This letter is to let you know that as of November 1st 2012, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) will be changing its geocaching policy.
What does this mean for you?
If you own a cache on IDNR land or want to place a cache on IDNR land, you must seek a new geocache permit from IDNR for each of your caches. You must then renew your permit(s) each year while your cache is on IDNR property.
In November, Groundspeak, the Indiana Volunteer Review Team and IDNR will provide more information about this new process. IDNR is currently in the process of creating a geocaching webpage that will include the new policy as well as instructions to apply for the permit. There will also be step by step instructions for current cache owners already placed on IDNR land.
On November 7th, 2012, all caches on IDNR property will be archived. You will then have 30 days to complete the permit and have your cache placement approved by IDNR through the new policy. Once this has been done and you have notified your local volunteer reviewer, the reviewer will enable your cache listing again.
We thank you for your understanding and patience while Groundspeak and the Indiana Volunteer Review Team help IDNR with implementation of its new geocaching policy. We hope to make this transition as smooth as possible.
If you have any questions please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org attention Jessica.
If you own a cache on IDNR property you most likely received this e-mail yesterday.
While it may seem a surprise, this effort has actually been in process since early this year! At that time, IDNR approached Groundspeak with concerns about the Geocaching policy and, particularly, the number of caches in Indiana forests. The initial policy set by the IDNR was created in the early days of caching and the staff realized it no longer met their needs.
A meeting was held in March with IDNR staff, Groundspeak volunteers and representatives of the local Geocaching community. I was lucky to be included in this last group and, what I learned is, among other things the initial policy included only Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs in the permitting guidelines.
Managers of other properties were surprised by the number of unpermitted caches on their properties and an initial reaction was to just make them all go away. Through ongoing give and take, a new policy acceptable to all was developed by the IDNR and approved by The State Natural Resources Commission on September 18. The new policy can be found here.
While we as cachers would love to have hundreds of caches in parks and other state wildlife areas, we have to abide by the IDNR’s decisions as property owners. In summary, could the new policy be better? Yes. Could it be worse? You bet!
But, I’m sure the big question is – why archive all caches? The rationale is it’s the only fair way to level the playing field for properties where the current number of caches exceeds the maximum allowable and to make sure all caches are permitted. Is it the best solution? Maybe not. But, there had to be a way to get all caches into compliance.
In all fairness, I am also one of those impacted owning a cache at Ft. Harrison State Park that does not meet the new guidelines. Like many of you, I’m being patient and will wait and see how all of this shakes out – as we all know, change is difficult and there will be bumps in the road!