Geocachers regarding discussion and updates, don't expect your words here to be taken officially.

 

The short of it.. Use the email to contact the consulting representative at Parks Canada! They are awaiting our information and concerns. If you provide a civil, non-confrontational email to voice your concerns and questions, as I can now attest, it will be reviewed. To be frank, judging by the quality of, and nubmer of off-topic tangents in this forum thread, in many ways, I can understand why this thread will not be considered as part of the consultation record moving forward.

 

For those who have not been privvy to the email to contact it is provided below:

 

rec.activities@pc.gc.ca

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Thanks for the email - I'll write him today.

 

Even though we my wife and I are Americans, we visit many Provincial and a few Canadian National Parks each summer. We hope to make geocaching part of our enjoyment of the parks. I understand their concerns, but still feel there is a compromise that can be made.

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I tend to agree that Parks Canada would rather take the easy way to simply just prohibit the activity of caching in their parks. Anyone can see that a ban is the most simple way to make the percieved problem go away.

 

With regards to low impact however, of course Geocaching is low impact in terms of all Canadian Parks activities. That impact could even be reduced with a simple guideline that would not permit Geocaches to be placed more than 3-5 meters from an established trail.

 

I cannot help but wonder why this type of moratorium has not come into discussion with other forms of activities performed throughout these parks. I mean, certainly there are some boy-scout groups who camp in the bush, and certainly hunting occurs where hunters must leave an established trail. Correct me if I am wrong, but I do not recall that any other moratoriums have been placed on other activities in this fashion throughout Parks Canada?

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Strange double post

Edited by Red90

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I cannot help but wonder why this type of moratorium has not come into discussion with other forms of activities performed throughout these parks.  I mean, certainly there are some boy-scout groups who camp in the bush, and certainly hunting occurs where hunters must leave an established trail.  Correct me if I am wrong, but I do not recall that any other moratoriums have been placed on other activities in this fashion throughout Parks Canada?

1) Hunting is not allowed in National parks.

2) Off trail hiking and camping outside of designated campsites is allowed by permit only.

 

Their problem is that geocaching involves:

 

a: Travel off trail

b: Leaving something behind.

 

Both of these items are directly against Parks Canada rules. I suspect they would be fine with a permit or approval based system, but it will be tough getting it through as that uses up their resources. They have problems funding current things already and are always looking at ways of reducing costs. Asking to allow something that will increase their costs will be impossible.

 

About the ONLY way anything different happens in any parks system in Canada these days is by either private organizations footing the whole bill or lobbying the politicians to provide them with more funding.

 

Sending letter to Parks Canada is a good idea as that gives them some understanding of options, but the more effective method would be convincing your local politician to help.

Edited by Red90

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I wrote the following letter to Parks Canada, and also recieved a forthcoming and thoughtful reply. I post my own letter here, although not the reply as I did not ask to do so.

 

Regards,

Anthony

 

My letter follows:

 

I'm a resident of Whitehorse, Yukon. I have been geocaching for just

over a year now, and I participate in a lot of other outdoor

activities. I'd like to give my view of geocaching in our national

parks.

 

To begin with, I agree that geocaching as an unregulated activity is

not appropriate in a national park. I think that the concerns you have

listed there are valid, particularly since geocachers represent a wide

range of people, with a wide range of awareness, knowledge and ethics

about natural areas.

 

However, I also firmly believe that geocaching is not inherently bad,

any more so than other acceptable park uses such as hiking,

mountain-biking or fishing. It all comes down to people following the

rules, and practicing respect for the land and the environment.

 

I think with the right combination of policy, education, and

enforcement some form of geocaching would not only have little

negative impact, but also encourage more Canadians to use national

parks. I think a lot of geocachers are people who typically wouldn't

go out and spend the day in a national park otherwise.

 

My main concern with the draft policy is that virtual caches are lame.

Lame, lame, lame. I'd rather not see any caches at all than just

virtuals. If I want to find a historical monument or natural feature,

I'll use a guidebook or a trail map and not bother with the whole

geocaching thing.

 

To me, you need to be able to sign into a logbook when you've found a

cache. That's the cool part about it, sitting out in the middle of

nowhere are reading the logs from people who found the cache 2-3 years

ago. As the sport lives on, the cache logbooks will help form part of

the history of the park, something like the climber's logs in the

Sierra mountains which are known to have entries from 50-80 years ago.

 

I think you need to find a way to allow physical caches with logbooks.

Maybe they need to be in pre-approved containers at pre-approved

on-trail locations, hidden in a pre-approved manner. Somehow, you need

to find a way to allow this to happen.

