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Geocaching Guidelines Web Site
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:15 am    Post subject: Re: Geocaching Guidelines Web Site Reply with quote

fidian wrote:
If nobody thought about it until now, I would have hoped that the MnGCA would say, "Thanks for contacting the four counties you emailed. We're now sending emails to the other counties and will have at least a 'first contact' with every county by the end of the week."

I will not wait for the MnGCA to contact all of the counties.

The MnGCA Board's responsibility and interest does not stop at a single e-mail. Our relationships with various land owners encompasses a whole lot more than just updating a listing in a database.

As far as the counties and parks you contacted... One would prefer to deal with the organization over individuals and another seemed confused why you would be contacting them *after* we had about a relatively unimportant issue. Creating a disjointed approach and a possibly confusing situation is not what the MnGCA is looking for.

edit for grammar
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Last edited by Marsha and Silent Bob on Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:24 am; edited 1 time in total
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Grey Wolf and Wild Rice
Geocacher


Joined: 31 May 2005

Posts: 380

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fidian---------

So the question is still the same---Why don't you work with the MnGCA on this and not be a "Lone Wolf"?

There are many people out there who have experience working with local and county governments. Working together and pooling experience will be much more productive than sending a letter from an individual. The important part, as you may not be aware of, is to contact the correct individual with authority first. This takes a lot of time. As Moe said before, Anoka County prefers to work with the organization rather than individuals. I am sure this is the case most everywhere. The immediate and easy response from them is usually the same----"Littering or abandoning property on public lands is not permitted'. And I am speaking from experience from both sides of the fence here.

Right now, doing something like you are proposing, has the potential to be detrimental to the entire Geocaching community.

The only reason I see that you insist on doing this is to promote a website. I see nothing wrong with asking permission for hides when hides are placed. After all, this is how it is usually done. You appear to be just stirring up trouble here where there is none.
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celticwulf
Geocacher


Joined: 24 Oct 2005

Posts: 685

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grey Wolf and Wild Rice wrote:
I see nothing wrong with asking permission for hides when hides are placed.


In reality, I agree with everything Grey Wolf has stated, but the comment I've quoted seems to be the most telling of all. If you ARE going to hide a cache in that park yourself, and you don't know if permision is granted, you can check with MNGCA or other places, and if still no answer, then check with the park district. However, if you are NOT planning on placing a cache, all you are doing is filling in a database with information that may or may not be used anytime soon.

Personally, if I were working for a park district, I would rather be contacted by a person who is actually GOING to use the park in question, or better yet someone who lives nearby and has used it in the past, rather than someone trying to fill in a project for themselves.

If any person that is actually PLACING a cache wants to ask, obviously that makes sense...but I still can't come up with a good reason for one person, or even the MNGCA, to ask each park district individually if there isn't currently interest in placing a cache there...all it does is cause more work and possibly backfire and eliminate geocaching before it even gets started.

Just my thoughts...going back to try to shut up again Laughing

Celticwulf
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2440

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fidian wrote:
I've been sending emails lately to various cities and counties in the hopes that they let me place caches in the area. I thought it would be best to share the info with everyone.
~SNIP~


fidian wrote:
~SNIP~
I will not wait for the MnGCA to contact all of the counties. There's only about 100 of them
~SNIP~


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_counties_in_Minnesota

There are 87 counties in Minnesota. That's a huge endeavor, placing a cache in every one. A few don't even have a cache yet. My hat's off to you!

Here's a little project that several cachers helped out with, and Anoka County never bothered to acknowledge receipt of the info.

How many County Parks are in Anoka? I count 15. That is 15 parks where new caches will not be approved by Surfer Joe. This cache has been around since July 2001 and Anoka hasn't done anything about it.

Causing trouble where there is none. Nice
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arrive...raise heck...leave (SCSA)
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Grey Wolf and Wild Rice
Geocacher


Joined: 31 May 2005

Posts: 380

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

celticwulf wrote:
If any person that is actually PLACING a cache wants to ask, obviously that makes sense...but I still can't come up with a good reason for one person, or even the MNGCA, to ask each park district individually if there isn't currently interest in placing a cache there...all it does is cause more work and possibly backfire and eliminate geocaching before it even gets started.


