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Minnesota State Forests Geocaching Guidelines
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 3:51 pm    Post subject: Minnesota State Forests Geocaching Guidelines Reply with quote

After quite a bit of hard work from the MnGCA Board and the Minnesota DNR we are proud to announce that geocaching is officially allowed in Minnesota State Forests (please note that these are not State Parks).

We're working hard to turn around that original stance that geocaching is banned on *all* DNR land and this is the first step.

I will be posting a copy of the guidelines as a PDF after this weekend. I'm in a bit of a rush today trying to get some stuff ready but here's the text version:

Quote:
Guidelines for Geocaching/Letterboxing
In Minnesota State Forests
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - Division of Forestry Sept. 2006

1.0 INTRODUCTION
This document is intended to provide guidelines for management of geocaching & letter-boxing activities on lands administered by the Division of Forestry.

Geocaching is a recreational activity involving the use of a hand-held GPS (Global Positioning System) unit to locate “caches” whether virtual, now called “waymarks” (a scenic overlook), or real (a container including a logbook.) The most common form of geocaching involves individuals placing caches and sharing the locations of these caches on the Internet (www.geocaching.com). Participants use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, participants sign the logbook found in the cache container. They also post their “find” on the on-line logbook. They may also place or remove appropriate items from the cache. Letterboxing is similar but involves using only clues to find a hidden container.


2.0 PERMITS NOT REQUIRED IN STATE FORESTS
• A cache may be placed in a state forest without receiving a permit from DNR, providing that no significant damage is caused to commercial or protected species of flora or fauna. All natural resource regulations must be observed including restrictions on off highway vehicles, rutting prohibitions, etc.
• A cache should be camouflaged to minimize visual impacts.
• Groups who want to conduct a short-term, sponsored event may be required to complete a Special Use Permit for the event.

3.0 CACHE PLACEMENT SUGGESTIONS
1. DNR is not responsible for the protection of caches placed in areas subject to active resource management like prescribed burns, timber harvest, or in areas planned for facility development. If in doubt, contact a local DNR forester for advice.
2. Caches are not allowed in Scientific and Natural Areas or areas identified as restricted. Caches may not be buried, nor may vegetation or cultural features be damaged in the process of placing, accessing or maintaining the cache.
3. MN State Forestry retains the right to remove, or have removed, a cache it feels is in an inappropriate location, is causing undo impact on forest resources or for other reasons deemed inconsistent with the mission and statutes of the MN State Forest System.

4.0 CACHE CONTAINERS & CONTENTS
1. Maximum size of cache containers is 8” x 12” x 4”.
2. The container must be marked with the following information: the text “Geocache”, and the name of the cache as it appears on the website.
3. Caches may only contain a logbook in which to record visits, a description of geocaching and non-perishable, family-friendly items.




5.0 APPLICABLE STATUTES & RULES
State statutes and rules which support these geocaching guidelines are listed below.

• 6100.0900 Environmental Protection Subparts 1 and 3.

• 6100.0650 Restricted Areas

• 6100.1650 Storage and Abandonment of Personal Property Subparts 2 & 3

• 6100.0550 Special Event

For more information contact: Keith Simar (218) 833-8703 or Curt Cogan (218) 833-8697, Division of Forestry or contact the nearest DNR Area Forest Supervisor.

Edit to fix extra character and to repost the guidelines because I deleted part of it Sad
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Last edited by Marsha and Silent Bob on Thu May 29, 2008 6:19 pm; edited 4 times in total
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s4xton
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 23 Mar 2003

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a very smart policy.

-Aaron
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King Boreas
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Joined: 16 Dec 2002

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do current over-sized containers need to be removed?

I especially like the "no-permit" item.
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Arcticabn
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 30 Nov 2003

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

King Boreas wrote:
Do current over-sized containers need to be removed?

I especially like the "no-permit" item.


KB,
I don't think it's up to us to interpert the policy. We are just reporting it. If you believe you may either be in violation or are looking to get approval for a change then I suggest you contact the local DNR forester.

Arctic
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eagleyes
Geocacher


Joined: 03 Jun 2003

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

• A cache may be placed in a state forest without receiving a permit from DNR, providing that no significant damage is caused to commercial or protected species of flora or fauna. All natural resource regulations must be observed including restrictions on off highway vehicles, rutting prohibitions, etc.


Who is checking to see if any protected areas are being disturbed by the placement if no permits are needed? I would think the experts who know where these areas are would be the ones to ok a cache- as opposed to a cacher who might , unknowingly ,place a cache in a protected species area and subsequent cachers spoil or destroy the area.