 

You could also ban trade items, if you concerned about what might get

left. Leave the onus to the cache owner to keep the cache "clean." The

one thing I can tell you about the geocaching community is that most

of us are very responsible people who take the guidelines seriously,

and often take it upon ourselves to correct a problem with a cache or

bring it to the attention of the cache owner.

 

I know that other jurisdictions have come up with some kind of

workable process for this, sometimes requiring a written permit before

placing a geocache. I think with the right approach, geocaching is a

great activity that benefits parks and park users.

 

Good luck with the policy, I look forward to seeing it.

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Taking off the OGA - Admin hat for this one.

 

I would like to say that it has always been my experience with the Rep from Parks Canada that she is very responsive to any and all emails that she receives. She has always taken the time, probably a lot of time, to ensure that she writes back a well thought out reply and normally explains in some way how the concerns of geocaching community are being reviewed.

 

I have no doubt that the Rep is in a difficult position, and if she were to allow herself to make an emotion bond, in either way, to this issue that her opinion would sway her and possibly cause her to make decisions that might not be in the best interest of Parks Canada.

 

I have before, and will again, say that while I do not agree with the initial handling of the Geocaching within Parks Canada locations, that I can certainly understand it from a government/business perspective.

 

I don't mean to offend anyone here, but this is just my perspective..

 

First step is to remove everything, and see the reaction.

Second step is to create a way to allow it in moderation, as an evaluation

Third step is to promote it as a vehicle for acceptance.

 

This of course is only if everything goes well.

 

So, I guess I am saying that the method used by Parks Canada, while not one we as Geocachers are too fond of, is a tested a true method. The best benefit we have is that Parks Canada, unlike all other groups so far,has created a method for direct input by way of Email. They also have allowed many groups to post their Policy, even though they really couldn't prevent it anyway, but the Rep actually went to TPTB and told them it was in Parks Canada's best interest to do so.

 

I know that a lot of people have concerns about Parks Canada making what appeared to be an arbitrary decision to pull caches, and honestly they made the situation worse when they thought they were being nice in allowing Virtual Caches, but at the time they didn't understand the full scope of our hobby. While I still think they should have immediately changed the section regarding Virtuals, since it is kinda salt-in-the-wound, it still remains that Parks Canada's decision to pull the caches is not such a bad thing.

 

I wish the caches could have remained, only because the placers have a vested interest. But if Parks Canada hold true to what I believe is their intention, they will develop a policy that Permits Physical Geocaches in some format on and slightly off their sanctioned trails. If they don't, then by all means, start a petition to your local MP. But only if you think that Parks Canada is not being totally honest with you.

 

Parks Canada, from what I understand, wants to promote their parks. They see a low cost and low involvement vehicle like Geocaching and see how it can benefit them, but they have to be absolutely sure what they are getting into. No one in here can say that there isn't a bit of negative in at least one cache they have done. But Parks Canada also has to compare how Geocaching stacks up against other activities like bird watching, fishing, camping and the numerous other activities they either allow or encourage. Give them the time to learn, and in the four months since our initial meeting I can assure you that Parks Canada has learned a lot from all of us. Give them a chance to show us that they have learned a lot.

 

But keep sending a lot of comments to the Parks Canada Rep at rec.activities@pc.gc.ca, the more the better cause repetition reinforces the importance of what you are saying.

 

<_< The Blue Quasar

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Taking off the OGA - Admin hat for this one.

 

I would like to say that it has always been my experience with the Rep from Parks Canada that she is very responsive to any and all emails that she receives. She has always taken the time, probably a lot of time, to ensure that she writes back a well thought out reply and normally explains in some way how the concerns of geocaching community are being reviewed.

 

I have no doubt that the Rep is in a difficult position, and if she were to allow herself to make an emotion bond, in either way, to this issue that her opinion would sway her and possibly cause her to make decisions that might not be in the best interest of Parks Canada.

 

I have before, and will again, say that while I do not agree with the initial handling of the Geocaching within Parks Canada locations, that I can certainly understand it from a government/business perspective.

 

I don't mean to offend anyone here, but this is just my perspective..

 

First step is to remove everything, and see the reaction.

Second step is to create a way to allow it in moderation, as an evaluation

Third step is to promote it as a vehicle for acceptance.

 

This of course is only if everything goes well.

 

So, I guess I am saying that the method used by Parks Canada, while not one we as Geocachers are too fond of, is a tested a true method. The best benefit we have is that Parks Canada, unlike all other groups so far,has created a method for direct input by way of Email. They also have allowed many groups to post their Policy, even though they really couldn't prevent it anyway, but the Rep actually went to TPTB and told them it was in Parks Canada's best interest to do so.

