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Plan To Ban Geocaching East Of Bend, Oregon in the Badlands

#1 User is offline   jeff35080 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 07:11 AM

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GPS-driven geocaching falls astray of plans for Badlands east of Bend
A ban is planned in the proposed 32,000-acre wilderness for the growing sport that involves searching for planted items
Friday, February 11, 2005
MATTHEW PREUSCH
BEND -- Robert Speik ducks under barbed wire, crosses a patch of rabbitbrush and climbs a protrusion of lava rock in the Badlands to look for a box of trinkets.


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After a mile's hike, he finds the stash underneath a boulder and surveys the contents -- dog biscuits, stickers, a toy frog, a shot glass and other items -- but the real reward is the view of the Cascade Range to the west from atop the lava.

"This is just such a magical place to come out and wander around in," he says.

But soon the 77-year-old Speik may not be able to go on his modern-day treasure hunts anymore in the Badlands. He's among a new wave of outdoors enthusiasts known as geocachers who use satellite-guided navigation and the Internet to find hidden "caches" all over the country.

This spring, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, citing potential environmental harm, plans to ban geocaching in the Badlands, a 32,000-acre proposed wilderness about 15 miles east of Bend.

The sport has become one of the fastest-growing activities on public lands, pushing managers from the bureau down to city park groundskeepers to develop rules to handle the phenomenon.

Here's how it works: Someone hides a "cache" -- usually small ammunition boxes or plastic containers -- and posts the coordinates on www.geocaching.com. People go to the Web site and search the list of caches, numbering more than 100,000 across the United States.

They find one in their area and punch the coordinates into a satellite-guided global positioning system device, or GPS unit, which directs them to the concealed cache.

Federal agencies don't have a unified policy to deal with geocaching. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, for instance, has banned it outright, but the BLM and others leave local managers to develop specific guidelines for caches on their land.

"There's a learning curve for both the land management agencies and the user groups," said Greg Currie, a recreation planner with the BLM in Prineville.

If land managers are confused, so are geocachers. The piecemeal policies are a frequent topic of rumor, discussion and frustration in chat rooms on the Web site.

"I understand that on an intellectual level, it's better management of the public spaces if we get permission for each placement," one geocacher wrote on the site. "On the other hand, that formal step sucks a lot of the fun, semi-subversive nature out of the activity."

Existing bans

In Oregon, geocaching is banned in federal wilderness areas, national wildlife refuges and the state's only national park, Crater Lake.

A few years ago, caches placed along the rim above Crater Lake caused some people to trample on sensitive off-trail vegetation, said Peter Reinhardt, the park's acting chief ranger.

"It caused some problems for us because it concentrates the use," he said, and "we manage (the park) to protect those natural resources."

In the Badlands, the BLM has concluded that geocachers traversing the shrub steppe landscape or scrambling over rocks pose a threat to the delicate ecosystem.

Though the BLM will allow geocaching on most of its other lands in Central Oregon, it wants to keep the sport out of the Badlands, where about 15 caches are hidden in gnarled junipers or out-of-the-way lava fissures.

Five years ago, geocaching was an obscure technophile pastime. Today, more than 140,000 caches are planted in 200 countries. About 1,200 of those are within 100 miles of Bend.

Some land managers consider geocaching little more than organized littering. In 2003, the Fish and Wildlife Service warned geocachers in a letter to the Web site that "federal officers have begun prosecuting individuals involved in geocaching on national wildlife refuges which results in a permanent federal criminal record following conviction in a federal court."

Monitoring the Web site

Marvin Lang, a recreational forester with the U.S. Forest Service in Bend, said his agency monitors the Web site to see if any illegal caches have been hidden in his district. His rangers have removed several caches from the Three Sisters Wilderness. "It's certainly a growing concern," he said.

Other agencies are more open to geocaching, embracing it as a way to bring more visitors to their parks or forests, said Heidi Roth, spokeswoman for Groundspeak, the Web site's creator that is based in Bellevue, Wash.

In Wisconsin, for instance, two members of the state geocaching group review all permits to put caches on state lands, Roth said. Cachers there and elsewhere also work with land managers to hold "cache in, trash out" trips so that geocachers can pick up trash from a site.

Still other agencies barely have heard of the sport.

"It hasn't even hit our radar," said Karen Loper, spokeswoman for the Portland Bureau of Parks & Recreation. More than 2,200 caches are hidden within 100 miles of Portland, including one that takes cache hunters on a tour of the city's fountains.

Getting permission

The bottom line, said Marcia Keener, a National Park Service program analyst in Washington, D.C., is that anyone who wants to place a cache on public lands should first ask permission from the relevant agency.

"The underlying problem is that we are not historically comfortable in dealing with anonymous people doing activities in the parks," said Keener, who works with geocachers for the park service.

"If no one consults us, that really ticks the land managers off to a certain extent," she said. "They're not particularly happy about that."

Bend's Badlands are popular with hikers, birders, equestrians and off-highway vehicle users. An ongoing debate over designating the area as wilderness has brought even more attention, and therefore more people, to the once-obscure desert area.

Supporters of the wilderness designation released a poll of Deschutes County voters Thursday that showed 69 percent favor the wilderness and 19 percent oppose it.

A mix of users

Juggling all the different Badlands users is hard enough, said Currie, the BLM recreation planner. And geocachers represent another ball to keep in the air.

"Over the next 10 to 15 years, we're going to have high levels of use of all kinds in the Badlands," he said. "And the concern was the high number of geocache sites in the Badlands, because it's so close to Bend, would basically encourage off-trail use."

