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Article on Parks

 
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eagleyes
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Joined: 03 Jun 2003

Posts: 743

PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 7:12 am    Post subject: Article on Parks Reply with quote

Picked this up in the paper this morning- f they allowed caching it would bring in more people to the parks and thus bring in more money-
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s4xton
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 23 Mar 2003

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you let us know which paper?

Which parks are they talking about?

Perhaps an excerpt from the article?

-Aaron
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towlebooth
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 26 Nov 2002

Posts: 1270

PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 8:30 am    Post subject: Re: Article on Parks Reply with quote

eagleyes wrote:
Picked this up in the paper this morning- f they allowed caching it would bring in more people to the parks and thus bring in more money-


I support park systems that allow geocaching and don't support those that ban it. I have bought stickers for Carver/Washington/Anoka and Wisconsin State Parks since 2002 and have not gotten MN State Park stickers since their ban.
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rickrich
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Joined: 06 Jul 2003

Posts: 673

PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also do the same. Carver and Three Rivers gets my vote. None for the state parks.
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towlebooth
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 26 Nov 2002

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be fair, Ramsey County parks is the best of all worlds. Free and geo-friendly.
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2445

PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
geo-friendly.


VERY. I sent my 2005 permits in two weeks late, no hassle. I requested access to a park that's been banned since permits were first issued, politely denied and informed of 4 Ramsey Parks which have no caches.

THANKS John
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Kitch
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 18 May 2003

Posts: 1286

PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Must be THIS ARTICLE...

http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/local/11408308.htm
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Moe the Sleaze
Geocacher


Joined: 10 Jan 2003

Posts: 1149

PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kitch wrote:
Must be THIS ARTICLE...

http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/news/local/11408308.htm


That's an interesting article but it doesn't mention geocaching.
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Kitch
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm guessing that eagleyes was trying to say....

Quote:
f they allowed caching it would bring in more people to the parks and thus bring in more money


"if they allowed caching it would bring in more people to the parks and thus bring in more money"
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s4xton
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I disagree. I do not believe that geocaching inherently brings any money to any parks. I do not believe that for the amount of time, energy and money expended to create a geocaching policy or to regulate geocaching, it won't be offset by the increase in park permits.

I do believe that geocaching brings value to parks.

I do believe that geocachers tend to treat parks in many ways better than average park users, and in some ways improve the quality or cleanliness of the park.

I do believe that park systems, especially ones paid for by our tax dollars, should be used in ways that are deemed desirable, appropriate and responsible by the taxpayers/park users, and geocaching in every way at a very minimum is desired, appropriate and responsible.

Compared to many other park uses, I believe that geocaching is one of the most non-intrusive and environmentally friendly uses.

In the end, I don't think geocaching can position itself as any kind of revenue flow for parks, but I think it should be stressed that it brings value to parks.

-Aaron
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Kitch
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about SLGCA and the event last week in St. Louis area?

How much money was generated at an geocaching event that was held at inside a state park?
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s4xton
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure the exact amount of revenue they gained, but they money I paid went to the organizers of the event, and for the campsite.

The amount spaceman7 and I paid, in total, to the parks for that entire weekend was just the camping fee of $24.50. So, let's assume this: That money went mostly to the costs of camping. This includes the upkeep of restrooms, showers, campsite, road to the camping area, campsite maps and literature, the park ranger on duty that visited us, the girls in the booth that allowed us to enter (usually), the online registration system, the registration paperwork, the credit card fees, and more. That leaves, let's say, $5 just for example, that went to the rest of the park overall. People from Minnesota, paid for only 3 campsites, which under my rough ball-park figures, means we gave the park $15. Combine that $5 with all the other participants. Let's say there were 100 campsites reserved that weekend (which is a very high and incorrect estimate for the sake of simplicity), for a total of $500 in revenue.

Does that $500 offset the following:

* The costs of developing a detailed geocaching policy (working with paid park officials, geocaching representatives and others, then typing drafts, approving copies and then distributing the information).
* The costs of having paid park officials deal with SLAGA, and prepare for the event.
* Updates and traffic of the website pertaining to geocaching information, this event's information and other geocaching related stuff.
* The costs of sending out the director of the state parks to the event. (I assume that her travels to the park didn't all come out of her own wallet, but I could be wrong)
* The costs of park staff that worked there anticipating a larger than average use of the park.
* More expenses that I probably don't know about.

***

Let's assume that I'm way off, and more money went to the parks. Guess the amount that went to the parks, and would you still even consider the amount a meaningful profit?

Either way, I think the reason that Missouri State Parks are so supportive of Geocaching, is because they understand the value it brings to the parks.

They understand that geocachers tend to treat parks in many ways better than average park users, and in some ways improve the quality or cleanliness of the parks.

They understand that compared to many other park uses, geocaching is probably one of the most non-intrusive and environmentally friendly uses.

They understand that their parks should be used in ways deemed desirable, appropriate and responsible by the people paying for the parks, and geocaching in every way at a very minimum is desired, appropriate and responsible.

