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Eden Prairie Caching policy (complete!)
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5709

PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:46 pm    Post subject: Eden Prairie Caching policy (complete!) Reply with quote

I just received the email below. It was sent to a cacher that had a cache in an Eden Prairie park. I will be contacting Mr. Fox tomorrow.

Quote:
Message 1:
As Park Manager for the City of Eden Prairie I am requesting that you remove
your geocache from this city park ASAP. Please contact me via phone at
952-949-8445.

Message 2:
Geocaching is not permited in city parks. Please pass this message on to others
you know. Stuart Fox, Parks and Natural Resources Manager, City of Eden Prairie

Currently all parks in Eden Prairie are off limits to geocaching. It
would require a change in park use ordinance to permit this type of use.
Please pass the word on to others who may not be aware of this
restriction. Thanks!

Stuart A. Fox
Parks and Natural Resources Manager
City of Eden Prairie
952-949-8445
sfox@edenprairie.org

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Hmm...


Last edited by Pear Head on Tue Jul 17, 2007 9:36 am; edited 2 times in total
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sir_zman
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 30 Jun 2005

Posts: 1768

PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well that stinks. I hope we can help them adopt a policy that will be mutually beneficial. I guess no more WNC's out there for a while...we can stop giving our business to their restaurants if they don't want us to play in their parks.
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Arcticabn
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 30 Nov 2003

Posts: 1846

PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

there are a lot more areas in EP then just city parks.
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sir_zman
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 30 Jun 2005

Posts: 1768

PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just read the park use section of the EP ordinance and I don't see how Geocaching is in violation of that section. I'd be interested in finding out what part it violates:
http://www.edenprairie.org/vCurrent/upload/contents/228/City%20Code%20Chapter%209.pdf

section 9.04

I don't want to step on the MnGCA board's toes if you are talking with them, but I'd appreciate finding out what they say the sport violates.

By their definition of a "Sponsored Group" the WeekNIGHT Caching Crew might violate the Subd. 7. Non-Resident Sponsored Group Use Prohibited. section.
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Freedom to assemble in public!
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5709

PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sir_zman wrote:
I'd be interested in finding out what part it violates


Quote:
I don't want to step on the MnGCA board's toes if you are talking with them, but I'd appreciate finding out what they say the sport violates.


As would I.. I'll let folks know what I find when I find it.

Quote:
By their definition of a "Sponsored Group" the WeekNIGHT Caching Crew might violate the Subd. 7. Non-Resident Sponsored Group Use Prohibited. section.


Although I didn't look up the reference you quote, I don't think that the WeekNIGHT crew is a sponsored group as they aren't sponsored by anyone. The gather through the forums but that's it.

I plan on calling them tomorrow so we'll see then what the scoop is hopefully.
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5709

PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Code:
“Non-resident sponsored group” means two or more persons who engage in a cooperative or coordinated activity in or on a park and who are sponsored, or organized by, or under the direction or control of, one (or more) person(s), business(es) or non-profit organization(s) or other entity (“Sponsor”), for the purpose of engaging in a cooperative or coordinated activity in or on a park.


I'm curious what a good response may be if the argument were made that geocaching is a coordinated activity that is organized by gc.com...?
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dornole
Geocacher


Joined: 03 Apr 2006

Posts: 467

PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:36 pm    Post subject: EP Parks - background and offer of help Reply with quote

Please let me know if I can help as an EP citizen.

I used to take the minutes for the City Council and also a couple of parks-related meetings. If negotiations with staff are unsuccessful then petitions to the Parks Commission by residents are another way to go. Staff is faster though. : )

If they really think the ordinance needs to change then it's a long process of hearings at Parks Commission and City Council but far from impossible. They just changed the ordinance recently to prohibit "outside groups" recently, the issue was huge walkathons coming into the parks and monopolizing them, buses from camps and day cares, same thing, and people actually running huge private businesses (soccer camps, etc. ) on city property for free. Is this the issue all of a sudden? There certainly is no issue of profit or monopolizing facilities here.

The other thing going down right now is the longtime (and great) Parks & Rec Director (Bob Lambert) retired on Friday. Stu is the 2nd in command and presumably the interim director until the new guy arrives April 23. But as the parks supervisor geocaching would fall under Stu's responsibility regardless. He's a good guy and has been there forever, I'm not sure what the issue or concern here is or how he's interpreting the ordinance. They do often look to other cities or Three Rivers when things come up to see how others handle stuff and revise their ordinances.