Central Oregon geocachers contend the BLM is overestimating the potential for damage. They estimate that people visit each cache in the Badlands about twice a month, far too little use to cause damage.

In a protest letter mailed to the BLM last week, Speik said the agency failed to take that into consideration in its Badlands management plan.

On Speik's recent geocaching foray, he and his companions were careful to try to leave no trace, but off-trail footprints from them and previous cache hunters were clearly visible leading to the box hidden in the lava rock.

Geocachers appreciate the natural world, Speik said, and he noted that whoever placed this cache wanted people to see the view and appreciate the land they passed through.

"He brought us to this viewpoint," he said. "The purpose of this cache is this place."

Matthew Preusch: 541-382-2006; preusch@bendbroadband.com



Bummer :D


(edit: to correct location)

This post has been edited by Jeremy: 14 February 2005 - 09:58 AM


#2 User is offline   Eric K 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 07:55 AM

Sometimes I think these park departments forget that they don't own the land and they act like they don't want people visiting their parks.

I do understand their concern when it comes to sensitive areas that can be damaged.

Instead of banning geocaching they could just do like some of the other parks that require permits.

I think that banning geocaching will eventually end up like when the country tried prohibition.

Eventually the hundreds of thousands of geocachers will visit the parks that allow us, and spend our money in those communities.

I wonder if it is time to consider some national organization instead of just the regional ones.

While I don't want to get into politics could you imagine the political clout that the geocaching community could carry?

This post has been edited by Eric K: 11 February 2005 - 07:57 AM


#3 User is offline   mtn-man 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 08:05 AM

Kind of odd that they went back 2.5 years to find the quote that they quoted anonymously in the article.

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php...=0&#entry555231

#4 User is offline   briansnat 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 08:10 AM

Quote

"The underlying problem is that we are not historically comfortable in dealing with anonymous people doing activities in the parks," said Keener, who works with geocachers for the park service.


The problem is with land managers with this patronizing attitude. If someone isn't breaking the law they should be allow to do whatever the flock they want in a park.

#5 User is offline   Ferreter5 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 08:15 AM

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Bend's Badlands are popular with hikers, birders, equestrians and off-highway vehicle users.

Wow, and a few geocachers are going to destroy the area? *boggle*

#6 User is offline   Honest John & Suzies Jule 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 08:20 AM

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I wonder if it is time to consider some national organization instead of just the regional ones.

While I don't want to get into politics could you imagine the political clout that the geocaching community could carry?


At least the article went at it from both views.

It might be time to pull together, for a hired Lobbyist to work in the government, or appropriate office for us?

We (FALI) had to do this to protect our rights for Private Investigators.
We have a hired Lobbyist that does not let the new laws slip past the State House, without the proper representing, from our group.

New laws are made every day, (Local, State, and Federal) and without us knowing!
If your not there, the hammer slams!

Posted Image

#7 User is offline   Eric K 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 08:21 AM

In order not to take this subject off topic I started a new thread in regards to a National Organization here. Does Geocaching need a National Organization.

Sorry if I took this thread off topic.

#8 User is offline   IVxIV 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 08:44 AM

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Some land managers consider geocaching little more than organized littering


ROFL!! :D

#9 User is offline   bigredmed 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:05 AM

briansnat, on Feb 11 2005, 08:10 AM, said:

Quote

"The underlying problem is that we are not historically comfortable in dealing with anonymous people doing activities in the parks," said Keener, who works with geocachers for the park service.


The problem is with land managers with this patronizing attitude. If someone isn't breaking the law they should be allow to do whatever the flock they want in a park.

Another problem is that the land managers have no effective check and balance system that they have to live under.

They decide that they don't like you, and you are out. They decide that they like someone else, and they want something, then everyone else gets leftovers, and there is not much we can do about it.

Lobbying congress gets nowhere, I have emailed the Secretary of the Interior asking for some assistant to converse with geocachers on this forum, and got squat. I have sent emails and letters to our state game and parks group and got nothing in the way of a response to several problems that we have locally.

These people are the mandarins of our public land. We need them, but we need them to remember that its land that doesn't belong to them, that being a petty tyrant is not OK, and being able to defend your decision is part of any form of management.

As for lobbying, we need to get a sense of where we fit in the pecking order at Garmin, Magellan, REI, and Cabelas. If we are a large fraction of Garmin's market, you would think that laws banning us from large areas of the country would be a threat to their business and that they may be willing to atleast help us talk to the right people.

This post has been edited by bigredmed: 11 February 2005 - 09:16 AM


#10 User is offline   TresOkies 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:07 AM

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Bend's Badlands are popular with hikers, birders, equestrians and off-highway vehicle users.


I'm stunned that any area that hosts horses and ATVs would complain about geocaches. One ATV user in one day will do more damage to an area than 50 geocachers in a year.

The issue, despite what they say, is not about damage. It's about control. They want you, the taxpayer, to ask permission to use your land. They've mistaken the title "land manager" for "land owner".

Edit: before this gets into an ATV or horse debate--my wife and I have had horses in the past and an ATV sits in my garage. I'm not anti-ATV or anti-horse, I'm just pointing out the obvious.

This post has been edited by TresOkies++: 11 February 2005 - 09:10 AM


#11 User is offline   AuntieWeasel 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:12 AM

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"He brought us to this viewpoint," he said. "The purpose of this cache is this place."


