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Proposed MNDNR State Park Geocaching Policy
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ice tres
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Aug 2005

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I see it, if the regs were only meant to allow virtual caches the regs wouldn't have included those quotes you cite about traditional caches. The regs are a backhanded way of banning traditional caches by referring to them as already banned under the abandoned property reg. cited at the end of the virtual cache proposed reg. That's why I referred to the proposed reg. elsewhere as a Trojan Horse. If MnDNR wanted to phase in geocaching by starting with virtual caches and then allowing traditional caches down the line, they would not have included the statements you quote.

They don't even want to open the proposal for traditional caches in state parks up for discussion, in my opinion.
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ice tres
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Aug 2005

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The virtual cache proposed regulation, section 2.1(b) says that traditonal caches are banned, and refers to Park Rule 6100.1650.

Park Rule 6100.1650 is quoted in its entirely below. This is how we know that they are banning traditional caches on the basis of abandoned personal property. I suggest getting around this by adding a Subpart 4 to this Rule saying that approved geocaches are park property and are thus not abandoned personal property. Another approach is to say that the traditional caches are personal property but not abandoned. My own feeling (and that's all it is) is that the parks would be even less likely to allow an exception allowing any personal property in a state park.

The problem is that once the current virtual cache rules are finalized, traditional caches would be specifically in the Rules and defined as abandoned personal property. This is the big step backward. Once they are defined under 6100.1650 our cause is doomed (unless we can get them to add a new clause carving out some kind of exception for traditional caches.

I chose to make traditional caches park property to reassure the MnDNR that they would retain full control and that the caches are practically valueless and wouldn't lead to some other private person seeking a loophole in the same rule so he could leave a boat or whatever on park land. Thoughts?

=======================================
6100.1650 STORAGE AND ABANDONMENT OF PERSONAL PROPERTY.


Subpart 1. Obstruction of passage. No person shall leave
standing, whether attended or unattended, a motor vehicle,
trailer, boat, fish house, or other equipment or personal
property so as to block, obstruct, or limit the use of a road,
trail, waterway, water access, parking area, or winter sport
facility.


Subp. 2. Abandonment. No vehicle, trailer, boat, fish
house, or other equipment or personal property may be stored or
abandoned in a state park or on forest lands. In state parks,
overnight parking and storage of equipment is permitted only in
connection with the use of campsites or fish houses, except by
prior approval of the park manager. The temporary storage of
personal property by a person who remains in the immediate
vicinity is permitted. In state forest campgrounds and forest
day use areas, overnight parking is permitted in designated
parking areas.


Subp. 3. Disposal. A vehicle, trailer, boat, or other
equipment or personal property left for a period longer than 14
days, except fish houses located on the ice surface of a body of
water, shall be deemed abandoned and shall be transferred to the
custody of the commissioner of administration for disposal in
accordance with state law.
[/quote]
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ice tres wrote:
I suggest getting around this by adding a Subpart 4 to this Rule saying that approved geocaches are park property and are thus not abandoned personal property.

If the DNR was placing these caches I could see that working.

Quote:
Another approach is to say that the traditional caches are personal property but not abandoned. My own feeling (and that's all it is) is that the parks would be even less likely to allow an exception allowing any personal property in a state park.

It has been the stumbling block in the past. They have claimed that they would need to legislate around that particular line item in order to get caches approved which is why I believe that they approved virtual/earthcaching as there was no physical component.

Obviously, I haven't worked w/the DNR and I am only expressing my personal opinion based on the information I have read here, elsewhere, and e-mails sent to me that have quoted information to/from DNR officials.
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sui generis
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 17 Apr 2004

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If they pass a regulation governing and permitting physical caches in parks, basic rules of statutory construction dictate that the more specific rule governing caches would apply, and not the more general abandoned property rules. There is a presumption that laws are not contradictory, as such, if a law specifically allows something, a more general law that could arguably prohibit it will not apply.
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ice tres
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Aug 2005

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Friends,

To get around the abandoned private property rule, we could say either:

1) traditional caches are not private property (and therefore do not fall under the abandoned property rule),

2) traditional caches are not abandoned (and therefore do not fall under the abandoned property rule), or

3) traditional caches are allowed in state parks (period).