Would it hurt to tell a forester that you want to place a cache in "X" area and ask if there are any areas to avoid?
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Paklid
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do what you want to, but I can tell you where the size restriction comes from.

The state forests did not want the level of management of geocaching that the state parks did, but they did want to wait until the state parks settled upon their policy before proceeding with something with the forests. So they started with the new parks policy and the container size was part of that. (by the way, though the new parks policy is set it isn't official until published on their website - a few more days we're told)

We had discussions with the forest management and they agreed that they didn't need or want permits. From discussions, they aren't interested in nitpicking about the exact limits on the container either. When we were talking with the state parks people, the only reason they have specific container size limit in there, is that they don't like the idea of "having a 5 gallon bucket hanging from a branch of a tree". When pressed with questions like, "what if the width dimension and the length dimension were one inch greater than the container specified in the guidelines" they said they didn't care - just no 5 gallon bucket type things. Both the parks people and the forest people like the idea of ammo cans as sturdy, long term containers - which is why I suspect the dimensions specified look like they do.

So it is more the "spirit of the law" that they all seem interested in, rather than the "letter of the law". My guess is that if there is some really large container out there and some DNR employee doesn't like it, it may become a "letter of the law" issue and the container would need to be replaced. That seems unlikely though. As we move forward, as long as containers don't grossly go over the limits imposed in the guidelines, I'm sure we'll be fine. Of course with the state parks, a cacher will be able to actually show the container to the park manager so "buy in" will be clear. Forest managers are harder to get in touch with, and frankly don't want to be bothered frequently with cache placement questions (though they do give contact info, so if there is a real question about whether a site is OK, please do try to contact them).

So in summary, as it turns out size DOES matter....at least to a certain degree.
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Paklid
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 09 May 2004

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eagleyes wrote:
Would it hurt to tell a forester that you want to place a cache in "X" area and ask if there are any areas to avoid?


Part of the reason that the state forests don't want to permit this process is that it can be difficult to locate and contact the forest manager. If you are wondering whether an area might be scheduled for a burn or maybe is a sensitive area you have been invited by the guidelines to contact Keith Simar. If you do know how to contact the appropriate forest manager, that would be even better. They're not expecting many of these type contacts though (at least that's what I gathered). The wording they have included gives them the option of having a cache that is in a spot that they deem inappropriate removed. It also reminds us to steer clear of marked sensitive areas and publicized burn areas.

They recently had a meeting of the forest managers and geocaching was discussed. They see this as a recreation activity that won't use up their time and won't hurt the resources if it's gone about responsibly. That seems accurate to me.
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5708

PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

eagleyes wrote:
Who is checking to see if any protected areas are being disturbed by the placement if no permits are needed? I would think the experts who know where these areas are would be the ones to ok a cache- as opposed to a cacher who might , unknowingly ,place a cache in a protected species area and subsequent cachers spoil or destroy the area.


I'm guessing, in general, that the areas that have protected species are more than likely going to carry a higher designation (like SNA) where caching is still banned at this point.

The foresters have access to the geocaching.com site just like anyone else - they will be able to monitor what is going in their forests and will be able to deal with problems through that. I'm not saying that this is the plan (I don't believe we got any indication that this is what they are planning on), but if they were concerned then this would be one way of doing it.

Quote:
Would it hurt to tell a forester that you want to place a cache in "X" area and ask if there are any areas to avoid?


Paklid hit on this some in his response to other posts as well. I don't think it would hurt, but it's not necessary. This policy is the DNRs - they are the ones that have stated that contact is not necessary. I do know from conversations with Paklid as well that they don't want to be bothered with every cache placement.
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eagleyes
Geocacher


Joined: 03 Jun 2003

Posts: 743

PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand- up here in the Kawishiwi Distrist and the La Croix Dist (USFS) they do monitor the gc site for illegal caches- Word must be out because we haven't been called to pull an illegal caches lately- this is good and responsible- and I know the MNGCA had a hand in it too. Makes for a better " recognition" for the activity.
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I do know from conversations with Paklid as well that they don't want to be bothered with every cache placement.


Quote:
This is a very smart policy.

-Aaron


I have one that's questionable, and will be replaced. I hope the State Parks policy appears soon, like days Very Happy rather than months Sad

gotta get the focus off my State Forests.