The longer I cache, the more interested I am in long hikes, unusual parks, learning a bit of history or geology, seeing wildlife, learning new skills. I had a long hike in a Audubon preserve recently that had mysterious stone cairns, remains of an old negro sawmill (hey, that's what the topo map called it!), old stone quarries, the foundations of an 18th Century farm...and, of course (being an Audubon preserve) tons of deer and birds. When I got to the cache site, it was a big heap of stones chest-deep in snow, and I turned around and walked back to the car without more than a cursory search for the cache. I was perfectly happy. I'll go back and get my smiley in the Spring.

I love caching, including the box of junk and the log book, but if somebody invented a game that led you all over a great park like that, with coords for the coolest bits, and no cache at the end...I think I'd play. You could call it...Go Look At This Really Cool Thing.

I guess what I'm saying is, the genie's out of the bottle on that one. They can forbid the ammo box or make stricter rules about going off-trail, but they can't stop people using the language of GPS to send each other on neat adventures.

#12 User is offline   Renegade Knight 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:14 AM

Public agencies listen to two things.
The political winds,. and money. Politics pay's attentions to voters and money.

Bend is a resort destination for it's caches among other things. More than a few peple from Idaho have done Bend Cache Machines.

If they ban caches, consider banning them. I have no problem dispanding public lands that I as a member of the public am not allowed to use. If I can't use it, might as well sell it off bit and parcel and have the new owner pay tax on it.

#13 User is offline   Dino Hunters 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:23 AM

What AuntiWeasel said...

So what if there is no ammo can at the end.
I'd be happy with nothing but a big list of nice virtuals.

Hikers are already sharing GPS routes for hiking trails and locations.

There is NOTHING different between cachers and hikers IMHO. It is very hard for me to believe that the ammo cans are destroying anything temselves.

Hikers are out there sharing coords to interesting viewpoints, and features which will continue with or without caches.

...Dino Hunters...

#14 User is offline   bigredmed 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:26 AM

Renegade Knight, on Feb 11 2005, 09:14 AM, said:

Public agencies listen to two things.
The political winds,. and money. Politics pay's attentions to voters and money.

Bend is a resort destination for it's caches among other things. More than a few peple from Idaho have done Bend Cache Machines.

If they ban caches, consider banning them. I have no problem dispanding public lands that I as a member of the public am not allowed to use. If I can't use it, might as well sell it off bit and parcel and have the new owner pay tax on it.

Good point.

Another approach would be for geocachers to stop caching in Oregon. Locals would still be there, but if the folks from Cali, Wash, and Idaho skip on by, the gas, food, and lodging loss will sting a little.

So we strike against Oregon, no cache trips, no purchases of Nike or Columbia sportswear, no nothing.

Basically, look at the point of origin or the company HQ. If its in Oregon, we just buy something else.

That will hurt more than just a cache boycott.

I wonder if its time though to finally say the L word and go after a class action lawsuit against the state of Oregon and the other pinheads that ban geocaching because of its "environmental impact" yet allow people to drive ATV's all over the park, or drive steel climbing spikes into rock faces (and leave them there). Seems to me that we might make a case under the equal treatment clause. If these other sports are OK, then a little box in the woods should be fine. Perhaps its time to call forth the demon spawn?

#15 User is offline   GrizzlyJohn 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:28 AM

briansnat, on Feb 11 2005, 11:10 AM, said:

Quote

"The underlying problem is that we are not historically comfortable in dealing with anonymous people doing activities in the parks," said Keener, who works with geocachers for the park service.

"If no one consults us, that really ticks the land managers off to a certain extent," she said. "They're not particularly happy about that."


I think this is the real point of it all.

I am not even sure what is meant by that. I don't usually check in with the park ranger when I go hiking or spread out a blanket to catch some rays. Everybody there is anonymous. I park my car and obey the signs and rules as posted. Sorry if you get upset because I don't consult with you on how I plan to spend my time in a public area.

As has been stated earlier the problem lies with the control freaks running the place. They do need to be reminded that they are there to protect the land for our use. It is not their land. And if nobody gets to use and enjoy the land there really is not much of a need to protect it.

It has been said before here, geocaching is no different than hiking to some particualr spot. No different than a virtual which they have no control over. It just so happens that something is left behind. They never really talk about the cache that much just about the traffic it creates. Blah, blah, blah.

Just another example of what happens when some people are given just a little bit too much authority and have no understanding on what that means.

#16 User is offline   ironman114 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:38 AM

Quote

This spring, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, citing potential environmental harm, plans to ban geocaching in the Badlands, a 32,000-acre proposed wilderness about 15 miles east of Bend.

"And the concern was the high number of geocache sites in the Badlands, because it's so close to Bend, would basically encourage off-trail use."

It wants to keep the sport out of the Badlands, where about 15 caches are hidden in gnarled junipers or out-of-the-way lava fissures


Wow 15 caches in 32,000 acres. Thats over 2,000 acres or about 3 square miles of land per cache. I wouldn't call that high.

Why are horses allowed with steel shod feet but not man in rubber soled shoes? Who damages the land more?

How about the natural animals? I know that deer follow the same paths and the have sharp hoofs that cut the soil, thats why we can track them. If you get several hundred feet up in a helicopter you can see trails made by animals clearly.

Don't we have a right to walk this planet also?

