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Proposed MNDNR State Park Geocaching Policy
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pto wrote:
I did some research, and found that in WI, there are currently at least a dozen caches on WIDnr land. I believe "offically" the WiDnr has "banned" caches from those areas, yet Gc.com continues to approve them.

At least one of the Groundspeak approvers is from Wisconsin and was put in place as part of a deal w/the WIDNR to get caching back onto their lands. I'm fairly certain that the Wisconsin approver knows what he's doing. If you have issues with their actions please contact him at wga2 at wi-geocaching dot com -- this is not the place to do that.

Quote:
IN Wisconsin, cachers hide, Gc.com lists them, cachers search them all the while WiDnr seems to have no worries. I suppose we could all cry Wolf, and notify the WiDnr as to all these "Illegal" caches, and have them removed. - but that would only serve to create problems between the 2 groups.

That's because the WIDNR worked with Groundspeak and the WGA to get caching into their parks and asked for a local approver. A local approver, IMHO, is something that would help the MNDNR with the issue and it's the one thing that we have yet to get Groundspeak (and their approver team) to allow for Minnesota.
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pto
Geocacher


Joined: 18 Mar 2004

Posts: 136

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
At least one of the Groundspeak approvers is from Wisconsin and was put in place as part of a deal w/the WIDNR to get caching back onto their lands. I'm fairly certain that the Wisconsin approver knows what he's doing. If you have issues with their actions please contact him at wga2 at wi-geocaching dot com -- this is not the place to do that.


No issues here. I believe that is a Good thing. We need to work towards a similar deal, IMO. It seems to be working out nicely.

Quote:
That's because the WIDNR worked with Groundspeak and the WGA to get caching into their parks and asked for a local approver. A local approver, IMHO, is something that would help the MNDNR with the issue and it's the one thing that we have yet to get Groundspeak (and their approver team) to allow for Minnesota.


So, maybe one of the leading efforts of the Mngca is to work towards getting us a local approver, or at least getting MnDnr & Groundspeak to begin talks. I would think mtn-man would be able to provide some assistance, since he seems to be close with many here?

MNMizzou wrote:
In terms of "research" to take to the state DNR I would suggest looking at similar states and their policies.<snip>...
. . . <snip> I think i f you can point to states that allow caching that have similar goals and values as Minnesota they may see that they are being a little extremist in their approach.


Would Wisconsin be a good example to use in this case? It seems to be proof that things can be worked out, and everyone can walk away happy.

Any ideas on the history of the bad blood?
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pto wrote:
So, maybe one of the leading efforts of the Mngca is to work towards getting us a local approver, or at least getting MnDnr & Groundspeak to begin talks. I would think mtn-man would be able to provide some assistance, since he seems to be close with many here?

I have been in talks w/Groundspeak over the past year for doing just that. Most individuals were turned down *early* in the process. One person made it to the "Approver Team" for a vote and was also turned down.

It would be in our best interests to propose a possible policy to the MNDNR and include a clause that would ask for a local approver to be part of the package. Presenting *that* to Groundspeak would help grease those wheels.
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towlebooth
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 26 Nov 2002

Posts: 1270

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Going forward we should all realize that whether or not we like groundspeak inc, geocaching.com is the primary site for geocaching. If we were not so vocally anti-gc.com and anti-Jeremy we would not have to "grease the wheels". Part of why it is so difficult for us to get a local approver is that we have so many loud jod-bashers and as a group Minnesota geocachers have been labeled "difficult" or worse.

Just my opinion.
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pto
Geocacher


Joined: 18 Mar 2004

Posts: 136

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks!

That does shed some light on my earlier question about bad blood.

*Edit to include:

PS- Using my memory, and a quick search - I also figured out where most of that comes from. Now, I get it......
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5693

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm enjoying watching this unfold...

pto wrote:
So, maybe one of the leading efforts of the Mngca is to work towards getting us a local approver, or at least getting MnDnr & Groundspeak to begin talks.


I don't believe the current MNDNR policy is a Groundspeak issue - I believe it is a problem that MnGCA needs to address with the MNDNR. I'm not sure if that's what you meant or not, so just wanted to clarify my thoughts on it.
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pto
Geocacher


Joined: 18 Mar 2004

Posts: 136

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pear Head wrote:
I'm enjoying watching this unfold...

pto wrote:
So, maybe one of the leading efforts of the Mngca is to work towards getting us a local approver, or at least getting MnDnr & Groundspeak to begin talks.


