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Forums —» General Caching —» General —» Promotional Cache placements in BC Parks
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Promotional Cache placements in BC Parks
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IRLPGUY



Joined: Mar 01, 2007
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:19 am    Post subject: Promotional Cache placements in BC Parks Reply with quote

Today we have approximately 89 new caches in BC Parks or in some cases not in BC Parks, nonetheless, all of these caches were a part of a promotion involving BCGA, Blue Sky and BC Parks.

This is the second year of BCGA’s involvement in a similar program with BC Parks and I am completely dismayed at the fact that before this program began there were no guidelines established for the placement of caches sanctioned by BCGA for placement in our Parks, for instance.

1) Guidelines as to where the cache should and should “not” be placed.
2) Maximum difficulty and terrain ratings for these caches.
3) Guidelines for the cache page layout.
4) Expected maintenance guidelines.
5) No member only caches. (applies only to those placed during this event)

Had BCGA established some guidelines initially, with refinements as necessary, then as the representative body for geocaching in BC they could point to these guidelines as an example of how they would like to see all caches placed in BC Parks.

I do not believe any of the cache owners who placed caches in this program would have intentionally placed caches that would not be welcome in our BC Parks, however with the varied amount of owners involved, that will undoubtedly be the result, that is the nature of the beast.

This now presents two questions:

1) Without the promotion of this program, what is the likelihood of there having been 89 caches placed in our BC Parks in the month of September, very slim I would guess, is this good or bad in the big picture.
2) Without the establishment of guidelines for the placement of these caches during these promotions have we enhanced our ability to continue to place caches in BC’s Parks or have we diminished that ability.

I feel we are on a road that will diminish the luxury we now enjoy.

Now let me add as a final note: I think the coins were excellent and I am happy to have one, however I would gladly give it up if it meant we are not doing the right thing with these promotions.
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_canadianbacon_



Joined: Jan 05, 2004
Posts: 1154
Location: Surrey, BC, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:27 am    Post subject: Re: Promotional Cache placements in BC Parks Reply with quote

I'll preface this response to say this is my opinion, and understanding, it is not anything official.

IRLPGUY wrote:

1) Guidelines as to where the cache should and should “not” be placed.
2) Maximum difficulty and terrain ratings for these caches.
3) Guidelines for the cache page layout.
4) Expected maintenance guidelines.
5) No member only caches. (applies only to those placed during this event)
1) These caches are subject to the usual cache placement rules from groundspeak and BC Parks. I see no reason these caches need special rules.

2) They are promotional caches, to highlight BC parks, and bring environmental awareness, in total they cover a wide variety of D/T's, which should appeal to different people, why should they all be low difficulties and terrains? BC Parks are full of places that are difficult to get to, and people go there for just that reason. Why should the caches in these parks not reflect that diversity of the game?

3) There was a template, it was not perfect, a few people had a bit of trouble but they worked together to fix it, and heck, there are 89 caches with pretty much the same pages. We are not selling cars, they are caches and each placement needs a bit of personalization, otherwise all of them could be stacked up on the same spot.. No big deal.

4) It has your name on it, it is your cache. I'm happy for the kick-start with a painted cache full of stuff. I have not heard anybody say they expect a bag full of swag every 6 months to fill it up.

5) True, there was no guidelines on member only, but that does not mean it is was not allowed , or disallowed, obviously you think they should not be, that is an opinion, but nothing to loose sleep over. Personally I was dealing with a Bluesky cache that was released 3 weeks early, and was trying to limit access before it was emptied. It was retracted but I forgot to turn it off. I had my other cache same way in case it happened to that one too as they were both submitted same day.
Quote::

Had BCGA established some guidelines initially, with refinements as necessary, then as the representative body for geocaching in BC they could point to these guidelines as an example of how they would like to see all caches placed in BC Parks.
There were guidelines. BC Parks were to have most of the new caches, but up to 50% could go into cities , municipalities. All BC park Placement rules and Groundspeak Rules applied. Is there more than that?
Quote::

I do not believe any of the cache owners who placed caches in this program would have intentionally placed caches that would not be welcome in our BC Parks, however with the varied amount of owners involved, that will undoubtedly be the result, that is the nature of the beast.
Agreed, it will not be perfect. Its a fun sport, gets people outside, enjoying our parks and brings awareness to the environment. Everybody hiding caches is doing their best to get others involved, and create an enjoyable experience with good intentions. I think there is very little wrong with the actual cache hides, the swag trading issues may need to be addressed. That has nothing to do with the hiders. I'm more in favor of a ticket/pin number system where no actual coins are in the cache. Go online, enter pin, name, email and get in a draw. First 300 names drawn get a coin. No FTF Prizes. It should be about the locations, parks. FTF can be for the Glory, not a prize.

