We were notified earlier this week that effective June 1, 2013 the Bruce Trail Conservancy has selectively banned physical geocaches along 12% of the Bruce Trail. Only lands owned or directly managed by the Bruce Trail Conservancy are affected.
Earth caches or other “virtual” geocaches may be approved with prior approval from the Bruce Trail Conservancy. It has been explained to the Conservancy that virtual caches cannot get published but they are referring to any non-physical geocache.
The policy notice that we received on June 24th can be found here – BTC Policy
We are characterizing this as a ban because that is effectively what it is. The Conservancy had minimal engagement from the previous OGA executive before they imposed their policy. The Conservancy made no attempt to contact the current executive in the past five months and no draft policy was ever provided for comment or feedback.
Any cache within the 12% of the trail affected will need to be removed. The BTC has not told us which part of the trail this is so we can’t provide guidance on that. Only the BTC can tell if the cache is on owned land. We will provide more guidance if it becomes available. Keep in mind that the Conservancy only has this kind of authority on land it owns or directly manages. The land owner is the only person that can determine was is allowed and what isn’t. If you have already sought land owner approval then your cache will not be affected.
The BTC decision occurred in part because of an incident where caches were placed without permission causing a land owner to revoke permission for the trail to pass through their property. Understandably the BTC had to take action. In our estimation this action is heavy handed and could have been resolved in a way that works for both communities.
The Conservancy’s annual general meeting is coming up in September. We will be petitioning to get geocaching added to the agenda for that meeting. If you are a member of the Bruce Trail Conservancy we encourage you to share your thoughts about this new policy directly with the Conservancy. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org