Manitoba Geocaching Association


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Caching in Manitoba Parks
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dani_carriere



Joined: 04 Feb 2005
Posts: 499
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Sep 30, 2010 8:37 pm    Post subject: Caching in Manitoba Parks Reply with quote

The MBGA and Manitoba Parks have been in communication regarding issues on both fronts with geocaching in provincial parks, and specifically, Birds Hill Park. Some of you may have noticed problems in getting new caches approved in Birds Hill Park in the last few months. They have hired someone to manually review all existing caches in the park (including their placement, the cache web page, and any logs entered). In addition, any new applications require a staff member to investigate the potential hide location and possible affect to the surrounding area and animals.

MB Parks has raised many concerns, and after a meeting of Parks managers on September 29th, they have decided that, for the time being, they will not approve any new caches in the Birds Hill Park area.

The MBGA will be meeting with MB Parks in the next few weeks to hear their list of concerns, as well as give them our list of problems that we have encountered. This may mean that we may (or may not) be able to hide caches in the park again, a policy change, the removal of some existing caches, etc.

There is nothing to be alarmed of at this point, we just want you to know that it is being worked on.

In the meantime, if you are caching in the park, please follow these guidelines:

* under NO circumstances are you to take bikes onto horse trails

* do NOT bush crash. Use existing human trails if possible, only use deer trails if human trails are not available. Do NOT create any new trails.

* try to spend time in the park other than geocaching. MB Parks has stated that they are not seeing "value added" by having cachers run in for one find and run out. Maybe plan to make a day in the park and enjoy the surroundings. We can't force people to cache like this, but please consider this.

Please respect the surroundings and the fact that MB Parks are allowing us to find caches in their parks. They could have easily said no caches in their parks and pulled all the existing ones out.

If you have any questions, please contact me as I will be working with the MB Parks team.

Thank you!

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Ztirnats



Joined: 20 Jul 2006
Posts: 196
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Sep 30, 2010 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

* under NO circumstances are you to take bikes onto horse trails AGREED - this should not have to be said

* do NOT bush crash. Use existing human trails if possible, only use deer trails if human trails are not available. Do NOT create any new trails. AGREED - this should not have to be said

* try to spend time in the park other than geocaching. MB Parks has stated that they are not seeing "value added" by having cachers run in for one find and run out. Maybe plan to make a day in the park and enjoy the surroundings. We can't force people to cache like this, but please consider this. DON"T AGREE - They don't see "value added" with us spending the day in the park? Walking the trails? Visiting the sites? What "value Added" are they looking for . I have spent easily 20 x more time in that park then I would have if Geocaching was not there. Ok hands up all of you who have only spent 10 minutes in the park finding a cache and then driven out. This is a list of falsely created issues to stop geocaching in Bird's Hill because the Manager does not like us. Well as far as I am concerned, it has worked. I will not geocache there again and I will not step foot in "his" park ever again. So much for my tax dollars at work

Oh and by the way, I AM ALARMED. Which park will be next?
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burchil



Joined: 26 Jun 2005
Posts: 108
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Oct 01, 2010 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much (to MBGA) for following up and supporting activities in the park. I often ride out to the park and enjoy the environment and use the park. The limitation on cyclists on horse trails has been in place for many years - unfortunately a few people caused problems for everyone.

I will likely continue to head out to the park since it is a convenient distance for a nice afternoon or afterwork ride - just not as often. Geocaching just made it a little more attractive.

On a suggestion, or thought: for many years I have applied every spring for a plant collection permit for provincial parks, reserves, and WMAs for education purposes. There were some restrictions and I had to notify the parks before I did any thing. Some times I thought the notification and talking with park people was a little silly since most of the education was basically a walk in the park pointing out plants, ecology, and some ethnobotany - didn't involve any collection. It might be worth bringing to the table as an alternative is a more upfront registration system that has some education at the begining of the year.

The parks that I worked in got (and continue to get) a significant resource back for the time spent administering the permits - this might be something to bring to the table as well (not my plant stuff but positive impact for the park). What does caching bring to the parks - go in with a more proactive approach (I bet you have already done this but I thought I would say it again).