Quote::

This now presents two questions:
1) Without the promotion of this program, what is the likelihood of there having been 89 caches placed in our BC Parks in the month of September, very slim I would guess, is this good or bad in the big picture.
2) Without the establishment of guidelines for the placement of these caches during these promotions have we enhanced our ability to continue to place caches in BC’s Parks or have we diminished that ability.
I don't think there is an expectation of BC Parks doing this every year. Last year was the first, and it worked well. This year , only one year later happened because of other organizations , and Olympics. Chris could better answer BC Parks Reaction to the program.

You could throw Gold-Rush in the mix too, that also is a Gov't sponsored program. If They feel it worked well for them, other areas may well get some tourism dollars and create similar programs.

Quote::

I feel we are on a road that will diminish the luxury we now enjoy.

As I said, I don't have the expectation of this kind of sponsored project every year, this year seems exceptional with both the GeoTrek & Gold Rush. Yes, it may be a let down to some cachers if there was not the same type of programs. But on the other hand, look at the some of the other hugely well received cacher events such as Geo-Rally, Coal-Rush, Amazing Geo-Race. I think events like these can hold people over a year. There are so many cachers now, that it is much easier to get a small group of people together to create these type of larger events.

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~~~~ _CanadianBacon_~~~~
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IRLPGUY



Joined: Mar 01, 2007
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Promotional Cache placements in BC Parks Reply with quote

Thanks for your response Canadian Bacon:

Quote::

2) They are promotional caches, to highlight BC parks, and bring environmental awareness, in total they cover a wide variety of D/T's, which should appeal to different people, why should they all be low difficulties and terrains? BC Parks are full of places that are difficult to get to, and people go there for just that reason. Why should the caches in these parks not reflect that diversity of the game?

The suggestion of a maximum T/D ratiing was meant to apply to only those caches placed during this program and within a rating that would appeal to the majority of the caching community. If an owner wished to place a cache on his own in the farthest reaches of a Park, well and good.

Quote::

We are not selling cars, they are caches and each placement needs a bit of personalization, otherwise all of them could be stacked up on the same spot.. No big deal.

Of course we are not selling cars, however we are selling the idea of visiting our BC Parks and other areas highlighted in this promotion, therefore some effort in going away from the generic outline given would have certainly improved the look of some of these caches. Of the sampling I took of caches placed around the province I saw numerous ones which identified the area where the cache was with sufficient information and pictures to want me to visit such a location, I emailed several owners and congratulated them on just that fact. Others in my sampling were generic and stated the cache was in a BC Park and it was not anywhere near a park. Get my drift now.


Quote::

4) It has your name on it, it is your cache. I'm happy for the kick-start with a painted cache full of stuff. I have not heard anybody say they expect a bag full of swag every 6 months to fill it up.

If one of these caches had my name on it I would be concerned that within a week of it's placement there is virtually nothing left in it, however I would feel it was now my responsibility to replenish the cache so that those that sought the cache after the initial blitz would not find an empty cache. In no way was I suggesting a bag of swag was expected from anyone to fill it up, however as the owner I would expect to maintain it.

Quote::

I think there is very little wrong with the actual cache hides, the swag trading issues may need to be addressed. That has nothing to do with the hiders. I'm more in favor of a ticket/pin number system where no actual coins are in the cache. Go online, enter pin, name, email and get in a draw. First 300 names drawn get a coin. No FTF Prizes. It should be about the locations, parks. FTF can be for the Glory, not a prize.