Sums it all up nicely.
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Oneied Cooky
Geocacher


Joined: 06 Mar 2005

Posts: 453

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fidian, you want thanks? THANK YOU for the end of 30+ caches in Anoka Co. You have been asked from the start NOT to do what you are doing! The board has been at this for years. But what they do or have done is not good enough for YOU! You feel you can come and do what you want? You have been asked by the board to stop creating confussion with the parks. But yet you want to contact every county in the state and start a web site that fits what you think is right? Who cares that it causes more problems where there are none! Again Thank You!
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This warning is not directed at anyone but:

I understand that this is a heated topic but let's please try to keep the discussion civil.
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Grey Wolf and Wild Rice
Geocacher


Joined: 31 May 2005

Posts: 380

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

King Boreas wrote:
fidian wrote:
I've been sending emails lately to various cities and counties in the hopes that they let me place caches in the area. I thought it would be best to share the info with everyone.

There are 87 counties in Minnesota. That's a huge endeavor, placing a cache in every one. A few don't even have a cache yet. My hat's off to you!

Causing trouble where there is none. Nice


Fidian.....Usually, the best way to ask permission is to know where you want to place the cache, what the container is, and only then communicate that information to the policy makers. Is this what you are planning to do for next 86 caches you hide?
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onionpond
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Jan 2006

Posts: 113

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Personally, if I were working for a park district, I would rather be contacted by a person who is actually GOING to use the park in question, or better yet someone who lives nearby and has used it in the past, rather than someone trying to fill in a project for themselves.

I agree, it is much easier to give your neighbor permission to use your land than a stranger. I have in the past approached Park Boards of Cities to request permission to hide Caches, and have been successful. I will continue to promote the sport, and seek permission from cities, counties and park boards in my area. If I'm stepping on the toes of the MnGCA or anyone else, please let me know. The percentage of outstate members versus metro members is, I am sure, quite substantial, and this orginization like every other one caters to the majority, and that's the way it should be, I have no problem with that. Maybe volunteers could be asked to approach authorities in outstate regions. This association is manned by volunteers already, will a few more helping hands be a good thing? Just a few thoughts from the new guy living in the Boonies

edit by SB to correct onionpond's quoting
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onionpond
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Jan 2006

Posts: 113

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still can't get those little white windows to show up.
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fidian
Geocacher


Joined: 23 Nov 2005

Posts: 126

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2006 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Note: This was written a neutral tone of voice. I have found that others think I write as though I am fuming mad.

So, it is wrong for me to ask if geocaches are allowed in county parks? I thought that you needed permission from the land owner to place geocaches. Or, do all of you like to be sneaky and place caches without people knowing they are there? That's like me hiding a cache in the ditch or near the sidewalk by your house (they are both public land) and then listing it without asking you first. It does suck about Anoka County Parks, but it is not my fault for asking - other people should have asked before they placed a cache.

I should wait for the MnGCA to contact counties? I would be thrilled if the MnGCA said that they were going to ask counties. I have heard that they are in negotiations with a few right now and if they want to contact them all, I will stand aside and gladly let the organization do it. I'll even donate money if that is needed. I would rather have the MnGCA do it, but I find it annoying that even the metro area counties have not been contacted. I am amazed that it took just a simple email to get the information from Washington County, and that the "geocaching is allowed" was not listed before I had asked.

Now, I know that Silent Bob said that the MnGCA tries to establish a working relationship with the counties, and I can understand that it would take time to build a good one, but how many counties do you have relationships with? How many have you contacted? Where can I find that info with status updates so I know what's going on? I would let the MnGCA do their thing and I wouldn't interfere.

The board has not asked me to stop, but SB did express concern that I was causing confusing by contacting a county that the MnGCA is already talking to when I asked for a web page clarification (the rules were different on the registration form and on the web site). That could be eliminated by the MnGCA just contacting all of the counties that I am interested in before I do, or by maybe making a new forum section that lists who the MnGCA is talking to and what's going on with the talks.

