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Parks Canada

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I (under my regular account) received the same email from Parks Canada today.

 

We will be posting it on the OGA Site ASAP, as we host documents of that nature too.

 

I would like to thank the Parks Canada main contact for Geocaching Policy developement and creation for her efforts to provide an update regarding the progress made and evaluation of the content of emails received.

 

Parks Canada had indicated that there would only be a public comment made once the period for public input had completed. I'm glad that we've been granted a preview of the types of emails and content of them.

 

There was a lot less emails generated over the past months than I would have expected. As I indicated in my reply to the Parks Canada rep, I can only think of three reasons why this would be.

 

1... Geocachers are not aware of the Policy and the opportunity to help shape the future of Geocaching within the Parks Canada areas.

2... The Geocaching community is indifferent to the issue

3... The activity of Geocaching has a minimal impact on the Park System since few people are actually Geocaching on Park Lands.

 

I think I'll guess at #1.

 

OGA - Admin

 

{The opinions in this Forum posting may or may not reflect those of the OGA Executive and/or Membership of OGA. They are provided 'as is' by the Administrator alone}

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{The opinions in this Forum posting may or may not reflect those of the OGA Executive and/or Membership of OGA. They are provided 'as is' by the Administrator alone}

I personally have always been under the assumption that the OGA Admin account was for the purpose of being the voice of the OGA. Why else would the sock puppet account have been created. If this is not true, then stop using it, as I believe other people are under the same assumption. I would suggest either removing the disclaimer, or stop using the account.

 

OGA Admin user page;

 

Biography:

We are the primary organization for the Geocaching interests of Ontario. We encourage all land groups to request information and consultation from the OGA to better prepare policies that reflect and enhance the lands of Ontario.

 

Previous postings;

 

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

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I received a copy of the same email from Parks Canada. From reading it, I assume that all 44 individuals who sent in a comment to Parks Canada also got a copy.

It was encouraging to see that the common topics were, for the most part, positive, and indicating a genuine willingness to cooperate in reaching a policy that both Parks Canada and Geocachers can be happy with.

 

The email also indicated that it's only a summary of the comments made between May and August.2005. the public comment period hasn't ended yet, so if you want to make some comments of your own, you've got until the December 31st to do so.

 

I'll be looking forward to the final summary of all the public comments, and more importantly, to seeing the resulting policy. I hope that will be in time for geocaching in the springtime, but given the usual speed at which governments work, I suspect having a policy in place by 2007 is more realistic.

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I can actually see where my posts and emails fall into the catergories. One of them is written 100% to what I wrote. lol I actually think all is going to go well with the final policy. The only issue I have with the whole of this is that PC only received feedback on the interm policy from 44 people.... and some of these were American. I know from dealing with the goverment, it's the voice that counts. Keep the email going to PC until the 31st of December..... Lets have our voice listened to.

 

parker2

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I did not get a copy of the PDF except here in the forums, I just realized I never sent an email to the supplied email address, just never thought of it since my communications have all been direct email, over the phone or personal meeting. Think I will send one to make it official, I hope others will also send an email and have your voices heard.

 

I did get the second email that I am sure everyone else that sent an email to Parks Canada. I wanted to pass along some of the media coverage mentioned.

 

December 8th in the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

There is no online link at this time.

 

Being aired today or tomorrow by Radio-Canada Alberta is an article by the "Dose" daily news journal which should be available online and in print in major centers in black distribution boxes. The link will follow when I get it.

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I did not get a copy of the PDF except here in the forums, I just realized I never sent an email to the supplied email address, just never thought of it since my communications have all been direct email, over the phone or personal meeting. Think I will send one to make it official, I hope others will also send an email and have your voices heard.

 

I did get the second email that I am sure everyone else that sent an email to Parks Canada. I wanted to pass along some of the media coverage mentioned.

 

December 8th in the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

There is no online link at this time.

 

Being aired today or tomorrow by Radio-Canada Alberta is an article by the "Dose" daily news journal which should be available online and in print in major centers in black distribution boxes. The link will follow when I get it.