I did not suggest there was anything wrong with the hides, I did suggest that because of the varied owners involved that this was a possibility. I will not be able to judge a large sampling of these caches, however through no fault on the part of the owner, considerable damage has been done to the area around one of the caches I have found in this series.
I do not care if the containers are devoid of swag, that has very little meaning to me other than in my own caches. The controversy created this year resides around the swag not the coins, there is nothing wrong with having coins as 1st 2nd and 3rd to find prizes, what has happened with the swag cannot be controlled no matter what you put on the cache page, again that is the nature of the beast. If you want to control the coins, then put 3 certificates in each cache to be sent to BCGA for redemption, that way no one person would be able to get their hands on more than one coin, simple but effective.

Today I visited two of my caches which were focused on during a recent event, one was logged 20 times and along with the 20 who logged the cache there were other family members tramping though the area to locate the cache, this 20 cachers alone represents 10 more than logged the cache in all of 2008, now add in the other members who accompanied the "tour guide" along on this blitz and I am now forced to disable this cache and another in the same location so that the area can rejuvenate itself. That very well attended event caused more damage than had been done in all the time these caches existed. Let me tell you no favors were done to me as an owner in what took place there.

I don't need events to "hold" me over for any period of time, but that is my opinion, I have expressed my congratulations to the Turtles for their wonderful event, which I did not attend, but I do understand the amount of work that went into it's preparation, and the preparation of other such events.

It is good we are able to express our view through these forums, let us try not to misinterpret what someone has said and respond to them in a critical way, we are each entitled to our opinions.

Finally I am convinced the Member Only concern has been addressed by yourself and it would appear the other one was completely accidental, I just feel these caches should be available to everyone.
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scruffster



Joined: Sep 29, 2004
Posts: 1207
Location: Burnaby

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 4:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Promotional Cache placements in BC Parks Reply with quote

Hi IRLPguy,

It's good to see constructive criticism on these major projects. It helps the BCGA better future endeavours. However, I'm not sure if your concerns are based in fact or assumption. As a person who was involved in placing BlueSky caches, I happen to know that there were indeed stipulations involved. Here are some answers to a few of your concerns...

1) Guidelines as to where the cache should and should “not” be placed.

We couldn't place caches anywhere in BC. There was a list of parks and municipalities. We had to choose from the list. So, as far as the big picture is concerned, there were pre-approved areas.

In respect to where we could not place a cache, those guidelines are clearly listed on groundspeak, and in the case of BC Parks, there are additional rules. The BlueSky caches, as with any geocache, should follow those rules. That was clearly mentioned in the email I received from the BCGA and the local coordinator.

Since I chose Cypress Provincial Park from the list, I was personally contacted and asked to make sure the geocache was nowhere near any Olympic venue.

2) Maximum difficulty and terrain ratings for these caches

There was no formal limit placed on BlueSky geocaches but it was suggested that the cache be accessible to as many people as possible.

3) Guidelines for the cache page layout.

We all received a template so all BlueSky geocaches would have the same look. We were told that we could personalize them in any way but try to stick with an environmental theme. The original template had spaces to fill in for the title and additional information if the cache was placed in a BC Park. Those that did not place a cache in a BC park were instructed to omit that part of the text. On the template, the cache owners were encouraged to include green alternatives (bus routes etc) to get to the cache.

4) Expected maintenance guidelines.

The caches belong to the person who placed the cache so minimum guidelines as proposed by geocaching.com are adequate. There was more than enough swag inside and plundering should not fall into the hands of the cache owner but the guilty parties themselves. Just like any cache, it is up to the cache owner to restock caches if they feel the need.

The swag provided is a one shot deal. It is always sad when people don't trade fairly.

5) No member only caches. (applies only to those placed during this event)

This is perhaps the only option that, to my knowledge, wasn't discussed. But the problem was quickly rectified. A small issue in regards to the many geocaches placed.

Experienced and reputable geocachers placed the BlueSky geocaches -- all of whom should know the basic rules. To my knowledge, all the cache hiders adhered to the additional BlueSky guidelines focusing on environmental theme.

All in all, I think this was a great project. I don't see any glaring problems that wouldn't be associated with geocaching on any given day of the week. In fact, I see fewer problems with BlueSky caches than on average.
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IRLPGUY



Joined: Mar 01, 2007
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 6:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Promotional Cache placements in BC Parks Reply with quote

Thank you Scruffster for the excellent response.