#17 User is offline   CO Admin 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:53 AM

Don't forget that There have been many attempts to ban Geocaching is many areas of the country and Local cachers and reviewers have stepped up and worked with the Land managers and changed minds and turned things around. PA, and CO come to mind as states where it was announced and the local reviewers turned things around. One of the Keys is level headed thinking and posting. No need to give people fuel with wild and crazy accusations and posts. It hasn't happened yet. There is time for it to be worked out.

#18 User is offline   ElementaryWatson 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:04 AM

AuntieWeasel, on Feb 11 2005, 09:12 AM, said:

Quote

"He brought us to this viewpoint," he said. "The purpose of this cache is this place."


The longer I cache, the more interested I am in long hikes, unusual parks, learning a bit of history or geology, seeing wildlife, learning new skills. I had a long hike in a Audubon preserve recently that had mysterious stone cairns, remains of an old negro sawmill (hey, that's what the topo map called it!), old stone quarries, the foundations of an 18th Century farm...and, of course (being an Audubon preserve) tons of deer and birds. When I got to the cache site, it was a big heap of stones chest-deep in snow, and I turned around and walked back to the car without more than a cursory search for the cache. I was perfectly happy. I'll go back and get my smiley in the Spring.

I love caching, including the box of junk and the log book, but if somebody invented a game that led you all over a great park like that, with coords for the coolest bits, and no cache at the end...I think I'd play. You could call it...Go Look At This Really Cool Thing.

I guess what I'm saying is, the genie's out of the bottle on that one. They can forbid the ammo box or make stricter rules about going off-trail, but they can't stop people using the language of GPS to send each other on neat adventures.

Exactly - excellent words of wisdom from AW.

I'm a firm believer in the words of wisdom passed down through the ages (and no, AW, that was not a side-flame about your "crone-age"...), that can offer guidance about how to most appropriately and effectively handle every situation that arises in your path:

"Timing is Everything" and "You can catch more flies with honey" --
If GCing is getting some bad press right now, then the right response may not be to pick up a bigger stick to whack back with (i.e. verbally beating up on the Park Rangers who are largely underpaid, overworked, and underappreciated anyway -- that's an unfriendly and somewhat self-centered response; Boycotts - nah, you probably don't possess enough "market power" to make a big enough impact anyway; Lobbyists and Class Action Lawsuits - nah, that's way overkill and a misuse of your resources (and the taxpayers resources), at this point in time probably).

Probably the best, most effective strategy at this point, might be to consider creating some "positive press" about GCing -- those of you in Portland who work with Scout troops for instance (or underpriveleged inner-city youth, etc), get some press coverage about GCing as an educational tool, that teaches kids self-reliance (and survival skills), teamwork, problem-solving, etc. People LOVE that stuff! Or, focus on the value of the "virtual caches" to get people outside, visiting the sites (and just downplay the whole "cache as organized littering" spin for awhile).

There is definitely a "silver lining" to be found in this current "dark cloud" of recent bad press - you just gotta find it.....think of it as a game....like GCing....

#19 User is offline   Team Silver 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:06 AM

If it is not private land it will eventually have to be voted on to make it law not to place caches in an area. Those who care should get out there and not take this sitting down. VOTE...make stink, write a congressman/woman. Someone will listen, someone will do something if you become the squeaky wheel. I know few will do this because few have tried to use the system to get something...they are generally complaining about it.

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:07 AM

CO Admin, on Feb 11 2005, 01:53 PM, said:

Don't forget that There have been many attempts to ban Geocaching is many areas of the country and Local cachers and reviewers have stepped up and worked with the Land managers and changed minds and turned things around. PA, and CO come to mind as states where it was announced and the local reviewers turned things around. One of the Keys is level headed thinking and posting. No need to give people fuel with wild and crazy accusations and posts. It hasn't happened yet. There is time for it to be worked out.

NYAdmin has done, and continues to do, a fantastic job in Upstate New York. A small group of dedicated geocachers and approvers, working within a larger community of geocachers that is self-policing and works hard to maintain the positive image can, and hopefully will turn the tide that seems to be mounting against geocaching in some areas.

#21 User is offline   Lean Wolf 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:10 AM

There are plenty of things I like about your country, and I really want to go there one day, to enjoy your great nature and to take a few caches. A pilgrimage to GCGV0P is #1 on my wish list.

There are of course things I don't fancy that much too, and the strange attitude when it comes to land owning is one. How can a land owner prohibit someone from being in the nature? This is a thing unheard of in my country, on the contrary, we have a set of old rules saying that as long as you "do not disturb and do not destroy" you're free to go anywhere in the countryside. No landowner can keep you from walking in his forest. I believe this attitude fosters a trust in people's judgement, and I don't think anyone would dream of prohibiting caching in his land.

If you're interested, you can read here about our Right of Public Access.

#22 User is offline   Jeremy 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:18 AM

Lean Wolf, on Feb 11 2005, 10:10 AM, said:

There are of course things I don't fancy that much too, and the strange attitude when it comes to land owning is one. How can a land owner prohibit someone from being in the nature? This is a thing unheard of in my country, on the contrary, we have a set of old rules saying that as long as you "do not disturb and do not destroy" you're free to go anywhere in the countryside. No landowner can keep you from walking in his forest. I believe this attitude fosters a trust in people's judgement, and I don't think anyone would dream of prohibiting caching in his land.

I'm sure it is a cultural thing, especially when it comes to land ownership. But this particular issue relates to goverment managed lands. The US still has a lot of untouched wilderness areas and there is concern with disturbing the delicate ecosystem within them. This includes erosion, trampling endangered flora and fauna, and the encroachment of private property on public lands.

