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MN State Park Earthcaching and Virtualcaching Guidelines
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pto
Geocacher


Joined: 18 Mar 2004

Posts: 136

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree completely with sui generis -

I'd like to see someone force me to complete a permit to look at something - GPS in hand or not. How are they going to seperate geocachers from anyone else out in the park sightseeing? The GPS? Digital camera? HA!

Fluff is right.
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Paklid
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 09 May 2004

Posts: 656

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I agree that having permission to do exactly what every other park visitor has always been able to do (walk the trails and look at things) is a completely unnecessary action, GC.com would not allow cache listings so long as the state parks put a blanket prohibition on them.

So if the desire was to put any kind of cache into a state park, then some policy change needed to happen. Well, now there's a change. It's not much of a change, but it does allow GC.com to approve listings. We'll see if they (GC.com) are going to allow simple virtuals - maybe not. It doesn't take much of a geological feature to make an Earthcache though. There is an extra step involved and because of that there probably won't be many "hiders" who will go to the extra bother.

For me, I suppose I'll have to get a permit for the Earthcache I've had at Ft. Snelling State park for several months now. I'm also going to continue the dialog with the parks administration. Maybe nothing will come of it, but certainly without the dialog, this policy (as restrictive as it is) will be as far as they'll go.
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miles58
Geocacher


Joined: 07 Mar 2005

Posts: 196

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rickrich wrote:
No. I agree with sui generis. Its fluff.


It's worse than fluff! It singles us out for special restriction, and it establishes a precedent for adding a layer of administration. It should be roundly condemned and rejected as unbefitting the paper it is written on.

Whoever put this together has their head so far up their backside they can see out their belly button hole, and anyone who'd go along with it is guilty of assuming a similar posture.

I am offended to have to look at it and the rest of you damn well ought to be too!
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miles58
Geocacher


Joined: 07 Mar 2005

Posts: 196

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With all due respect to the time and effort that whoever negotiated this with the DNR put in, I have to say this:

There is not one thing to stop a writer from publishing an article in a tourist/RVer publication listing the coordinates of say for instance Interstate State Park in Taylors Falls, and those of every single pothole and significant feature of the park and causing many times the number of visitors to the park with the atendant damage and nuisance than we could possibly ever generate with geocaching.

We got nothing. Not one bloody thing, and we are subject to special regulation to boot. It's like the DNR telling me that because I bring a GPS fishing on the river I have to apply for a permit and abide by a reduced limt as well. And, Moe is going to have to buy a GPS sticker for his kayak and he can only paddle x number of miles. This is absurd.

Gack!
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Paklid
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 09 May 2004

Posts: 656

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless there's some text I didn't see, all of the verbose regulations seem to be focused upon creating a listing that gets published on GC.com. Nothing seems to be said about the use of a GPS for walking or fishing or anything else for that matter.

I too don't see how our State Parks can regulate what does or doesn't get published on GC.com, but the fact remains that GC.com won't publish a listing when all geocaching activity is prohibited as it is by the current blanket policy.

Now, under the restrictions that seem to have been lifted from the existing 3rivers park district policy, GC.com has been given "permission" by the State Parks to go ahead and publish a cache listing. I don't think too many people outside their own ranks would agree that there was ever any legal requirement for "permission" in the first place, but THEY feel there is.

We could direct our rants directly towards GC.com to get them to totally ignore the State Parks altogether (ie, list virtuals and earthcaches wherever we feel like it). If GC.com did that, then we'd surely be well within the law but we'd have reinvigorated the hard feelings that the State Parks had regarding caching a couple years ago when they felt they were left out of the loop and ended up banning caching entirely. While this confrontational stance might feel good, it sure would make it more difficult than it already is to get the park system to morph their new policy into allowing actual physical caches in the future.

Further, just as the State Parks clearly lifted much of their new policy from 3rivers park system, these other park systems may well watch our relations with the state parks as they continue their own policy evaluations. I suspect it is for that reason that GC.com, even though they don't legally have to, have yielded to the wishes of the State Parks regarding the current total ban of all cache listings in state parks.
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sui generis
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 17 Apr 2004

Posts: 608

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=23355c4f-7dd6-4e5e-8f5a-3dc01e971211

This one has been in a state park for ages. No permit. What are they going to do about it if this person doesn't get a permit? Move the Mississippi?
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miles58
Geocacher


Joined: 07 Mar 2005

Posts: 196

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to formally request that the board poll the membership on the question of whether to ask the DNR to rescind this policy that singles out geocachers for special discrimination.

There is nothing even remotely reasonable about this policy. The implications of geocachers needing special regulation is demeaning and insulting. If they were talking about placing physical caches, then I could see the need for some thoughtful regulation perhaps, but this is nothing for us and it has absolutely no basis in historical abuse whatsoever. There has not to my knowledge ever been a park damaged beyond ordinary use by geocaching.

While it is unlikely, you could be cited for geocaching without a permit for the act of having a unit in a park and setting waypoints. Unless you actually published a cache you more than likely wouldn't be convicted, but the expense and PITA to show up in court in a case that even if you win you lose is just too far wrong.

