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Potential DNR Objections and Possible MnGCA Responses
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ice tres
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Aug 2005

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 12:26 pm    Post subject: Potential DNR Objections and Possible MnGCA Responses Reply with quote

I agree the impact on the environment of geocaches and geocache hunting on public land is an extremely important matter and that the state park policy we as a state adopt must consider and minimize environmental impacts. The environment is not our personal playground.

Personally, I don't think the Duluth Policy establishes enough safeguards but I trust the DNR will do so. (I did propose a policy with more safeguards last summer somewhere on these forums.)

However, the state and federal governments have established several levels of "wilderness-ness" for public lands and state parks are designated by law as multiple use. Some allow snowshoeing, snowmobiles, off-trail hiking, hunting, logging and many other uses that affect the environment. Wilderness areas are off-limits to most of these activities and should be off-limits to geocaching as well.
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ice tres wrote:
Personally, I don't think the Duluth Policy establishes enough safeguards but I trust the DNR will do so. (I did propose a policy with more safeguards last summer somewhere on these forums.)

The Duluth Policy was created in conjunction with Duluth themselves. They were the ones that decided what types of limitations they wanted. The proposed updated to the Three Rivers policy includes limitations that they had set forth in their policy dating back to 2003 and during our meeting with them on the 10th they even talked about eliminating some more restrictions due to changes they've made in their parks since the original was drafted.

I would assume that the DNR, when the time came, would voice their concerns about various issues and those would be written into the policy. I'm not in a position to speculate as to how and what they would limit but I have a feeling that they would be specific.

The Duluth and proposed Three Rivers policies are only a guideline and base to work from. I'm not about to assume that every parks district will adopt our policy as it stands with Duluth and Three Rivers.

It is their land afterall and we are only there to help them come up with something that benefits all sides.
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Arcticabn
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 30 Nov 2003

Posts: 1846

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 1:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Banning GC - Interesting Article Reply with quote

jaywc7 wrote:
Found this from browsing the AZ Geocaching Website.

Interesting to see outsider's perspectives, who are not geocachers.

I like the idea of a standardized geocache container in protected land!

Slashdot Geocaching Article


I don't necessarilly disagree with the concept. But who would be the responsible agency to create a standardized container that all protected lands would accept? As we have already seen each state has a different approach to the concept of geocaching and they don't necessarily agree with each other. So to get the 50 states to agree would be a really major undertaking. On the other hand would GC.com make the decision for a standardized container. I think not. They don't represent all of the geocachers out there only a large majority. Additionally, there becomes the profit motive next. A standardized container would be marketed and then become a special cost.

As we have already seen, we have quite a differing opinion on what makes a good geocache container. Anyone who has cached in other states has even a wider viewpoint.

So the simple problem I see is this! Who makes the decision on what is a standardized container?
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tomslusher
Geocacher


Joined: 02 Jan 2003

Posts: 182

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 6:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Banning GC - Interesting Article Reply with quote

Arcticabn wrote:
So the simple problem I see is this! Who makes the decision on what is a standardized container?


I also agree and think this idea should be kept on the backburner to use with the DNR when they balk at geocaching discussions. it could certainly be used as a negotiating tool. Let the DNR mandate what type of container the geocaches are.

tomslusher
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can someone explain to me why there needs to be discussions w/the DNR about a "standardized container"? I assume it was discussed in the Slashdot article from 2003?

We have plenty of other things to present to the DNR as a priority (density, paperwork required, management, etc) than a standardized container. If the DNR feels that it's important and they tell us that, that's one thing, but I just don't see it needing to be discussed during negotiations.
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tomslusher
Geocacher


Joined: 02 Jan 2003

Posts: 182

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marsha and Silent Bob wrote:
Can someone explain to me why there needs to be discussions w/the DNR about a "standardized container"? I assume it was discussed in the Slashdot article from 2003?


I'm so glad our president has such a swell grasp of negotiations. Makes me feel very confident we will prevail the victor.

As I stated it is something to be saved for negotiations and when and if the DNR says "absolutely not" then MnGCA says something like "I understand how you feel but maybe if we have standardized containers those concerns of yours, such as trash in the woods, ect., would be lessened."

But then again, why listen to me as I am soon to be just a "cache games only" member (that in and of itself is funny as I have picked up and moved a total of one laker tag, and that was at least a year ago).

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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyway, ignoring the blantant and unnecessary troll, a standardized cache container will not eliminate the trash "fear" that was the prevailing issue in 2002/2003. Educational discussions and evidence of community involvement in removal/adoption of the few caches that may go unattended over the years are what will be most helpful in changing the perception that might not even be there anymore. That's what I learned in my experience during negotiations with Three Rivers (who also harbored the trash fear in 2002).