I'm happy to draft a letter of support for geocaching and get signatures (and addresses, gotta have that street address in EP) from other cachers. Also happy to come to a meeting with staff or to speak at a commission/Council meeting or public hearing. I've successfully petitioned for parks improvements before.

I'm sure ya'll have been down this road before but my experience is that real live citizens are very powerful. I didn't get any notice on my 7 EP caches.

Hope this helps & may the force be with you--I really don't want to pull my caches. : (
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sui generis
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 17 Apr 2004

Posts: 608

PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My guess is they will use Paragraph Z, which prohibits the deposit of materials within the park. This would really be no different than the rational the state parks originally used for banning caching before they changed thier policy.
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sir_zman
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 30 Jun 2005

Posts: 1768

PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pear Head wrote:

I'm curious what a good response may be if the argument were made that geocaching is a coordinated activity that is organized by gc.com...?


A good response to this would be that a geocache is not a group of people, it is by its very definition a container. I'm more concerned by section Z as well. One possible solution is that in Section S it says that structures can be setup with a permit...I wonder if we could get the Park department to grant permits on a one by one basis for a geocache. Not an ideal solution but perhaps something that will work in the mean time.
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5709

PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I spoke with Mr. Fox this morning.

First off, I'm guessing those of you that have caches in EP parks will get a note on your cache page soon if you haven't already. The original note came from a cache they found through navicache - this morning they found out about gc.com..

I have some notes from my conversation with him. I didn't argue any of his points this morning, I was more interested in gathering the information than anything. I figured if I started to challenge any of his points that the flow of information would cease. It's my belief that this should be approached through the EP Park Commission, not through Mr. Fox.

EP has worked hard to establish a trail system that, in some areas (conservation areas mostly it sounds like) they don't even allow bicycles. They are not fond of off-trail uses in many/most areas.

He cited protecting sensitive vegetation (again conservation areas came to the top of the list).

He feels geocaching is not allowed under the non-resident sponsored group ordinance (subd 7). They've had problems with large groups running through the parks (I assume causing damage - I didn't make a note to that however) in the past.

He is very open to communication about the subject.

It seems that a policy, if developed, would be a permit system similar to the DNR. He brought up the fact that he is aware of the DNR's policy (he told me that they "take their lead from the DNR").

Any changes to the status quo would need to be started at the local level (ie. by an EP resident), not the state level. He was very clear about this (he mentioned it multiple times). (This would make sense as they are banning under a non-resident provision.)

Besides dornole, do we have any EP residents that would be interested in meeting with the EP Park Commission?

Our next opportunity to begin the changes would be next month. I would like to coordinate a unified effort if we could.

Questions?
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bflentje
Geocacher


Joined: 29 May 2006

Posts: 4060

PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hogwash.
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GeoPierce
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Nov 2005

Posts: 1657

PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pear Head wrote:
Besides dornole, do we have any EP residents that would be interested in meeting with the EP Park Commission?

Thanks for handling this so quickly!
I live in Chanhassen, not Eden Prairie, but I'd be interested in going to any public meetings to show support.
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dornole
Geocacher


Joined: 03 Apr 2006

Posts: 467

PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 10:39 am    Post subject: Thanks Pear Head Reply with quote

I know jssjts is an EP resident & an acquaintance of mine and I think Vermadon is too? And jbtwenty I think is. I can also probably gather 4-5 newbie friends I have taken caching in support, they're all residents and would write or show up at a meeting if I asked them.

A note to all the owners of EP caches thru geocaching.com might be a good idea ASAP so the effort can be coordinated. They may not all be connected with MNGCA and it would be better to have a coordinated response rather than people all calling? Plus you could ask who's a resident to put together an advocacy team.

Keep me posted, I am happy to help head up a citizen effort.
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sir_zman
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 30 Jun 2005

Posts: 1768

PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By their definition:
Code:
"Non-resident sponsored group" means two or more persons who engage in a cooperative or coordinated activity in or on a park and who are sponsored, or organized by, or under the direction or control of, one (or more) person(s), business(es) or non-profit organization(s) or other entity ("Sponsor"), for the purpose of engaging in a cooperative or coordinated activity in or on a park. A Sponsor as used in this definition does not include a (a) natural person who is a resident of the City or (b) business or non-profit organization which, (i) conducts a business, service or activity and (ii) occupies and maintains a physical property having an address, within the City.


If I took my family out to a EP park and ate lunch then played a game of frizbee we would be acting under the direction of me (head of the family) and in an organized way (playing a game), and thus would need a permit to be in the park. Something to think about and bring up.

What if just one cacher were to go into a park to look for a cache, then because it is less than "two or more people" they wouldn't be in violation of this provision.
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