Like any organization there are folks on the far left and right, and a bunch in between. It always seems to come down to the a ) overall response from the geocaching community and b ) the opinion of the land manager. I'm sure that with some local org working with the land managers they can come up with something in the middle. Personally I am not opposed to permits as long as the costs are low and not too restrictive.

You should be asking permission anyway.

#23 User is offline   DaveA 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:34 AM

One could always just cache there anyway.

Geocaching.com won't likely list the cache, but other sites which are not publically viewable (you can't lookup where caches are without a membership such as terracaching.com) will list it.

Just cache on and don't bother fighting with govt nitwits.

If they allow off road vehicles they have no business keeping cachers out, that is just absurd and there is no value in trying to reason people whose brains obviously do not think logically.

#24 User is offline   Jeremy 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:41 AM

DaveA, on Feb 11 2005, 10:34 AM, said:

One could always just cache there anyway.

Geocaching.com won't likely list the cache, but other sites which are not publically viewable (you can't lookup where caches are without a membership such as terracaching.com) will list it.

I think, by far, this is the best example of what not to do. Let's make it more difficult for everyone else by thumbing your nose at the land manager. That'll show them. Let's destroy any hope of a decent relationship with the land managers. Well done. :laughing:

Off to puke :rolleyes:

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:55 AM

Team Silver, on Feb 11 2005, 01:06 PM, said:

If it is not private land it will eventually have to be voted on to make it law not to place caches in an area. Those who care should get out there and not take this sitting down. VOTE...make stink, write a congressman/woman. Someone will listen, someone will do something if you become the squeaky wheel. I know few will do this because few have tried to use the system to get something...they are generally complaining about it.

Wrong!

When was the vote to not allow geocaching on NPS land? There was none. These are not laws they are regulations. And a lazy and fat Congress and Supreme Court have allowed them to continue on and have the effect of law when our Constitution does not allow for that. It is possible that the decision to not allow geocaching on land owned by a particular government agency was made by one person. That is how far our form of government been allowed to stray from its original intention.

#26 User is offline   DaveA 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 11:06 AM

Jeremy, on Feb 11 2005, 12:41 PM, said:

DaveA, on Feb 11 2005, 10:34 AM, said:

One could always just cache there anyway. 

Geocaching.com won't likely list the cache, but other sites which are not publically viewable (you can't lookup where caches are without a membership such as terracaching.com) will list it.

I think, by far, this is the best example of what not to do. Let's make it more difficult for everyone else by thumbing your nose at the land manager. That'll show them. Let's destroy any hope of a decent relationship with the land managers. Well done. :laughing:

Off to puke :rolleyes:

well if cachers are already banned, what difference does it make? What are they going to do? Double ban us?

Civil disobedience often works.

Folks on ATVs are off tearing the place up, but cachers aren't welcome due to the negative environmental impact. Now I am off to puke.

#27 User is offline   Jeremy 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 11:06 AM

DaveA, on Feb 11 2005, 11:06 AM, said:

Folks on ATVs are off tearing the place up, but cachers aren't welcome due to the negative environmental impact. Now I am off to puke.

I'll join you.

#28 User is offline   sept1c_tank 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 11:12 AM

Take your local law-makers geocaching. :rolleyes: :laughing:

#29 User is offline   southdeltan 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 11:50 AM

briansnat, on Feb 11 2005, 10:10 AM, said:

Quote

"The underlying problem is that we are not historically comfortable in dealing with anonymous people doing activities in the parks," said Keener, who works with geocachers for the park service.


The problem is with land managers with this patronizing attitude. If someone isn't breaking the law they should be allow to do whatever the flock they want in a park.

I don't see how this is patronizing? If I was a landmanager, I'd like to know who is leaving stuff in the area that I manage. I don't see a problem with them knowing the identity of a cache hider.

Looking at the complete quote from this landmanager:

Quote

The bottom line, said Marcia Keener, a National Park Service program analyst in Washington, D.C., is that anyone who wants to place a cache on public lands should first ask permission from the relevant agency.

"The underlying problem is that we are not historically comfortable in dealing with anonymous people doing activities in the parks," said Keener, who works with geocachers for the park service.

"If no one consults us, that really ticks the land managers off to a certain extent," she said. "They're not particularly happy about that."


This goes back to what I said I'd do when I first came to the forums (and I was shot down... I hesitate to say flamed but I was basically made to feel like a moron for suggesting this) is to ask permission in parks even if there's no policy.

Some people say that asking will automatically get you a "no" because since there are no rules on it, and they won't want to bother with it, they'll just tell you no. In my part of the country, it's common courtesy to let people know. It may be a cultural thing (I assume it is, in some places there seems to be a high level of distrust for people who work for the government, in others a high level of respect).

In my experience, folks down here don't mind as long as you ASK or let them know what you are doing. If you don't tell them what you plan to do, and they find out later that can cause problems. Maybe it shouldn't - but it does.

I get the impression from this post that if more people would take the time to let managers know what's going on, there would be less problems. Many don't want to risk being turned down, so they don't ask. I understand that in some places people don't think they should have to let others know what they're doing, but in other places it's culturally accepted.

Quote

You should be asking permission anyway.


I think this all goes back to "adequate permission". Some people think that they don't have to bother letting anybody know about the geocache if there are no rules in place. I've heard about a "frisbee rule" - if you can play frisbee there without asking you can place a geocache without asking - or something like that.