 

I know that a lot of people have concerns about Parks Canada making what appeared to be an arbitrary decision to pull caches, and honestly they made the situation worse when they thought they were being nice in allowing Virtual Caches, but at the time they didn't understand the full scope of our hobby. While I still think they should have immediately changed the section regarding Virtuals, since it is kinda salt-in-the-wound, it still remains that Parks Canada's decision to pull the caches is not such a bad thing.

 

I wish the caches could have remained, only because the placers have a vested interest. But if Parks Canada hold true to what I believe is their intention, they will develop a policy that Permits Physical Geocaches in some format on and slightly off their sanctioned trails. If they don't, then by all means, start a petition to your local MP. But only if you think that Parks Canada is not being totally honest with you.

 

Parks Canada, from what I understand, wants to promote their parks. They see a low cost and low involvement vehicle like Geocaching and see how it can benefit them, but they have to be absolutely sure what they are getting into. No one in here can say that there isn't a bit of negative in at least one cache they have done. But Parks Canada also has to compare how Geocaching stacks up against other activities like bird watching, fishing, camping and the numerous other activities they either allow or encourage. Give them the time to learn, and in the four months since our initial meeting I can assure you that Parks Canada has learned a lot from all of us. Give them a chance to show us that they have learned a lot.

 

But keep sending a lot of comments to the Parks Canada Rep at rec.activities@pc.gc.ca, the more the better cause repetition reinforces the importance of what you are saying.

 

<_< The Blue Quasar

Wow. Very well put BQ, Thank you for that!

 

Cheers.

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After receiving an OGA-Admin e-mail, I (Trail) decided it was my time to write an e-mail to Parks Canada myself.

 

I did so, explaining how important Geocaching has become to Logger & myself. I also explained that the school that I work at has a Geocaching Club that has been created as a result of one of our geography teachers developing a superb teaching unit based around the activity.

 

My reply from Parks Canada was disappointing. I'll leave it at that.

 

Anyhoo, to make a longer story shorter, I received a phone call from Claire at Parks Canada. The impression I was left with was that the biggest problem they have with Geocaching is that it conflicts with the Park's "Pack In/Pack Out" policy (which is similar to Geocaching's "Cache In/Trash Out" policy). I explained to Claire, the best that I could, that sometimes there needs to be exceptions to the rules. Geocaches are NOT litter, they are containers that are maintained by a network of people. I also tried to explain to Claire the importance of having an actual physical container at the end of the hunt. Geocaching is a family activity and when children are involved, it is important that they are rewarded for their efforts, even if the reward is a rubber ball.

 

I think every rule has exceptions. I hope that Parks Canada realizes leaving a tupperware box on their property for a limited time period is not a large price to pay when the result is that individuals and families will be enjoying the use of their lands.

 

Trail (of Logger&trail fame)

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You know that was the same impression I was left with from Claire as well. In fact she almost shut me down by saying she only wanted comments about what we could do and would only answer my questions by phone. But I want this on the record.

 

I advised her I was a long time supporter of Parks Canada, stated that Geocaching was a low-impact activity compared to others who leave trash behind (tour bus anyone?) and that without physical caches the activity was reduced to a hike or walk in the park. I also stated that at one time or another Ontario Geocaching Association tried to work with them BEFORE the interim policy was placed but Parks Canada went ahead and made it without any further input from the Geocaching community at least that's how I've read it on this forum.

 

Although my reply from Parks Canada was disappointing, I fear no matter what we say, or how we say it or how many of us say it with our own words and feelings this is one activity they can control largely due to this website. Unlike other activities like hiking, mtn biking, golfing, skiing, etc we do not have a single voice nor are we really a common activity and not only that, we're easy to find as a group through Geocaching.com by which we can therefore be silenced.

 

What more can we do or say? MP’s? ….don’t waste my time….they’re only after the next vote most of the time and the few that care won’t really bother with a relatively low-key unpopular activity like ours in the long run.

Edited by Brat&Testy

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I wanted to comment on that last posting to clearly state what I've said before

 

Ontario Parks is the group that told a significant member of the Geocaching community that Ontario Parks was not prepared to make a policy at this time and would contact Cache-Tech and others for input before creating a policy. This did NOT occur as promised, and hence my remarks near the end of April in the Ontario Parks thread.

 

As for Parks Canada, that is a different, but partially similar story. Parks Canada created a 'draft' policy and after its creation requested a meeting to discuss the 'draft' policy. At this meeting Parks Canada informed us that the 'draft' wasn't a 'draft' at all but already in effect and would remain for a year. It was our impression that Parks Canada had not consulted with anyone in the Geocaching community to assist in the creation of this policy.

 

So, to date....