I've communicated a fair bit with Claire, but I wasn't sure if I'd sent an official opinion on the policy. So I did tonight. Actually the PDF helped in ensuring a concise point-driven email.

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I know I'm not going to make many friends saying this, but I don't understand why it's such a big deal to not being able to Geocache in National Parks. I feel a lot of us are forgetting just how fragile some of our natural landscapes, that Parks Canada has been charged to protect, are. I've been to many parks and historic sites from Atlantic to Pacific and enjoyed every one of them long before I knew about Geocaching. The established trails are established for a reason and if Parks Canada asks all users to stay on the trails, why should it make a difference if you're carrying a $150+ piece of technology.

 

That being said, I do think Geocaching could work in National Parks, but it would require guidelines and enforcement. All of Canada's, lets say natural, National Parks have land use classifications. I'm thinking in terms of Banff with this example. Areas where heavy activity is permitted, i.e.: Banff Town site and connected trails, to areas where no activity is permitted, where 1 misplaced foot could kill a plant that's 100 years old and only 5 cm tall. My feeling is, use the heaviest traveled areas for Geocaching, Banff Town site, Tunnel Mountain Campground, Lake Louise Town site or maybe a Micro-cache in the stone planter at Johnson's Canyon. But when you leave the parking lot, stay on the trails like everyone else.

 

I think the biggest thing that's missing from these discussions is that we are the 2nd largest country in the world, so if 2.5 percent (http://www.cnf.ca/parks/) of our Country's area isn't available for us to hunt Caches, then bring you camera and hunt for some pictures instead. Kids can have just as much fun maybe more; in National Parks trying to find out what that flower or bird was, after all, they've been enjoying them since 1885.

 

Just my 2 cents, but I think the natural beauty in these places far outweighs the importance of some items in a Tupperware box or ammo case and another notch on the belt.

 

And just as a footnote, I only used Banff because I worked there for 3 years and know it's probably Canada's best known park, but I can think of examples in any National Park I've visited. Thanks.

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privateerc..... I see where you are comming from, but the other activites thay you listed are no more harmful to the enviroment than geocaching. The trail rules set up by Parks Canada (PC) should be followed by all users of the parks. There is no difference from someone holding a camera or a GPS off trail. The areas at risk of plant or animal damage are usually posted on the trail information sheets, or fully well known of the park staff. These areas where there would be issues of drastic ecosystem damage, would not have a hope in heck of getting approved for a cache placement. Yet in the same area, someone carring a $5.00 CDN disposable camera wanting to get a picture of some bird in a tree, 100 feet off of the trail will have no one to stop him except for his enviromental position of the world. Also in this sence, the trail users are also posing a threat to the ecosystem, even if they stay on the trail. One slip on a trail close to a riparian zone could cause damage to natural fish spawning areas or a un-educated child ripping that prety flower out of the ground to give to his mother. I could go on and on about the the pro's and con's on the subject until I was blue in the face. With geocaching, (if the new policy allows) cachers would be bound by strict rules of placing and locating. There are many ways that this can be implemented over the Parks & Heritage sites throughout Canada. I beleave with the geocaching representives and PC representives, we will be able to hammer out a policy that is not only good for both parties, but the enviroment as well.

 

parker2

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Yes, I guess that is the sad reality when you get a large concentration of people in such a small environment. People will do what they please to have their moment. I'm thinking of the wonderful pictures of people putting their kids on the Wapiti in Banff as a great example. I just wanted to say something to support the environmental cause. There is damage will all National Park usage, and that will always be the sad reality, I'd just like to see it minimised, and I know there are many more out there looking for the same balance.

Edited by privateerc

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privateerc Posted Jan 30 2006, 06:39 PM

All of Canada's, lets say natural, National Parks have land use classifications. I'm thinking in terms of Banff with this example. Areas where heavy activity is permitted, i.e.: Banff Town site and connected trails, to areas where no activity is permitted, where 1 misplaced foot could kill a plant that's 100 years old and only 5 cm tall. My feeling is, use the heaviest traveled areas for Geocaching, Banff Town site, Tunnel Mountain Campground, Lake Louise Town site or maybe a Micro-cache in the stone planter at Johnson's Canyon. But when you leave the parking lot, stay on the trails like everyone else.

