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Does Geocaching Need A National Organization?

#1 User is offline   Eric K 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 08:12 AM

After posting in this thread Geocaching banned in Portland I started to think more about what my response was.


First off, I'm not saying we should have a national organization to make policies for geocaching per se.

I'm thinking a national organization would have more clout than a local organization would.

For example. How many people attended the Geowoodstock event?

I think letters from an organization that has the ability to cover the facts for example.

1. Geocaching members last year removed "X" tons of garbage from public parks.

2. "X" number of geocachers camp every year at an estimated "X" number of events. They spend "X" amount of dollars when camping that will support your local economy.

You get my idea. I think that more of these public parks would warm up to geocaching if we had a legitimate national organization to put us in a more positive spotlight.

The national organization may be able to carry around more weight than a small regional group.

Opinions?

#2 User is offline   BlueDeuce 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 08:18 AM

I would like to see it spring from "regional' groups, like Great Plains Geocaching, getting together with each other. Not joining together, but sponsoring a National.

Local>>Regional>>National

This post has been edited by BlueDeuce: 11 February 2005 - 08:18 AM


#3 User is offline   New England n00b 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 08:18 AM

Who would enforce its rules? Groundspeak? A separate org? Would Groundspeak be bound to agree to those rules, even if they disagree? Tough questions.

A better idea might be an information clearinghouse - people submit stats and stuff such as events, tonnage, etc. and then it can be scraped by info seekers.

But then, seeing as how people cheat with find numbers, I wonder if CITO tonnage numbers would get pumped up, and so on and so on. I don't really see it being workable, unfortunately.

It isn't a bad idea, but in practice... :D

#4 User is offline   briansnat 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 08:20 AM

Until not long ago I would have said no. Now I'm not so sure. I know that diverse groups such as hikers, ATV owners, speleunkers and mountainbikers have nationwide groups that give them a voice.

This post has been edited by briansnat: 12 February 2005 - 03:39 AM


#5 User is offline   The Leprechauns 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 08:56 AM

If you agree with this concept, show your support by offering to help out in the existing independent efforts such as Geommunity or Renegade Knight's site. If there are already at least two efforts underway, I'm not sure what would be accomplished by adding a third.

#6 User is offline   Honest John & Suzies Jule 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:00 AM

I had to move my post from the Portland thread to here.

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   s4xton 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:08 AM

It's not a national problem. It's a regional or local problem. A regional or local group that wants to influcence policy there should organize and do something. A national organization won't have much influence. It's the people that use the parks and public areas that will have an influence.

Secondly, Groundspeak as a for-profit, commercial, private organization wouldn't have any clout. A non-profit organization run by and representing geocachers would have more influence. I don't see how a national organization would have much influence though, unless it was NPS that they were trying to work with. This is probably partially why earthcache.org exists. :D

-Aaron

#8 User is offline   bigredmed 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:13 AM

A national group could set rules that would be independent of GC, N or TC. This is a good thing.

Example: If Jeremy wishes to sell travel bugs, fine, but a national group could require that all travellers be trackable on all listing sites (put a link to geolutin, traveltag.com on all listing sites.)

A national group could set a standard definition of terms (a micro is blank, etc)

A national group could set standards for labeling (All caches will have a Gx logo on the outside).


A national coordinating group of regional groups could help spread cache style ideas and develop a systematic means of letting people know about successful new ideas.

A national coordinating group could use local and regional groups to enforce standards. Cache spews and other bad forms would be more easily controlled if it were not up to one approver who may have a wide region to cover.

I am in favor of this type of development.

It would require membership and would require work to coordinate all the groups.
I am president of Nebraskache and would be happy to work with anyone interested in exploring this.

#9 User is offline   Eric K 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:18 AM

bigredmed, on Feb 11 2005, 12:13 PM, said:

A national group could set rules that would be independent of GC, N or TC.  This is a good thing. 

Example:  If Jeremy wishes to sell travel bugs, fine, but a national group could require that all travellers be trackable on all listing sites (put a link to geolutin, traveltag.com on all listing sites.)

A national group could set a standard definition of terms (a micro is blank, etc)

A national group could set standards for labeling (All caches will have a Gx logo on the outside).


A national coordinating group of regional groups could help spread cache style ideas and develop a systematic means of letting people know about successful new ideas.

A national coordinating group could use local and regional groups to enforce standards.  Cache spews and other bad forms would be more easily controlled if it were not up to one approver who may have a wide region to cover. 

