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MN DNR Meetings.
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welch
Geocacher


Joined: 30 Dec 2002

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2004 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone heard from them 'what is up' lately?? Question
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jonsom
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 73

PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2004 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the April 4th Outdoor News on p3 there is a Commentary Letter
"Sportsmen pay attention to ATV bills
by Barry W Babcock
Jack Pine Coalition
Hackensack, MN

There are a number of proposed "bills" in the MN Legislature this year that should be appalling to hunters and anglers. The bills would open up public and private wetlands to ATV and mudder truck use. Incredible as it sounds, even the DNR has a bill that would do likewise. Yes, the agency assigned with protecting our states resources is proposing OHV travel in all private wetlands - and opens the same wetlands on public land during the winter months, "direct crossings"of public bogs from September through December, and year-round for minnow trapping. These wetlands in question are shallow and deep marshes, ponds, shallow lakes, and bogs.

The DNR is not alone. Legislators who are authoring other bills that are just as bad and worse are representatives Hackbarth, Ozment, Penas, Dill, and senators Saxhaug, Stumpf, Koering, Sams and Bakk. Some or all of these bills would re-introduce the "go anywhere, do anything" forest classification (all trails open unless posted closed). Many of these legislators are culpable for opening up the Con-Con/WMAs to ATV use. Remember it is hunter's dollars that pay for and maintain WMAs.

Rep. Tom Hackbarth chairs the House Enviroment and Natural Resources Committee and not one conservation bill made it out of his committee last year. It should take more than trying to establish a dove season to be recognised as a friend by sportsmen. Clearly Hackbarth, Ozment, and allies, rather than being friends of sportsmen are lying prostrate before the ATV lobby in this state and not loooking out for the well being of our states resources.

The Minnesota Wetlands Conservation Plan (MWCP), put together and finalized in 1997 by the DNR, DOT, Pollution Control Agency, Board of Water and Soil Resources, and others; states that its first intended audience is, collectively, "State agencies with enviromental and resource responsibilities in wetlands management...The goal for wetland conservation in Minnesota is to maintain and restore the quality and diversity and increase the overall quantity of wetlands in the state, varying regionally in accordance with differences in the character and health of the wetland resource, in order to promote ecologically, socially and economically sustainable communities...."

It is time Minnesota hunters and anglers stop being duped by legislators who couch behind an image friendly to hunters while acting as agents for the OHV industry, which are using our public lands as a place to market and promote destructive use of off-highway vehicles. What these legislators, along with the DNR, are attempting, is to essentially allow random cross country travel in our wetlands!

Equally baffling to me is where are the hunting/conservation groups like Ducks Unlimited? Minnesota Waterfowl Association? Minnesota Deer Hunters Association? The Ruffed Grouse Society? Fishing groups? Why the silence on this issue that monumentally affects our wildlife and resource? are they on the side of resource damage or protection?

And shame on the DNR. Minnesotans take pride in our wetlands and the bountiful habitat that they provide for all wildlife. As one of the country's greatest hunters and conservationists said: "Conservation is a state of harmony between man and land. By land is meant all of the things on, over, or in the earth. Harmony with the land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left. That is to say, you cannot love game and hate predators; you cannot conserve the waters and waste the ranges; you cannot build the forest and mine the farm. The land is one organism. Its parts, like our parts, compete with each other and co-operate with each other. The competitions are as much a part of the inner workings as the co-operations. You can regulate them - cautiously - but not abolish them."

I urge all sportsmen to make your voice heard and stand up for what is right for our cherished public lands. A right to use is not a right to abuse."

That commentary ended on page 13.

A couple of years ago I was caching up by Crosby in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/cuyuna_country/index.html, when I was harassed by a park ranger for Geocaching when it was not allowed there. One thing I did notice is all the damage done by OHV users in the park and I dont think that is allowed there either.

