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I have been to Point Pelee for my 10th Anniversary.

Never been to Point Pelee. I've heard lots about it, and have just never made the effort to get there.

 

Presumably, Parks Canada WANT to get visitors to the Parks. To see the sights. To learn the history. So what would it be that could get someone like me out to a site like Point Pelee? Oh yeah... hidden Tupperware. A chance to explore the park, and at the same time, satisfy my own hobby needs.

 

Sadly, this isn't going to happen with the current Parks Canada policy. Are you listening Parks Canada? Your current policy is a detriment to me (and others like me) visiting your park.

 

-TT-

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No visible progress to date other than a few quotes to the media.

Not a single word directly from Parks Canada in this forum.

I don't believe they are doing a darned thing.

 

At the conclusion of the Parks Canada "evaluation" period, here's what I expect to see:

 

-----------------------------------------------

Press Release

 

OTTAWA, Sometime in early 2006:

 

Parks Canada announced today the conclusion of the evaluation period on the subject of geocaching in Parks Canada managed lands. Their findings concluded that geocaching is an activity detrimental to the intregrity of park land, and therefore, the interim policy that has been in place since early 2005 will be extended indefinitely. Also, geocachers may scare a birdy from time to time. That would be bad.

 

Parks Canada felt reluctant to participate in the online forum discussions at www.geocaching.com (the largest single resource for geocaching in the world) for fear of being ridiculed for commenting on an activity that they did not fully comprehend. Instead of participating actively in the ongoing discussions, and perhaps learning about the activity, Parks Canada determined that burying their collective heads in the sand was more appropriate, and much closer to their normal operation structure.

 

Parks Canada key representative Ima Bureaucrat noted "we feel justified in our decision because, well..., just because."

 

Other Parks Canada representatives added more comments:

  • "Well, I never understood the whole huntin' for Tupperware thing ya know. And, well, if ya don't understand somethin', ya best be afraid of it. Besides, I prefer Rubbermaid anyways."
  • "My Momma took me fer a hike once. I didn't find no dang treasure. I just got dirty shoes. Geocaching is bad."
  • "I went geocaching once..it was Fun! We stuck to the trail system, and we didn't hurt a single thing. Why, we even stopped a group of kids from riding their bikes off-trail! I felt SO good." (This representative was unavailble for further comment due to a transfer to a new job posting on Hans Island)

Parks Canada feels it has upheld its mandate and thanks the geocaching community for all their nice emails. Said Ima Bureaucrat: "We just got tons and tons of email! It was so exciting. I even read of couple of them! I just wish I could have got onto that darned website thingy. I get so confused about all that W-W-W stuff. I don't think the internet is very good, because I don't really understand it. I think we should ban the internet. I'm gonna write a new policy! YAY! I love this job!"

 

-30-

-----------------------------------------------

 

My opinion. Your mileage may vary.

-TT-

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With all due respect.

 

1) Parks Canada can NOT comment publically about its ongoing discussions nor its intended path. They can only comment through the official release of a policy. If you wish to have discussions personally with them, the facility is provided and referenced wihin this thread.

 

2) The media won't have any interest in publishing anything until the reolution comes out. And most likely will only cover it if the results are negative. Positive, happy news does not attract readers.

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I have had nothing but positive conversations with Claire. Right now they are on an information gathering period, to make sure that they *do* understand what is going on and how best to deal with it. Public comments made by them are only going to attract comments like "you said this back then etc." They have said through various contacts that they are soliciting opinions and constructive comments about what they can do (and just a free for all like what has been going on, is *not* going to continue, and yes I know there is a review process, but it is not sufficient for what they need)

 

Anyways class is about to start so I should stop typing and listen...

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Red90 Posted on Oct 19 2005, 10:56 AM

  With all due respect.

 

1) Parks Canada can NOT comment publically about its ongoing discussions nor its intended path. They can only comment through the official release of a policy. If you wish to have discussions personally with them, the facility is provided and referenced wihin this thread.

 

2) The media won't have any interest in publishing anything until the reolution comes out. And most likely will only cover it if the results are negative. Positive, happy news does not attract readers. 

 

While I do not agree with the method used by my fellow Geocacher and his future news article, I also don't agree with eihter of these quoted statements.

 

Parks Canada can comment on items raised in this forum, even if only to correct a perception. I can understand why there is no need for Parks Canada to do so however.

 

I don't mean this to disrespect Parks Canada, but getting public input via email is great, but direct consultation through meetings is a far more effective method. Having everyone continue to submit emails keeps everyone is the dark about how things are progressing. I know that Claire is reading this forum, and while I do not see any need for her to comment, I do encourage her to consider moving to an actual consultation period soon. There is a reason for meetings, both with intermal staff and also with people affected, be they consultants, lobbyists, affected... whatever.

 

We see this all the time with the Government... "Ontario Parks is having a public meeting to discuss logging regulations within Algonquin". "The City of Toronto invites citizens to attend a meeting to discuss the transfer fees of Garbage Transfer", "The Town of Grimbsy is holding a town-hall meeting to discuss the option of a new traffic light at King and Main St"

 

People show up, and everyone gets to learn all at the same time.

 

I was at the first meeting, and I would like to see more of this, across the nation. Pool resources and learn in real time.

 

As for the second comment... the media is already starting to report more and more stories abot Gecoaching, and trying to make it into some battle between the Government and the Geocaching community. Believe me, from what I've seen... the media isn't having any trouble "Creating a negative story" since they appear to do no research and report very limited statements from anyone they have talked to, whether it is Geocacher or Parks Canada or Mayor or whoever.

 

:D The Blue Quasar

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I was at the first meeting, and I would like to see more of this, across the nation.  Pool resources and learn in real time.

I was at the first meeting too. And I came away from that meeting full of confidence that Parks Canada was going to do the "right thing". Instead, they banned geocaching.