When I asked for permission in the past, I also ask if the information can be shared with the MnGCA members and I try to give them information about the local geocaching organization that is growing and doing what it can to help. I give links to places that explain geocaching better than I can.

I am not trying to promote a web site. I've only said the link once and SB can delete the link if he feels that I am plugging an inappropriate web site. I just created it because SB said he would not list all of the places where geocaching was allowed. I also didn't like how GeocachingPolicy.info has all of the U.S. on one page and GeocachingPolicy.com is difficult to search. I'm just trying to improve on the situation -- if GeocachingPolicy.info/.com wants to grab my code and host the info on their site, send me an email and I'll reply with the PHP source w/ MySQL dump.

This whole thing started when I was considering hiding some caches. I searched GeocachingPolicy.info. I searched MnGCA. I searched the web. With no other options, I emailed the people who take care of the parks. I posted the results. SB said he would rather not list every place that geocaching was allowed and that he didn't have time to maintain a list like that. I offered to do it, and thus I created my web site and tried to populate info in there. I say that it would be a good idea to contact each county and all I get is negative feedback. Nobody else says they are going to contact the counties -- most say for me to just close my trap.

Wow, that was a lot of issues that were addressed there. I'll be at the Breakfast Buddies on Saturday in case someone wants to teach me a lesson or discuss this further (I'd prefer the latter). I'll be there with a little one, so make sure at least one leg and one arm are not completely broken so I can drive him home. Brown nylon windbreaker, black t-shirt, carrying a baby.
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2006 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fidian wrote:
So, it is wrong for me to ask if geocaches are allowed in county parks? I thought that you needed permission from the land owner to place geocaches.

Groundspeak suggests that you ask permission of a landowner before placing a cache, yes, but unless you are planning to place a cache there isn't a reason for anyone else to do so (including geocachingpolicy.info, Groundspeak, the MnGCA, etc).

I have already publically stated that we will be contacting the parks that operate in a similar fashion to Three Rivers to see if they are willing to update their geocaching policy (see here: http://www.mngca.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2152 for that).

Arrow I have already spoken with Ramsey on the phone and via e-mail. We haven't set up a meeting time yet but we will. They are willing to meet with us outside of normal business hours so that's much appreciated.

Arrow I have spoken with the head of Champlin parks via phone and e-mail but we have not yet formulated a response to his questions about a need for an update. Once we do we will likely do an in-person meeting or have an over the phone discussion with them.

Arrow I have spoken with Carver via e-mail and phone and Paklid and I will be attending a meeting with them this afternoon at their offices in Cologne.

Arrow We also have some more questions for Three Rivers but due to my real-life work load and the upcoming meeting with Carver County I haven't set out to work on discussing that yet with the rest of the Board.

In addition to all of this we have attempted to contact Detroit Lakes as well as the Minnesota Park and Recreation Association. Detroit Lakes responded that they were looking into geocaching and adopted Duluth's policy on their own. I haven't heard anything back from the MN Park and Rec Assoc. although through discussions with other park districts (Bloomington) we have them on the agenda.

Now, because the MnGCA has little interest in maintaining a database of all the places that DO allow geocaching, it's not a priority to go out and contact every single landowner in Minnesota. What is a priority is to actively work with and update landowners that already have policies in place or that have been asked to allow a cache by a cache hider and are interested in possibly creating a policy of their own.

It is the responsibility of the cache hider, and only the cacher hider, to ask permission before placing a cache. It's not up to the MnGCA, random geocachers from miles away, or Groundspeak to do it for them. IMHO it should remain that way. While I cannot and will not ask anyone to stop contacting their local parks districts, I do suggest that you heed the advice given to you by everyone here to let the MnGCA handle the negotiations for the continued effective and constructive policy work that we have been able to provide.
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5692

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2006 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fidian wrote:
This whole thing started when I was considering hiding some caches. I searched GeocachingPolicy.info. I searched MnGCA. I searched the web. With no other options, I emailed the people who take care of the parks. I posted the results. SB said he would rather not list every place that geocaching was allowed and that he didn't have time to maintain a list like that. I offered to do it, and thus I created my web site and tried to populate info in there.


