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Had A Long Talk With A Forest Service Person Today


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I was heading out with a friend today. Just after we put the first cache away, a Forest Service truck drove up.

 

We ended up talking to this 24-year veteran of the Forest Service for more than an hour. She had never heard about Geocaching. :D

 

She actually found a cache one time (DeCon container), but it did not have a log inside it, or any other information about it being a Geocache (only a whistle and one other thing), so it ended up in the trash. :D

 

As we explained Geocaching, she was very open to the sport and thought her own children would like it.

 

However, one thing that surprised me was when she said that even with a big label on a cache container, it wouldn't have meant anything.

 

In this area they have to contend with a lot of trash left by illegal aliens, so without knowing about the game, even a well-marked ammo can might have ended up in the back of the truck to be tossed out.

 

Does it surprise you that someone who works for the Forest Service has never heard about Geocaching? How would you proceed so the local Forest Service personnel become aware of our sport?

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Thats kinda funny..

 

I was recently in FL with my wife, just outside of Jacksonville. We did a cache in Jennings State Forest. On the way in, a 4x4 p/u roared past us on the way out with some obviously irritated teen agers in in.. A short time behind it came a forrestry truck.

 

The ranger politely flagged me to pull over, so I did. He asked us what we were doing in there. I told him "Geocaching" He immediately said OK, have a great day, I hear there are many of them inside....

 

He was well aware of what they were, but did not know their locations.. Very friendly toward the idea...

 

 

T.W.

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If you're talking about the United States Forest Service, you could point an uninitiated Forest Service employee to one of the published policies for geocaching, like the policy for Allegheny National Forest here in Western Pennsylvania. It's one of the most common-sense, cacher-friendly policies out of the 25 policies that I keep track of in my review territory.

 

If you're talking about a State Forest, then there are likewise many state forests that allow geocaching, including all three of the states where I review cache submissions.

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Some of the rangers in this area can tell a cacher from 1000 feet away by how they're dressed and what they carry. From talking with them, they have had nothing but great experiences with cachers. It also keeps the visitor counts up... a very good thing when fighting for state funds.

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I am one of those long time Forest Service veterns. It does not surprise me that you found a Forest Service person unfamilier with caching. My immediate coworkers all know about caching but outside of that group I would guess that most don't. Though I can assure you that their boss knows or that their boss's boss knows. The Forest cultural resource folks also know and if they are like the archeologist on my forest they even track the locations of all the caches.

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That's interesting. Every forest ranger I've run into in the national forests I frequent (mostly the Angeles and San Bernardino) has heard of geocaching. I guess that considering the prevalence of caches in Southern California, it would be hard for them not to eventually run into a cacher. By and large they seem to be pretty receptive to having people come out and spend time in the forests...and spending the extra bucks to buy a forest pass.

 

I can't recall running into a state forest ranger but I'm willing to bet most of them around here know about it. I do know that some of the state forest rangers are active cachers themselves, so I'm sure they've spread the word.

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Ive had alot of good runins with park rangers. One that sticks out in my mind was there was a event at a state park here in ny. When the ragers found out about all the campers that were geocachers they didnt know about cacheing and were a little woried at first. We placed a 5 point multi poker run event cache and unitentionaly placed it in a area that was off limits (yes this sounds bad stick with me it goes well) one of the rangers came to the pavilion and withing min we had the cache pulled and managed to keep everyone out of the area. The park rangers were very happy about how quickly the issue was resolved.the next day after we broke camp me and a freeind went to the parks office and asked if one of the rangers would like to see where the perminate caches were placed. One taged along with us as we cytoed the area and exsplaned geocaching to them. It turned out to be a great exsperince for both sides and we now have yet another state park that wants more cachers to come visit.

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Once I get back to Oregon, I'm hoping to work on developing relationships with the local State Parks in an effort to help raise caching awareness in the area. I'm sure they already have a good idea (one of the local parks is the location of an annual event . . .), but I'd like to do my part to create goodwill and amity, especially with the news coming out of SC. It'd be nice to have some people on our side should the fever spread . . .

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