I don't believe the current MNDNR policy is a Groundspeak issue - I believe it is a problem that MnGCA needs to address with the MNDNR. I'm not sure if that's what you meant or not, so just wanted to clarify my thoughts on it.


My post was unclear, so thanks for clarifying for me. Yes, you are correct.
It needs to be addressed. I was, however pointing out that WIGCA got something worked out. SB's comments helped me understand how, and why its been a problem here.
when
Quote:
MNMizzou wrote:
In terms of "research" to take to the state DNR I would suggest looking at similar states and their policies.<snip>...
. . . <snip> I think i f you can point to states that allow caching that have similar goals and values as Minnesota they may see that they are being a little extremist in their approach.


Pto wrote: Would Wisconsin be a good example to use in this case? It seems to be proof that things can be worked out, and everyone can walk away happy.

I was just thinking this example would fit the case. Sorry about that.
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5693

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my little quest to establish a proposed MNDNR policy, which may or may not be utilized in the future, I would like to take some volunteers, as I'm finding that my time is limited and I simply do not have the time to do it all.

I'm looking for someone to:

A. Research other DNR policies (that is, the policies of other states). A website has been suggested here. Post those policies that you find (or at least a url), and possibly a summary of them (good or bad, points of interest, etc). One person wouldn't need to bite off the whole US.

B. Contact park officials and cache hiders of caches in state parks in other states. This would need to be a very coordinated event that we need to coordinate before people start writing emails and making phone calls. Understand that, unless the board gives it's blessing, that you are not representing MnGCA -- you're simply an interested cacher.
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2440

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt,

i've been registered with the indiana association for about a year (or at least the forum). i have one virtual and one traditional cache in the state. i'd be willing to try to get some info from them.

i'll wait for a yes or no. our forum gets more action in a day than theirs does in a month, but i can be persistent. heh Very Happy
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2440

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

6) A virtual cache is exempted from licensing under this information bulletin, but a
person who administers or seeks a virtual cache must comply with 312 IAC 8.
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2440

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/publications/InfoBulletin46_Geocaching.pdf

http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/publications/Geocaching_Permit_09-03-04.pdf

http://www.in.gov/search?site=in-gov&client=in-gov&proxystylesheet=in-gov&output=xml_no_dtd&q=site%3Awww.in.gov%2Fdnr+%3A%3A&q=geocaching
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King Boreas
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Dec 2002

Posts: 2440

PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With google, contact isn't necessary. Two things I noticed:

On the forum was a copy of an e-mail mentioning an Indiana approver,

and, depending on size of park, by acreage, a maximum of 25 caches per park.
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5693

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm starting to do some of the heavy reading now. As a service to others, as well as an easy way to take notes, I'm posting what I consider the highlights of the links here. These are just what I consider the highlights, and I may copy the information down wrong, so if you're serious then follow the urls.

King Boreas wrote:
http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/publications/InfoBulletin46_Geocaching.pdf


Must apply and be approved before caches are placed (and provide coordinates AFTER the cache is placed).

No more than 2 caches per person for all of the DNR land

Max of 25 caches per park or 1 per 200 acres, whichever is less. If the park is less than 200 acres then it gets zero caches.

Multis appear to be limited to 5 steps (if I interpret it correctly).

Must monitor the cache monthly and inspect the cache every 6 months. This sounds to me like they require you to keep up to date on the logs monthly and physically inspect the cache every 6 months.

License for the cache expires after one year. The regulations don't state that you can't reapply after one year, but the permit specifies that you need to move it after one year and reapply.

Can't be placed in "inappropriate areas":
INDNR wrote:
Examples of inappropriate areas include cliffs, bluffs, trees, lakes, streams, and roads.


They can ask for photos of the cache and the site where the cache is placed.
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5693

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 8:38 pm    Post subject: Other state's caching policies Reply with quote

Oklahoma

It doesn't get any simpler than Oklahoma I think. No digging, clearly label all containers.

Iowa

This policy is a draft (dated July 2003). I'll quote what I thought were some interesting points:

Quote:
It is Jerry Keys’ observation that most geocachers are families (kids like treasure hunts) or young people (age 20 to 30, both male & female) who are technology oriented. These types of users appear to pose little threat in terms of potential for vandalism or other destructive acts. Geocaching is relatively new to Iowa. Right now, the numbers are limited but it is not known how much this sport will grow. As such it is difficult to predict future impacts. The impacts we did observe at McFarland Park were almost non-existent. We saw very little trampled vegetation from people who strayed off of designated trails, and its impact was certainly no worse than the impact that deer have on trails that are found on state lands.