I happened to choose #1 (i.e., caches become park property). Sui thinks #3. I've read other's posts who think #2 is the way to go. I don't care--we should just choose the one that MnDNR would be most likely to endorse. Or we could suggest all three wordings and let them choose.

SB, what don't you like about the cache nominally becoming park property tended by the hider once they are approved?

In any case we still have to address their main concern (as I read it) which is that they don't want the "naturalness" of the park diminished by a traditional cache.

My suggested language would require the cache to be invisible to muggles, not mechanically attached to any park feature, not buried and moved every year to avoid beaten down paths or other inadvertant ecological damage etc. Any reactions to these suggestions? Any other ideas to reduce MnDNR fears about birdwatchers tripping over our ammo boxes every time they walk off the beaten path?

(Personally, I'd say that the "naturalness" of the park is far more diminished by snowmobiles, outboard motors, etc. even if they come and go with the owners than by a few caches that no one ever sees who's not looking for them, but whatever....)

Pear Head, have you happened to notice whether states have a similar rule regarding abandoned personal property? If so, have they seen this rule as impeding cache placement as does the MnDNR?
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ice tres
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Aug 2005

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SB, you mention emails to/from MnDNR staff. Could you make those available to us so we know more what we're arguing against?
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ice tres wrote:
SB, you mention emails to/from MnDNR staff. Could you make those available to us so we know more what we're arguing against?

Because I was not the original intended recipient of those e-mails, I cannot release them.
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ice tres
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Aug 2005

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fair enough, SB, but can you at least summarize your impressions of MnDNR thinking re geocaching? OR can you request the original recipient to release them? These should not be private if they are policy-making correspondence. How can we know we're even on the right path with strategy if there is this whole "backchannel" communication between prominent geocachers (if not board members of MnGCA) and the MnDNR we're not privy to? A summary is fine, which I'm sure wouldn't violate anyone's confidentiality.

Ice Tres


Last edited by ice tres on Sat Aug 27, 2005 9:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


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Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ice tres wrote:
Fair enough, but can you summarize your impressions of MnDNR thinking re geocaching?

My opinions are irrelevant to this discussion.
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ice tres
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Aug 2005

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course your opinions are relevant. Don't sell yourself short. You have just as much right to express your opinions here as anyone else, and given you are privy to "inside" information, perhaps helpful, your opinions are better based in fact than the rest of ours.

Ice Tres.
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ice tres wrote:
You have just as much right to express your opinions here as anyone else, and given you are privy to "inside" information, perhaps helpful, your opinions are better based in fact than the rest of ours.

You're 100% correct, and I am fully aware of my right to express my opinions but I have already stated that my opinions are irrelevant to the current discussion. My feelings about the DNR, their motives, and what *I* believe their current policy means has nothing to do with creating a *new* policy to present to the DNR on behalf of the MnGCA and its members.

It's time to move ahead with the research and development of the new policy and move back to being on topic.
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ice tres wrote:
SB, what don't you like about the cache nominally becoming park property tended by the hider once they are approved?


I don't see the parks going for this either. A cache then becomes a potential liability to them - if it's their property then they would need to police it better than they would if it were our property. Also, as a cacher, I'm not keen on placing a cache and thus giving it to the DNR.

ice tres wrote:
In any case we still have to address their main concern (as I read it) which is that they don't want the "naturalness" of the park diminished by a traditional cache.


I don't think we're going to agree on this part. I still disagree that the current policy regarding virtuals and earth caches applies to traditional caches. Thus I cannot make assumptions about their concerns regarding traditional caches.

Because I don't want to make assumptions, I feel the need to identify what could be concerns for them, and be prepared to address them as they arise.

What you say above is certainly one of them. Liability is another.

ice tres wrote:
My suggested language would require the cache to be invisible to muggles, not mechanically attached to any park feature, not buried and moved every year to avoid beaten down paths or other inadvertant ecological damage etc. Any reactions to these suggestions?


