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MN DNR Meetings.
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bobhiker
Past MnGCA Chair


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 61

PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2003 9:24 pm    Post subject: MN DNR Meetings. Reply with quote

I will soon be meeting with representatives from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources(MN DNR). There are a few topics they would like to discuss. I would like your ideas and comments on each one. Please put some careful thought into this and post your answers to each one. I will be inviting them to monitor this page so that they can get some ideas for what we want out of Geocaching in our state parks.

1. Are Virtual caches an alternative to traditional caches, or are they not well accepted among Geocachers?

2. Can caches be located adjacent to trails or other access points, or is the experience sought primarily one of going off-trail (bushwacking)? What would be an acceptable minimum distance from trail?

3. What is the average visitation(per month) that they can expect for a cache in the Metro Area?

4. The DNR would like to approve/determine cache locations. How do you feel about that?

5. If a list of park rangers' email addresses is available, would you work with a ranger in the placement of your cache?

6. How would you feel about a standardized cache container? Initially we discussed at our last MnGCA meeting the smaller ammo box, painted brown with the standard Geocaching sticker from Groundspeak applied. Costs: ammo box, $3 to $4 dollars from any Army/Navy Surplus store, Mill's Fleet Farm, or Cabella's, $2 dollars for the sticker from Groundspeak, and about a $1 dollar for brown spray paint from Home Depot. This would provide standardization between parks, provide sturdy and clearly marked waterproof containers that blend in with the environment for a minimal cost of around $7 per cache.


Any other thoughts or ideas on how we can make this activity work safely to benefit both geocachers and our state parks. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Bob
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2443

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2003 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll provide my answers later today. Does anyone know if we could produce our own stickers, at a lower cost? Perhaps as a fundraiser for mngca. I know a guy who makes bumper stickers for our Medallion Hunting group, and sells them for $1.00 I'll check on cost and quantity.
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2443

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2003 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1.
Well, 6 of the 7 nearest caches to me are virtuals, and all are within 5.5 miles. I'm not sure why, but I've not bothered looking for them. A fair amount of people HAVE gone to my virtuals, tho.

John M. mentioned this at one of the meetings:

Many people TNLN. To them, isn't that the same as a virtual ?
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2443

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2003 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

2.
Locations that are near non-geocaching traffic are NOT good. People are curious. Sometimes (a lot of times) the wrong kind of people are curious. Caches disappear from these spots. If you want, I could probably determine how many of my 'missing' caches fit this scenario.

Distance from a trail ? In the right kind if area, maybe 20 feet?

What is a trail? The park-designated "walk here" trail? Deer trails?
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bobhiker
Past MnGCA Chair


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 61

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2003 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Making our own stickers is a great idea. The reason we had the idea for a standardized sticker is to identify the cache as a geocache to non-participants. Then if someone found it, it would simply explain what it was instead of looking like some suspicious ammo box in the woods. Thanks for looking into it Ian. Smile
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2443

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2003 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

3.

What DNR areas are in the Metro? My 'average guess' would be 5. Once a week? New caches are heavier, older caches are lighter. This could be determined by using an active 'model cache'. Pick one that's been out for a year, or longer (all seasons). Divide the age of the cache by the number of visits.
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2443

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2003 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

4.

Widespread use of this will end the placement of King Boreas caches. What I mean by this: If one agency 'determines' where a cache is to be placed, every other one will eventually do the same. If a site has to be 'determined', let them place their own, like the city in Ohio (Cincinnati?).

I don't know that I've heard a process described for the 'approval' process. I honestly don't know where I'm going to place a cache, until it's there. I can't go to Capt. So-and-So and say "Today I'm going to Wild Mushroom State Park, and I want to place a cache 20 feet off the third rail from the horse barn." or whatever.

I don't want to place that cache, then find out 5 days later it's not approved.

After all that, I'm 1 guy. I don't expect to 'get what I want'. I don't want to interfere with good communications. This is just the way I operate.