***

Again, I don't believe it's a way for parks to make money, but it brings value to the parks.

If there were millions of geocachers out there, it would make a monetary difference, but geocachers are probably a small fraction of one percent of park users overall.

-Aaron
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eagleyes
Geocacher


Joined: 03 Jun 2003

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 3:38 pm    Post subject: My face is red- so sorry-here it is: Reply with quote

Posted on Mon, Apr. 18, 2005


Parks promoter feels budget pain

MINNESOTA PARKS: New director needs entrepreneurial skills in tough financial times.

BY DENNIS LIEN

ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS


After heading Utah's parks system for 11 years, Minnesota native Courtland Nelson didn't plan on playing the Grinch when he replaced longtime state parks director Bill Morrissey last year.

"I thought the worst of times had occurred," Nelson said. "I thought that, with some smart decisions and pieces falling into place, things would get better. Obviously, I was off by a couple of years."

But continued budget pressures -- which already had led to higher state-parks fees and elimination of spring and fall camping at some parks -- are prompting Nelson and his number crunchers to come up with creative ways to make ends meet at the state's 72 parks and recreations areas.

If Nelson has his way, users would pay extra for premium campsites or cabins, groups would get discount rates during off-peak hours and more people would pay to sleep in cabins instead of tents or trailers. More dramatically, gates at a dozen less-frequented parks in rural Minnesota would be padlocked during the winter.

Since 2001, state tax contributions to help run the parks system have been cut 38 percent, or $10 million, forcing administrators to trim expenses and rely more on user fees. Although less drastic cuts are projected for the next budget period, Nelson said inflation promises to create a big budget hole by 2007 unless new sources of money are found.

DNR Commissioner Gene Merriam said he was looking for an experienced natural resources manager who could bring fresh ideas to a system squeezed by budget pressures. Minnesota parks users now pay almost 40 percent of state parks costs, with the rest coming from the general pool of money the state provides through income and sales taxes.

"We knew that, given the challenges on the state general fund, we wanted to look for creative ways to be more entrepreneurial in state parks management," Merriam said.

FINANCIAL PRESSURES

Holding little hope state lawmakers would come to the rescue, Nelson quickly grasped a fundamental budget fact: With a $29 million annual operating budget, the parks division must come up with another $1 million every year to offset annual inflationary increases.

"We needed to come up with a new scheme," Nelson said.

Last year, the division cut fall and spring camping at another eight parks, pushing the total to 15. Various building rentals, activities charges and group rates were increased. Ten staff jobs were eliminated.

Now, Nelson is asking the Legislature for more flexibility over park fees, enabling parks to provide breaks for groups during off-peak hours, with the hope of attracting first-time park users and get them to return. Starting this summer, visitors also can reserve specific campsites, an option he hopes boosts attendance and brings in an extra $500,000 a year.

Over the next few years, he wants to charge more for popular options such as attractive campsites and cabins, build 150 to 200 more cabins to generate more income, and look into sponsorship ventures with private or nonprofit organizations.

He's already begun holding meetings to close 12 smaller parks during winter months to save up to $300,000 a year. Some of them would be closed next winter and the rest the following winter. All of them, however, would provide full services during spring, summer and fall.

Those parks are Hayes Lake, Zippel Bay, Judge Magney and Old Mill in northern Minnesota; Big Stone Lake, Monson Lake and Glacial Lakes in western Minnesota; Beaver Creek Valley, Lake Louise and Great River Bluffs in the southeast; and Split Rock Creek and Kilen Woods in the southwest.

Nelson said managers at those parks would move to other places, or retire and be replaced by seasonal staff. "All of these people will land on their feet," Nelson promised.

CLOSED PARKS

If Lake Louise, near the Iowa border, is closed, area residents not only would lose a convenient recreation spot for a few months, but local businesses also would feel the impact, according to Gerald Meier, a longtime parks volunteer who lives in nearby Adams.

"Any time you cut down on the tourists who come into a community, it makes quite a bit of difference," Meier said. "People come down from the Cities, they buy gas or they go to the grocery stores."

An influential park advocacy organization, the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota, also disagrees with park closings, even if it's only for a couple of months every winter.

"That's just going in the wrong direction," said Dorian Grilley, the council's executive director.

Grilley, a consistent supporter of more general-fund support for state parks, said he's also disturbed about a gradual loss of assistant park managers, deferred maintenance on park property and higher fees.

"Increasing fees will make the parks less accessible to more Minnesotans," Grilley said. "I think some of the basic state park services should remain as accessible to as many Minnesotans as possible."

Still, the organization likes a lot of what Nelson wants to do.

"We are generally very supportive of the direction he has taken in the past year, but he has some significant challenges to operating state parks in the future," said Judy Erickson, the council's government and community relations director.

The quality of Minnesota state parks, she said, ranks in the upper echelon nationally. But she said they rank in the middle of the pack when it comes to the money spent on operating and capital expenses.
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