Quote:
A policy should be developed that will notify DNR managers of the location of any geocaches to be placed on state lands. Either a permit or notification system should be developed to allow DNR managers to approve geocache locations. The Department should limit the number of geocaches placed on any one area so maximum use is achieved of the permitted geocaches, establish a timeframe for removal of the geocache, and establish guidelines for geocache content and marking of the geocache container. DNR reserves the right to remove geocaches at any time.


Quote:
When approving any locations for placement of geocaches, area managers need to consider the expected route that geocachers will follow from obvious starting points to get to the cache. The natural path of travel will be a direct route when using GPS equipment and routes that lead geocachers thru sensitive areas or that will promote trail shortcuts are to be avoided.


Quote:
The committee does not feel that a user fee is appropriate for this activity because impacts to natural resources and staff time are anticipated to be minimal. The number of permits issued is not expected to exceed 100 in any one year. At $5.00 per permit, revenue received probably does not cover administrative costs of collecting and accounting for these permits.


Permits expire March 31. This is interesting from other policies as it is a set date, not 1 year from the date of placement.

Approving or disapproving permits is up to the DNR manager. I would assume that this is the park manager but I'm not sure.

Illinois

Must be clear, see through material, no larger than 4"x8"x12".

Geocache must be checked at least every 30 days. Proof of check will be by e-mail, letter, or personal communication by the Geocache owner with the Site Superintendent.

North Dakota

Must get permit from local park staff.

Multis limited to 3 steps, count as one cache.

Caches found without a permit will be pulled, held for 30 days while park staff tries to contact owner, then considered abandoned.

Each owner gets a max of 2 permits per park at a time.

1 cache max in parks less than 500 acres, 2 max is parks greater than 500 acres.

2 year permits.

Container must be clearly labeled.

Policy encourages park managers to open a gc.com account and put the caches on their watchlists.

Monitor logs monthly.

Park manager may ask for photos.

Missouri

This policy also covers Letterboxing.

Multis limited to 5, count as one cache.

Caches found without a permit will be pulled, held for 30 days while park staff tries to contact owner, then considered abandoned.

Each owner gets a max of 2 permits per park at a time.

1 cache per 200 acres.

1 year permits.

Container must be clearly labeled.

This policy is VERY similar to the North Dakota policy. My guess is that one state copied the other.

Nebraska

Permits good to the end of the calendar year, at which point you need to reapply. (First time I've seen a state that allows you to have a cache in one place for a possible unlimited period of time).

Cache must not be placed in a location that would lead to spur trails.

Caches found without a permit will be pulled, held for 30 days while park staff tries to contact owner, then considered abandoned.

Parks may inspect caches at any time.

No apparent limits to the number of caches.

First time I've seen this in my reading (which is surprising - I figured I would have seen it more often):

Quote:
If geocaching activities as a whole are found to have a negative impact on park resources or if safety becomes an issue in geocache searches, the Park Superintendent may ban geocaching from certain areas or from the entire park.


New York

2 year permits.

1/4 mile cache seperation.

Each stage of a multi counts as a cache.

5 caches per person per park

20' limit from trail

Cache must have supplied label placed on it.

---------------------------

Nothing found for SD, ID, MT

These (all of the above) are policies that I searched for. I picked the states surrounding Minnesota plus a few more. I included each state that I read about - if I found a policy for the state, it's included here. I didn't find any states with a blanket policy against caching (which I thought was odd - are we the only ones?)

A couple of interesting points from reading -

Nobody imposes fees. The only ones that even talked about it was Iowa and they determined it wasn't worth the money that they were going to collect.

Any park official can pull a cache at any time from almost every state.

I believe all of the permit approvals are left up to the local park officials. I did see one form (Indiana?) that had a line for 'justification of denial', but I suppose one could use just about anything there if you wanted.

All in all, very positive reading.
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ice tres
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Aug 2005

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think getting a proposed policy is great, and won't be too hard given all the examples cited. But I think we have to realize this is a political issue and if DNR is not moving on allowing traditional caches, then some of us--a group of 6-10 perhaps--should meet with a state senator or rep who is active in DNR matters to get their support. This is how it's done, in my experience. Once we get a policy to promote, we should begin lobbying. DNR, as is true of any such entity, has no incentive to liberalize their policies unless prodded. Sure, it won't hurt to try to find sympathy within DNR, but I wouldn't expect it to be so easy as convincing an administrator. We are a constituancy, with numbers and money and votes and until we act like that, we probably won't get anywhere.

I would volunteer with lobbying once a policy is agreed upon.

Ice Tres
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