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95Geocaching in Travis County Parks

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  • tlane3of6
    Aug 30 8:21 PM
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      We met with Rose Farmer, Resource Management Specialist of Travis
      County Transportation & Natural Resources, this week.

      In July, she sent an email to geocaching.com about 3 of our caches in
      Southeast Metro Park and had them archived. We removed these caches
      at her request. When I discussed this with her in July on the phone,
      she was only willing to allow virtual caching in the county parks.

      The county has softened their position considerably since then. She
      presented a draft of Travis County rules that were very reasonable.
      She didn't provide a copy though they could have come right out of
      Geocaching.com's web page. Some of the rules that we remember are:
      1) No glass, no dangerous items,
      2) No disturbing of the natural resources,
      3) Permission must be obtained by the Park Manager including the
      exact location,
      4) No digging,
      5) No caching in sensitive areas,
      6) The county can visit and inspect the cache at any time,
      7) No signs or marking anywhere in the park,
      8) The county may remove any cache at any time to be picked up by the

      I don't think any of us could argue with any of these. She said that
      she will provide the list of managers for each park but for now, we
      could contact her. Any caches in existing county parks should be
      temporarily pulled while we obtain approval. (Windmill Run, Hamilton
      Pool Preserve, Northeast and Southeast Metro that I know about.)

      We spent a great deal of time discussing the Balcones Canyonland
      Preserves. The County owns (or will soon)30,000 acres in addition to
      the amount the City of Austin owns. Because the BCP's are endangered
      habitat, we have zero chance of caching in this area. Both the
      county and city must comply with federal oversight as a result of a
      permit with Department Fish and Wildlife Management (or something
      like that). There are large tracts of BCP that are off limits to
      even hiking!

      She is interested in feedback and is willing to meet with more of
      us. The county recognizes that we can be a positive force in the
      parks, as long as we follow the rules. They welcome any information
      that we can provide about any problem areas that we might observe
      while on the trails. We don't always have to trash out if we can
      help identify where and when its happening so they can try to prevent
      or eliminate the source of the trouble.

      See you on the trails (or next gathering),
      Tom and Marilyn