Last edited by King Boreas on Thu Feb 27, 2003 7:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Moe the Sleaze
Geocacher


Joined: 10 Jan 2003

Posts: 1149

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2003 6:55 am    Post subject: Re: MN DNR Meetings. Reply with quote

bobhiker wrote:
1. Are Virtual caches an alternative to traditional caches, or are they not well accepted among Geocachers?


Virtuals don't do much for me. I will visit one if I will be passing by it anyway, bet rarely go out of my way to do so. I certainly wouldn't drive to a state park and pay the entry fee to look for a couple of medallions nailed to trees.

To answer King Boreas's point, no, I don't think TN/LN is the same as a virtual. When doing a TN/LN, you still have to hunt for the physical cache when you get to its general location. Virtuals remind me of Chevy Chase's visit to the Grand Canyon in "National Lampoon's Vacation".

I get the impression from reading the geocaching.com forums that the majority of cachers, at least the vocal ones, find most virtuals to be pretty lame.

bobhiker wrote:
2. Can caches be located adjacent to trails or other access points, or is the experience sought primarily one of going off-trail (bushwacking)? What would be an acceptable minimum distance from trail?


I wouldn't have a problem with requiring caches to be near trails, but as KB points out, we need a clear definition of what contstitutes a trail.

I also suspect that caches close to trails are more likely to cause the creation of voluntary trails to the cache since it is more likely that most people will approach the cache in the exact same way. Caches further off trail will be approached from multiple ways.

bobhiker wrote:
3. What is the average visitation(per month) that they can expect for a cache in the Metro Area?


As KB indicated, we can probably come up with an estimate by looking at existing logs.

bobhiker wrote:
4. The DNR would like to approve/determine cache locations. How do you feel about that?


I don't think there will be anyway to avoid their requiring approval of the location. I would strongly argue against their determining the precise location. However, it would be appropriate for them to specify general areas open or closed to caching.

bobhiker wrote:
5. If a list of park rangers' email addresses is available, would you work with a ranger in the placement of your cache?


This sounds reasonable.

bobhiker wrote:
6. How would you feel about a standardized cache container?


I think this is a good idea.
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2443

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2003 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

5.

That is an excellent idea. If they are aware of geocaching, or become aware of it, they should be able to suggest a number of areas that a person could check out.
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2443

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2003 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
6. How would you feel about a standardized cache container? Initially we discussed at our last MnGCA meeting the smaller ammo box, painted brown with the standard Geocaching sticker from Groundspeak applied. Costs: ammo box, $3 to $4 dollars from any Army/Navy Surplus store, Mill's Fleet Farm, or Cabella's, $2 dollars for the sticker from Groundspeak, and about a $1 dollar for brown spray paint from Home Depot. This would provide standardization between parks, provide sturdy and clearly marked waterproof containers that blend in with the environment for a minimal cost of around $7 per cache.


Again, once one agency requires it, it will become widespread. We will always be looking for the same thing. The number of areas, or means of hiding, will be severely limited.

Can we (mngca) make our own stickers?

150 containers x $4.00 = $600.00

150 logbooks x $0.50 = $75.00

300 pencils x $0.10 = $30.00

300 baggies x $0.05 = $15.00

150 stickers x $2.00 = $300.00

150 cans paint x $1.00 = $150.00

TOTAL = $1170.00, plus contents ...about $1200.00

nope, my wife will retire me


Last edited by King Boreas on Thu Feb 27, 2003 9:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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LanceVE
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 132

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2003 9:30 am    Post subject: Re: MN DNR Meetings. Reply with quote

bobhiker wrote:
1. Are Virtual caches an alternative to traditional caches, or are they not well accepted among Geocachers?


It seems to me that virtuals are not extremely well liked, but they're accepted better by some than the 'Locationless' caches...

Arrow Oooh! That gives me an off topic idea!

bobhiker wrote:
2. Can caches be located adjacent to trails or other access points, or is the experience sought primarily one of going off-trail (bushwacking)? What would be an acceptable minimum distance from trail?


To me, this depends highly on the location and the season. Far enough so you can't be seen from the trail, but close enough that we aren't dragging a 2 yr old thru a mile of underbrush.

bobhiker wrote:
3. What is the average visitation(per month) that they can expect for a cache in the Metro Area?


