Forum: Questions And Answers About Geocaching
Topic: Caching and the NPS.
started by: Quinn
Posted by Quinn on Mar. 15 2002,2:36 pmI have been keeping an eye on the National Parks news and information servcie which is linked in our links section of this site. If you read some of the oldr postings from the park rangers you will see that in many locations they have been removing caches as well as forbidding future placements of.
For those of you that have caches on these lands or maybe planning on placing one in the near future, you might want to look into the NPS link and read up on all the happenings. Also it would not be a bad idea to contact these people before you do place one. I have found that they monitor the Geocaching sites to keep tabs on if and where a cache is placed, they then go out and scoop them up.
The last report mentioned that a cache/ caches were buried on the land, this was not correct, it was simply placed above ground and well hidden.
I would like to see the NPS open these lands up (at least areas) where cachers can place them with no worry of having them end up missing, but I am not sure this will happen anytime soon.
The parks were meant for the people in my opinion, and seeing Rock climbers, hikers and others enjoying these lands I can't see any reason why geocachers can't have a place in there as well.
A closely watched cache should not harm the lands, and if wear is starting to show a simple e-mail or posting from other cachers or the NPS would allow the cache owner the chance to relocate the cache to another area.
My oldest cache placed (though not on national land) has had tons of visits, yet in no way shows wear to the location it is placed. I will admit however that I have one or two that have seen a minor path wearing in the area heading to them, but the placement of these caches are in such an area that this wear will not have an impact on the land or vegetation.
Posted by dgridley on Mar. 15 2002,4:22 pmPersonally I don't think they're so much worried about impact on the environment as just plain liability issues. In most places you need a permit before you're allowed to scale a cliff or mountain, they should try that with caches.
Posted by PC Medic on Mar. 15 2002,5:46 pmThe concern is actually the result of some "possibly" irresponsible geocachers who allegedly "buried" some Geocaches within a Washington state national Park.
The March 11, 2002 National Parks Service Morning Report includes this entry.
"02-056 - Lake Roosevelt NRA (WA) - Geocaching Incident
Rangers recently conducted an investigation into geocaching in the park.
Geocaching is a sport in which individuals or organizations cache materials
at particular locations, then provide the GPS coordinates via the Internet
so that other people can attempt to find them. Some times caching entails
digging, which presents obvious problems in national parks. On February
27th, Patrick Hall asked permission to bury a geocache within the park's
historic Fort Spokane Unit. During the conversation, Hall made several
statements which revealed that he'd previously been investigated by the US
Fish and Wildlife Service for this same activity, and that other geocaches
might already be buried within the park. Ranger Jaime Green investigated
and found that two caches had already been buried near Fort Spokane by a
geocache player known as "Fuzzybear." Additional investigation uncovered a
connection between "Fuzzybear" and Hall. Hall was interviewed and admitted
placing both caches. Parks concerned about this activity within their
boundaries may go to < http://www.geocaching.com > and search for caches
located in their areas. [Chris Rugel, DR, Fort Spokane District, LARO, 3/8]"
Now, this is either as I said, some irresponsible cachers, or some rangers who assumed that hiding, meant burying. IF they truly bury their caches then shame on them! This is not acceptable behavior. However, if the latter is the case then it is sad that they (the rangers) would ban all for the foolishness of a few. I mean they do not ban all park visitors because a one camps in a restricted area do they?.
In either case I think it is becoming more and more critical that geacachers, start taking an active role in convincing their local rangers that this is far from the norm and actually discouraged by the masses.
Posted by Jumpmaster on Mar. 15 2002,11:25 pm[quote][/quote]
What I was going to try is placing a multi-leg (I don't know -- 7 to 15 legs...somewhere in there) cache there in a National Park and have the little ranger guys out looking for the cache to steal...err...I mean, "remove"...should keep them busy for a few hours...days...(weeks? They don't exactly hire rocket scientists to be park rangers. Also, the legs would be substantially far enough apart such as it would have them running around from one end of the park to the other. I'd probably do this in a park that has few rangers on duty at one time to try and force as much of the hunting on one ranger as I could. Heck, I'd probably use numbers/text on existing trail markers as clues and then they REALLY wouldn't have anything to "remove" -- not even microcaches with coordinates in them...)
That's not the best part...the final leg (the "cache proper") would be a virtual cache with nothing to "remove".
(In other words, I completely agree with you. I can stick pins, pitons, nuts, etc. in cliff faces but can't place a cache. That is idiotic.)
Posted by Moun10Bike on Mar. 16 2002,1:15 pm
I have talked to someone who visited those caches (actually, just one of them, since there was a problem with the coordinates on one of them) and they were not buried. I have visited several of Fuzzybear's other caches and those were not buried, either; in fact, they were well placed and hidden from view.
I wrote to the manager of the ranger who wrote up that report (the only person in the district for whom I could find an email address) and asked that they correct the report. So far I have not received a reply.
By the way, the area in question was not a National Park, but a National Recreation Area (Roosevelt Lake NRA). It's still managed by the NPS, but has different goals (e.g. it encourages recreation on the land, including motorized uses). I wish the NPS would adjust their rules toward geocaching based on the type of land it is, rather than issuing a blanket prohibition.
Posted by Gimpy on Mar. 16 2002,1:32 pmHey, Moun10bike,welcome.
Posted by Moun10Bike on Mar. 16 2002,2:29 pm
Hi, Gimpy, thanks!
I've been been a member for a while, I just don't post much!
Posted by PC Medic on Mar. 16 2002,2:41 pm
While it doesn't help our position with the NPS much, I personally am glad to hear these caches were not actually buried as reported.
Maybe if we could get others who have visited the caches to also report to the rangers manager that this rangers assumptions were incorrect. Would need to be sure it was done in a professional non aggressive tone. Would be nice to get a little more cooperation, Especially in this type of park where the use is less restricted
Posted by mikechim on Mar. 16 2002,5:29 pm
I couldn't agree more, I've been out there to the Roosevelt Lake NRA and I can't imagine why they wouldn't let geocaching there. I mean NPS are one thing but if you can hunt, fish, and tear up the trails on 4 wheelers (maybe even do some foresting) I can't imagine how you aren't allowed to place a geocache. There's no way that a cache has a bigger impact on the environment then 4-wheelers and motocross bikes. Hopefully we can get them to see the error of their ways, but since they didn't respond to you I find it kind of unlikely.
Posted by Moun10Bike on Mar. 16 2002,7:06 pm
Unfortunately, only one person (wizonkiz) visited those caches before they were removed (geocaching simply hasn't quite taken off fully in the Spokane area). I sent him a copy of the letter I wrote before sending it off and he gave it the thumbs up, but he hasn't written one of his own. I'll see him over the Easter weekend and see if he would be willing to write one as well.
Posted by Moun10Bike on Mar. 16 2002,7:09 pm
I'm hoping that we will see a response in an upcoming NPS Morning Report (although a simple aknowlegement of receipt of my letter would have been nice, too).
Posted by Quinn on Mar. 16 2002,8:28 pmI agree...at least let us know that you are aware of us and are taking things into consideration.