 

1) Parks Canada can NOT comment publically about its ongoing discussions nor its intended path. They can only comment through the official release of a policy. If you wish to have discussions personally with them, the facility is provided and referenced wihin this thread.

Malarky! They've already commented publicly in the media. And the first email I sent was met with a response that could have been written by a public relations expert...all fluff, no substance.

 

It's all fine and dandy to say that you are collecting information from emails being received, but collectively as a community, we haven't heard a word directly from Parks Canada, other than a few comments from Claire that have been published out of context.

 

How do we as a community know what Parks Canada is doing on this issue? How can we as a community be sure they are doing anything at all. Surely after these long months since the initial ban they have some idea of where they are headed. Let us know!

 

All I'm asking is that a Parks Canada representative participate in these forums. I can't and won't accept that they "don't have the time". They've got the time to have their names and quotes splashed about in the media, so they've got the time to participate here as well. Poor excuses aren't acceptable.

 

I want them here, and I want them to answer some hard questions. Questions that they should have answers to after presumably doing their due dilligence and investigating geocaching in depth over the past six months. (Yes, it has been more than six months since they banned geocaching.)

 

I want them here, and I want them to provide a synopsis of their investigation to date. I want it posted here, in public, and not just sent to a few select individuals.

 

I want them here, to give the geocaching community a sense that somebody at Parks Canada actually cares about this issue.

 

I'm tired of hearing nothing. My "press release" of yesterday was a tongue-in-cheek response to the situation, born of frustration...like most of my posts :D

No offence was intended.

 

TT

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I want them here, and I want them to answer some hard questions.

And this is exactly why they aren't getting involved in a public forum. There are no 'hard' questions at issue here. People *are* going off trail in the parks as a result of geocaching. There *is* non-zero environmental damage being done. People may end up in zones where they aren't supposed to be, because they left the official trails, and didn't see the warning signs posted at the borders of the closed area*

 

If someone came in here, all she or he would be doing would be answering the same questions over and over again, and not really gaining any new insight. From the number of letters to them that I've read, its pretty darned obvious that a lot of the people involved haven't even bothered *reading* the parks canada interim policy on geocaching. They've just heard 'geocaching is banned' and start jumping on the bandwagon "Geocaching is good", "Geocaching promotes tourism and parks use", "Geocaching promotes CITO". Ya know what, they know all this. That isn't where the problem lies. We need to address the problems that they do have, rather than ones which don't really exist.

 

*bit off topic, back when I first started caching, I ended up accidentally trespassing on a golf course. How? I approached the thing from an angle they weren't expecting, and totally missed the barbed wire fences trying to keep me out.

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First response after reading this entire thread. As a cacher who has inadvertently caused damage as a new cacher, and one who has placed a cache in an environmentally sensitive area, here are my thoughts, mostly directed to GC.com.

 

Where problems occur, IMO, are where cachers approach the cache from the wrong direction. This can occur from parking your car at the wrong spot, or where a cacher may start at the right spot, but take the wrong trail that closely parallels the right approach. Faced with info from the GPSr that shows a cache 100m off, who actually walks back 2km to take the 'right' trail?

 

GC.com should request two additional waypoints. 1. the preferred place to park, and 2. the correct trailhead location. These could be downloaded as a route, perhaps? This would ensure that excessive environmental damage is not done by a confused cacher.

 

A second piece of info that should be automatic is: distance from main/secondary trail. This would ensure two things. 1. that cachers placing a cache are aware that it is preferred to stay close, and 2. that finders know they do not need to stray too far based on the hint.

 

A thoughtful hint is also a good idea, and should be mandatory if the cache is placed within 20m or so of a sensitive area, so as to discourage a 'scorched earth' search.

 

If Parks Canada insisted on this info, and assuming the cache was initially placed in a spot that could handle a dozen or so visits a month, then I do not see any problems from their perspective.

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Parks Canada (and all land managers we have dealt with so far) are well aware that they can dictate how the cache is to be placed and that any additional information needed (ie parking, distance from trail etc.) can be made manditory on the cache application and cache description. We covered all of this in our discussion with them and they were quite happy to hear that if they have concerns (ie off trail traffic etc.) then there are ways of handling this.

 

I hope that any cache placed whether it is in PC land or any other environmental area has some part in the description that says "Please stay on the trails even if your GPS says not to and you can see a deer trail that heads in the right direction. There are bends in the path that take you right to the cache." To me that says that the cache owner is environmentally aware and cares as much as you and I.

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My second response, mostly directed to Parks Canada:

 

An official and accommodating relationship with Geocaching.com is right for Parks Canada for many reasons.

 

First, it is a unofficial travel guide, directing guests to your parks by word of mouth. Think if PC embraced it with official sponsorship of GC.com and a series of official PC caches (maybe with a special PC geocoin or something) that would drive tourism from cachers in Canada, US and the world. (Just look at what Jeep is accomplishing!) Look at this site to see that cachers from Europe, US, etc... plan their holidays along cache routes.

 

Second, it accomplishes goals of park usage and revenue for the park.

 

Third, it keeps a segment of Canada active and healthy. Though this doesn't impact the park directly, it does help in advancing PC's cause for funding, I would assume.

 

Some damage will occur, but this is a bit of a moot point. No more damage occurs than, for example, hikers who bypass switchbacks by traversing down steep grades, orienteering, or many other activities.

 

As well, just like laws against skateboarders has not stopped them riding on public squares, for example, an outright ban would not work. There are already fringe sites and newsgroups that place caches. A ban will just drive traffic away from a site that tries to accommodate you, to other sites that may or may not respect your concerns. In the above example, allowing use in specified areas with regulations, is the answer.

 

As to the actual physical cache: I definitely do not see this as being litter. Cache owners, and those who search for them, definitely feel ownership for them. They are monitored and guarded. By their nature (hidden and sealed), they are not a visible blight, and are sealed off from the environment.