I am in favor of this type of development.

It would require membership and would require work to coordinate all the groups.
I am president of Nebraskache and would be happy to work with anyone interested in exploring this.

Big Red:

I don't think we need a national organization to set those types of guidelines and don't wish for this topic to stray off as for definitions of cache sizes etc..
Please don't be offended.

I want this topic to stay on the subject on do we need a national organization/lobbyist group that could carry more clout than local/regional organizations.

I'm referring to more like some of the post earlier that said there are national groups for ATV riders or cyclists to protect their interests and rights.

This post has been edited by Eric K: 11 February 2005 - 09:18 AM


#10 User is offline   mtn-man 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:18 AM

http://www.geommunity.net/

#11 User is offline   Renegade Knight 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:21 AM

www.Terracachers.org

Geomunity may grow into one, but it's stated goals are not in line with that.
It's clear to me after working on the organization for a year that you need to have the listing site to have the interest needed to do the job.

You are talking needing a paid staff to dedicated themselves full time to the lobby effort, to working with land managers and so forth. It's no small task.

The effort is based on the similartiy between the NSS using other peoples lands for their hobby and our own use of other peoples land for our hobby.

This post has been edited by Renegade Knight: 11 February 2005 - 09:24 AM


#12 User is offline   Eric K 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:25 AM

To the people at geommunity and to Renegade Knight.

First off, don't think I'm trying to step on your toes. Until this thread I did not even know those two sites existed.

However, I would still like the comments in this thread to continue to see if people think those sites are what we need or if we need something completely different.

#13 User is offline   Renegade Knight 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:28 AM

Eric K, on Feb 11 2005, 10:25 AM, said:

To the people at geommunity and to Renegade Knight.

First off, don't think I'm trying to step on your toes. Until this thread I did not even know those two sites existed.

However, I would still like the comments in this thread to continue to see if people think those sites are what we need or if we need something completely different.

No problem.

You can put me under the "It needs to exist" catagory. :D

#14 User is offline   AuntieWeasel 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:43 AM

mtn-man, on Feb 11 2005, 09:18 AM, said:


Is that still live? The last update on the top page was April 5 of last year, and it won't let me look at anything inside without signing up.

#15 User is offline   nfa 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 09:58 AM

I think it needs to exist.

That being said the needs of the geocaching community will vary from locality to locality, and one over-arching organization may have trouble being flexible enough to meet all of the different needs and wants of the geocaching public.

I like the idea a spot for local organizations to funnel some stats that can be used in promoting the positive aspects of geocaching that can be overlooked by the "littering the countryside with tupperware" crowd. Number of CITO events, bags of crap carried out of the woods, educational programs offered, hotel & restaurant dollars spent by geocachers, calories burned/heart attacks prevented by geocachers exercising, and so on...all of these things would be useful to collect and know on a local/regional/national/global scale.

It would also be nice to have a ready-to-use set of case studies showing the positives (or at least lack of negatives) of geocaching as opposed to other outdoor activities like hunting, atv/snowmobilng, river-rafting, etc. Another thing might be a contact list of land managers who have had positive experiences with geocaching, so that other land managers don't have to take our word for it, they can talk to one of their own kind (meant lovingly).

I'm a little leery of "one org to rule them all" as regards standardization across such things as TBs, cache sizes, cache types, etc...I worry that this could limit rather than encourage buy-in. A clearinghouse with useful information, case-studies, contact info, etc. would be a great first step, and it seems as though terracachers.org may be a good launch-pad for this effort.

just my lunchtime thoughts on the subject.

nfa-jamie

#16 User is offline   Jeremy 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:07 AM

NFA, on Feb 11 2005, 09:58 AM, said:

I think it needs to exist.

I don't. I always have considered this "one org to rule them all" concept inefficient, laborous, and unnecessary, and often a knee jerk reaction based on some news article from a land manager overreaching their authority. The local orgs do a wonderful job to help lobby their local land managers. This activity has always been built by the local communities.

Besides, for all those trying to create your own worldwide org, who gives you the authority to be the spokespeople for the activity?

#17 User is offline   nfa 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:09 AM

Jeremy, on Feb 11 2005, 02:07 PM, said:

NFA, on Feb 11 2005, 09:58 AM, said:

I think it needs to exist.

I don't. I always have considered this "one org to rule them all" concept inefficient, laborous, and unnecessary, and often a knee jerk reaction based on some news article from a land manager overreaching their authority. The local orgs do a wonderful job to help lobby their local land managers. This activity has always been built by the local communities.

