[kag] Re: Ontario Parks Policy

  • From: Hoover <mlehotay@xxxxxxx>
  • To: kag@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2005 14:09:38 -0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)

On Fri, 26 Aug 2005, Steve Koopman wrote:

For those who don't have Loads of Toadstools or Divergence on their watch
list, the following was posted by the OGA Admin (so Hoover & Root and Tick &
Nammie and Zartimus & Tripper, are you going to approach good ol' Lloyd
Chapman and ask for your contents back?):

Root and I might be going camping in Frontenac Park this weekend. If we do, we'll ask for our cache back. I don't plan to make a special trip just to pick it up. If anybody else wants it after this weekend, then go ahead and ask them.

The Ontario Parks geocaching policy says, "Management of geocaching is necessary due to public safety and liability issues as well as the potential to negatively impact provincial park natural and cultural heritage features." This tells me everything I need to know about the policy. Note the order of their reasons:

1) Public Safety and Liability. Their main concern about geocaching is being held liable if somebody breaks their leg or gets killed while geocaching.

2) Potential to Negatively Impact Provincial Park Natural and Cultural Heritage Features. Read it again, slowly. That's right. They are concerned about the environment. Obvious, isn't it?

Yes, I am annoyed too, but I really believe that the inertia of a big government organization is much too great for a bunch of hikers without lawyers to overcome. We are never going to get this policy reversed, and taking such a confrontational approach as the OGA will only irritate the park wardens and superintendents. I don't think signing petitions or writing to MPs will help either. I think the only way to change the Ontario Parks policy is to find out who the lawyers are that are advising the policy-makers, and somehow convince them that they won't be held liable for geocachers getting injured or killed in their parks.

As for the fact that all the caches of Loads of Toadstools were outside of the park, well, the park warden and park superintendent obviously think it is their land. Or at least that they are responsible for maintaining it. They believe this strongly enough to build a bridge over Devil's Gorge. I really doubt I'd be able to change their minds about that, especially since they seem to view me (and all geocachers) as littering, bushwhacking miscreants.

And finally, about the fact that removing the cache violated their own policy. Loads of Toadstools was hidden after the policy came into effect. If Frontenac Park believes that this cache is on their land, then they also believe it should not have been approved in the first place. This scenario is covered by the part of the policy that says, "Physical geocaches of any kind will not be authorized in a provincial park."


PS: I'm not usually this cynical, just when it comes to big bureaucracies.

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