I think this one is highly dependant on the cache, it's theme, location and number of travelbugs that havn't been found by Centris or the CB-GPS'rs that pass thru the cache....

bobhiker wrote:
4. The DNR would like to approve/determine cache locations. How do you feel about that?


I think this is one worthy of dialog - I agree that if they want to determine the EXACT location, it takes the fun of placing it away, but I don't think it's unreasonable to discuss and come to a common agreement between cacher and ranger as to the location. (See #5)

bobhiker wrote:
5. If a list of park rangers' email addresses is available, would you work with a ranger in the placement of your cache?


If that person were responsive and open. If they didn't want to work WITH me and just wanted to be obstructionist, then that would take the enjoyment out of the experience.

bobhiker wrote:
6. How would you feel about a standardized cache container?


I can see the point of a common cahce container, but the limitation of container size & shape would prohibit a certain degree of creativity... There was one cache I heard of in Wisconsin, this one I think, which was hidden in/under a well constructed replica of a deer scat pile.... Twisted Evil
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Centris
Past MnGCA Chair


Joined: 27 Nov 2002

Posts: 620

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2003 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kingboreas wrote:

John M. mentioned this at one of the meetings:
Many people TNLN. To them, isn't that the same as a virtual ?


Not to me it isn't the same. The kind of virtuals I like --
"Yesterdays Heros", "Jabs Farm", "Mission: Art Critic", "INYAN CEYAKA ATONWAN", "Think you've got wacky neighbors?", "Surveyor's Error", "DON QUIXOTE'S GIANT", "Minneapolis-Ibaraki"....... etc

All these are interesting things that are either unusual or have some significance or things I would never have see under any other circumstances than geocaching. "Joe's park bench" or Bob's big tree" is not an interesting virtual cache to me.

Part of the appeal of geocaching is the hunt and seek and possible skunk. I enjoy being out in the park and taking a park tour some days, but not as just a virtual cache. Also.... just because I TN/LN does not mean it would have been a good virtual, it is NOT the same.

My littler kids HATE going on virtuals -- they love the find and the trade, even if there is nothing they want in the cache they still enjoy the hunt. It is a great alternative to constant TV!

Another thing to consider -- it is impossible to get ANY virtual caches approved any more.
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2443

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2003 6:38 pm    Post subject: STICKERS Reply with quote

Marley King:

I made those at my home on my putter! You can buy the blank stickers at office max for 14 bucks for 10 pages or something like that! (then you can get like 4 or 5 stickers on a page)! They also have water proof ink which is a little more money!I bought that this year and it still seems to be fading.(except for the black thats holding threw many many carwashes) Then you can also order them you have to order 250 at most places and depending on there stock bumper sticker paper color they and you want depends on the price. 1 color 250 stickers was like $150.00! Kinda steep!Hope this helps ask if you need more info
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Centris
Past MnGCA Chair


Joined: 27 Nov 2002

Posts: 620

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2003 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kingboreas wrote:

Again, once one agency requires it, it will become widespread. We will always be looking for the same thing. The number of areas, or means of hiding, will be severely limited.


It might work to get us into the state parks, but KB is right, soon every agency will want the same thing and that will take the creativity out and make it b-o-r-i-n-g. Crying or Very sad

I did break down and recently buy a metal ammo box for "Stairway" which I will outfit accordingly. But there are only so many places to hide an ammo box and part of the *surprise* is sometimes the container itself.

For example - "ALF" with his toy box or "Sugar" hiding in her tree? (which IMHO are both interesting and *unexpected* finds).
"Mary Hills" was also an excellent, unique and memorable container
I also heard RJ has a super teeney tiny micro cache out there right now.

The unusual and creative caches are the ones you remember fondly....and chat about to your friends
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bobhiker
Past MnGCA Chair


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 61

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2003 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you all for your well thought out responses. I sent them on to the DNR folks that I have been in contact with. They are planning on addressing the issues this spring. I expect that this process will take about six months. Please be patient and lets continue to work with them on developing this activity to benefit both parks and geocachers. Thanks. Laughing
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