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Mn State Park Geocaching History Challenge
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lizs
Geocacher


Joined: 23 Jun 2004

Posts: 63

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loved Kilen Woods. (well other than the fact we came from the east and took the road that supposedly goes to the park from the eastern side of Jackson. ahem, near as we could tell - after the fact and after going quite a few miles out of the way in the dark - that part of the park doesn't connect by road with the main part)

Anyhoo... loved the mixture of prairie, woods and stream in a smaller park. The bathrooms and showers are the cleanest I've seen in ANY campground, period. The lack of area lights meant unbelievably dark skies and bright stars. This was the first park of our state parks challenge.

The people fighting were not that far away from our campsite. We rolled in around 10 p.m. on Friday night of Labor Day weekend. I was pretty tired, so I can't tell you if they fought all the time up until 3 a.m. or if that's when it totally escalated. But I woke up and my friend said, "That has been going on." I had looked at the park website when trying to make a reservation to camp there (too late, but luckily the park wasn't full)... and knew it was managed by Lake Shetek. So I said, call the cops. I thought of the gorgeous sky, the nice location... and wanted those people shut up ASAP; to stop ruining the experience. It didn't take long for the deputy to arrive.

I presume because it was Labor Day weekend - or because they'd heard about the cop call - a Shetek ranger stopped by early Saturday morning, very apologetic about the mess. I think he was hearing it from lots of campers. We said, we made the call to the cops. He was going to be nice and give us a discount on camping, but we'd already paid. He said it was definitely the right thing to do, calling 911, since Jackson was a whole lot closer than Shetek.

And then, heard from the offending campers later, "Good, now it's daylight, we can f'in yell." I wanted to scrawl some flipping words on their camper when they were away. White trash....

But, it was a small irritant during a great caching weekend!
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NeoAddict
Geocacher


Joined: 29 Feb 2008

Posts: 189

PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would have just gone over there and let the air out of their tires.

People like that should be banned from the State Park system for life.
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tesser
Geocacher


Joined: 24 May 2006

Posts: 159

PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm only talking about posting typical hours for the regional parks. I tried calling Upper Sioux and got an aswering machine. Left a message. I did not get a call back that day. I called the main office in St. Paul who said the staff should be there, perhaps out and about, until 4:30. I arrived at the park office before 4:30 to find it closed. They did post a note with a cellphone number. I called that and left a message. Two hours later I got a call back.

The worker who called back was fabulous and we worked things out, however, it was distressing to plan things that day considering it was a regional park. I expect staff to be rare at the smaller parks, but not a regional.
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lizs
Geocacher


Joined: 23 Jun 2004

Posts: 63

PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I work off and on with the state park manager in my area, both talking with him for stories (for a number of years) and also on the placement of the geocache. From that I know that in the off-season, staff is cut way back. Those who are there have a lot to do. (and, fyi, this is a larger park that manages another smaller park - staff do have to do chores there, too)

If a person wants to make a connection for the parks challenge, call them and set it up. It's your responsibility to make it work out for you. They may have 200 different things they are doing in a day and they don't know you're coming. If they have a clue a cacher is coming - through a phone call - they'll happily set up a time. I saw either today or yesterday that a ranger at the final state cache at Mille Lacs Kathio suggested in a post on its thread to do this very thing: call.

If you call and set something up, then you can perhaps blame the park for not having a ranger there. But only then.... Let me ask this; would you just show up at the dentist's office and expect them to see you out of the blue? Show the park ranger the same respect.

OK, off the soapbox now. Cache on... and score those finals. I know I'll be checking in at Upper Sioux Agency before what I hope will be a trip out there for the southern final over Thanksgiving...
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IBcrashen
Geocacher


Joined: 17 Dec 2002

Posts: 246

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven`t seen it mention, but could have missed it, but some state parks are having special deer hunts. list of parks and dates
Just a heads up ( again, maybe) if you have plans to visit them. Some are still open and some are closed to the public during the special hunt.
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5694

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone heard the "official" scoop on the Garden Island cache? I've heard that it's going to be pulled back to Zippel Bay before the ice, and I've heard that it will remain on the island..
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EskoClimber
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 24 May 2005

Posts: 813

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will contact the DNR and see if I can get some information about Garden Island.
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DLGPS
Geocacher


Joined: 10 Apr 2007

Posts: 28

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pear Head wrote:
Has anyone heard the "official" scoop on the Garden Island cache? I've heard that it's going to be pulled back to Zippel Bay before the ice, and I've heard that it will remain on the island..


Just our two cents...if and when the weather/ice conditions make it necessary to pull this cache we don't think it should be available at Zipple Bay State Park. Being able to complete the 72 Park Final or even the NW Regional Final without actually setting foot on the island (or spending the time and money to get there) cheapens the experience for all of us who did make the effort to travel to the island.
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5694

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DLGPS wrote:
Pear Head wrote:
Has anyone heard the "official" scoop on the Garden Island cache? I've heard that it's going to be pulled back to Zippel Bay before the ice, and I've heard that it will remain on the island..