Besides, for all those trying to create your own worldwide org, who gives you the authority to be the spokespeople for the activity?

This from "The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site" :D

did you read my post???

We agree about the worries surrounding the uber-org...


nfa-jamie

This post has been edited by NFA: 11 February 2005 - 10:12 AM


#18 User is offline   Jeremy 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:11 AM

NFA, on Feb 11 2005, 10:09 AM, said:

did you read my post???

We agree about the worries surrounding the uber-org

nfa-jamie

Yes. I even used your "one org to rule them all" quote, which is why I am perplexed by your first statement. You either are for 'it or again' it.

#19 User is offline   nfa 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:14 AM

Jeremy, on Feb 11 2005, 02:11 PM, said:

NFA, on Feb 11 2005, 10:09 AM, said:

did you read my post???

We agree about the worries surrounding the uber-org

nfa-jamie

Yes. I even used your "one org to rule them all" quote, which is why I am perplexed by your first statement. You either are for 'it or again' it.

Quote

I'm a little leery of "one org to rule them all" as regards standardization across such things as TBs, cache sizes, cache types, etc.
leery means nervous of or scared by

I'm for a global clearinghouse of info and resources, agin' a global org that will lay down the law as regards standardized TB policies, cache sizes/types.

nfa-jamie

This post has been edited by NFA: 11 February 2005 - 10:18 AM


#20 User is offline   blazerfan 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:15 AM

I think that without a national organization geocaching may eventually be banned on all sorts of public lands. BLM, Forest Serice, State lands... they are under constant presure by organized conservation groups to limit land use. The voice of geocachers needs to be heard... I'm not talking about how much trash we can clean up and how eco friendly we are... I'm talking about putting money towards candidates who will support our position. We need to create a platform and back it up with votes and campaign contributions. The real question is "do we have the numbers to be sucessful?"

#21 User is offline   Jeremy 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:23 AM

blazerfan, on Feb 11 2005, 10:15 AM, said:

I think that without a national organization geocaching may eventually be banned on all sorts of public lands. BLM, Forest Serice, State lands... they are under constant presure by organized conservation groups to limit land use. The voice of geocachers needs to be heard... I'm not talking about how much trash we can clean up and how eco friendly we are... I'm talking about putting money towards candidates who will support our position. We need to create a platform and back it up with votes and campaign contributions. The real question is "do we have the numbers to be sucessful?"

No. We don't. The community is not yet large enough to support paying a lobby in DC to push forward our agenda. That is why geocaching has grown at a grass roots level (meaning "no money")

And though many people hate it, a for-profit company is the current worldwide org as it stands now. The only difference (IMO) is that we don't have a tax exempt status. But we definitely don't want to see geocaching go the way of the dodo. We did come up with CITO, for example, and we have someone solely responsible for working with orgs to help them out.

You just need to get over the whole stigma of the evil corporation. There are plenty of Non Profit Orgs that are evil too.

#22 User is offline   AuntieWeasel 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:26 AM

I think a credible, articulate, widely-accepted and professional national organization would benefit the game greatly. I also don't think we have a popsicle's chance in hades of forming one.

#23 User is offline   Jeremy 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:28 AM

blazerfan, on Feb 11 2005, 10:15 AM, said:

I think that without a national organization geocaching may eventually be banned on all sorts of public lands. BLM, Forest Serice, State lands...

I also would like to stress that this is not the case and, in fact, has gotten better over time, solely as a result of local orgs working with land managers. And there has been many land managers that are thankful there is a central clearinghouse of cache listings and reviewers with local land manager concerns in mind, and without these systems in place would have banned caches from their parks long ago.

Just because you don't see the activity on a daily basis doesn't mean it isn't happening. Change does not happen in one leap. It takes many small hops.

#24 User is offline   The Leprechauns 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:30 AM

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! One piece of Oregon BLM land is thinking of restricting geocaching! We need more rules and structure!

Each and every day, the fine work of local and regional geocaching groups helps to cement better relations with land managers. I am fortunate enough to live in a place where the National Forest, State Parks, State Forests, County Parks, City Parks and Land Conservation Trust are all pro-geocaching. When another agency was thinking about banning geocaches, a grass roots lobbying effort (at no expense) killed the proposal's momentum. All of this did not come about without much work by many people.

Combine those experiences with similar ones in many other states, and you have a group of groups. That is what geommunity is about.