Some people say you shouldn't ask because they might tell you no. "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission" or something like that. I personally think that many of the bans could have been avoided if a positive relationship was started from the beginning. A land manager finds geocaches on the property he's managing, he doesn't know what it is or who placed it there. Since it was hidden secretly, he might make assumptions (yea yea, I know about that, but it's the nature of some people) about geocaching.

The problem, in reality, is - what is adequate? I don't think that the lack of posted rules automatically gives you permission to do something.

southdeltan

#30 User is offline   Sparrowhawk 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 12:01 PM

Quote

"It hasn't even hit our radar," said Karen Loper, spokeswoman for the Portland Bureau of Parks & Recreation. More than 2,200 caches are hidden within 100 miles of Portland, including one that takes cache hunters on a tour of the city's fountains.


What do you mean, "geocaching banned in Portland"? This is a contradiction.

Is this one of those deals where Oregon drysiders (eastern half of Oregon is desert) call everything west of the range "Portland"?

(Later edit): For the record, Portland is in the NW corner of the state, Bend is in the center.

It's a loooooooooooooooooooong drive from Portland to Bend and the place where this whole thing is happening, so the subject header is a heck of a misnomer.

Might as well complain that Los Angeles is banning geocaches in Sacramento.

This post has been edited by Sparrowhawk: 11 February 2005 - 01:04 PM


#31 User is offline   DaveA 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 12:06 PM

I don't disagree that asking for permission is a good idea when the land manager is easily known.

However, how much 'anger' should a land manager feel upon finding a tupperware container or ammo can in the area with a note clearly explaining what it is and who to contact if there are questions?

I still say just place the cache and respect real environmental concerns, not the power tripping land manager who was so picked on as a child that he is now picking on others.

I support asking first, but if the answer is no I would place it anyway, particularly if the land manager is OK with vehicles being driven on the land.

That's just me though, I don't claim anyone else should agree, but that's my outlook on dealing with nitwits on power trips.

#32 User is offline   southdeltan 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 12:53 PM

DaveA, on Feb 11 2005, 02:06 PM, said:

However, how much 'anger' should a land manager feel upon finding a tupperware container or ammo can in the area with a note clearly explaining what it is and who to contact if there are questions?


People don't always include contact information.

I'll refrain from replying to the rest of your post. I beleive it speaks for itself. Hopefully landmanagers won't think all geocachers have similar beliefs.

southdeltan

#33 User is offline   ju66l3r 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 12:59 PM

southdeltan, on Feb 11 2005, 03:50 PM, said:

This goes back to what I said I'd do when I first came to the forums (and I was shot down... I hesitate to say flamed but I was basically made to feel like a moron for suggesting this) is to ask permission in parks even if there's no policy...

Wasn't me, SD....I was with you on the issue of permission. I just flame you since then for everything else that you say. :P :laughing: :rolleyes:

#34 User is offline   GrizzlyJohn 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 01:05 PM

southdeltan, on Feb 11 2005, 03:53 PM, said:

I'll refrain from replying to the rest of  your post.  I beleive it speaks for itself.  Hopefully landmanagers won't think all geocachers have similar beliefs.

I get where you are going with that but I think the point was valid.

If the land manager does allow vehicles but does not allow a cache to be placed in the same area, doesn't that sound like a nitwit on a power trip to you?

This post has been edited by GrizzlyJohn: 11 February 2005 - 01:06 PM


#35 User is offline   southdeltan 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 01:06 PM

ju66l3r, on Feb 11 2005, 02:59 PM, said:

southdeltan, on Feb 11 2005, 03:50 PM, said:


This goes back to what I said I'd do when I first came to the forums (and I was shot down... I hesitate to say flamed but I was basically made to feel like a moron for suggesting this) is to ask permission in parks even if there's no policy...

Wasn't me, SD....I was with you on the issue of permission. I just flame you since then for everything else that you say. :D :P :D

I honestly can't recall you flaming me.

I don't bother trying to flame you, your posts speak for themselves. :laughing: :rolleyes:

sd

#36 User is offline   southdeltan 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 01:16 PM

Sparrowhawk, on Feb 11 2005, 02:01 PM, said:

Quote

"It hasn't even hit our radar," said Karen Loper, spokeswoman for the Portland Bureau of Parks & Recreation. More than 2,200 caches are hidden within 100 miles of Portland, including one that takes cache hunters on a tour of the city's fountains.


What do you mean, "geocaching banned in Portland"? This is a contradiction.

Is this one of those deals where Oregon drysiders (eastern half of Oregon is desert) call everything west of the range "Portland"?

(Later edit): For the record, Portland is in the NW corner of the state, Bend is in the center.

It's a loooooooooooooooooooong drive from Portland to Bend and the place where this whole thing is happening, so the subject header is a heck of a misnomer.

Might as well complain that Los Angeles is banning geocaches in Sacramento.

I'm a bit confused about that too.

The places that were listed as being banned in OREGON were all by national agencies who have control over the land.

Quote

In Oregon, geocaching is banned in federal wilderness areas, national wildlife refuges and the state's only national park, Crater Lake.


Here are 2 links from the GeocachingPolicy website:

Guidelines for Central Oregon Geocaching

Portland Geocaching - Local Park Restrictions

southdeltan

#37 User is offline   Sparrowhawk 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 01:51 PM

southdeltan, on Feb 11 2005, 01:16 PM, said:

I'm a bit confused about that too.

The places that were listed as being banned in OREGON were all by national agencies who have control over the land.