 

In fact, as a cache owner, I feel an ownership for the whole cache area. I placed one cache on trail at a salmon enhancement viewing area. If nothing else, I have raised public awareness of this interesting, noble venture in my city. I, at least, have made a cash donation to the society who maintains it. Initially, I removed two bags of trash near the cache that was littered near the site. When maintaining it, I have removed several more bags of litter (it seems locals use it as a party place where beer cans, cigarette packages, candy wrappers and the like are strewn about.)

 

I have no doubt that I, and caching, have been an invaluable addition to this site and, used properly, will enhance PC's sites in similar ways.

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It is probably important to make sure that controversial placements are avoided as this activity moves up from under the radar and starts to gain greater visibility. One bad cache can overwhelm a thousand good placements. There is one series of micros I can think of, that is being placed now, that is raising some ire. I won't provide a link but you can find them quite easily. The searches for these caches are going to have an impact, they are micros. Any type of high impact search is going to be a problem if the LOCATION is not selected for that aspect. Can you imagine what effect Shelter II could have had if it was placed anywhere else, if it was called Beaver Dam II or Pond II or Rose Garden II ?

Location is very important, a micro behind 7-11 isn't going to have any impact at all, the LOCATION - behind the convenience store - is PERFECT for the cache. Shelter II was perfectly located in that picnic shelter.

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More on caching in townsites from Parks Canada:

 

As I am sure most of you know, the cache within the Banff townsite was

disabled by cache-advance on the basis of (his) further communication with

the Town of Banff. I spoke with cache-advance yesterday and have also

spoken with staff from the Town of Banff this week and I think that this is

a good resolution - mostly because of consistency and consideration of the

reviewers at geocaching.com; however I am going to continue to look into

the situation of townsites within parks as it is a matter of interest in

developing a final policy for geocaching.

 

Claire McNeil

Parcs Canada / Parks Canada

So, still no real news yet. But thought it useful to keep the thread here updated.

Edited by dogbreathcanada

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Concerning Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC.

 

Because Parks Canada designated Stanley Park a site of National Historic Significance, there was some question whether the interim policy affected the area. The following email from Claire puts the question to rest (if it was still a question, I'm can't remember if we've covered this before).

 

Stanley Park is NOT a site administered by Parks Canada, so is unaffected by the interim policy.

 

Claire

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Having worked for Parks Canada as a park attendant, I know where exactly Parks Canada is comming from when looking to remove caches, and/or limit caching activity in out national parks and historic sites. When I first was taught the policies of Parks Canada and what they do to insure that the environment remains as it is, I thought it was a little overboard as well.

I too am very carefull in what I do in the woods as to not disturb the surrounding areas, but even then I can look back and see that even small voyages into protected woods has a larger impact, often on a scale that we cannot physicaly see or understand.

Small voyages off the path may seem insignificant to us, as we are the carefull ones. (I hope!) But you would be surprised just how small an event can have major concequences down the road.

I think it is a wise idea to limit or even stop physical geocaching within national parks. Virtual caches along an established trail would at least keep geocahing "alive" in our parks without disturbing surrounding areas.

I do not think that people should use geocaching as a means of advertising national parks and the only reason why they would visit one. They are already there, visit them, appreciate why they are there in the first place. You shouldn't need the excuse to find a geocache just to go visit a national park. ;) National parks are not there for us to use and abuse to satisfiy our need to go tramping around in the woods. Their laws and policies are there to protect nature to insure at least that bit of land is protected, unlike all the rest. Good move Parks Canada. B)

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*sigh* why don't we just rope the park lands off.

 

<rant>

 

They'll be perfectly preserved if no humans are allowed within the park boundaries at all! We can view our National treasures by glancing at them from the "scenic lookout" at the edge of the highway, or in places like Southern Ontario, where we don't have big enough hills for that, well we can all by "Scenes of Canada's Wilderness" calendars and enjoy them that way.

 

I am abolutely certain that geocaching can be handled in our park systems with a bit of care. What about a lame parking lot micro? Surely the parking lot itself is causing the environmental damage in that case? Will Parks Canada remove Highway 1 from Banff and Glacier parks? What about closing Icefields parkway to prevent Bears / Elk from getting hurt? No, that would be political suicide, but far more ecologically sound than banning a dozen or so off (or even ON) trail hikers because they have a GPS.

 

Total Ban - No.

Management Plan for Caching, like they have for canoeing, hiking, birdwatching, snowmobiling, rock climbing, bicycling, powerboating, beaver trapping, horseback riding, snowshoeing, camping, swimming, cross-country skiing, and a whole whack of other outdoor uses that are already tolerated / managed -- that makes more sense to me.

 

</rant>

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*sigh* why don't we just rope the park lands off.

 

<rant>

They'll be perfectly preserved if no humans are allowed within the park boundaries at all! We can view our National treasures by glancing at them from the "scenic lookout" at the edge of the highway, or in places like Southern Ontario, where we don't have big enough hills for that, well we can all by "Scenes of Canada's Wilderness" calendars and enjoy them that way.

...

</rant>

B)

<sarcasm>

They could install webcams at all the really important areas too. That way, we could just sit on our couches and get fat, and surf the parks via technology! But that probably wouldn't work either. The webcams would probably cause some sort of RF pollution that would affect the lifecycle of one out of every 23 trillion Flimsy Beetlebacked Froogmites. Can't have that. ;)

</sarcasm>

 

Once again, I think the simple fact is that PC don't understand geocaching. They're in fear of a constant stream of hikers mangling the forest. If they'd look into it, they'd see it doesn't work that way. Geocachers aren't causing environmental problems in parks. I'm tired of being told that we are. B)

 

If any park visitors are causing problems, it would be the everyday hikers. ;) Simple numbers. There are way more everyday hikers walking the trails than there are geocachers. And don't fool yourself. The everday hikers don't always stick to the trails either. Especially their kids. And their dogs.

 

This would have been such a simple issue to resolve, and it could have been done immediately after the initial meeting with PC back in the spring. Let the existing caches stay. Evaluate after a number of months. Simple.