If the DNR says "no to geocaching" it's not going to be b/c they couldn't mandate a standardized cache container. If it was, the solution is obvious, but I still don't understand why it needs to be brought up during the negotiations.
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tomslusher
Geocacher


Joined: 02 Jan 2003

Posts: 182

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Marsha and Silent Bob wrote:
Anyway, ignoring the blantant and unnecessary troll, a standardized cache container will not eliminate the trash "fear" that was the prevailing issue in 2002/2003. Educational discussions and evidence of community involvement in removal/adoption of the few caches that may go unattended over the years are what will be most helpful in changing the perception that might not even be there anymore. That's what I learned in my experience during negotiations with Three Rivers (who also harbored the trash fear in 2002).

If the DNR says "no to geocaching" it's not going to be b/c they couldn't mandate a standardized cache container. If it was, the solution is obvious, but I still don't understand why it needs to be brought up during the negotiations.


You're the best. I think I may love you!!!

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ice tres
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Aug 2005

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SB, at least to me the point is that MnGCA should have a bunch of fall-back positions so you can respond to anticipated DNR objections if necessary. For example, if they say something about how the container is akin to trash/abandoned property (and there's a regulation banning abandoning property in a park), then you can say, among other things, "Well what if the container were standardized?" Or, "What if the outside of the container were clearly marked as a geocache?" Or, "What if the DNR officially owns the geocache once it's placed?" Or, "What if the regulation is changed to specifically exclude geocaches from that rule?"

You always want to be able to respond with a fall-back position if it becomes necessary so you don't get shut out. As you suggest, you wouldn't bring up these fall-back positions unless you needed to to get the negotiations on track. But it's nice to have such fall-back positions when you need them so you don't blurt out something you haven't thought about in advance.

Same thing with the obvious DNR objection re damaging the environment. You want to have a series of fall-back positions like, "What if the container was hidden within X feet of an established path?" or "What if the local park ranger designates certain areas of the park as off limits due to potential damage?" Or "What if the cache is moved every year?" Or, "What if the cache is deactivated if it is logged more than X times per week on average?" The more of these responses you have, and have considered carefully beforehand, the better off you'll be in a pinch.
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Paklid
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 09 May 2004

Posts: 656

PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I completely agree with ice tres's proposition that we anticipate potential objections, arguments, and issues and develop positions (and possibly alternatives) that address them. Proper preparation can only help our chances for success.

We'll never be able to antipate all possible permutations in hopes of developing stock replies. But, by discussing the issues - and bringing forward the likely objections, we'll have lines of thought considered that should serve us during any future meetings with the DNR.

Several potential DNR arguments come to mind:
Won't foot traffic to caches cause new trails to be formed?
Won't the act of searching for caches cause damage to the site?
Isn't it possible that someone could get hurt searching?
What if a container falls into disrepair and nobody takes care of it?
As we see it, a cache container is abandoned property...
How will the park manager/cache hider interface work?


I'd like to get more of these type arguments listed for consideration, so if any come to mind, please post.
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dmnrec
MnGCA Board


Joined: 17 Mar 2005

Posts: 544

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2005 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I don't see how having a standardized container would alleviate the abandoned property issue. From what I have seen in the forums, abandoned property seems to be the big sticking point....whether or not all the abandoned properties look similiar or different.

Just my opinion, but I would offer up the following to the DNR:
*Cache owners would have to buy an annual park permit
*Cache owners have to live within X miles to the park/area
*Cache owners have to monitor on line log entries
*Cache owners would have to personally visit the cache frequently, say once a month
Maybe some stipulations such as these would convince them that cache owners own and maintain the caches, not just abandon them once placed...
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ice tres
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Aug 2005

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2005 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another possible DNR objection:

Isn't a State Park supposed to be as natural as possible? A cache, being manmade and unnatural, therefore has no place in a state park especially off the marked trails.
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ice tres
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Aug 2005

Posts: 97

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2005 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another fall-back position re the interface between cache owner and the park staff is that the Board could approve a single MnGCA member for each state park who lives nearby and who could establish a good working relationship with the park ranger and who could step in and handle any problems with individual cache owners and their caches within the park. That way the MnDNR staff wouldn't have to spend time chasing down a cache owner who has gone missing or otherwise AWOL.
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Marsha and Silent Bob
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 6261

PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2005 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The DNR should just contact the MnGCA Board directly (through the Board's e-mail address) and if necessary the cache will be pulled by one of them or a designated delegate.

If you have an appointed person it's a lot of responsibility and they may decide to go away on vacation, find some other hobby, etc.

A single contact point makes it easier for the DNR to handle rather than having to deal w/a lengthy list of contacts.
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ice tres
Geocacher


Joined: 16 Aug 2005

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2005 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That would be fine to email the Board. The point is, we should develop as many viable options to each likely objection they have as possible beforehand.

My idea of a contact person for each park is that it would decentralize the process so that the local park ranger could contact someone (or two) locally that the ranger would come to know and trust. But again, as many viable options as possible including emailing the Board is the key to getting this done. If the DNR is more comfortable with the Board, fine. If they're more comfortable with a local contact, fine. If there's another option they may prefer, let's think of it. It's not ours to choose, to a large extent. Please don't rule out possible fall-back positions unless they are completely unviable because you don't know which option will tickle the DNR's fancy.
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