 

Yes. Exactly right. Well except for the "like everyone else" part, as we all know this is a great intention.

 

We all can agree that there are areas that Geocaching simply wouldn't work. Those areas might already have existing 'land use classifications' as you mentioned.

 

Currently, it doesn't matter what the 'land use classification' is... Geocaching is banned. And that is what we are working with Parks Canada to address together.

 

For me, I favour a strict rule like "No Geocaches may be placed within 25 meters of an identified Environmentally Sensitive Area boundary". The problem with that is, how do we know the boundary? Stating that the entire island of Beausoleil Island is 100% ESA but we have established a campground on the island and hiking trails etc... is viewed as contradictory. Applying that logic to Banff... all of Banff... does a walking tour of the City/Town of Banff that ends with a micro placed at the local library (example) consititute violation of an ESA? Currently no one can set up an educational cache like this?

 

From what I gather, Parks Canada wants to ensure that Geocaching conforms with its own mandates. Of course, that is to be expected. Some aspects of Geocaching might be impacted or reduced when done in a Parks Canada location. And Parks Canada may have to revisit some of its old documents to refreshen some of its definitions (Like 'pack-in-pack-out'). Everyone regardless of where in the world they are, or what company it is, or what acitivity is going on, once in a while they must take stock of their own rules, decisions, policies and such then decide "Is this still effective, or should it be reviewed and updated?"

 

And that is what we are doing together...

 

:ph34r: The Blue Quasr

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This thread has been going on for a while, and some of the details are hard to find. Can the OGA provide a time line of what discussions have taken place, what decisions have been made, and what policies have been put into place with regards to the current issue between Geocaching and Parks Canada? I’m sure the OGA has kept detailed documentation with regards to this and it would be nice to recap what exactly has been happening, and when, right from the beginning.

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OGA cannot provide any form of timeline with respect to the other Provincial Groups, nor the actions of Parks Canada.

 

Parks Canada official closed the public input portion on December 31st, 2005 and is in the process of forming a team of individuals to respresent both the Parks Canada staff and also individuals from several Provincial groups.

 

We are currently await a time line from Parks Canada, and a detailed description of the next step in the process.

 

At this point, there is no official change in the Parks Canada policy.

 

Any other requests for updates would be best addressed to the Geocaching reviewers, as they would be better informed on national developments.

 

OGA - Admin

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I’m sorry, I guess my language was not clear enough, entirely my fault. Let me try again.

 

1) this forums has far too many posts in it to try to follow what has been going on aside from all the personal opinions floating around

2) I would like to see a historical time line, events that have happened in the past, of meetings, policy changes, and official statements made by Parks Canada, and the OGA on this situation.

3) Would it not be a good idea to post this timeline some where for all to review the recap what has been going on?

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Keith Watson Posted Today, 12:08 PM

 

1) this forums has far too many posts in it to try to follow what has been going on aside from all the personal opinions floating around

 

The content within this forum thread is all relevant and has helped the entire Canadian Geocaching community develop a concensus, or at least guided to a common core belief as illustrated in the posts contained within this discussion.

 

Keith Watson Posted Today, 12:08 PM

 

2) I would like to see a historical time line, events that have happened in the past, of meetings, policy changes, and official statements made by Parks Canada, and the OGA on this situation.

 

Everything regarding a time line is contained within this forum thread, including the requested information.

Parks Canada's only official statement can be found on their web site, as well as on the OGA web site Policies affecting Ontario Caching. As for OGA, we met with Parks Canada on one occation, as is detailed in this thread, and all further information has also been previously provided. OGA has not made any official statements to Parks Canada, but we have provided input by way of our experience with Geocaching as has been illustrated in this thread previously.

 

Keith Watson Posted Today, 12:08 PM

 

3) Would it not be a good idea to post this timeline some where for all to review the recap what has been going on?