 

Ontario Parks said they would get input first, then they didn't and made a policy without input from the Geocaching community, and has since decided to seek input from the Geocaching community and might change their policy.

 

Parks Canada has created a policy without any input from the Geocaching community, and then requested input after implementing the policy, and might change their policy depending on further study.

 

I am just presenting what has occurred

 

OGA - Admin

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Tonight we put together a quick national conference chat with caching reps from the BCGA, OGA and MGA online along with GC.com volunteers to further discuss the issue and determine a common approach. This was a very impromptu meeting and I hope not the last one, I feel we have gained alot tonight.

 

I have also been contacted by Parks Canada today, there are 5 months left to the interim policy where they will be taking input from the public, that would be us cachers to develop policy options that will then be decided upon by the Parks Canada higher ups. I encourage all cachers to contact Parks Canada and have your voice heard, only email directed to the contact address will be taken into account for the policy. A number of good ideas and suggestions have been made, please keep them going.

 

rec.activities@pc.gc.ca

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Could they also be looking for a unified voice? I got the impression, however wrong it may be, that Parks Canada wants to see all geocaching associations and its members (this would include those who cache in the province of choice but have not registered with that association), that we are united in our resovle to respect any possibility of physical geocaching that may remain at the end of the year.

 

However, the more I see in our non parks systems (meaning the opportunity to place a cache vs. the conscientious placement of a cache for education or historical reason) the more I feel that physical geocaching in Parks Canada, for now, is gone unless we can present as one voice a good reason for physical caches to be permitted.

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Tonight we put together a quick national conference chat with caching reps from the BCGA, OGA and MGA online along with GC.com volunteers to further discuss the issue and determine a common approach.

Who were the BCGA representatives? (Feel free to list the OGA and MGA reps as well.)

 

And who were the GC.com volunteers involved?

 

Would be nice to know the players involved in all this.

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Tonight we put together a quick national conference chat with caching reps from the BCGA, OGA and MGA online along with GC.com volunteers to further discuss the issue and determine a common approach.

Who were the BCGA representatives? (Feel free to list the OGA and MGA reps as well.)

 

And who were the GC.com volunteers involved?

I don't see that it matters what individuals where present. They are all representitives of their respective associations as a whole. Why do you need to single out individuals. What purpose does that serve?

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Tonight we put together a quick national conference chat with caching reps from the BCGA, OGA and MGA online along with GC.com volunteers to further discuss the issue and determine a common approach.

Who were the BCGA representatives? (Feel free to list the OGA and MGA reps as well.)

 

And who were the GC.com volunteers involved?

I don't see that it matters what individuals where present. They are all representitives of their respective associations as a whole. Why do you need to single out individuals. What purpose does that serve?

Not singling out anyone (I think the BCGA is doing a fine job). Just want to know in the event I have a question or a suggestion, then I know exactly who to forward it too. Pretty benign reason, no?

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I don't see that it matters what individuals where present. They are all representitives of their respective associations as a whole. Why do you need to single out individuals. What purpose does that serve?

Hey, CoC. I was asked to copy the following question/reply here for you, since the person asking has no access to the GC forums or the GC mail system. Don't reply here, since I'm not going to play go-between beyond this one-time favour (:P) ... but they're a regular at http://sandbox.gocaching.com, so you can have a conversation with them over there if you're so inclined.

 

I would like to ask CoC if he voted for politicians in the last election by randomly putting x-marks in boxes?

 

It matters because these people are representing us (whether we are members of the BCGA or not). There are a couple of people in this community that I am aware of who don't share the same views as I do on these issues -- I certainly don't want any of these people representing me. So you see, it does matter. And why is the inference that representation of cachers in these "negotiations" is limited to members of associations? What is the problem with having a non-partisan representative?

 

Since I can't post in the GC forums or contact CoC because I can't access the GC mail system, perhaps you could relay this reply for me?

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Speaking on behalf of OGA, we had the following Executives in the meeting

 

The Blue Quasar - Administrator

Amazon Annie - Information Manager

Logger & Trail - Regional Manager (although only with the window open for later review as they were not available at the time of the meeting)

 

Anyone and everyone in Canada is free to submit their thoughts and suggestions to Parks Canada through the rec.activities@pc.gc.ca address that Parks Canada has provided to gain input from the Geocaching community.

 

Should some citizen of this country not be eligible for access to the GC.com site and/or the Groundspeak Forums, they still are able to contribute to the Parks Canada discussion in the exact same manner as any of us. The above Email address is the ONLY acceptable way to express your thoughts to Parks Canada.

 

This Forum, while interesting, is not being used for the consultation period. This point was brought forward before by other individuals.

 

OGA - Admin

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