I noticed the mission statement on the DNR website is "State Parks Mission: We will work with the people of Minnesota to provide a state park system which preserves and manages Minnesota's natural, scenic and cultural resources for present and future generations while providing appropriate recreational and educational opportunities."
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rickrich
Geocacher


Joined: 06 Jul 2003

Posts: 673

PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2004 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This was the headline on the WMNN radio website today...
--------------------------------------------------
Geocaching Is Catching On (Undated) -- A new high tech outdoor pursuit is becoming increasingly popular, but not with the D-N-R. Geocaching (gee-oh-CASH'-ing) is like a G-P-S scavenger hunt where people hide weatherproof boxes in parks for other people to find. The D-N-R says due to concerns related to natural resource protection, visitor safety, staff workloads and liability, geocaches are not permitted. Participants say they help parks, because those taking part are encouraged to pick up litter while in the parks. There are more than 13-hundred geocaches hidden in Minnesota right now according to Geocaching-dot-com.
---------------------------------------------------

Does anyone else find this quote very odd...

"The D-N-R says due to concerns related to natural resource protection, visitor safety, staff workloads and liability, geocaches are not permitted."

Why didn't the D-N-R tell the reporter that they are working on a policy to allow limited geocaching? Thats what they have been telling us. Are we getting the runaround here?

-Rick
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Joelcam
Geocacher


Joined: 03 Oct 2003

Posts: 48

PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2004 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It could just be a shortened down version to appear on their website that doesn't contain the entire story. Some things may have been left out due to space constraints on their site, or time constraints of the web page author. Maybe the author didn't catch all the points the original reporter had mentioned in the on-air report.
I doubt the DNR is giving the run around to anyone.
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Lyverbird
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 17 Oct 2003

Posts: 443

PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2004 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you guys see the report in last Sundays star and trib'. About the ATV's being allowed in the swamps and marshes in late fall and winter months. I have to admit to not reading it all, but the photo told a lot about the destruction. Guess our feet and boots must be far worse. Rolling Eyes
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bobhiker
Past MnGCA Chair


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 61

PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2004 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I emailed Mr. Quinn from the MN DNR towards the end of March and was hoping to hear from him in time for an update at the MNGCA meeting a couple of weeks ago (which I did not make it to anyway.) I heard back from him today. Here is his update on Geocaching in MN State Parks.

Quote:
My apologies for the delay in responding. I have been assisting field
staff on a number of presribed burns this spring and that has gotten me
behind on -email and other tasks. The draft policy has been provided to
the commissioner's office where it is being evaluated along with many
other Department policies relative to rules. I'm not able to give you a
date as to when the commisisoner's office will have completed their
review but you can be sure that we'll be in touch with you once a
decision has been made and we know what are next steps will be.




Looks like it is tied up in the leagal system and will take some more time. It has only been two years now since they banned this activity. Looks like they are busy burning down the forests rather than making policy on protecting the forests from Geocachers. Kind of funny.
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bobhiker
Past MnGCA Chair


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 61

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is another update I received from Mr. Ron Hains of the MN DNR.
Quote:
Let me take a minute to elaborate on Ed's message. Early this winter,
we consulted with the Commissioner's Office for a clarification of our
authority to do a policy on geocaching. We had completed our work on
the policy and wanted to get it out the door, but had become aware of
some changes that we had heard might affect it. Based on information
that we received in that consultation, Parks determined that we could
not procede to deal with geocaching through a policy. Historically, for
the last twenty years or so, we have done that type of policy, but
recent clarifications on the authorities of the Commissioner have
eliminated that as a possibility. We clearly had spent a lot of time
going down what turned into a dead end street. I feel bad about that,
and what we need to do now is resort this into our priorities and get
back to it as soon as we can.

There is an alternative that we can persue, so that helps. That is to
use rule making to establish a direction on geocaching. Right now we
are waiting to see how some pending legislation comes through the
session. The legislation will give the Commissioner some relief from
rule making on some issues. It will not affect what we have to do about
geocaching, but it may affect other issues that we will also have to
handle through rule making. Since the rule making process is very
extensive and usually takes up to a year to complete, we would want to
handle all of the rule changes at the same time. When the legislative
session is done, we will sort out the issues and determine when and how
we can move ahead on them. Geocaching will be part of that plan.