Fidian -

No one here has any issues with you contacting parks that you intend on placing caches in. As quoted above, that's how the whole thing got started, and that's fine. If there isn't a policy in place then you should contact the entity responsible for the land.

Quote:
I say that it would be a good idea to contact each county and all I get is negative feedback. Nobody else says they are going to contact the counties -- most say for me to just close my trap.


There is a reason that you are getting negative feedback. I understand that this isn't necessarily a popularity contest, nor should it be, but you aren't making any friends here at all.

MnGCA is interested in working with various state and local organizations to establish policies. I can't speak for previous boards, so I don't know why all of the counties weren't contacted before. I know that previous boards were busy working on other policies however - they had made some initial contacts with the MnDNR, had helped to establish policies with Three Rivers, and I'm sure there's much more that I'm missing.

The current board is working with a number of park districts right now, and is in various stages of communication with them. What we've found up to this point is that it's a tremendous amount of work. For many of the park districts that we work with it seems that we need to have a face to face meeting. We simply don't have the time to do that. You mentioned earlier that you would be willing to donate some money to help - we need enough to pay one board member's salary for about a year so that he can work with park districts full time. Please remember to add travel expenses and a replacement while he takes some well earned vacation in the summer to actually get out and do some caching or spend time with his wife.

My point here is that there is a lot more to this than simply contacting park districts to see if they have a policy in place. If they don't then we need to be ready THEN to work with the parks to establish a policy. If we ask if the park has a policy, and they reply no, and we let it go at that then in a few months they will come out with a policy that will, likely, not allow caching. They would have had no guidance at all on the topic, so why allow something that could be harmful to parks (as they see it)?

What you're doing by contacting park entities that you don't have an interest in placing a cache in is starting a VERY LONG process by taking the first step, and then closing the door. You're closing a door that will be much harder to open the next time around.

I'm asking you as an individual as well - please stop. Contact the parks that you want to place caches in. If they don't have a policy in place then please refer them to the organization where we can work with them. Please don't open all of the doors at once.
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celticwulf
Geocacher


Joined: 24 Oct 2005

Posts: 685

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pear Head wrote:
Contact the parks that you want to place caches in. If they don't have a policy in place then please refer them to the organization where we can work with them.


I think this sums up my feelings as well. If you ARE going to place a cache in a local park you're not sure of the policy on, you per groundspeak rules should try to get permision. However, if you are only (thinking/considering/heard someone might/thinks there might be interest someday/etc.) <- pick one, please do not go out of your way to contact all parks in Minnesota.

Fidian, I personally think your placing a database out there showing policys for and against geocaching is a great start, and more effort than I would want to do myself, but the going out of your way to contact all of the parks, is more effort than I feel ANYONE should do, including the MNGCA right now. If there is interest in any specific park (ie Three Rivers, State Parks, ect.), then I feel the MNGCA as an organized body that has data they can present would be best to speak with them, but, and here is where I think people are getting concerned, if there IS NO CURRENT PLAN TO PLACE A CACHE THERE, contacting a park/organization/private person about a general Geocaching policy just confuses the matter and makes life harder for people that do care about Geocaching in Minnesota.

IMHO, I would leave the database as a great resource that you can update as more information comes available, but instead of contacting the parks through Minnesota, you should go out and Geocache or place more caches which will make Minnesota Geocaching better. I hear anywhere but the Roseville area is good for placing caches Laughing

Does this make sense?

Celticwulf
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fidian
Geocacher


Joined: 23 Nov 2005

Posts: 126

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I had that on my "to do" list, I didn't mean that I would contact them all today or even this year.

I have only contacted places that I am interested in placing caches. I'll still do that in the future, but I am willing to drive a good distance to place a cache, so a large percentage of the state could be used for a cache of mine.
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