 

Addressed in the reply to request 2). Full review of this Forum thread would provide such information.

 

Again, OGA cannot comment on the actions of Parks Canada and their dealings with other Provincial Groups.

 

OGA - Admin

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According to an Email that OGA received tonight from the Parks Canada representative, the intention of the Parks Canada workgroup is to present their proposal for a final Geocaching Policy to the Senior Management of Parks Canada this summer.

 

OGA - Admin

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Does this mean that the OGA’s position is to make people hunt through 417 posts spread across 9 pages and growing to try and understand what is going on with Parks Canada. I was hoping for something a little simpler, but I guess that is out of the question.

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Does this mean that the OGA’s position is to make people hunt through 417 posts spread across 9 pages and growing to try and understand what is going on with Parks Canada. I was hoping for something a little simpler, but I guess that is out of the question.

 

While I would like to see the 'summary' version of this thread, I honestly think this thread is a dead horse.

Parks Canada are deliberating in their offices.

Parks Ontario are deliberating in their offices.

 

My understanding is that the public consultation phase is complete on both, and that we're just jumping up and down and waving our arms here, but that will have no more effect on either policy. 417 posts is a lot to sort through and frankly, it would take anyone hours to pull together a summary. Nobody here is getting paid to do this.

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According to an Email that OGA received tonight from the Parks Canada representative, the intention of the Parks Canada workgroup is to present their proposal for a final Geocaching Policy to the Senior Management of Parks Canada this summer.

 

OGA - Admin

 

Just curious if in the email you received (or in any communication), if Parks Canada has made any sort of indication if geocaching will be allowed in some way on their land? The summer sure seems like a long time to wait for them to probably tell us that geocaching is still banned on their land, and if that is the case, it will probably be too late to do anything at that point.

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Just curious if in the email you received (or in any communication), if Parks Canada has made any sort of indication if geocaching will be allowed in some way on their land? The summer sure seems like a long time to wait for them to probably tell us that geocaching is still banned on their land, and if that is the case, it will probably be too late to do anything at that point.

 

At this time the geocaching provincial representives are in the beginning process of talks. With in a few days, we will have a media / pr rep open a new thread that will give you a brief background of what has happened, and where we are going with the policy.

At this time (and until the policy is written in stone) the interm policy will still be in effect. When the interm policy was drawn up, virtual caching was still a part of the gc site and allowed under the interm policy with conditions (see link below for the interm policy). This will have to be changed to Waymarking in the future discussions, but I would think that it would still be ok.

 

parker2

Parks Canada Interm Policy

Edited by parker2

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At this time the geocaching provincial representives are in the beging process of talks.

 

Who are all these provincial reps involved in the discussions? I think it's important to know who's representing all of us on this issue.

 

Thanks.

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At this time the geocaching provincial representives are in the beging process of talks.

 

Who are all these provincial reps involved in the discussions? I think it's important to know who's representing all of us on this issue.

 

Thanks.

 

When the new thread is opened on the 12th (in and around there) there will be a list of contacts from across canada and in various provinces.

parker2

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Just curious if in the email you received (or in any communication), if Parks Canada has made any sort of indication if geocaching will be allowed in some way on their land? The summer sure seems like a long time to wait for them to probably tell us that geocaching is still banned on their land, and if that is the case, it will probably be too late to do anything at that point.

 

This is only my personal feeling, but based on the time and effort Claire and others have put in to this, I would imagine that geocaching will likely be allowed in some form or another. Nothing particular has been said that I've heard, but it seems to me like this is a standard process that everyone has to go through.

 

PC is mandated to evaluate any new recreational activities taking place on PC land. We're doing stuff on the PC lands, so they have to evaluate it. I know it seems like an awful long time to wait, but a lot of the delays seem like things required to get people's schedules to line up. This is no one there's only job, and other things have to get done in the mean time, but overall, a lot of time and effort has been put in to this on PC's side, if they didn't want to make it work, it would be *far* simpler for them to just tell us all to go take a hike (pardon the pun).

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