Sunday, July 09, 2006

Letterboxing Policies

LETTERBOXING POLICY: THREE ISSUES
1) SALES TAX AND MISSOURI STATE PARK LETTERBOXING POLICIES
Tuesday, August 8, 2006 is election day and on the ballot will be Amendment 1 which is the proposal to renew the state parksand soils1/10th of one percent (this would be the continuation of an exisiting tax currently set to expire in 2008 if it is not renewed). This tax provides the majority of the funding (75%) for the Missouri state park system.(for more infor visit www.amendment1.org)

What doesthis have to do with letterboxing? Well with the election so close, state park official are paying particularly close attention to any comments they receive from the public. As mostof you know, state parks have a letterboxing policy which require all letterboxes to have an approved permit from the respective area managers. The current policy (whichwas written without public opinion from any letterboxers) limitstheboxes to one permit per every 200 acres. Each permit MAY have up to five boxes, though some park managers interpret this to mean (at the discretion of the park manager). Thus RockBridge State Park is currently allowed 11 permits and no more than 20 boxes total. This number also includes any geocaches within park boundaries.

Additionally, the policy states that the permit may be renewed after one year. After the2ndyear, the boxmust be removed, or relocated (anda new permit applied for) or allowed to stay in the same place if you re-apply and are approved.

While I have no problem with area managers requiring permits to ensure that boxes are not placed in sensitive or dangerous areas, and so that they can manage the area to prevent the creationof new trails, I personally believe that the policy of one permit per 200 acresis far too restrictive. Not only can some areas can accomodate a lot more than 1 box per 200 acres, it can be done so with minmal impact to the surrounding lands, especially if the visitation to the box is low (as it is in the majority of the state), or if the box is located close to an existing trail.

If you have the same or other concerns, please send an e-mail (preferably before August 8) to the Division of State Parks. The initial contact person for policy concerns is Angie Even, the state park web coordinator. Her e-mail is Angie.Even@dnr.mo.gov If you mention the state parks sales tax renewal somewhere in the letter, it will be sure to catch their attention (For example: As a voter and a supporter of the upcoming sales tax renewal, I would appreciate it if some consideration would be given to reviewing the stae park letterboxing policy, with respect to my concerns below . . . I would be happy to discuss the matter with you and can be reached at...".) Feel free to use any of the text above. If you would like a copy of the state park letterboxing policy, I can post it here or send it to you by e-mail.

2) CONSERVATION DEPARTMENT AND GEOCACHING
I recently saw a survey put forth by the Missouri Department of Conservation asking, among other things, if readers of their monthly publication, The Conservationist, would be interested in seeeing an article on geocaching. The last time I checked (sixmonths ago), MDC did not have an official geocaching policy. The fact that they're considering publishing an article tells me they are likely to establish one soon (if they haven't already). Like state parks, they may simply lump letterboxing in with geocaching and may or may not seek opinions before creating such a policy. In any case, if they do publish an article, it's gonna impactletterboxing one way or another, as The Conservationist is one of the most widely read publications in the state of Missouri. By addressing concerns with MDCbefore they go to press, we may be able to influence their policy-making. I do not have an official contact person but you would be able to contactthem through their website which I believe is www.mdc.mo.gov If that's not correct, you cansearch for them by typing Missouri Department Conservationin you web browser.

3) CONNECTICUT LETTERBOXING
Lastly, on a slightly similar note, you may wish to check out the Connecticut Division of Forestry's Page. Connecticut is a hotbed of letterboxing and has hundreds (if not thousands)of active boxes in the state. The CtDiv. of Forestry has planted 30 letterboxes (one on each state forest) and sponsors a patchprogram for collecting at least five (and a walking stick if you collect all 30). I've sent them a letter to request information on what kind of impact letterboxing has had in CT after the implementation of thisprogram. their website is : http://www.dep.state.ct.us/burnatr/forestry/centen/letterbox.htm

To respond to any of these issues on this blog, select the Post a Comment option.
Fox-fyr

2 comments:

Sandi Staley said...

Thanks for gathering and sharing this information, Fox-fyr...I'll be sure to act on it before next month.

WyldBlueberries said...

Great stuff, Fox-Fyr. I would hate to see them put the clamps down on the conservation areas, because we love placing boxes there. (As evidenced by our recent Camp Swampy.)