I realize that telling the DNR to shove this reg where they've put their head is not going to make friends, but friends like this no one needs. The DNR needs to be told politey but unequivocally that this is a bad policy and it must be rescinded immediatley. If they are unwilling to do so there are enough of us living in enough different legislative districts to make them change this

If this isn't the place to request board action on this matter, please advise me of how/where and I will happily comply.
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sui generis
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 17 Apr 2004

Posts: 608

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If they are unwilling to do so there are enough of us living in enough different legislative districts to make them change this


Unfortunately, this is administrative law, not legislative law. As such, the ones making the decisions are pretty much unaccountable.
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s4xton
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 23 Mar 2003

Posts: 1070

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

miles58-

Your request is being noted. It will be discussed by the Board and we will respond publicly. Please note that the response will not be immediate and may take a couple days.

-Aaron
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miles58
Geocacher


Joined: 07 Mar 2005

Posts: 196

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sui generis wrote:

Unfortunately, this is administrative law, not legislative law. As such, the ones making the decisions are pretty much unaccountable.


So was the old law about shooting dogs, but I got that changed in the face of extreme DNR opposition. BTDT and know how to do it again. The commissioner is a whole lot more sensitive to citizens being put upon you'd imagine. More than one of our commissioners have been my personal friends and I know what they go through.
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miles58
Geocacher


Joined: 07 Mar 2005

Posts: 196

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that the board is going to take this up, anyone else who feels like I do that this is a regulation that ill serves the state and the geocaching community please wiegh in here or to a board member.

Dave
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tomslusher
Geocacher


Joined: 02 Jan 2003

Posts: 182

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=23355c4f-7dd6-4e5e-8f5a-3dc01e971211

This one has been in a state park for ages. No permit. What are they going to do about it if this person doesn't get a permit? Move the Mississippi?


Ohh ohh, I just visited this virtual and publically posted my find. Do you think the DNR Natzis are gonna come and drag me out of my bed in the middle of the night and do God knows what??? And my family, I brought them along too. Ohhh crap, does anyone have a good place to hide a family of 4 for a few years????

Quote:
Now that the board is going to take this up, anyone else who feels like I do that this is a regulation that ill serves the state and the geocaching community please wiegh in here or to a board member.


I agree wholeheartedly with miles58. This policy is rediculous. And if you think by being nice to the DNR it will get them to change their policy to something more paletable, you are dreaming. The DNR, along with all other state angecies, will never admit to a mistake. I work for the state and I deal with this crap every single day. I would be behind the Board 100% if they told the DNR thanks, but no thanks. Either change it or forget the whole thing and we will try to get GC.com to allow them anyway.

just my $.025 (inflation)

tomslusher
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5692

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting discussion and some new points brought up. Regardless of how stupid you think it is, there is one thing to consider that Paklid brought up (that I've been saying all along). I'm curious about everyone's take on this.

Paklid wrote:
We could direct our rants directly towards GC.com to get them to totally ignore the State Parks altogether (ie, list virtuals and earthcaches wherever we feel like it). If GC.com did that, then we'd surely be well within the law but we'd have reinvigorated the hard feelings that the State Parks had regarding caching a couple years ago when they felt they were left out of the loop and ended up banning caching entirely. While this confrontational stance might feel good, it sure would make it more difficult than it already is to get the park system to morph their new policy into allowing actual physical caches in the future.


Again, the MNDNR is holding all of the cards here. If we're ever going to get physical caches back in state parks (and I know some don't think we ever will), then we need to follow the rules in place now. By saying that we don't care about the rules that are in place, because they are stupid, unenforcable, etc, we are showing the DNR that we probably can't follow any other rules they come up with on say...physical caches.

I don't necessarily think this is a large step forward. On the other hand, the DNR has acknowledged us. They are attempting to regulate a type of caching that is hard to regulate, but they are trying to protect their resouces (our resources) in the process. If we ignore the rules they have in place, we guarantee that we'll never make progress with them in the future. This commissioner or the next - the group will get a red mark that will be hard to erase.
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eagleyes
Geocacher


Joined: 03 Jun 2003

Posts: 743

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it true that North Dakota state parks actually placed caches in parks for cachers? I am just wondering if any one has personally experienced this or is it a rumor?

Are these rules similar to other state park guidelines or are they unique to MN?
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towlebooth
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 26 Nov 2002

Posts: 1270

PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eagleyes wrote:

Are these rules similar to other state park guidelines or are they unique to MN?


As far as I know MN DNR has created unique rules. So many other state park systems are friendly to geocaching.

I too am very frustrated with these new rules. I can't believe we've waited three years for this.

Virtuals are okay and Earthcaches seem like a great educational addition to the suite of geocache types, but to limit all MN DNR lands to these is ridiculous.

Personally, I have always held out hope that the DNR would adopt rules similar to the Superior National Forest - limited numbers of registered caches, not in wilderness areas. All of these are reasonable, given that we can actually place traditional and micro caches as long as we follow these guidelines.

As a group we seem to have given ground here. I don't see this as a win but as merely as the DNR throwing us a scrap in the hopes that we will go away.
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