In the mean time, there may be some things that we can do with
geocaching under our existing rules. This will require a total
rethinking of the process we had derived, and it won't accomplish what
we wanted to achieve, but it could be something. We have not done that,
yet, but will take a look at it as soon as we can move it up our
priority list.

I hope that clarifies where we are, and I am truly sorry that we have
not been able to get where we would like to go. I am still convinced
that we can get there, but needless to say, it is disappointing to have
it take so much longer than we had thought.



As you can see, they are making some progress on a Geocaching policy in our state parks. Thank you to the DNR for keeping us up to date on the progress you have been making.
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Moe the Sleaze
Geocacher


Joined: 10 Jan 2003

Posts: 1145

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, bureaucracy at its finest! Rolling Eyes
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moe the Sleaze wrote:
Wow, beauracracy at its finest! Rolling Eyes

Circular speak, sweet.
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rickrich
Geocacher


Joined: 06 Jul 2003

Posts: 673

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
That is to use rule making to establish a direction on geocaching. Right now we are waiting to see how some pending legislation comes through the session. [snip] Since the rule making process is very extensive and usually takes up to a year to complete, we would want to handle all of the rule changes at the same time.

That sounds like we have at least another year to wait.

Quote:
In the mean time, there may be some things that we can do with geocaching under our existing rules. This will require a total rethinking of the process we had derived, and it won't accomplish what we wanted to achieve, but it could be something.

In the meantime, I suggest a "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, a.k.a. look the other way. Its a well-established government precedent. Who was the DNR guy/gal who got his/her undies all in a bunch in the first place?

I feel bad for the poor cogs at the DNR that are stuck under this umbrella of bureaucracy. The last time I had an issue with the DNR, I emailed Jesse, but he was unable or unwilling to tangle with them (judging from the replay I got back). I wonder if Pawlenty is willing to shake them up?

Did we ever do a poll to find out how many cachers would buy daily or yearly park passes if geocaching were allowed in the state parks? I have bought Carver and 3 Rivers yearly park passes the last 2 years, but have never bought a yearly State park pass. I think I paid for daily parking at a State park once, about 5 years ago.

-Rick
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s4xton
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 23 Mar 2003

Posts: 1070

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From Thu 22 May, 2003 19:09, when there was mention in this thread that geocaching could potentially be formally allowed in MN State Parks:

s4xton wrote:
Looks like I'll be buying a MN State Parks annual pass soon. Wink


I bought my Washington County Parks pass because of Geocaching and I'm about to renew it. I'll be the first in line when the MN DNR allows it in State Parks, and I'm not buying one until then. Partially it may be out of protest, but really it's because there are so many other parks that I can visit that geocaching will take me to.

So tally one for me, rickrich - I didn't see a forum poll, if that's what you were asking.

And as for Pawlenty and this administration? I doubt you could get anything on the table. Always worth a shot.

-Aaron
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2440

PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2005 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Posted: Fri Sep 19, 2003 9:41 pm

bobhiker wrote:
Very Happy
I just talked to Mr. Quinn today. He was quick to return my call. He said that the DNR computers were set up to reject most emails due to a virus that they had in their system. That should be working normal soon.
The geocaching policy is written, revised, and is sitting on an administrators desk waiting for final approval. Once it is approved, then it has to get on their web site. They will then notify us and we will post a link to their policy page. I am personally guessing about another month and a half minimum.
I am not sure what the particulars will be, but this will only cover geocaching in the MN State Park system. I am guessing there will be a list of which parks and how many will be allowed. Working with a local park manager will also be required.
Once the policy comes out they will monitor it pretty closely the first year to see how it works. Thank you for your patience in this matter. Laughing
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pto
Geocacher


Joined: 18 Mar 2004

Posts: 136

PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2005 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

??
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2440

PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2005 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Question Question
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MN Lost Boy
Geocacher


Joined: 27 May 2003

Posts: 30

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 9:01 am    Post subject: Letter Boxes Reply with quote

Just a note to say that I was in a State Park the other day and stubled on a sight that I thought looked like a cache.... It turned out to be a letter box?
I would guess the DNR is not aware of it....I folowed up and see that the letterboxers do place them in State Parks..
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