 

Of course this is just my opinion. Your mileage may vary. B)

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Once again, I think the simple fact is that PC don't understand geocaching. 

 

I think Parks Canada fully understands what Geocaching is and what it is all about. Claiming they don’t would be rather discourteous to them. Since may 18th, only 179 people have signed the petition on the Golden Horseshoe Geocachers site. To the government, this will most likely be perceived as a mathematical insignificance or triviality.

 

If any park visitors are causing problems, it would be the everyday hikers. Simple numbers.  There are way more everyday hikers walking the trails than there are geocachers.  And don't fool yourself.  The everday hikers don't always stick to the trails either.  Especially their kids.  And their dogs.

 

Hikers, loggers, pavers, etc do cause damage to the wilderness. Why do a lot of geocachers believe we are different. Agreed we pick up some trash, most admittedly don’t, and most stick to the trails when they are available. On the other hand, I have seen damage caused by caches and cachers. I don’t think the placers and hiders had it in their mined they were damaging the area, but the result is the same. What makes cachers think they better than everyone else and demand that Parks Canada change their rules to accommodate geocaching?

Edited by Keith Watson

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Yes, I too am sure that Parks Canada understands the low impact. Their problem will be that they need to justify manhours to approve the caches, which is always very tough with a government based organization. There is no way they will allow physical caching without individual local approval of each cache.

 

If you drive through Banff NP at the moment, you will see that the TC highway is being widened to 4 lanes divided for the portion as yet not done. This sort of impact is huge and obviously a few cache containers is a miniscule (sp?) impact in comparison. The difference is that there is a large budget and a lot of political push behind those projects.

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Bushwhacking in a federal park? :blink:

 

That can't be good for the poor little ferns. :ph34r:

Edited by Dagg

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Bushwhacking in a federal park?  :ph34r:

 

That can't be good for the poor little ferns.  :lol:

This is an interesting post!

The link provided by Dagg takes you directly to a Parks Canada page. On that page, we find the following...

 

Hiking in Gwaii Haanas

There are no designated, maintained trails in Gwaii Haanas. All hiking is of the "bushwhacking" variety. It is easy to get lost due to fog, and density of forest. Hikers should have excellent compass skills and use map and compass at all times.

So, what we have here is Parks Canada publicly advocating bushwacking? But only if you are carrying a compass and a map I guess. Put a GPSr in your hands and you are breaking the rules?

 

Does the left hand even KNOW that there is a right hand?

 

-TT-

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Hiking in Gwaii Haanas

There are no designated, maintained trails in Gwaii Haanas. All hiking is of the "bushwhacking" variety. It is easy to get lost due to fog, and density of forest. Hikers should have excellent compass skills and use map and compass at all times.

So, what we have here is Parks Canada publicly advocating bushwacking? But only if you are carrying a compass and a map I guess. Put a GPSr in your hands and you are breaking the rules?

 

Does the left hand even KNOW that there is a right hand?

 

-TT-

Bear in mind that Gwaii Haanas is a park for the die hard naturalist/outdoorist. It's not a day hike/family park. The people that trek through Gwaii Haanas know what they're doing and are prepared for all weather. Going in there unprepared would be dangerous.

 

Most people carrying the GPSr don't have a clue what they are doing.

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In the NPs around here off trail travel is allowed if you have a purpose. For instance, if you are climbing, there are typically no designated trails. Backcountry use permits are required for overnight stays and you are normally allowed to camp at undesignated sites if designated ones are not available.

 

Here is Banff NP

 

That is why the park is subdivided internally to better manage areas in terms of visitor use and wildlife conservation. In the more heavily used areas, campers are required to stay at designated campgrounds that contain food storage cables, tables, privies, and metal fire rings (where fires are permitted). In these areas, trails are better maintained and contain bridged river crossings. In the more remote regions of the park, random camping is permitted (certain restrictions apply), few facilities are provided, and expert route-finding skills are required

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These are our public parks and the bureaucrats making these stupid decisions are public servants whose salaries are paid by our tax dollars. I'm amazed that you guys are willing to grab your ankles and go along with this.

As I work for the Provincial Parks Department in Sask I can see the validity of Parks Canadas position. They purpose of parks is not to protect the areas FOR use but to protect significant pieces of natural and cultural heritage FROM use and abuse.

The old axiom of "leave only footprints" is not valid in todays parks. If at all possible there should be no trace of people in truly protected areas. It is not valid either to bring up other unfriendly activities to justify your own. Skiing, camping, development while occuring today have a significant toll on the envirionment and YOUR natural heritage.

I am a geocacher and would like to combine caching and visits to beautiful areas however the two activities should not be dependant on each other. Sadly, National Parks comprise a miniscule percentage of land base in Canada that loss of caching in parks is of no consequence to our activity. If caching is the only reason that you visit our protected areas then Parks Canada is right in insisting that the activity have an educational component.

We do not have a right to parks for our activities, nature has an intrinsic right of it's own to exist undisturbed. It is our responsiblity as cachers to treat every piece of land we use (because we are users) as if it were the last best place on earth and that will ensure Geocaching will not be banned everywhere.

Edited by bobbarley

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Excelent post bobbarley. Im sure this will trickle down to the provincial level in the future. It is nice to see a SERM employee giving there view on the subject. I have been on my home town branch of the SWF for a few years. I was going to chat with our SERM reg. parks manager (who is also on our exec.) about his view on the subject, but due to SERM business, he could not make our fall reg. meeting or our last branch meeting. lol

What dept. are you in? What location?

Do you know if there is anything with SERM and geocaching?

Feel free to email me at "geocaching@parker2.com"

 

parker2

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As I work for the Provincial Parks Department in Sask I can see the validity of Parks Canadas position. They purpose of parks is not to protect the areas FOR use but to protect significant pieces of natural and cultural heritage FROM use and abuse.

