Jump to content


Photo

A Friend from Indiana Sent Me This


  • Please log in to reply
6 replies to this topic

#1 HoustonControl

HoustonControl

    Charter Member

  • Senior Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 9,933 posts
  • LocationBaytown

Posted 17 March 2013 - 08:06 AM

From the Bloomington IN Herald-Times:

 

 

Regulating treasurers in the wild: State enforcing more strict rules with geocaching


By Ben Simmonsbsimmons@heraldt.com
March 17, 2013

Mankind may have already charted every acre of land and sea, but to some Hoosiers, the Age of Exploration is still alive and well.


Centuries after Columbus first sighted the New World, a growing group of discovery-minded locals has taken to a game based around state-of-the-art technology to satiate its appetite for cartography.


The rising hobby, geocaching, in which participants use satellite coordinates to locate hidden treasures, has gathered steam locally as a popular pastime in recent years.


So much steam, in fact, that the Indiana Department of Natural Resources began to enforce stricter regulations for the activity last fall — regulations that some believe may strip the game of its allure.


Under new state policy, caches cannot be placed more than 25 feet away from developed roads or trails on public lands. The reform, aimed at streamlining the game’s licensing process and protecting state lands from further erosion, may also present an existential threat to remote caches that are visited only a few times a year.


In light of increasing interest in the activity, though, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources sought to update and enforce a set of largely unobserved rules that were in place before last September.


Given free rein prior to the policy change, geocachers saw their playing field shrink significantly when the current policies took effect. Ginger Murphy, assistant director for stewardship for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of State Parks and Reservoirs, explained the impetus behind the switch.


“The intent of (keeping caches close to roads and trails) is to protect sensitive natural and cultural areas,” Murphy said. “On public land, caches were being placed without licensing or telling any of the management staff at the property who are responsible for safety, security, and natural and cultural resource management.”


According to Murphy, the changes were made at the urging of a group of geocachers who were concerned about the ambiguity of statewide rules. The Indiana geocaching community was far from united in its support of the new procedures, however.


For Stu Baggerly, one of Monroe County’s most avid geocachers, the hobby represents more than a chance for an excursion into the wilderness.


It’s also an outlet for creative expression; under the moniker “monstercatambush,” Baggerly has meticulously constructed, placed and even refurbished numerous caches throughout southern Indiana.


But as the activity flourished, anxiety has surfaced about the environmental effect of his and others’ creations. Despite the earth-friendly creed of the geocaching community, which is guided by the “Cache In Trash Out” mantra, the DNR was unable to monitor the activity without a comprehensive licensing process.


“Some people were miffed about the regulations suddenly being enforced,” Baggerly said. “Everyone was happy with the loosey-goosey relationship they had, so it came as a surprise that the regulations were suddenly being enforced.”


When news of the rule changes reached Baggerly last fall, he initially counted himself among the disgruntled, as he thought he stood to lose all but about 20 of the 172 caches he maintained.


As it turns out, the opposite was true: Only 20 are ineligible under the new constraints.


Crucially, Baggerly said, the majority of his most inventive contributions — the “good ones,” as he calls them — will be allowed to remain.


“When automobiles came out, there were no regulations,” Baggerly said. “Now there are road signs, and you’ve got to have a license and registration. This was kind of like that. Geocaching is getting much more popular, so I understand that there have to be more restrictions in place.”


Traumatic or not, the new rules have undoubtedly ushered in a new era of geocaching protocol in Indiana. The grace period for old caches that took place in November and December has now ended. Some caches were denied or removed because they were placed in areas outside the new requirements.


Most significantly, though existing caches were all archived at Groundspeak, which oversees geocaching.com, they must now be relicensed.


“We worked comprehensively to ensure that people who wanted to keep their previously placed caches active could do so,” said Murphy, who believes all applications have been processed. “We continue to invite people to place caches until the limits for the property acreage are reached.”


As a result of the efforts of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and geocachers alike, between 150 and 200 caches have been approved for licensing since last fall, Murphy said.


However, the aforementioned limit — 50 for lands of 10,000 acres and more — has yet to be reached in any of the state parks, reservoirs, or forests.


Once fearful of their consequences, Baggerly is now beginning to embrace the present rules and respect the difficulty inherent to the Indiana DNR’s task — striking a balance between leisure and protection of nature.


“I think a good analogy is that we’re in a relationship, and we’ve been on one awkward date,” Baggerly said. “Are we going to break up? No. This will pass; there was a brief lull, but we’re all going to get along.”