Thanks again.
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Trove Chasers



Joined: 10 Sep 2007
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Oct 01, 2010 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We had never visited BHP until September 2007 when we attended our very first event, Geo-Venture. Thanks to Geocaching we have now explored the park extensively and have spent many enjoyable hours hiking most of its' beautiful trails.


...just saying......
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dani_carriere



Joined: 04 Feb 2005
Posts: 499
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Oct 01, 2010 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If there are any Equicachers reading this thread, can you contact me offline? Here is a link to my profile in gc.com that you can use. Thanks!!
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ruylopez



Joined: 16 Aug 2010
Posts: 52
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Oct 02, 2010 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I strongly disagree with MB park's view on the value geocaches add to provincial parks. I personally have begun to use the Provincial Parks more since I started Geocaching this May. This summer our family took a camping trip to St. Malo Provincial Park. We probably never would have considered visiting this park, but one of the reasons we decided to go there was because it had geocaches. Our family has also started to look at some other parks further away, that we would have never considered visiting or even knew existed before.

Typically, we make the drive to the mountains in Alberta and BC once or twice a year. They - Alberta in particular - have many quality caches in their provincial parks. (I don't specifically know their policy on geocaching.) If the number of caches in our provincial parks goes down, there may be less incentive to vacation around here.

I also know that some people who visit from out of province use geocaching as a "tour guide". Having geocaches in parks can only encourage this.

The attitude of this particular park manager is very discouraging and does raise some alarm bells for me. I don't understand the point of having a geocaching policy set in place by MB parks, when individual park managers can decide for themselves what qualifies as a valid cache placement.

Just my two cents about the issue. Hopefully some of these issues can be raised in future discussions (if they have not been already). Thanks for your work in the matter.
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Georgia



Joined: 30 Dec 2006
Posts: 144
Location: East St. Paul

PostPosted: Oct 26, 2010 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Please respect the surroundings and the fact that MB Parks are allowing us to find caches in their parks. They could have easily said no caches in their parks and pulled all the existing ones out.

These are our parks. They have been developed with taxpayer's money for all to use. It is very disappointing to me that MB Parks is treating geocaching as though it isn't something to be enjoyed just as much as camping, equestrian or cycling.

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AngelFreak



Joined: 17 Aug 2010
Posts: 55
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Oct 30, 2010 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have only been camping once at Birds Hill, which was before I became a geocacher. I am (or was?) looking forward to mutiple camping weekends here with my family and friends next summer in attempt to go after the geocaches located there as well as enjoy the features of the park... Therefore it seems quite apparent to me that geocaching is most certainly an added value to MB Parks.
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IAMSTIG



Joined: 12 Aug 2009
Posts: 31
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Nov 01, 2010 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree. Any time my family is camping we always look for local geocaches and it is certainly a reason we have picked one park over another.
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glacier_ice



Joined: 16 Aug 2007
Posts: 733

PostPosted: Nov 02, 2010 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We had a very positive meeting with the Parks staff this evening. We will compose a more detailed report to be submitted at our next Exec meeting on the 16th.

A couple of quick items however. The comments above speak to 'value added' to the parks. In the meeting tonight, there was no dispute to this point. There most definitely is value added and this is recognized.

One of the more immediate items that we can begin tackling immediately is the amount of bushcrashing that has been going on. Without debating who, what, when where or why. Most often this occurs when the trail cannot be located.

The agreed upon solution to this is for cache hiders to change their descriptions and include Trail Head Waypoints for those caches that do not already include them. It will then be incumbent upon the cache seekers to please stick to the trails and refrain from bushwhacking.

As stated, a full report will be given at the next Exec meeting and entered into the minutes for the MBGA membership to read. There were a couple of individual cache concerns, those will be addressed privately and directly to the owners of those caches.

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dani_carriere



Joined: 04 Feb 2005
Posts: 499
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Nov 25, 2010 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Several members of the MBGA Exec met with MB Parks staff to talk about the concerns about geocaching in Birds Hill, St. Malo and South Whiteshell parks. At the end of this forum post, I will include my report to the MBGA Executive.