Just our two cents...if and when the weather/ice conditions make it necessary to pull this cache we don't think it should be available at Zipple Bay State Park. Being able to complete the 72 Park Final or even the NW Regional Final without actually setting foot on the island (or spending the time and money to get there) cheapens the experience for all of us who did make the effort to travel to the island.


My two cents.. First off, my intention is to travel to the island after the ice is thick enough on the lake to ride on. That's probably after December 31, although since I'm not working on the challenge it doesn't really matter to me anyway.

Second, the visit to Garden Island isn't required for the Passport Club. IMHO, the DNR had no business making the Garden Island cache a requirement of the History Challenge to begin with due to it's accessibility. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to spend the money and huge time investment required to get to the island.

While I understand that it does cheapen the experience for those that did make the trip (and I agree with you), I think in hindsight it was a mistake for the cache to be there (as a requirement to the program) to begin with.
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Jonas
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 30 Nov 2005

Posts: 672

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think these are just unconfirmed rumors at this point. Unless someone can show me information from DNR saying otherwise, my assumption is that the cache will remain at Garden Island where it is at up until December 31st.

-Jonas
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Jonas
Past MnGCA Board


Joined: 30 Nov 2005

Posts: 672

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pear Head wrote:
IMHO, the DNR had no business making the Garden Island cache a requirement of the History Challenge to begin with due to it's accessibility.


For my money, the fact that you need to visit 72 parks, including Garden Island, in less than 9 months makes this challenge even more attractive. What can I say, I am a sucker for challenges better so when they are actually challenging.

-Jonas
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Pear Head
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 04 Apr 2004

Posts: 5694

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jonas wrote:
Pear Head wrote:
IMHO, the DNR had no business making the Garden Island cache a requirement of the History Challenge to begin with due to it's accessibility.


For my money, the fact that you need to visit 72 parks, including Garden Island, in less than 9 months makes this challenge even more attractive. What can I say, I am a sucker for challenges better so when they are actually challenging.

-Jonas


True. I know of one (actually I think it's two but I haven't asked) that have completed the NW region but aren't willing to drop the large amount of money to go after one sole cache.

Traveling from park to park is expensive, yes. And time consuming, yes. The Garden Island cache is many times more expensive and time consuming. It would be different if you could canoe to the cache that's not the case here.

My two cents anyway. I know there are viewpoints other than mine regarding it, and probably a majority differ from my viewpoint. Smile
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bflentje
Geocacher


Joined: 29 May 2006

Posts: 4039

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DLGPS wrote:
Pear Head wrote:
Has anyone heard the "official" scoop on the Garden Island cache? I've heard that it's going to be pulled back to Zippel Bay before the ice, and I've heard that it will remain on the island..


Just our two cents...if and when the weather/ice conditions make it necessary to pull this cache we don't think it should be available at Zipple Bay State Park. Being able to complete the 72 Park Final or even the NW Regional Final without actually setting foot on the island (or spending the time and money to get there) cheapens the experience for all of us who did make the effort to travel to the island.


While trying to be somewhat sympathetic to others that have not completed the challenge, I share your opinion. I try to never have an elitist attitude but there's something about being in that small caching group that completed the challenge that makes me feel good.

On the other hand, there's talk that the program will be extended into next year. I don't know what that means. But if the challenge itself, along with coins and cards, is extended, then the experience will be cheapened anyways.
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northtrekker
Geocacher


Joined: 23 Jul 2004

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At one of the parks I was recently at, I asked about the Garden Island cache and if it would be moved elsewhere due to Winter setting in. I was told "well if that happened, it wouldn't be a Garden Island cache now, would it?" I did make it to the island early on (with a very reasonable rate too) and was asking because I know someone who wants to make the Island run next month. That was the response I got. On another note, because I missed a couple months of caching, I was interested in the possibility of the challenge continuing longer than the 12/31/08 deadline. The answer I got was "not likely it will continue." I can live with that because to me, the challenge was about visiting all the parks and visiting them in the allotted time given. I just wish I had a few weeks off work now because this is prime geocaching season. Laughing One thing I heard that was positive is that the DNR is planning to continue supporting geocaching in the parks..... perhaps new challenges, etc.

Fun fun.

~nt
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minnesotabrad
Past MnGCA President


Joined: 03 Mar 2007

Posts: 1267

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reason the challenge may not continue is the sponsorship of Best Buy runs out at the end of the year. They may continue without it, we will just have to wait and see. From what I have heard many do snowmobile on the lake during winter months and people could make it to the cache. From the park employees I have talked to, they all say it has been a very positive thng for the parks. I know I spent my fair share of money atthe parks compleating the challenge.
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