________________________________________


More about geocaching


Geocaching is done using a GPS, or global positioning satellite unit, to find a container that has a logbook and possibly tokens inside. There are often clues to find the cache, as they are called. The website to discover more is www.geocaching.com.


Two area clubs


If you are interested in geocaching in the Bloomington area, you might want to join the Bloomington Geocaching Club. For more on the club, go to www.bloomingtongeocaching.com/. The group, Bloomington Geocaching, also has a Facebook page.


There’s also a geocaching club at Indiana University. The website for more information is www.indiana.edu/~geocache/. Information on the site says there are more than 500 geocachers in Bloomington and 45 geocaches on the IU campus in Bloomington.


img.aspx?txt=What+in+the+Hell?&uid=1dd8c

#2 Baytown Bert

Baytown Bert

    Short fat dude with good hygiene

  • Senior Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,358 posts
  • LocationBaytown, Texas

Posted 17 March 2013 - 08:42 AM

Dang it man!  Is that all lawmakers have to do up there?  My brother and I were traveling across Indiana and all we could see was tall corn fields. Suddenly there was a  break and about 20 cars parked against a large adult book store, then more corn.  He looked at me and dryly stated, "There ain't nothing up here but corn and porn..."
 


TXGA SETX Representative


#3 TAZ427

TAZ427

    Senior Member

  • Senior Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 443 posts
  • LocationSugar Land, TX

Posted 17 March 2013 - 09:37 AM

Yeah, a lot of people up there aren't happy about it.  I know there were a lot of caches that were well off the beaten path in many parks, definitely outside the 25' boundaries. The IDNR had all caches on public lands archived back in Nov '12.  I'm glad I knew about it before hand, as I went to grab the oldest active cache in Indiana when I was up there for my brother's wedding last October.  I looked at a number of the parks before the archiving of caches and I look again today.  And I see only a fraction of the caches in many of these parks.

 

Doing this eliminates the possiblity of some great series, like The Brazos Bend Endurance Series.  I did this series on Friday, it's got around 50 or so finds per cache, and has been out since 2009, either I'm blind, or there is not even signs of a geopath having been created through the area's.  But it provides for a challenging series, which now won't be possible in Indiana State Parks.  I say they're missing out because of this.

 

@Baytown Bert - They were just getting reading material for their fishing trip mtp


Posted Image Posted Image


#4 HoustonControl

HoustonControl

    Charter Member

  • Senior Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 9,933 posts
  • LocationBaytown

Posted 17 March 2013 - 09:50 AM

It would seem to also be the end of regular sized caches on any public lands.  Place an ammo can within 25' of a trail and it won't last 3 weeks...


img.aspx?txt=What+in+the+Hell?&uid=1dd8c

#5 Baytown Bert

Baytown Bert

    Short fat dude with good hygiene

  • Senior Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,358 posts
  • LocationBaytown, Texas

Posted 17 March 2013 - 11:01 AM

I did that Endurance Series at BBSP also with the same conclusion.  No geopath at all.  Remember, Texas is one of the few states that is almost all private property.  If our State makes this decision, we should all go nuts bombarding them with angry petitions.  Curse you Aaron Barbee!  (Shaking fist at the sky!)


TXGA SETX Representative


#6 NavyGeo0916

NavyGeo0916

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 21 March 2013 - 02:19 PM

As one who lives in Kentucky but did cache over in Indiana, many of us in this area have not been back to an Indiana state park since they did this. And it is BS that the State parks have not reached their limits yet. Most of the state parks in Southern IN lost tons of caches

 

 



#7 Texas Dreamweaver

Texas Dreamweaver

    Senior Member

  • Senior Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,013 posts
  • LocationRichmond, Texas

Posted 21 March 2013 - 04:45 PM

I did that Endurance Series at BBSP also with the same conclusion.  No geopath at all.  Remember, Texas is one of the few states that is almost all private property.  If our State makes this decision, we should all go nuts bombarding them with angry petitions.  Curse you Aaron Barbee!  (Shaking fist at the sky!)

This is exactly the reason why the TXGA got involved talking with TPWD.  Less than two months ago, they were starting to implement similar rules.   We met with them, asked them to hold off and let us give our input.  Together , we are going through the process of refining the rules.  Unfortunately, like most bureaucracies, things are moving slower that we would all like, but I am confident when it is all over with, Texas geocachers will feel less restricted than Indiana geocachers.






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users