#25 User is offline   Mighty Tiggers 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:43 AM

s4xton, on Feb 11 2005, 09:08 AM, said:

It's not a national problem. It's a regional or local problem. A regional or local group that wants to influcence policy there should organize and do something. A national organization won't have much influence. It's the people that use the parks and public areas that will have an influence.

Secondly, Groundspeak as a for-profit, commercial, private organization wouldn't have any clout. A non-profit organization run by and representing geocachers would have more influence. I don't see how a national organization would have much influence though, unless it was NPS that they were trying to work with. This is probably partially why earthcache.org exists. :laughing:

-Aaron

I think some folks are missing the point. Other states and agencies WILL start to curtail Geocaching activities... it is simply a matter of time. One of the great things about this sport is the freedom and independance it provides. It can be an individual sport, family fun, or it can be a group activity. That can also be a problem because there is no unified voice to address concerns and help educate the public and the various policy makers.

I have to completely disagree with Jeremy on this, as well. A national or even an international organization wouldn't be some type of hiarchy and the "one ring to rule them all" comment is waayyy off. Representation with policy makers and law makers makes a HUGE difference. Such an organization should include many of the other groups, like Terracahers and others, for this purpose.

For example, a letter drafted to the Director of Land Management of XYZ that states, "the 70,000 members of the United States Geocaching Society" will have more impact than a few letters from a few individuals. If you fight tooth and nail against some of these institutions, it will likely be a long and difficult road. However, if you work WITH these institutions and educate them as to the benefits, you will likely bare fruit.

In my opinion, it can NOT be done on a volunteer basis. It is probably time that an organization is created so that one or more individuals can work on our behalf on a FULL-TIME basis. We have to meet with the Bureau of Land Management, with NPS, with Department of the Interior, etc and SHOW them examples of the benefits we provide with CITO, CITO Events, and logs that indicate a problem with a park was reported to authorities (i.e. I've seen logs where folks mentioned that a bridge got washed out and they reported it to Park authorities). Eariler today, I saw a post on the forums that talked about recently discovered booty and looked like a bunch of stolen watches, etc.

Would I pay a couple bucks to have someone look out for my interests? You bet! The sport continues to grow and I think we would all benefit from national or international representation. In my opinion, it is time for someone to shoulder that responsibility on a full time basis. Regional issues will continue to be addressed by Regional groups, but we need a national presence to make a larger difference and to curtail our rights to Geocaching. I'm a recent member of the Marlyland Geocaching Society and they have excellent liason programs with local officials. You will ALWAYS need a Regional group to address county, city, and other municipalities. However, I think we need a national or international group to address the broader issues, including federal and congressional areas of interest.

#26 User is offline   JohnnyVegas 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:44 AM

Being a Ham Radio operator we have a National organazation ARRLto support ham radio operators that have problems dealing with cities and other groups with problems such as putting up antennas (there are some people in governmant that think radios do not need antennas) power line interferance and so on. Now the ARRL is a very large organazation and has the money it takes to fight their battles. Anytime you have to deal with any government agency it can cost lots of money, I am not sure Groundspeak is in the position to be able to get involved in what could become a very costly endevor. While this has been a regional problem, it may grow into a much larger problem. Land managers do talk to each other re park issues and what they do to control the use of parks. the you may have local enviromantal groups that may want to put a stop to geocaching showing up at local county supervisors meetings. Here in Marin county ca. the birth place of the Mountain Bikes, most of the trails have been closed to Mt. Bike use by organized groups the representing hikers and equstrians.
At some point it time there will be a need for a group that could speak out for geocahing, every recreation group has an organazation to support it's activity.

#27 User is offline   Jeremy 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:48 AM

Mighty Tiggers, on Feb 11 2005, 10:43 AM, said:

I think some folks are missing the point. Other states and agencies WILL start to curtail Geocaching activities... it is simply a matter of time.

I lost you right about there. This was the same thing said in the first year, and the second, and the third, and the fourth, and so on. The Chicken Little argument doesn't hold any weight when you look at all the things that local orgs have done. And projects, like the Earthcache project, has made huge strides in improving our relationship with the NPS. Same goes for the massive accomplishments of geocachers in the National Map Corps and the NGS (which now has their own forum here). So spare me the Chicken Little posts.

And keep in mind, those who know me know that I am not an optimist.

#28 User is offline   JohnnyVegas 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:53 AM

Quote

I don't see how a national organization would have much influence though, unless it was NPS that they were trying to work with.