No confusion... if it is one of the federal-controlled lands around here, then it's not Oregon's fault or juristiction, even though it's located here.

And definitely nothing to do with Portland.

#38 User is offline   FishPOET 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 07:04 PM

GrizzlyJohn, on Feb 11 2005, 10:55 AM, said:

When was the vote to not allow geocaching on NPS land?


The Sierra Club has been putting caches on peaks in NPs for many years.

So I guess it is just geocaching.com caches that are not allowed.

This post has been edited by FishPOET: 11 February 2005 - 07:05 PM


#39 User is offline   bigeddy 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:27 PM

Ok folks, jeff3508--who apparently lives in Alabama--screwed up posting the article without understanding the context or even the location. The main subject of the article is the Badlands Wilderness Study Area in the high desert of Central Oregon. The article's author lost focus a bit but it's still a reasonable effort to explain the situation to the general public.

The meat of the BLM's Badlands wilderness study is banning off-road vehicles. Restricting geocaching was an afterthought and something of a surprise since individual cache owners had worked with BLM staff previously about sensitive areas. A general ban was never mentioned until the BLM study was published. Geocachers in Central Oregon have responded to the BLM study with an official protest and are working with the local BLM staff to address their rather poorly articulated concerns. Resolution will take many months.

This scenario has played out in various ways across the country. Locally, we had already talked with State Parks and the Forest Service about their policies which do not require specific permission so long as we stay out of certain areas and remove caches when asked. It is unfortunate that the BLM acted they way they did but we're dealing with it. Some of the best caches in Oregon are in the Badlands so we will fight for them.

#40 User is offline   1stimestar 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 11:52 PM

So what if I rode my ATV to find the cache?

#41 User is offline   CO Admin 

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Posted 12 February 2005 - 12:31 AM

NFA, on Feb 11 2005, 11:07 AM, said:

CO Admin, on Feb 11 2005, 01:53 PM, said:

Don't forget that There have been many attempts to ban Geocaching is many areas of the country and Local cachers and reviewers have stepped up and worked with the Land managers and changed minds and turned things around. PA, and CO come to mind as states where it was announced and the local reviewers turned things around. One of the Keys is level headed thinking and posting. No need to give people fuel with wild and crazy accusations and posts. It hasn't happened yet. There is time for it to be worked out.

NYAdmin has done, and continues to do, a fantastic job in Upstate New York. A small group of dedicated geocachers and approvers, working within a larger community of geocachers that is self-policing and works hard to maintain the positive image can, and hopefully will turn the tide that seems to be mounting against geocaching in some areas.

Thank you NFA.
I'm sure I left out many other people and groups. I mentioned the first two that came to mind.

As a separate issue.
As I stated when there was a thread about the possible ban in Boulder county open space, We need to keep the posts here reasonable and not go off tilting at windmills. Land managers read the forums too. Lets show the good side of Geocaching and not say silly stuff about causing problems and harm in the lands we are trying to keep caching in.

In other words Lets be as responsible as we can and act like adults and not little kids that might lose a swing set. Be constructive and polite. It will help those working on changing things.

thank you.

#42 User is offline   adampierson 

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Posted 12 February 2005 - 01:32 AM

Interesting article. For starters if cache hiders abide by the simple rules of trying to obtaining permission to plant a cache, that should be okay.

Cache seekers/finders:

Searching for the cache as the article points out can be damaging to the surrounding environment close to the cache. Unfortunantely this happens far too often than some people want to admit.

Caches hidden in potentially environmentally sensitive areas, need to be a little more than, "Here are the coordinates, go find it!". Parking, trail head information, and perhaps a set of waypoints for which fork in the trail to take should be required. Caches should be made to be found for geocachers, but making it more difficult to find the cache in an attempt to show off how clever you are will make cachers more determined to find your cache at the expense of the environment.

As for the rest of the article, I think the move to bann caches is silly. If land managers think they can keep caching out of their area, just by monitoring cache coordinates - they obviously haven't heard of puzzle and virtual caches. The BLM had better take a hard look at what activities they do allow.

#43 User is offline   briansnat 

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Posted 12 February 2005 - 03:29 AM

Quote

It may be a cultural thing (I assume it is, in some places there seems to be a high level of distrust for people who work for the government, in others a high level of respect).


Some people just don't like the idea of groveling at the feet of their government to beg permission to do something that is legal and relatively harmless.

#44 User is offline   bigeddy 

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Posted 12 February 2005 - 08:37 AM

1stimestar, on Feb 11 2005, 11:52 PM, said:

So what if I rode my ATV to find the cache?

Around 1990 the area was generally open to off-road travel on a network of primitive double-tracks. I took my Jeep out a few times there but this was before geocaching. Since then most of the old tracks have been closed to motorized vehicles with a few exceptions. It is still possible to drive near several caches at certain times of the year if that's what you prefer. When I did the cache in the article I walked in the mile because no vehicles are allowed on that route but I saw ATV tracks--clearly not geocachers. The BLM study proposes closing even the few remaining open routes (large tracks of land nearby would still be open to off-roaders). The public generally supports the off-road closure. It is a wonderful area to hike cross-country and using the GPS is a natural.

#45 User is offline   bigeddy 

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Posted 12 February 2005 - 08:50 AM

adampierson, on Feb 12 2005, 01:32 AM, said:

Interesting article. For starters if cache hiders abide by the simple rules of trying to obtaining permission to plant a cache, that should be okay.

