The National Capital Commission has released some additional information about the Gatineau Park Ecosystem Conservation Plan on their website. Specifically, they have released a Fact Sheet, the Priority Initiatives and a document about the species at risk. The full 120+ page report has yet to be made available in electronic form, but I think that you can view it at the NCC Library.
In the Priority Initiatives document are the various activities that will be affected by the GPECP. Besides basically saying ice climbing is pretty much banned from the Eardley Escarpment because it may interfere with deer in the winter (even though other parts of the plan suggest that there are too many deer in the park and the law being used as the justification is a provincial law and not a federal law), it also mentions geocaching.
Specifically, it says:
- The geocaches located in the park’s integral conservation zone will be relocated in areas that are less sensitive before the end of summer 2010.
- Information regarding the geocaches will be modified on the websites associated with this activity.
- The NCC will refer to Parks Canada’s guidelines to manage the geocaching activity.
The “integral conservation zone” (ICZ) appears to be the dark olive zone in the map found on page 39 of the GPECP Summary. As you can see, much of that zone is in the northwest parts of the park, but it also extends along the escarpment almost to Lac Pink.
Some local geocachers have been wondering how this impacts caches they’ve hidden in Gatineau Park. I think some of them are going to have to remove their caches because it appears that quite a few are in the ICZ, at least when you look at them using Google Earth, as I did.
Now, not all of the geocaches indicated in this picture (click it to see a larger version) are going to have to move. The Eardley Escarpment is clearly visible in the picture as the boundary between the green farmers field adjacent to the orangey terrain that runs diagonally from upper left to lower right.
Many of the geocaches that are in the orangeish area near the escarpment are probably going to have to be reviewed. Hopefully this won’t result in too many caches being archived.
The wording of the first point in the priority initiatives document is a bit intriguing:
The geocaches located in the park’s integral conservation zone will be relocated in areas that are less sensitive before the end of summer 2010.
One could interpret this as the park staff will be unilaterally relocating the geocaches in question. At least it’s not completely closing the door on geocaching in Gatineau Park. Overall, the NCC has been pretty welcoming to geocaching on their other land holdings, such as the Greenbelt, so it would be a shame if the hobby was no longer welcome in Gatineau Park.
Hopefully there will be some discussions with the geocaching community before this starts to be implemented.