In my previous post I listed the ARRL, which is a natioal group, but if need be they have the money to spend on lawyers if need be to fight for ham radio operators, There are thousands of ham radio clubs in the US, but for the most part they do not have the money it can take to fight a battle with a local group that wants to ban ham radio opertators from using antennas (Which was atempted by a city in the San francisco bay area a few years ago)

A national group can raise funds that can be used in any area that there help may be needed.

#29 User is offline   blazerfan 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 10:56 AM

Jeremy, on Feb 11 2005, 10:23 AM, said:

blazerfan, on Feb 11 2005, 10:15 AM, said:

I think that without a national organization geocaching may eventually be banned on all sorts of public lands. BLM, Forest Serice, State lands... they are under constant presure by organized conservation groups to limit land use. The voice of geocachers needs to be heard... I'm not talking about how much trash we can clean up and how eco friendly we are... I'm talking about putting money towards candidates who will support our position. We need to create a platform and back it up with votes and campaign contributions. The real question is "do we have the numbers to be sucessful?"

No. We don't. The community is not yet large enough to support paying a lobby in DC to push forward our agenda. That is why geocaching has grown at a grass roots level (meaning "no money")

And though many people hate it, a for-profit company is the current worldwide org as it stands now. The only difference (IMO) is that we don't have a tax exempt status. But we definitely don't want to see geocaching go the way of the dodo. We did come up with CITO, for example, and we have someone solely responsible for working with orgs to help them out.

You just need to get over the whole stigma of the evil corporation. There are plenty of Non Profit Orgs that are evil too.

I just want it on Record that I don't think for profit companies are evil. Groundspeak as a voice for geocaching is a good one. The reason I think a national organization is needed is to protect our rights... I could site examples of national organizations that speak for business and individuals but I don't want to be flamed :laughing:

Its just my 2 cents...

#30 User is offline   Renegade Knight 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 11:01 AM

The NPS, Gone, Wildlife refuges, Gone. Wilderness, Gone. Various local parks, Gone. Some areas that allow caching do it in a way to where it's a moot point so they are also gone. A few local parks in Idaho are on the brink and they look like they want to take the entire park system with them.

Local orgs where they do exist and do have an interest should handle the local stuff. However they don't always exist and they don't always have an interest, and you do need to tackle these challenges when they come up.

As for the argument "What gives any one person the right..." Members. First you build it, then you either get members or someone else does. What doesn't happen all that often is that organizations and even listing sites spontaneously emerging from nothing and having universal approval and accolades.

ďOne org to rule them allĒ that concept is a joke. Nobody gets Ďruledí without their consent. Geocaching.com, Navicache.com, Terracaching.com, etc. wonít join Terracachers.org until itís in their own interest. Itís a given. Neither will the state and local organizations until itís in their interests. Neither will individuals.

#31 User is offline   sbell111 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 11:03 AM

Jeremy, on Feb 11 2005, 10:48 AM, said:

And keep in mind, those who know me know that I am not an optimist.

Posted Image

#32 User is offline   Mighty Tiggers 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 11:08 AM

Yes, many of the local organizations have been STELLAR! However, when you have a State agency make a formal and broad policy decision, it IS a big deal. Other States will cite "the recent decision in Oregon" as precedence to further restrict activities. Jeremy, GC is awesome and fits my lifestyle and family perfectly... but I get the impression that you are trying to retain too much control. Having a national or international organization will only bring more attention to GC, not less. Terracaching and others will be what they are and GC will be what it is. All of these groups need a unified voice in front of policy makers, and NOBODY is doing it at a national level at the Department of the Interior where it NEEDS to be. Of course, this is my opinion only and I could be wrong. That said, JohnnyVegas and others make a strong argument for having a larger organization to represent us all. I'm a member of a few groups, and I've seen it make a difference... in policy, in legislation, in management, in public relations, etc. Are you saying we would be better off WITHOUT an organization? I don't see that logic at all.

#33 User is offline   southdeltan 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 11:14 AM

AuntieWeasel, on Feb 11 2005, 11:43 AM, said:

mtn-man, on Feb 11 2005, 09:18 AM, said:


Is that still live? The last update on the top page was April 5 of last year, and it won't let me look at anything inside without signing up.