Cache seekers/finders:

Searching for the cache as the article points out can be damaging to the surrounding environment close to the cache. Unfortunantely this happens far too often than some people want to admit.

Again, in Central Oregon--and probably most other public lands in the west outside national parks--none of the agencies currently require permission. They are short on staff and geocaching is not perceived as a problem. In a few cases when caches were inadvertently put where they didn't belong, the cache owners quickly removed them when asked.

The Badlands area in the article (and some other, smaller BLM parcels) has typical, fragile desert soils and some sensitive areas. As you point out, cache placement needs to be aware of potential harm and finders should not resort to brute-force hunting techniques. Fortunately, the relatively few geocachers who take the trouble to do the rugged cross-country hikes here generally understand this. A couple of the caches are nearly 4 years old and there is no apparent damage. Some others that are close to trailheads are more problematic but compared to the other legal activities that go on here--hiking, hunting, horseback riding, etc.--geocaching wear-and-tear is barely noticeable.

I've certainly seen caches in other places that have caused damage, especially on the "wet" side of Oregon. As a loosely organized group, we need to be watchful and self-enforcing so that agencies never perceive there is a major problem requiring strict regulation.

#46 User is offline   Cache N 

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Posted 12 February 2005 - 09:30 AM

I've been to this area... and I wouldn't call it an especially environmentally sensitive area. We are talking small bushes and some trees... but mostly rock and hard ground.

http://www.tradition...FlatIron_sm.htm

You have to consider that these land managers are getting an earful from some other groups that feel threatened when we use our public lands. I really can't believe they would be this ignorant on their own.

I think in general most GeoCachers go out of their way to be sensitive to the environment, and Cache placements seem to be taking this into account also. I've pondered before how people hiking the very same trail as me can be so anti-GeoCaching. Is it because of the GPS receiver? Are they Technophobes? Do they have a problem with Virtual caches or is it just the metal box? Is it just fear of something they don't understand or do they just want all that beauty to themselves?

This post has been edited by Cache N: 12 February 2005 - 09:31 AM


#47 User is offline   MarcusArelius 

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Posted 12 February 2005 - 11:26 AM

ElementaryWatson, on Feb 11 2005, 10:04 AM, said:

...verbally beating up on the Park Rangers who are largely underpaid, overworked, and underappreciated anyway...

I don't want the statement above to get lost in the clutter.

Please remember that we all pay the land managers to protect OUR land. By "OUR" I mean everyone, not just geocachers. It's thier job to balance the use of the public land by different sectors of the public. Yes Jeepers have some rights to Jeep, horse riders have some right to horse around (sorry), and geocachers have some right to cache.

Quote

These people are the mandarins of our public land.  We need them, but we need them to remember that its land that doesn't belong to them, that being a petty tyrant is not OK, and being able to defend your decision is part of any form of management.


The land managers are people just like us. They can not be all lumped together in some category (e.g tyrant, ego-tistic, etc.). I belive they are as reasonable as you or I. That's not to say that some might take their underpaid job seriously enough to try to develop rules to help them accomplish thier job and irritate some segments of the public along the way.

It's OUR job to help them complete the tasks that we have assigned to them. Yes it takes a bit of effort to explain and educate. If you are not willing to do that them why should they take the time to understand yet another land management issue to consider.

That being said I certainly live in a glass house myself.

#48 User is offline   jeff35080 

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Posted 12 February 2005 - 12:47 PM

Quote

Ok folks, jeff3508--who apparently lives in Alabama--screwed up posting the article without understanding the context or even the location.


Excuse me bigeddy, I posted exactly what was written in a newspaper and published to the web. What the heck does it matter where I live? Chill out, it's not like I forged a news article :lostsignal:

#49 User is offline   Miragee 

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Posted 12 February 2005 - 01:22 PM

MarcusArelius, on Feb 12 2005, 11:26 AM, said:

. . . I belive they are as reasonable as you or I. . . .

Well . . . that is going to really depend on the area. When I lived in Southern Utah, I had problems with the BLM managers in Kane County.

And, a couple of the men who worked also there ran cattle on the public lands. They got expensive cattle guards installed that were unnecessary . . . how hard is it to open a three-strand barbwire gate two or three times a year?

And, the overgrazing in that district was absolutely criminal. :lostsignal:

#50 User is offline   bigeddy 

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Posted 12 February 2005 - 02:48 PM

jeff35080, on Feb 12 2005, 12:47 PM, said:

Quote

Ok folks, jeff3508--who apparently lives in Alabama--screwed up posting the article without understanding the context or even the location.


Excuse me bigeddy, I posted exactly what was written in a newspaper and published to the web. What the heck does it matter where I live? Chill out, it's not like I forged a news article :lostsignal:

Your mistakes were threefold. First, you chose a title, "Geocaching Banned in Portland," that was grossly inaccurate and had nothing to do with the article; what was with that? I see you have since changed the title to "Geocaching Possible Ban In Bend OR"--better, thank you, but still misleading, as we are talking about a proposed wilderness area 15 miles east of Bend, not in Bend--big difference.

Second, you posted this in the General Forum when it should have been in the Northwest Forum since it is really a local topic. Seems like the forum moderator fell asleep on this one.

Third, you've contributed nothing to the discussion so I wonder what was your purpose in posting the article? I've spent several posts trying to clear the muddy water you created. I don't go around posting articles from other regions unless I can draw some parallels and ask questions. If you have some useful insights about dealing with the BLM I'd love to hear them.

Regards from the High Desert of Central Oregon.

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