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Thread: Ouachita National Forest Caching

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Jessieville,AR
    Posts
    321
    I'm in! I think we should wait and see what the final results of CW's poll are though. We can't just walk into a federal office, and just start complaining. We will need facts and figures. If the ONF is the only NF trying to collect fees for this, I think that there is something that has been categorized improperly. I do agree with Dentful, in that we need someone high up on the food chain to speak for us. While I kinda like the idea of a mob descending upon the federal building in HS to get our point across, I don't think it wouldn't get us very far. Leavenworth maybe. Do they have any good caches in Leavenworth?
    Guess what?! I got a fever, and the only prescription...is more cowbell!!

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    280

  3. #23
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Conway, AR
    Posts
    1,392
    I'm glad to see so much interest in this issue!

    ArkGeo's mission is one of "establishing and coordinating dialog and cooperation with landowners in addition to federal, state, and local agencies." This situation certainly falls well within our mission and will be a matter of much discussion among all of us, including the Board.

    While we realize that this is an emotionally charged issue, we must also insure that the proper information is gathered and that it is accurate. As this information becomes available and as the situation develops, the Board will do our best to listen to you and to keep you informed.

    One thing we would ask is that all members of ArkGeo help us to put forth a coordinated and united effort. If and when that time comes, you may be asked to help in supporting geocaching in Arkansas, although at this point, we don't know exactly what form that support may take.

    However, our hope is that ArkGeo will be able to help to resolve this issue and find a solution that benefits all parties involved.

    If you have suggestions or comments, please post them here or send them to me by using the PM or Email links at the bottom of this post.


    Wayne Lunsford
    President
    Arkansas Geocachers Association
    I get my directions from above.
    View my profile

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Jessieville,AR
    Posts
    321
    O.K. Sounds to me like Wayne just said that they have the ball, and they are gonna run with it. I do believe that qualifies as higher up on the food chain. I am happy to do whatever is asked of me (short of burning Smokey in effigy in Hill Wheatly Plaza) to help resolve this issue.
    I would just like to say thanks to the ArkGeo board, and to CW, for jumping on this for us. It is good to have an organization willing to step in and go to bat for us all. Without this group of folks, I would be feeling a little helpless right about now. I know that this issue affects some of us more than others, but in the long term, it affects us all. Thanks guys/gals!
    Guess what?! I got a fever, and the only prescription...is more cowbell!!

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Glenwood
    Posts
    185
    I agree with QC on that we have great cachers in elected positions that don't just sit there with their chest puffed out and nose in the air with a "TITLE." We have cachers in elected positions that do what is expected of them, to act on issues brought before them. We also have a great "approver" who is on top of issues brought up all of a sudden and acts swiftly after some research on both sides of the issue.

    I also agree that we need to "sit" a little while to get as much information as we can, just as Gaddiel suggested. We don't want to go into a meeting with the Feds looking like a bunch of hillbilly's (No offense to AR-HICK ) who ain't got a clue as to what we are trying to get accomplished.

    NOTE: AR-HICK is a very educated man in this wonderful sport. He has shown to the world via Channel 11 news that he can teach a thing or two on this sport. He is a great man but his Geo-Name gets in the way sometimes.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Hot Springs Village
    Posts
    621
    So I guess we will need to start paying a $57 fee to put our deerstands up for hunting season and get a pemit for that too. We will also need the same permit and fee to set up a tent and camp for a few days too I guess.


    We need to all write letters to the FS office, our elected officials, and any other person that may be remotely associated with this. We also need to clog up their phone lines with angry calls. I'll be archiving my caches before the end of summer if there is not some reasonable resolution to this. I will also be actively opposing any and all regulations and fees that the FS tries to enact.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Searcy
    Posts
    175
    Being a hillbilly from north central Arkansas, I have not had much experience in the National Forests. There is no question $57 is outreagous. I don't think I have ever cached there, but I plan to some day and this is something that could spread if we can't do something. I am thinking up front that the Managers that enacted this policy have NO IDEA how many caches, or especially how many Cachers have been in the NF to find them. To me I think this would be the kind of info we should present to them - they need to understand how many people they will be running off . One thing I am wondering...do you have to pay a fee to have access to these areas? I have been hiking in some areas that required a day use fee and I didn't know if there was anything like that required.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    280

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    47
    Well, this is a hard blow indeed. With the casual stroke of a pen, practically 1/4 of the state of Arkansas has just been placed effectively off limits to Geocaching.

    Quote Originally Posted by flannelman
    So I guess we will need to start paying a $57 fee to put our deerstands up for hunting season and get a pemit for that too. We will also need the same permit and fee to set up a tent and camp for a few days too I guess.
    Will just hit the nail on the head and said what I've been thinking the whole time I was reading this thread.

    There are NO fees for hunting or camping in the ONF. "Land Use" is not an issue. The only thing remotely close to a land use fee I've ever even heard of is the $25 dollar fee for private use logging, which entitles you to take up the 3 cords of wood out of the forest.

    So basically, the fees run like this...

    3 cords of wood......$25.00
    1 Geocache............$57.00

    Does this make sense to anyone else? No, I didn't think so.

    Yes, the fee will effectively kill Geocaching anywhere within the ONF and this is almost certainly the point that needs to be driven home to the people responsible for this decision.

    In this day of spending cutbacks and shrinking budgets, it may have occured to someone that Geocaching may be a "Cash Cow" just waiting to be milked. In short, this is nothing but another governmental money-making scheme. This is a theme I could belabor for many hours but I will refrain for the moment in hopes that a resolution to the issue can be found.

    There is however, that pesky matter of precedence. If they're going to charge for a cache, they must then charge for a deer stand, camp site, or for that matter, trail use. While I'm sure there are those within the organization who would love to be able to do so, the public outcry at such a move prevents them from acting on their desire.

    Personally, I think a letter writing campaign or any active form of protest will do nothing more than irritate an already unfriendly bureaucracy and cause them to only further entrench themselves in their position.

    Let's face it. It is always far easier for a bureaucrat to say "NO" than it is for them to actually do something. "NO!" is in fact, the default government response to any request, no matter how reasonable.

    So the question is, how many geocaching Lawyers do we have in Arkansas?

    Additional thought...

    Although this person says finding existing caches is a "low priority" we must always remember that yesterday's "low priority" becomes tomorrow's "major issue." Remember, a promise of non-prosecution is not protection under the law. If they are not willing to grandfather existing caches, I will be archiving and removing my caches within the ONF before some blood sucking wonk decides that caching without a permit is punishable by fine or imprisonment.

    I highly recommend to the rest of you to go forth and do likewise.

    Oh, one more thought...

    No, I do not think that having to submit a proposal and get a permit, even if it is free, is acceptable. No proposals or permits are required for hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, canoeing, or anything else. Why should we be the exception?

  10. #30
    Okay, I'm just wondering, is this information coming from the Caddo-Womble Ranger district, or is it from headquarters? Are all the ranger districts in the Ouachita NF on the same page with this policy?

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