The old axiom of "leave only footprints" is not valid in todays parks. If at all possible there should be no trace of people in truly protected areas. It is not valid either to bring up other unfriendly activities to justify your own. Skiing, camping, development while occuring today have a significant toll on the envirionment and YOUR natural heritage.

I am a geocacher and would like to combine caching and visits to beautiful areas however the two activities should not be dependant on each other. Sadly, National Parks comprise a miniscule percentage of land base in Canada that loss of caching in parks is of no consequence to our activity. If caching is the only reason that you visit our protected areas then Parks Canada is right in insisting that the activity have an educational component.

We do not have a right to parks for our activities, nature has an intrinsic right of it's own to exist undisturbed. It is our responsiblity as cachers to treat every piece of land we use (because we are users) as if it were the last best place on earth and that will ensure Geocaching will not be banned everywhere.

Excellent post. I absolutely agree with you in everything you said.

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National Parks comprise a miniscule percentage of land base in Canada that loss of caching in parks is of no consequence to our activity

 

I do not agree with this statement, the loss of geocaching in parks would be very detrimental to our activity, just as it would be to any other recreational activity, especially similar ones like backpacking and orienteering, pick on someone else. :lol: Geocaching is just another activity that people do, the park system already accomodates many activities, from canoeing to skiing. Why ban an activity that could be managed to mutual benefit, like camping and rock climbing ? It doesn't require much imagination to see that geocaching would fit just like all the other activities I have mentioned, it isn't a matter of pointing fingers, it is common sense.

We have parks and they include all sorts of facilities enabling all sorts of activities that people DO, and people are geocaching, the number will grow larger as time goes by. We build townsites and hostels and trails and facilities and create access to parks so people can enjoy them, not for educational purposes, to suggest that geocaching needs to have an educational component is strange and absurd.

The reasons for restricting geocaching in Banff or Jasper are clear only to a few people and I am certainly not one of them. I am firmly in support of restrictions that do make sense and would really like to see Parks Canada come up with a policy that does makes sense. A policy that will work can include things like container specifications, placement specifications, local approvals, quotas, limited life, fee based structure etc... ideas that work in different places for different groups.

The blanket statement that losing access to the National Parks land is of no consequence because they are only a small percentage of the country is a weak argument against accomodating geocaching as just another outdoor activity in a place designed to do just that, the parks.

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FYI, the Parks Canada mandate:

 

On behalf of the people of Canada, we protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage, and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure the ecological and commemorative integrity of these places for present and future generations.

 

I'll leave the interpretation to others.

 

Regards,

Anthony

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I'm glad to see some individuals that have some form of tie to Parks Canada involved in this thread.

 

Certainly the idea that by identifying other groups we do not make ourselves look better. But you have to understand that what we are really saying is "Show us how we are negatively different from them"

 

The statements about protecting these spaces for current and future generations doesn't hold water frankly. What that means to me is.... "You cannot enjoy this land as it is being protected, and neither can your kids, or their kids, or their kids kids kids etc ad naseum"

 

This is like the "Good China" that everyone's grandmother owns in case the Queen pops by for tea. Or that GI JOE still in the package because some day it's really going to be worth something.

 

Guess what? It is meant to be enjoyed respectfully.

 

People are using these National sites, for dozens of reasons. Why are you denying us?

 

I could go out and buy a book featuring gorgeous pictures of the National or Provincial or ,wherever else you can name, parks. I could sit on my butt like I am now and browse webpage after webpage looking at pictures.

 

BORING.... and I doubt that is what any park manager would want, would they?

 

I'm all for protecting these places... but this plastic bubble you are pretending exists... doesn't. And everyone knows it.

 

So while everyone in here is trying to present options, and help find solutions... making statements that close the door or build walls around your parks only annoys people and like those other undesirable activities that you don't talk about openly, you might just find that the Geocaching community ends up being powerless to help you regulate the activity if you restrict it enough.

 

Remember Prohibition? Didn't work did it?

 

I'm hoping that the comments that those from the Parks in this thread so far are not indicative of the corporate brainwash, cause frankly I am tired of being labelled as some eco-terrorist when I take my family for a walk on your land.

 

With the issues facing the Parks these days... this is your chosen battle?

 

You talked about the National Parks making a miniscule amount of the land so why worry..... Geocachers represent a miniscule amount of your problems.... so why worry?

 

:rolleyes: The Blue Quasar

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*cross post from MiGo forums*

 

"A senior board member of the Nature Conservancy of Michigan saw our over-head banner, came over to our booth and said he was very happy to have run into us, because he had heard about Geocaching from several other Nature Conservany board members. He says they've already discussed opening up the 49,000 acres of the lands they protect to MiGO members for Geocaching. I was floored when he expressed how positive they feel about what we do and also how closely we monitor this wholesome Michigan activity. "

 

How about 49,000 acres to geocache on?...

 

If only we could foster this kind of relationship with our federal and provincial parks.

 

Wulf

Edited by Team Tigger International

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I wonder why Parks Canada isn't going after hiking groups and mountaineering groups that make use of and place Summit Registers. That activity predates geocaching.

 

(A Summit Register is a container at the peak of a mountain containing a logbook and writing implement. Hikers and mountaineers that make it to the top of the mountain sign the Summit Register. Not very different from geocaching.)

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Excelent post dogbreath. I think you might be on to something.

Now back to my two cents on the last few posts....

In my opinion, PC has more issues to allowing caching in the parks. I think the reason that they are going with the policy, is that it is easyer to slide a policy into the act than it is to open the act to add something. If they were to open the act, it would be open for interpretation for everyone to take a poke at it.... and this would not be good for anyone. If it does have to be put into the parks act, it will be added to some other policy being passed at a gov. seating. I would like to see something done before an election, but I do not think it is going to happen.

PC never said that they were or were not going to allow caching on there / our lands, they just have to find a way (along with the GC community) to allow caching that will be good for both sides as well as the enviroment.

Never give up..... voice your opinions ans suggestions to PC..... every bit will help.