Those of us who may have had concerns regarding the program and the aspects of it as I have voiced, will now have a better understanding of the process. Taking this new knowledge into account, over time we can better assess the success of the program.
Thanks for being so thorough in your explanations.

It would appear from your post that fairly comprehensive thought and discussion had taken place prior to the placement of these caches, that is good, and as it should be, it relieves my concerns in that area.

Regarding swag in the caches, my point was that some of these caches, (hopefully not many) are now almost devoid of trading items, I did not, and do not suggest or expect BCGA or the sponsors to provide additional swag to refill these caches.

Sadly those that did not trade fairly or at all, will not be returning to put something in the cache they pillaged, and sadly it will be up to the owner to ensure the cache is properly maintained, hopefully he/she will see fit to ensure there is at least a minimum of trading items.

Members Only - A small issue unless you happened to be a non premium member when these caches first came out. However this has been explained and assuming the other cache involved has been changed then it is now a non issue.

I myself have found 9 of the Blue Sky Caches, I found issue with one cache and have addressed that with the cache owner. I posed a question on another and had a response posted to the cache page by the owner. Only one other cache I felt did not meet the objectives of the project but otherwise they were very good, well done.

Unfortunately I do not understand why a small Provincial Park like Bridal Falls was chosen to have yet another cache placed through this project, when it already had 4, nor why Emory Creek was chosen when it already had 3 caches within it.

Was the project a great success, hopefully we will hear from cachers throughout the province as to their opinion, I will reserve judgment until some time has passed, and I have found more caches in this series. One success already acknowledged is the fact that more people have been able to obtain a coin this year than last, we are ahead of the game already, and I sincerely hope down the road to be able to say "YES" it was a complete success.

Thanks again for the response.
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couloir



Joined: Jan 19, 2008
Posts: 152
Location: Kamloops

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 6:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Promotional Cache placements in BC Parks Reply with quote

A lot of critique for our program... I coordinated the program since we couldn't find anyone else, and it was done in about 10 days to meet a short deadline. We did the best we could to plan the distribution, ship the containers, coordinate all the caches province-wide, provide the HTML code, provide guidelines, coordinate the listings and plan the launch. This was done by a few key volunteers in a busy time. It ended up being what it was. What critics have to remember is that BCGA is really a few busy volunteers just trying to better geocaching in B.C. If things are not perfect, then I would invite members (and especially the critics) to take on a leadership role to make this better next time. I challenge you to step up and do the job next year. Start by forwarding your name for the Board for next year...
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scruffster



Joined: Sep 29, 2004
Posts: 1207
Location: Burnaby

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Promotional Cache placements in BC Parks Reply with quote

I'm glad I could be some help. As mentioned, I volunteered to place a BlueSky cache and there was guidance from the BCGA and the local coordinator when I did so.

Caches becoming devoid of swag is a universal problem and not limited to BlueSky hides. However, anyone that reads the BlueSky cache page should see that the coins only were FTF prizes and everything else was intended as swag.

I believe our attitudes as finders should change. The provincial government, with help from the BCGA, has placed a couple hundred geocaches with thousands of dollars worth of prizes and swag. Yet, many cachers ran out to grab coins and swag without a thought of putting anything in. Myself included. I got my FTF coin without regard to what I could do to keep the cache going. I'm no saint.

Coulior has a good point in regards to stepping up. Maybe volunteering is not in the cards for everyone but instead of asking what we can get out of the BlueSky caches, we can think about what we can put in. By the geocaching community at large maintaining these caches with good swag, it would be a way of thanking BC Parks and the BCGA for their efforts. It would be a very small sacrifice for the individual to throw in some extra swag once in a while but if everyone did it, it would make all the difference.

I believe the list of potential hiding spots came from BC Parks, not the BCGA. It is my understanding that the (Green) Olympics were originally involved. That is why Sea to Sky geocaches were on the list and why certain communities were chosen over others.