The Geommunity is "alive". Some of the members may disagree but there's never been an overwhelming amount of activity there. The purpose for the Geommunity is to help webmasters and steering level leaders for groups with their groups and/or websites. It's an international project, although most of the members are from US state groups. The membership is restricted to leaders and technical (including webmasters) of existing geocaching groups. I've been telling Trippy that we needed to add some new content to the front page - but the heart of the Geommunity is the forums (which aren't incredibly active, but they are active). In the future we will be making more information public, but there's really nothing private except the forums.

What the Geommunity does, in regards to what you're suggesting, is discuss what has and hasn't worked in different parts of the country. Some states have been very successful in having bans lifted and getting favorable permit systems put into place. Some haven't been so lucky, but hopefully by sharing experiences groups can make progress when dealing with land managers and state and local governments.

It's not a formal orginization that makes geocaching policy. I would think Terracachers.org is much more in step with what you are suggesting.

If you are a leader (steering committee, board of directors, etc) or technical advisor (webmaster, etc) of a geocaching organization you can read more about it on the Geommunity website.

---------------------------------------------------------------

I don't necessarily think it's a terrible idea to have some national or international orginization - but in the unique world that is geocaching I don't think it'd work. I won't get into all of this - but I think on the whole it's best if things are dealt with in localities.

It would be nice if there was a group to negotiate with people like the USFWS and the NPS - but I think that positive progress can be made on local levels that can trickle UP to more senior officials.

While I don't think it's something that will be easy to implement, RK has done an outstanding job building a foundation. If you feel that he's going in the right direction, let him know. He might even welcome your help. (I'm not involved with it, I barely have time to keep up with the Geommunity), but perhaps I will be more involved with it in the future).

southdeltan

#34 User is offline   Bjorn74 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 11:49 AM

At this point, it doesn't seem like there's a convincing reason to have a massive organization to do anything with Geocaching. The local and regional groups seem to have the vast majority of things in hand. When something on a national level happens the word spreads between the leaders and "connectors" so that we can activate what we need. Something a few weeks ago had my phone ringing, a person saying something as I met him at a cache and hundreds of emails in differant forms.

A national organization would just get in the way of itself since we have very little that needs to be accomplished on a national (or Global) level.

The way I see it, sites like Geommunity, GeocachingPolicy, and Today's Cacher provide some good extra information sources to
  • Disseminate information to regional groups.
  • Store Policies for use by cachers, reviewers, and other park entities.
  • Paint a kinder and cleaned up image of our beloved sport.

BLM, NPS, and the like are not agencies that a group with 10,000 members can just walk in and get their way. But we can make a differance by being active where we can make a differance. And do that as best we can.

I'd encourage everyone to see what the MiGO contingent did up at the MPRA meeting last weekend. Maybe Trippy will chime in at some point.

#35 User is offline   sbell111 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 11:51 AM

Wouldn't it be easier to just take the head of the NPS and throw him in the trunk of the car geocaching?

This post has been edited by sbell111: 11 February 2005 - 11:51 AM


#36 User is offline   Eric K 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 11:53 AM

sbell11:

Your only two post have had nothing to do with the subject.
Please try to keep this subject on topic.

I am interested on your views on the subject if you wish to post them.

I appreciate all who have commented so far on this thread.

Thank you.

#37 User is offline   El Diablo 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 11:58 AM

I think we already have a good organization. It's called Groundspeak. Not only is it a national organization, but it's also international. I don't see any body putting together an organization that will ever represent as many people as Groundspeak.

If it ever come to a national ban on caching (which I doubt) there are already enough money brought into this economy from the sport of caching that would make any law maker stop and think before banning the sport.

Think how much money is spent on GPS units, gas, shoes, hiking equipment...etc. That's a lot of money generated by several hundred thousands of people in this country alone and it's growing at an astounding rate.

As far as Geommunity it's by understanding from talking to Trippy and doing the article for Today's Cacher that this is an organization that helps local organizations get started and organized. I'm not sure what RK's site does since I don't know what it is.

El Diablo

#38 User is offline   sbell111 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 11:58 AM

Quote

Your only two post have had nothing to do with the subject.
Please try to keep this subject on topic.

Actually, they were barely on subject.

My thoughts on the subject:

A national group would not necessarily fight for my interests. I've seen plenty of examples of big organizations supporting issues that the members did not necessarily agree with.

Heven't we had enough opportunities lately for individuals to make themselves seem important? (creed is not just a music group)

We hear this conversation everytime some land manager comes out against geocaching. What's new this time?

I see no reasons for me to support a national group.

There, I feel better for getting that out.

Thanks.

