By Robert Fouse

“Signs, signs everywhere are signs, blocking out the scenery blowing my mind, do this don’t do that, and can’t you read the signs?”

If you are old enough, you will remember where this quote came from. That old song had special meaning back in the day. It was trying to tell us something important.

The Bureau of Land Management has been in the news a lot lately. They have been busy down in Nevada, Texas, and here they come into Central Oregon. The BLM has decided that geocaching is now an environmentally dangerous game. BLM claims that folks might not walk in the right place and create some undesignated trails. Do you see the sign? Walk here; don’t walk there!

How phony is this?

“Geocaching is absolutely a legitimate use of public land, but it’s inappropriate in wilderness areas,” so said BLM’s Carol Benkosky.

Is there anyone out there that remembers when wilderness areas changed to private government land? If it has been decided that geocaching is inappropriate in our wilderness areas, what other activities might the BLM deem inappropriate? How about orienteering? What do you think might be next, maybe hunting or horseback riding and packing? What about running your dogs off-leash?

There are myriad issues that the BLM may find unsuitable to take place in a wilderness area. Could it be just an attempt to push some folks around so that the next group may be easier to push around? That is how the new government agencies seem to function. I say new because the leadership coming out of Washington seems to have removed their leashes.

How phony is this?

The BLM spokesperson in the name of Lisa Clark said in an email that the geocache containers need to be removed to protect the lands from unplanned trails geocachers “may” wear into the ground to a popular location. If it hasn’t happened yet, what is the problem? Walk here; don’t walk there! You best not leave a cache lying about even if they’re hidden under a rock or in a fork of a tree and about the size of a box of kitchen matches. Nasty man-made things they are. BLM decided that no containers are allowed in the wilderness area. Give these folks a break. If you are not out looking for the caches, you will never see them.

How phony is this?

Clark continued, saying they will still have a number of “virtual” caches to explore that will lead you to a rock, or a tree, or a vista that the BLM wants you to see.

I hate to be the one to say so, but if you can’t find the cache, then you are not successfully geocaching. No book to sign, no trinket to retrieve. Sorry, but that is not geocaching. Can you read the sign yet?

I don’t remember any public meeting being called to discuss this with the owners of the property, do you? If I were a person who practiced geocaching I would be really incensed!

I am concerned because of the next thing that the BLM may decide to designate as an inappropriate activity. However you choose to use the wildness area, I certainly hope your activity isn’t next. Everyone should call and complain; your activity may be next. I don’t like these actions by BLM because it is nothing more than another arrogant, unnecessary, overreaching move.

Walk here; don’t walk there! That’s an order! Look at this, don’t look at that and, for goodness sake, stay on the designated trail.

Can’t you read the signs?

— Robert Fouse lives in Bend.