The meeting was well received by all attendees. As the result of the discussions, Birds Hill Park has decided to pull / archive several geocaches for varying reasons. Each of the affected cache owners will be contacted by the Birds Hill staff.

Dani_Carriere

---------------------------- Report ------------------------

Geocaching in Provincial Parks
Monday, November 1, 2010

Attendees:

Kelvin - District Park Supervisor – South Whiteshell
David - District Supervisor – Steinbach (St. Malo)
Bruce - District Park Supervisor – Birds Hill
Emily - Park Interpretor – Birds Hill
Mike - MBGA President
Jacques - MBGA Vice-President
Danielle - MBGA Director at Large
Ashleigh – Parks and Natural Areas
Cathy – Parks and Natural Areas

The meeting started with a rounded table of personal introductions and the tabling of various issues regarding geocaching in Provincial Parks. The key topics that were raised included the length of time to review caches and respond to cache hiders, difficulty contacting park staff, policies not clearly defined on the website with individual rules for each park, the placement / location of cache hides, modification of infrastructure (eg park and road signs) for cache hides, the volume and density of geocaches in the parks, and the environmental concerns with taking the “wrong route” in to a cache (eg. Bushwhacking, road safety, poison ivy, etc).

Emily gave a 15 minute presentation on the caches that she had investigated with the concerns that she found. Some of the specific concerns included:

• Bogalicious was in a sensitive area, and several cachers bushwhacked to the cache.
• Promise cache was located close to private property where the owner was uncomfortable with extra traffic and often sicked (sp) his german shepherd on people. Also, well defined trails to the cache were evident.
• Lime Kiln - Earthen Mounds – located very close to animal dens (quite possibly bears).
• Micro Island and Rabbit Habit – hidden on leased property within the park that could potentially have horse traffic (competitions).
• Several caches had attributes that included “Bike Friendly” on horse trails.
• Other caches were mentioned during the presentation.

Going Forward:

• The Parks application will be changed to reflect a response time of 2 to 4 weeks, not 10 days. At the end of the 4 weeks, if the cache has not been approved, Parks will attempt to contact the cache hider.
• MB Parks will contact the cache owners for those caches that have inappropriate attributes and ask that they change them
• MB Parks have identified a handful of caches that they are going to ask to be archived, including Bogalicious, Promise and Lime Kiln – Earthen Mounds
• The MBGA has asked that “special areas” like leased areas be identifiable via a map. That has been taken away by the Parks group, but no promises have been made.

Summary

All participants agree that having the ability to geocache in provincial parks definitely has added value and we will work together to make this a more cooperative process.

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brainradio



Joined: 18 Aug 2010
Posts: 24

PostPosted: Nov 26, 2010 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds very positive. Good news.
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jleecollins



Joined: 17 Aug 2009
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Nov 27, 2010 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Consider yourself lucky to be able to set up any caches in the Manitoba Provincial Parks. Ontario Provincial Parks have banded geocaching for probably 7 or 8 years. The only caches in Ontario Provincial Parks were very early ones put out in the first year or two of geocaching. Even though they are now "grandfathered", some are periodically being archived.
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onecrazycanadian



Joined: 20 May 2007
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Nov 27, 2010 11:10 pm    Post subject: Birds Hill Reply with quote

I guess I should have looked at this topic before I posted in the other forum.

I have received archive request for what appears to be the remainder of caches in Birds Hill Park. I will be archiving them immediately as the request is coming from the land manager.

This seems to be the only park that is doing this. Is there any future for caches in this park?
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dani_carriere



Joined: 04 Feb 2005
Posts: 499
Location: Winnipeg

PostPosted: Nov 27, 2010 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OCC, please hold off on that. I've talked to the MB Parks office, and they were caught off guard by the request by the park interpretor that asked for the archival. There are 15 caches on the list to be archived, not all the caches in the park. This is still in negotiations.

Can you confirm we me, offline only, on any instructions you have received?

Thanks

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