Yes. One of the positive points in the Duluth policy is that it doesn't require us to give up much as cachers. We are not required to move caches yearly for example. In some cases we will do so to avoid trails to caches (I'll be moving two of mine in the next week or two for this reason). Others can stay put for a lot longer without damage. It's up to the cacher to monitor the state of his or her caches and make adjustments as necessary. Putting a time limit on a cache may make sense for some but not for others. Why give this up?

Also, what do we do with caches that are placed by cachers that disappear from caching after they place a cache? Cacher_xyz places a cache in Split Rock Lighthouse SP and then moves to Arizona a month later. The one year rule come up. The DNR tries to contact Cacher_xyz but cannot reach them, so they must pull the cache themselves. How many times will this happen before they rethink the rules? If there is no time limit then it give us a little more leeway. Local cachers would be able to adopt and maintain the cache and the DNR wouldn't ever know that Cacher_xyz is gone.

ice tres wrote:
Any other ideas to reduce MnDNR fears about birdwatchers tripping over our ammo boxes every time they walk off the beaten path?


Label the containers appropriately. You can't always help people finding the cache (no one intends for their ammo box to be found by non-cachers). Once it's found, they need to realize what it is and that it isn't bad. Also requiring a "welcome to geocaching" sheet inside is not a bad idea - I put one in almost every one of my caches when I can.

ice tres wrote:
Pear Head, have you happened to notice whether states have a similar rule regarding abandoned personal property? If so, have they seen this rule as impeding cache placement as does the MnDNR?


I don't recall reading issues about abandoned personal property with other states.
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ice tres
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Aug 2005

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 6:02 pm    Post subject: Let's form a committee and get a policy written efficiently Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't see the parks going for this either. A cache then becomes a potential liability to them - if it's their property then they would need to police it better than they would if it were our property. Also, as a cacher, I'm not keen on placing a cache and thus giving it to the DNR


Pear Head, I don't understand why you think there is a difference in liability between a cache owned outright by the park system and one owned by the cacher but licensed and approved by the state. Except that in the latter case, the cacher would also potentially be liable.

Quote:
Yes. One of the positive points in the Duluth policy is that it doesn't require us to give up much as cachers. We are not required to move caches yearly for example. In some cases we will do so to avoid trails to caches (I'll be moving two of mine in the next week or two for this reason). Others can stay put for a lot longer without damage. It's up to the cacher to monitor the state of his or her caches and make adjustments as necessary. Putting a time limit on a cache may make sense for some but not for others. Why give this up?


Because we are trying to make traditional caching acceptable to those who do not want it in the state parks. Obviously we want as few limits as possible within reason, but that's not too likely to be acceptable to them given that they consider caches already banned as abandoned property.

Anyways. my feeling re this matter is that I'm happy to work on a parks policy but only if the MnGCA appoints a committee of a workable number of individuals (3-6) who could hash out a policy recommendation to the MnGCA board and members. Trying to do this via email is just too inefficient for me. We just keep misunderstanding each other plus it appears there is geocacher / MnDNR correspondence regarding traditional caches that we (at least I) am not privy to and so maybe y'all have a far better grasp on what MnDNR wants than what appears in their proposed regulation.

Please let me know about any committee. I am eager to serve if asked. I do think it would be cool if we could have traditional caches in state parks.

[/quote][/quote]
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The current Board is busy dealing with the current elections and the hand off of current materials to the new Board which will take office in October. Once the new Board takes place they will likely decide whether they want to persue this with the DNR and how (i.e. via committee, internally, or via other means)

As for the size of the committee, that is decided by the number of interested members and not in any other manner but we appreciate your suggestion.
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dmnrec
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry I don't know how you all do the quote thing..but I wanted to let you all know of one aspect of the Duluth policy that we intentionally did. Our department does not "approve" caches..if you read the policy the cacher notifies myself of the placement before placing it. The difference is that if we "approved a cache", and someone was injured in going to the cache, then the city potentially could be sued. By notifying us of caches, I could contact the owner re: trail closures, ecologically sensitive areas, etc.
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