 

parker2

Edited by parker2

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I wonder why Parks Canada isn't going after hiking groups and mountaineering groups that make use of and place Summit Registers. That activity predates geocaching.

 

(A Summit Register is a container at the peak of a mountain containing a logbook and writing implement. Hikers and mountaineers that make it to the top of the mountain sign the Summit Register. Not very different from geocaching.)

Hey dogsbreath...can you get any examples to post here? I'd love to find out, again, that Parks Canada already "officially" allow these types of activities in their parks. It's the left hand/right hand thing all over again.

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I wonder why Parks Canada isn't going after hiking groups and mountaineering groups that make use of and place Summit Registers. That activity predates geocaching.

 

(A Summit Register is a container at the peak of a mountain containing a logbook and writing implement. Hikers and mountaineers that make it to the top of the mountain sign the Summit Register. Not very different from geocaching.)

One really simple difference is that these are placed on tops of mountains. Areas that AFAIK are generally pretty resilient to environmental damage.

Many caches aren't placed on tops of mountains, and *are* placed in areas that *might* be sensitive to formation of social trails.

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ibycus  Posted on Nov 13 2005, 03:21 PM

 

(dogbreathcanada @ Nov 11 2005, 10:10 PM)

I wonder why Parks Canada isn't going after hiking groups and mountaineering groups that make use of and place Summit Registers. That activity predates geocaching.

 

(A Summit Register is a container at the peak of a mountain containing a logbook and writing implement. Hikers and mountaineers that make it to the top of the mountain sign the Summit Register. Not very different from geocaching.)

 

One really simple difference is that these are placed on tops of mountains. Areas that AFAIK are generally pretty resilient to environmental damage.

Many caches aren't placed on tops of mountains, and *are* placed in areas that *might* be sensitive to formation of social trails.

 

Remind me again how I get to the summit of a mountain?

 

 

(TrimblesTrek @ Nov 6 2005, 07:27 PM)

Hiking in Gwaii Haanas

There are no designated, maintained trails in Gwaii Haanas. All hiking is of the "bushwhacking" variety. It is easy to get lost due to fog, and density of forest. Hikers should have excellent compass skills and use map and compass at all times.

 

So, what we have here is Parks Canada publicly advocating bushwacking? But only if you are carrying a compass and a map I guess. Put a GPSr in your hands and you are breaking the rules?

 

How is this LESS damaging than Geocaching?

 

Bear in mind that Gwaii Haanas is a park for the die hard naturalist/outdoorist. It's not a day hike/family park. The people that trek through Gwaii Haanas know what they're doing and are prepared for all weather. Going in there unprepared would be dangerous.

 

Most people carrying the GPSr don't have a clue what they are doing.

 

So what you are saying is that if you are DIE HARD NATURALIST/OUTDOORIST then you can walk anywhere you like and do whatever you want... but if you want to take your family to that same park to look for a tub of plastic within 200 meters of where you park... Electric Death awaits? Does that sound wrong to anyone else?

 

Claiming that because a person is on the extreme end of exploration does NOT justify the action.

 

If they can go tromping through the woods doing as Parks Canada describes in their own words as "Bushwacking", then so can anyone else.

 

I don't see Liability as an issue in these extremes... in fact I see people being encouraged to take it the limits of their own personal experience. And then, being told that traditional ecological issues do not apply.

 

This is not some big Anti-PARKS CANADA or Anti-Claire rant... it just illustrates that the same sort of activity that we are all trying to get accepted already IS ACCEPTED for others. Actually, ours seems quite tame in comparison.

 

I would love to hear how Parks Canada justifies these allowances. But again, I doubt the Parks Canada contact had anything to do with that, but I hope she can see why our community has trouble accepting what they tell us about Liability, Pack-In-Pack-Out, Off-Trail use and Impact-On-The-Environment (ecological and historical)

 

:signalviolin: The Blue Quasar

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Remind me again how I get to the summit of a mountain?

 

Most that I've summited (admitedly not that many) have a pretty well defined trail on them (even the more difficult ones). If the terrain is sensitive to the formation of social trails, then a trail has likely already formed. Letting someone put a summit register on the top of the mountain isn't likely to induce more trails to form. Letting someone put a piece of tupper ware at a random location within a park might (I'm just playing devil's advocate here).

Also, the area where you're searching is important as well, as some cachers decide that finding the cache is more important than preserving the area that the cache is in (unfortunate, but I've seen it happen on rare occaisions)

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So, what we have here is Parks Canada publicly advocating bushwacking? But only if you are carrying a compass and a map I guess. Put a GPSr in your hands and you are breaking the rules?

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but *no one* has talked about banning GPS use in national parks. The issue is with permanently placed caches that many people find their way to using GPSrs. These are two very different activities with very different environmental impacts.

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Letting someone put a summit register on the top of the mountain isn't likely to induce more trails to form. Letting someone put a piece of tupper ware at a random location within a park might (I'm just playing devil's advocate here).

Also, the area where you're searching is important as well, as some cachers decide that finding the cache is more important than preserving the area that the cache is in (unfortunate, but I've seen it happen on rare occaisions)

 

True. Also why we suggested that the site be approved by the Park itself.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but *no one* has talked about banning GPS use in national parks. The issue is with permanently placed caches that many people find their way to using GPSrs. These are two very different activities with very different environmental impacts.

 

Also true. However... the use of a "map & compass" is a straight line approach. Once you deviate from the bearing, you must alter your approach.

 

If you 'project' your bearing forward till it crosses a trail, then fine, as long as you can find that exact point on the trail.

 

But that park also states that there is NO TRAIL SYSTEM and all travel is by Bushwacking. Thus, there is no alternative to walking in a straight line over any type of vegetation.