This post has been edited by sbell111: 11 February 2005 - 11:59 AM


#39 User is offline   BadAndy 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 12:04 PM

N.A.G.

National Association of Geocachers.

couldn't resist

#40 User is offline   Old Bet 

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  Posted 11 February 2005 - 12:28 PM

One point I think ought to be made in dealing with land managers is that geocachers
do not overwhelm the land. I just checked the logs for last summer for several caches
in parks in Westchester County, NY -- an area of somewhat dense population -- and
the logs record perhaps 3 to 5 cachers a month. That does not seem like a big threat.

Then consider that most of the more environmentally sensitive parklands are remote, requiring a hike. The would indicate that cache seekers are somewhat dedicated hikers, and people who appreciate the outdoors. Not the sort of people who are insensitive to the sensitive nature
of natural areas.

I think land managers want to regulate caching:
(1) because they don't really understand the nature of the beast
(2) they overesitimate the popularity of the sport/game/activity and
(3) mostly, they regulate it because they can.

People who are designated stewards of public land ought to be encouraging the public enjoyment of that land, not discouraging benign activities. I know, in the case of the Old Bet Brigade,
caching has taken us to several nature preserves we would not otherwise have visited.

So, whether we deal with land managers as individuals, as regional groups or as the suggested national organization, we ought to include a polite reality check in what we say.

This post has been edited by The Old Bet Brigade: 11 February 2005 - 12:30 PM


#41 User is offline   Mighty Tiggers 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 12:33 PM

GC is not the entire world and you can't be all things to all people. It happens to be my favorite place, but it really isn't setup to voice something of this scope. It seems to me that those that have a CON opinion are bias in some way. Those that are PRO may lack the experience that others have. In any case, I have yet to hear a valid arguement that clearly spells out reasons why we should not have a national organization to represent the best interests of all the groups.

Why is this so complicated, folks? Doesn't it make sense that we should be more organized and represented on a broader scale for the benefit of all? Tell me, right now, who is soliciting the Under Secretary of the Department of Interior? Do the smaller, regional groups, do this? NO! Some of the regional groups are very effective at dealing with regional issues. It would be great if someone who already had experience running one of those successful organizations would consider doing the same on a larger scale. I happen to think that person should be a full-time asset. We need a liason to befriend, educate, and to help shape an amicable policy with the people who are responsible for that area. Regional groups don't have the impact, funding, and it isn't a part of their charter.

Edited to add:

The comments, suggestions, and points brought up by The Old Bet Brigade are the reason why we need organized representation on a national or international level. That kind of experience needs to be shared with the folks that impact geocaching activities in their span of control. Without imput, decisions and policies become a problem and probably assume the worst of geocachers. Why? NOBODY IS TELLING THEM DIFFERENTLY!

This post has been edited by Mighty Tiggers: 11 February 2005 - 12:37 PM


#42 User is offline   Old Bet 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 12:36 PM

Oops....posted incompletely, so erasing. Sorry.

This post has been edited by The Old Bet Brigade: 11 February 2005 - 12:44 PM


#43 User is offline   The Leprechauns 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 12:39 PM

Mighty Tiggers, on Feb 11 2005, 02:08 PM, said:

However, when you have a State agency make a formal and broad policy decision, it IS a big deal. Other States will cite "the recent decision in Oregon" as precedence to further restrict activities.

If this were true, then please explain to me why state after state, park after park, agrees to permit geocaching (sometimes under a regulated permit program, but still...), even though the "premiere" U.S. Park System, the National Parks, banned geocaching many years ago? Or the National Wildlife Refuges? Or the Minnesota State Parks (until the excellent state caching group there fixes that little problem)?

Heck, even the Feds can't agree amongst themselves. The vast majority of BLM land and National Forest land is either expressly open to geocaching or indifferent to it.

Quote

All of these groups need a unified voice in front of policy makers, and NOBODY is doing it at a national level at the Department of the Interior where it NEEDS to be.  Of course, this is my opinion only and I could be wrong. 


I do think you are wrong. What is the basis for your statement that nothing is being done at the national level? In contrast, I can cite to several examples at both the national and local levels.

The sky is not falling. Enjoy your weekend.

#44 User is offline   Old Bet 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 12:42 PM

El Diablo, on Feb 11 2005, 11:58 AM, said:

I don't see any body putting together an organization that will ever represent as many people as Groundspeak.


Good point.

Think in real-world terms. The rest of us are in in for the fun of it. Groundspeak has a financial interest in geocaching. (I am in no way implying that is a bad thing!)