I know I'm a PITA about another DNR property. I sincerely thank everyone involved with this, and remind you that there are several dozen State Forest caches out there that most of you have not found. Still some FTFs too. HEH

Thanks!
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darus67
Geocacher


Joined: 13 Jan 2006

Posts: 64

PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome.

A huge Thank You to everyone involved, for all of the hard work that went into bringing about these changes in state policy.
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Surfer Joe
Minnesota Reviewer


Joined: 18 Jan 2006

Posts: 199

PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FYI - Whenever I notice a new cache submitted within a Minnesota State Forest, I intend to ask the owner if the cache meets the requirements of the DNR policy, in particular, paragraph 4.0. It will be in your best interest to log a reviewer note saying so when you first submit such a cache. It will definitely speed up your cache getting listed.

Surfer Joe
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2442

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:07 am    Post subject: Re: Minnesota State Forests Geocaching Guidelines Reply with quote

Marsha and Silent Bob wrote:
After quite a bit of hard work from the MnGCA Board and the Minnesota DNR we are proud to announce that geocaching is officially allowed in Minnesota State Forests (please note that these are not State Parks).

We're working hard to turn around that original stance that geocaching is banned on *all* DNR land and this is the first step.

I will be posting a copy of the guidelines as a PDF after this weekend. I'm in a bit of a rush today trying to get some stuff ready but here's the text version:

Quote:
Guidelines for Geocaching/Letterboxing
In Minnesota State Forests
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources - Division of Forestry Sept. 2006

1.0 INTRODUCTION
This document is intended to provide guidelines for management of geocaching & letter-boxing activities on lands administered by the Division of Forestry.

Geocaching is a recreational activity involving the use of a hand-held GPS (Global Positioning System) unit to locate “caches” whether virtual, now called “waymarks” (a scenic overlook), or real (a container including a logbook.) The most common form of geocaching involves individuals placing caches and sharing the locations of these caches on the Internet (www.geocaching.com). Participants use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, participants sign the logbook found in the cache container. They also post their “find” on the on-line logbook. They may also place or remove appropriate items from the cache. Letterboxing is similar but involves using only clues to find a hidden container.


2.0 PERMITS NOT REQUIRED IN STATE FORESTS
• A cache may be placed in a state forest without receiving a permit from DNR, providing that no significant damage is caused to commercial or protected species of flora or fauna. All natural resource regulations must be observed including restrictions on off highway vehicles, rutting prohibitions, etc.
• A cache should be camouflaged to minimize visual impacts.
• Groups who want to conduct a short-term, sponsored event may be required to complete a Special Use Permit for the event.

3.0 CACHE PLACEMENT SUGGESTIONS
1. DNR is not responsible for the protection of caches placed in areas subject to active resource management like prescribed burns, timber harvest, or in areas planned for facility development. If in doubt, contact a local DNR forester for advice.
2. Caches are not allowed in Scientific and Natural Areas or areas identified as restricted. Caches may not be buried, nor may vegetation or cultural features be damaged in the process of placing, accessing or maintaining the cache.
3. MN State Forestry retains the right to remove, or have removed, a cache it feels is in an inappropriate location, is causing undo impact on forest resources or for other reasons deemed inconsistent with the mission and statutes of the MN State Forest System.

4.0 CACHE CONTAINERS & CONTENTS
1. Maximum size of cache containers is 8” x 12” x 4”.
2. The container must be marked with the following information: the text “Geocache”, and the name of the cache as it appears on the website.
3. Caches may only contain a logbook in which to record visits, a description of geocaching and non-perishable, family-friendly items.




5.0 APPLICABLE STATUTES & RULES
State statutes and rules which support these geocaching guidelines are listed below.

• 6100.0900 Environmental Protection Subparts 1 and 3.

• 6100.0650 Restricted Areas

• 6100.1650 Storage and Abandonment of Personal Property Subparts 2 & 3

• 6100.0550 Special Event

For more information contact: Keith Simar (218) 833-8703 or Curt Cogan (218) 833-8697, Division of Forestry or contact the nearest DNR Area Forest Supervisor.

Edit to fix extra character and to repost the guidelines because I deleted part of it Sad


Is THIS on the DNR website anywhere?
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IBcrashen
Geocacher


Joined: 17 Dec 2002

Posts: 246

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/outdoor_activities/state_parks/geocaching_guidelines.pdf
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Moe the Sleaze
Geocacher


Joined: 10 Jan 2003

Posts: 1146

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IBcrashen wrote:
http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/outdoor_activities/state_parks/geocaching_guidelines.pdf


That's State Parks, not State Forests.
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