 

:signalviolin: The Blue Quasar

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All I am saying is that when one site allows, even suggests, Bushwacking is acceptable... the option to not allow Geocaches based upon Off-Trail use, Liability and Damage to the Environment is blown out of the water. The only one left is Pack-In-Pack-Out. Since I don't know what a "Summit Register" is fully, I'll assume that some box with a journal is there so successful people can write a note in it.

 

A Country-wide policy is a great idea, but when you see examples that there are different rules for different sites, and different activities allowed in different locations... then it becomes obvious, at me to me, that a Country-Wide policy is not realistic.

 

The previously discovered examples of permitted activities illustrate that Geocaching can fit in with the current mandates of allowable activities. At least in some forms, and in some locations.

 

ESA's .... sure... we should respect those.

 

I am just not clear how a blanket policy can exist when it is obvious that a blanket policy approach is not used for other similar activities.

 

You mentioned trails going all the way to the summit. Those must have taken some time to create. They must have impacted the land. Today, those are accepted and the use encouraged.

 

You show me a three meter side trail that leads to a fallen log and I'll show you a place where familes and individuals said "That was a great time".

 

You show me a long trail that leads to a mountain top, and I'll wonder what really goes on during the trip to the summit. Calls of nature, a neat flower to smell, a child looking at a butterfly... yup... those remain on trail exclusively.

 

This Gwaii Haanas place... sounds like it handles the non-trail just fine... And yet, we don't even want to be bushwacking.

 

Parks that are the size of small towns.. and some are even bigger than cities, and there is no one going off trail?

 

I don't think even Parks Canada would believe that one.

 

:signalviolin: The Blue Quasar

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As far as blanket policy goes, my feeling was that this was an interim policy, that was a stop gap measure until PC sorted out what they wanted to do about geocaching. I don't think they've really seriously considered banning it outright. All the conversations I've had with them seem to be on the side of "We're just trying to figure out how this can fit, and these are our concerns". Its not that those concerns can't be met, or even that anyone has said that they can't be met, its just that things need to be sorted out, and they have to figure out the best way to do it.

My personal feeling (and I'd love to be proven wrong on this) is that Parks Canada isn't going to go for a "caches approved by them" type of system. Its just too much work on their part, for their already stretched facilities.

Here is my guess at a likely outcome.

Caches will be termed specifically off limits within a subset of areas. These areas will be ones which are already marked out some other way as being 'ecologically sensitive'. Probably some maximum lifetime for caches in other areas that are less sensitive and probably an extended life for ones in areas that are pretty rugged (like tops of mountains).

Caches will essentially be 'self-policed', but it will likely have to be easier to get caches removed/archived from these areas than it currently is (probably coordination with local caching groups with volunteer cache-recovery going on).

 

Another option is for them to place very specific rules on cache placement, like 'no more than x distance from an official trail' and so forth. This kind of a system would of course require that reviewers (and probably cachers) had access to official trail data.

 

I have more to say, but I have to run right now, so I'll get back to it later...

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So, what we have here is Parks Canada publicly advocating bushwacking? But only if you are carrying a compass and a map I guess. Put a GPSr in your hands and you are breaking the rules?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but *no one* has talked about banning GPS use in national parks. The issue is with permanently placed caches that many people find their way to using GPSrs. These are two very different activities with very different environmental impacts.

Good grief!!! Guess I should have written it as...

<tongue-in-cheek>Put a GPSr in your hands and you are breaking the rules?</tongue-in-cheek>

Edited by TrimblesTrek

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ibycus  Posted on Nov 13 2005, 06:01 PM

  As far as blanket policy goes, my feeling was that this was an interim policy, that was a stop gap measure until PC sorted out what they wanted to do about geocaching. I don't think they've really seriously considered banning it outright. All the conversations I've had with them seem to be on the side of "We're just trying to figure out how this can fit, and these are our concerns". Its not that those concerns can't be met, or even that anyone has said that they can't be met, its just that things need to be sorted out, and they have to figure out the best way to do it.

My personal feeling (and I'd love to be proven wrong on this) is that Parks Canada isn't going to go for a "caches approved by them" type of system. Its just too much work on their part, for their already stretched facilities.

Here is my guess at a likely outcome.

Caches will be termed specifically off limits within a subset of areas. These areas will be ones which are already marked out some other way as being 'ecologically sensitive'. Probably some maximum lifetime for caches in other areas that are less sensitive and probably an extended life for ones in areas that are pretty rugged (like tops of mountains).

Caches will essentially be 'self-policed', but it will likely have to be easier to get caches removed/archived from these areas than it currently is (probably coordination with local caching groups with volunteer cache-recovery going on).

 

Another option is for them to place very specific rules on cache placement, like 'no more than x distance from an official trail' and so forth. This kind of a system would of course require that reviewers (and probably cachers) had access to official trail data.

 

I totally agree with you. No sarcasm implied. I feel that this is the correct belief too. I merely was pointing out how some statements that have been made by people in this Forum Thread and things that have been written in the Interum Policy do not reflect current conditions or accepted rules that are already in place at certain locations.

 

By bringing these items into the light, it makes everyone aware of what actually is possible to be accomplished.

 

I've heard from lots of people saying they don't understand why Parks Canada is being so rigid and restrictive. Now we can say to those people "See... they aren't unreasonable, let's give them a chance to evaluate", and it also says to Parks Canada "See, you already allow similar items, how has that worked out in the past?"

 

:signalviolin: The Blue Quasar

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Forgive me if this has been suggested before but if caching is totally banned from the parks what's to stop multi-caches being set up with the first stage being set up outside the park gates with co-ordinates within to the park caches? It's not really the way we would like to go but I could see some people doing it as a way of getting around this ban.

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Forgive me if this has been suggested before but if caching is totally banned from the parks what's to stop multi-caches being set up with the first stage being set up outside the park gates with co-ordinates within to the park caches? It's not really the way we would like to go but I could see some people doing it as a way of getting around this ban.

When you report a multi you are supposed to report every single step in your cache, and each one is considered a cache by itself (including the meter litmit for other caches to be placed around it) and the approver should prevent you from doing this if one or more steps are within the bonderies of the park.

