I thought I would throw out a couple of my experiences with getting permission for placements on DEC WMAs.
I havent really seen this info posted anywhere.
Please reply if you have anything to add, or had a differing experience.
A couple years ago, I contacted the main DEC office in Buffalo, and asked about geocaching. I was reffered to both the Fish & Wildlife Manager, and the Land Manager for Region 9. They had me on conference call, and were very polite and helpful.
They said they would send me a form to fill out and return to them. I got the form in just a couple days.
Unfortunately, it required I had to take a picture of the container, the hiding spot, and one of the general area of the hide. It also required that I mark the location on a map, and return everything for review.
Unfortunately, I wasnt able to follow up at that point, and I let it go by the wayside.
I had at an earlier time, called and gotten ahold of a DEC Engineer in Buffalo, as I had questions about a WMA/Private Landowner boundary. He was nice enough to send me a map showing the DEC property lines. I suppose I could have used that map to send back with my request.
Recently, I placed two caches on a WMA in Rattlesnake Hill. I again called the DEC Office in Avon (Region 8), and got reffered to a Fish & Wildlife Tech. He told me all I had to do was email the main Wildlife Manager with coordinates, a description of the container, the actual hiding spot, and describe the location of the general area, and that once he received it, he would confer with the respective Land Managers and Techs specific to whichever WMA it was in.
About a week later, I received an email containing a .pdf approval letter from him. A couple days after that, I also received a hardcopy of the same letter by snail mail.
All I had to do was email the .pdf to the GC reviewer, and I got my caches published in a few hours.
I dont know if DEC policy has been updated now, as to not require a form, pictures, and a marked map, or if its up to each Region how they want to handle it.
I just want to say, that its very easy to go through the process. Just call the main number for your Regional DEC office, and the Operator will get you into contact with the right person.
The only thing is, it seems it might take a week or two to hear back from them. I believe this is fully understandable, given the budget cuts and state of affairs in NY right now. I am sure DEC is undermanned, and overworked right now. Just be patient and polite with them, and you will be good to go. Just dont' hound them. One call or email a week should be good to let them know that you are serious about placement.
Please understand that while caching is generally allowed on WMA's, these areas are the MOST sensitive DEC lands, as far as wildlife and flora goes. So if you get told they cant approve your hide as is, please take the NO graciously. See if you can work with them by asking for THEIR suggestions on where a good location would be.
I've always found DEC people to be very helpful and polite, and more than willing to give you any information/maps/forms that you need.
Also, they have implemented an interactive online map of DEC lands, in the past couple of years. Its kinda hard to find on their website, as the link is buried a few pages deep. I've found it very helpful to locate boundaries, and would probably be good to use while you have someone from DEC on the phone, so you can both look up the same area at the same time and discuss what you need to.
Here's the current direct link:http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/45415.html
Anyway, I just thought I would share my experiences with their approval process. Please feel free to post yours. I'd like to see if everyone generally has to go through the same thing, or if it may vary by Region or Manager.
Remember, just because GC has worked out a policy for placements with NY DEC, ANY cache placement, whether listed on GC or any other alternative caching site MUST go through the same DEC approval process. Just because a cache is NOT specific to GC, does not mean we can place without DEC approval. I imagine this should apply with placements on ANY managed lands.