I'm surprised at the suggestion that we will have to wait and see to determine if BlueSky is a success. It is a success. All objectives were met. BC Parks met their objective by getting more people into provincial parks. The Geocaching community has thousands of dollars worth of donated swag and prizes along with a swat of new caches to find. We can nitpick over individual caches. If we go looking for problems we will find them. After all, no project is without a few snags now and then. But overall, the BlueSky project is a major bonus for the geocachers of BC.
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geodug



Joined: Apr 13, 2004
Posts: 161

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Promotional Cache placements in BC Parks Reply with quote

I think we need to understand that BCGA is an all-volunteer society run by non-paid people. They are involved in the Association to try and improve the geocaching experience in the single year they are elected. In this time frame they can only hope to make an incremental difference in the time they serve. Surely, it is an over-expectation to expect them to solve all the issues known during their service.

Their performance will be judged by the members-at-large that will vote in the new officers in the upcoming year. If the majority of the members determine that different persons are more suitable, they will change the makeup of the group.

For the BlueSky project, cachers outside the Executive were necessary to be able to achieve the performance and timeline goals set forth.

Most if not all the cache placers have jobs or are otherwise occupied during the day. The caches were placed to the best of their ability within the time frame that was available to them. From what I can see through perusing the logs etc. the caches have been well received in most cases.

Were they all perfect? No, and nobody expected them to be. The issues I know of are minor in nature and I am sure will be considered and solutions found if another program of this nature is undertaken next year.

Public service is often a thankless job. Sometimes criticism is deserved but in this particular case it is not. I was very impressed by the way all the volunteers came together to get this large project done. Personally, I was expecting more problems to surface and fewer solutions forthcoming.

On an overall basis, it was a great effort and all involved are deserving of thanks for an excellent job. All these people can be proud of being able to work towards a common purpose and have the project turn out so well.
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IRLPGUY



Joined: Mar 01, 2007
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 7:07 am    Post subject: Re: Promotional Cache placements in BC Parks Reply with quote

My original post to these forums asked questions about the Blue Sky project and the partnering of BCGA with BC Parks in this project. At no time in my posts or subsequent posts have I put this on a personal note, nor have I singled out any individual involved in the project. My concern was entirely about the overall effect on our ability to continue to cache in BC Parks and the part these types of projects play in that picture. For me the concerns I had were answered in this thread.

I note that the only responders to my post are those that participated in the project in some way. Thank you all for doing that, but please do not suggest that I step up and volunteer, I did that after the last AGM and heard nothing from BCGA. I have been a volunteer for most of my adult life and I certainly know "all" there is to know about criticism and reward in doing so.

I will not be led down a path that singles out or belittles anyone for their questions or their views, perhaps those who have done so might take a look at themselves and their posts to this forum.

The success or failure of this project will be judged over time, "not" by the first logs to caches that contained all this great swag and coins. As has been said in this forum, some will have been a success and others not, the best we can hope for is an overall success in the long run.
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_canadianbacon_



Joined: Jan 05, 2004
Posts: 1154
Location: Surrey, BC, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 9:14 am    Post subject: Re: Promotional Cache placements in BC Parks Reply with quote

I think all my personal responses were referring to myself, and my use
of the word 'your' or 'you' in most cases was more referencing 'the
cacher' or 'the reader'.

couloir, if I gave the impression I was not happy with the overall
program, that is not the case. The suggestions made by me around swag
are just my ideas for the future on how to more fairly 'spread the
wealth'. That is for cachers who have less free time, family
commitments to have a chance at enjoying these projects (coins in
particular) as much as those who are more flexible schedules.

As for BC Parks, if they were concerned about the impact of these
caches they would not have done such a program, they do after all have
last years Georush to draw on. They sponsor these programs to get
people in parks. So saying that these program could impact future use
of BC Parks seems somewhat counter-intuitive, when they are a partner
in architecting the whole program. Geocaching compliments park use,
it gets people into the parks that otherwise might pass them by, and
often highlights features , areas or historical sites too.
Considering the rules in the parks for placement, it is a win-win
situation. Trying to get 100% compliance, and all caches in the
absolute , best newest undiscovered spot, is unrealistic.

Given that it is volunteers that help organize this, it would be an
even more thankless, and endless (I know first-hand) job if they had
to police it.

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~~~~ _CanadianBacon_~~~~
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