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Will all respect to Parks...

 

There are 5 ton RV's lining up by the hundreds to visit the parks... No impact there with fossil fuels and 3 way campsites oh yeah the roads.... Then there are golf courses! Please 6 plastic containers per hundred square miles, placed in nice well thought out places. Fundy my favourite park has 300 campsites, a swimming pool and a golf course I think 5 caches on the well travelled trails are in order! Have you ever been on a trail that doesn't have garbage or damage from hikers not likely but cachers are generally a good bunch to haul out a bit of garbage and go out for a hike well prepaired!

 

Too bad because I know some of them think that the policy is for the best but I think they forget about the outdoor enthusiast and forget about getting people to visit the natural wonders of our great park system. Its easy to be over protective like a parent but compare caching to golf! Which activity belongs in a wilderness? Give it a chance!!!!

 

Historic sites sure I'll agree to that but a wilderness park? Atleast with all the GPS's out on market and perhaps a few hitting the PC's vehicals and pockets we might see change but it will take longer than it should.

 

Too bad!

 

I wish I knew what they were going to say...

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I am trying to gain some information on the usage of the Parks Canada sites by Geocachers. Hopefully with this information, I will be able to have a good percentage of data to compile. Please answer as much of the survey as possible. The more information that you can give, will help me understand the parks usage as well as the general opinions of geocachers on the Parks Canada Interm Policy. All personal information will not be disclosed.

 

The survey is located at http://www.parker2.com/gcform.htm

 

If you would like more information on this survey or would like to receive a copy of the data, please email me at surveyinfo@parker2.com.

 

Thanks in advance

Owen Parker

parker2

geocaching@parker2.com

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I am trying to gain some information on the usage of the Parks Canada sites by Geocachers.

Forgive me if I've missed something, but who are you and under what guise and for what purpose are you compiling this information?

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Forgive me if I've missed something, but who are you and under what guise and for what purpose are you compiling this information?

 

Well where do I start this off.....

  • 1) My full name, geocaching id, and a couple of email address that I posted previously (and will be included again at the end of this email). I am a leadhand / supervisor at my day job and play in the outdoors in the evenings and weekends. Hopefully that should answer the "WHO" question you had.
     
  • 2) I do not belong to any "GUISE" as you would say. I am a member of a few geocaching groups (also in the process of getting a Provincial group together for Saskatchewan), on the Executive for our local branch of the SWF (fisheries), as well I am a dad of 3 beautiful daughters that love the outdoors as much as I do.
     
  • 3) Now for the third question. I am compiling the data to see what kind of interests there are in the National Parks. I got the idea a from a university student trying to find out if geocaching would help tourism in Northern Saskatchewan. The survey that I made is to get the opinions of geocachers (as well as non-geocachers) of the usage as well as the possible effects of geocaching and other activities on the National Parks. It has been of great interest to me when I seen that there was going to be a interim policy made. I have stated my own opinions to PC as well as in this forum. My main objective is to get something on the go before the policy trickles down to the provincial level. I think with a compiled data set from users of the parks, one can see the general consensus of a wide varity of possibilities and answers. I have been watching some of the other Provinces and States working on policies as we speak and it would be great to see what everyone else is thinking on the subject. I guess it like a great big meeting where everyone can brainstorm or add there so called "Two Cents" about the issues. 84 people already did.

If you have any further questions about the subject,

You can email me direct to the address listed below

surveyinfo@parker2.com

 

Thanks for you questions

 

Owen Parker

parker2

geocaching@parker2.com

Edited by parker2

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So is there going to be issues with the final geocaching policy with the political issues going on? I wonder if PC is going to put this on the back burner so to speak until the federal election is over. There is no way that PC will be able to hand out a policy until the house starts up in the spring or after the election. You never know what could happen.... we might even get a minister that loves geocaching him / herself. lol

 

parker2

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Just got this in:

Thank you for taking the time to participate in Parks Canada's public

consultation on geocaching. Your feedback has been useful in helping Parks

Canada understand the activity and in providing suggestions for a final

management approach. You will find attached a review of comments received

between May and August 2005.

 

Work to review and analyze the public comments will continue until the close

of the consultation period on Dec. 31, 2005. The themes of the comments and

the scope of the policy suggestions outlined in the attached document will

also evolve as comments continue to be received. The final review and

summary of comments will be provided to the group of Parks Canada staff and

geocaching community representatives who will be working together to develop

a final policy on geocaching in the new year. The final review and summary

will also be made available in the new year to participants in the public

consultation.

 

Sincerely,

Claire McNeil

 

I've uploaded the pdf file to my server. You can get it at: www.icenrye.com/geocaching.pdf

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Just got this in:

Thank you for taking the time to participate in Parks Canada's public

consultation on geocaching.  Your feedback has been useful in helping Parks

Canada understand the activity and in providing suggestions for a final

management approach.  You will find attached a review of comments received

between May and August 2005.

 

Work to review and analyze the public comments will continue until the close

of the consultation period on Dec. 31, 2005. The themes of the comments and

the scope of the policy suggestions outlined in the attached document will

also evolve  as comments continue to be received. The final review and

summary of comments will be provided to the group of Parks Canada staff and

geocaching community representatives who will be working together to develop

a final policy on geocaching in the new year. The final review and summary

will also be made available in the new year to participants in the public

consultation.

 

Sincerely,

Claire McNeil

 

I've uploaded the pdf file to my server.  You can get it at: www.icenrye.com/geocaching.pdf

Had mine waiting for me in my inbox too. The outlook looks positive to me.

 

Amusing some of the responses, such as: Theme #5: Parks Canada was not equipped to make a policy regarding geocaching These messages expressed their disapproval of Parks Canada’s interim management approach. Not many of these emails had suggestions for alternate policy approaches.

 

I can tell you the two (or three) people that were definitely behind that category of email. :)

Edited by dogbreathcanada

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