Groundspeak has the strongest motivation to work to promote our sport/game/activity and to lobby against unrealistic limits or bans on geocaching. So we can expect Groundspeak to be an advocate.

Consider the alternatives: if geocaching becomes too restricted, all we'll have left is a bunch of urban virtuals, the Old Bet Brigade will never get to 100 and Jeremy will have to go out and get a real job.

#45 User is offline   ju66l3r 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 12:56 PM

El Diablo, on Feb 11 2005, 03:58 PM, said:

I think we already have a good organization. It's called Groundspeak. Not only is it a national organization, but it's also international. I don't see any body putting together an organization that will ever represent as many people as Groundspeak.

If it ever come to a national ban on caching (which I doubt) there are already enough money brought into this economy from the sport of caching that would make any law maker stop and think before banning the sport.

Think how much money is spent on GPS units, gas, shoes, hiking equipment...etc. That's a lot of money generated by several hundred thousands of people in this country alone and it's growing at an astounding rate.

Groundspeak is not an organization. It is a corporation.

The amount of money spent in total on geocaching-specific expenditures isn't even a drop in the bucket of what a federal politician considers spending on his reelection campaign.

The hundreds of thousands of people involved in geocaching (if there are that many) are so geographically divided that no single politician has to give them a second thought as they are not an overwhelming (hell, they're not even a whelming) majority of his constituency.

Politics are what they are. If geocachers intend to use that route in order to accomplish their goals, then a national organization similar to the Audubon Society (for birders) would be necessary. What would be needed is a full-time staff that was supported by enough geocachers to be sustainable and was able to focus solely on advocacy.

I agree with earlier statements here though that at this point in time (and in the forseeable future) we function better on a local effort to keep parks open-minded to our activity. It has worked well in the past and with each new success, we have another example to provide the next door that is closed as to how the world is changing around them in a positive way for geocaching *and* the parks.

#46 User is offline   sbell111 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 01:47 PM

Mighty Tiggers, on Feb 11 2005, 12:33 PM, said:

...The comments, suggestions, and points brought up by The Old Bet Brigade are the reason why we need organized representation on a national or international level. That kind of experience needs to be shared with the folks that impact geocaching activities in their span of control. Without imput, decisions and policies become a problem and probably assume the worst of geocachers. Why? NOBODY IS TELLING THEM DIFFERENTLY!

I actually disagree with your conclusion. You seam to be stating that a national organization of thousands of cachers will be better able to convince individual land managers that caches tend to get few visits a month.

If you came to me as the national organization representing thousands of cachers, I might automatically say no out of fear that the cache would receive thousands of visits. It doesn't take a national organization to present to land managers. All over the country, you will find example of local groups working with land managers to ensure that caching is allowed and the land is protected.

#47 User is offline   Mighty Tiggers 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 01:55 PM

The differences in opinion are a great source of education for me; nevertheless, you keep discussing what regional organizations are doing. The Leprechauns gave a vague reference to what MIGHT be worked on in a national basis, but I haven't heard of anyone meeting with key policy makers in an effort of advocacy for geocaching. Also, your assumption that a national organization would strike fear of masses into the hearts of land managers is a bit laughable.

#48 User is offline   Jeremy 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 01:58 PM

I find the bolding annoying. Please stop.

#49 User is offline   sbell111 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 01:59 PM

Mighty Tiggers, on Feb 11 2005, 1:55 PM, said:

I haven't heard of anyone meeting with key policy makers in an effort of advocacy for geocaching. Also, your assumption that a national organization would strike fear of masses into the hearts of land managers is a bit laughable.

My point was that you are unlikely to make the point that the average cache only gets a few visitors a month if you come at them representing thousands of cachers.

BTW, a simple search will find examples of park systems that did not allow caching or were in the process of terminating geocaching but through the efforts of local organizations now allow geocaching.

This post has been edited by sbell111: 11 February 2005 - 02:04 PM


#50 User is offline   sbell111 

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 02:03 PM

Mighty Tiggers, on Feb 11 2005, 12:33 PM, said:

...It seems to me that those that have a CON opinion are bias in some way. Those that are PRO may lack the experience that others have. ...

I'm confused by this statement. At first I thought it was the old 'everybody that disagrees with me is dumb.' argument. :laughing: After rereading it, however, it appears to disagree with both sides. :rolleyes:

People on the PRO side are inexperienced, yet unbiased.
People on the CON side are experienced, but biased. :P

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