Table of Contents:
1. Alberta Provincial Parks and Protected Areas
2. National Parks
3. Fire Lookout Towers
4. Calgary City Parks
5. Canada Post Corporation
6. City of Lethbridge
Caching in Alberta During COVID-19 Updates:
New Public Health Measures for the Province of Alberta:
As of July 1st 2021 Alberta has lifted all restrictions on outdoor gatherings.
At this time we will go back to publishing all events.
*The general indoor provincial mask mandate has been lifted, but masking may still be required in limited and specific settings.
*We also suggest that social distancing be practiced at all events.
At this time, we advise Event hosts to consult their regional health authorities to understand the guidance regarding gatherings of people. Should the restrictions change the event cache may be disabled, retracted, or archived, in accordance with guidance from health authorities.
Alberta Provincial Parks and Protected Areas
An alphabetical listing of all Alberta Parks can be found here "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Alberta_provincial_parks">
Geocaching Site Application Process
- Physical caches are not allowed in sensitive ecological areas or where there is a risk to the public anywhere in the Alberta provincial parks system. Geocaches are NOT PERMITTED in any park in these land classifications: Heritage Rangelands, Ecological Reserves and Wilderness Areas.
- A cache owner (hider) who wants to place a physical cache in a Provincial Park, Provincial Recreation Area, Natural Area, Wildland Provincial Park or Willmore Wilderness Park must contact the regional/district Alberta Parks Geocaching Contact for the park.
- If the Alberta Parks Geocaching Contact approves the general location, the cache owner goes there and places a geocache following the standards, placement and location guidelines outlined below.
- Once the cache is placed, the cache owner forwards the location coordinates to the Alberta Parks Geocaching Contact for approval. The Parks contact will (in writing) approve, deny or provide feedback on the placement of the geocache to ensure that it's consistent with Alberta Parks' guidelines.
- Once placed and approved, the cache owner submits the geocache location to Geocaching.com. Each submission must include a copy of the placement's written approval from the Alberta Parks Geocaching Contact.
- If it meets the requirements of Geocaching.com (and providing that it has already been approved by Alberta Parks), the geocache location is posted on Geocaching.com.
- If the geocache is not approved by Alberta Parks or at the Geocaching.com review level, the rationale for it being refused is provided to the cache owner.
Note This application process must be followed for all Alberta Parks locations.
- If a cache owner inadvertently places a geocache in an Alberta Parks location and submits the geocache location to Geocaching.com, the organization will flag the geocache as being in a park and place it on hold. Geocaching.com will advise the cache owner to contact the appropriate Alberta Parks Geocaching Contact for review and approval.
- The geocache location will not be posted on Geocaching.com until after the Alberta Parks Geocaching Contact approves it.
Standards for Physical Caches
- Approval for physical caches will be given as long as the caches are placed in a location approved by a regional/district park staff member and consistent with the AlbertaParks guidelines for geocaching. Geocachers must also comply with the international Geocache Listing Requirements/Guidelines (found at Geocaching.com). Alberta Parks reserves the right to refuse any cache that does not comply with its guidelines.
- Cache contents must include a logbook. Often objects for trade such as geocoins, travel bugs or trade swag can also be included in geocache containers. Food items, tobacco, explosives or other dangerous items (such as knives and firearms) are not permitted.
- The size of the cache container must not be larger than 30 x 15 x 20 cm. (width, length, depth).
- Cache containers must be sealed (capable of being opened and closed multiple times), animal proof, never used for food or medication storage, and suitable for all weather conditions.
Placement of Physical Caches
- As long as there is no ecological or public safety concern
- Caches should be placed within 15-metres of an officially designated trail (as per a trail map for the site, where one is available)
- Caches can be placed within 15-metres of an informal trail if it is well-used and well-defined on the ground
- In sites with low visitation, caches may be placed near established trails or facilities IF they can be found with minimal disturbance to the environment
- Cache density is a minimum of 161 metres between caches.
The maximum number of geocache placements permitted at any Alberta Parks site is site-specific. Regional Alberta Parks staff has the flexibility to cap the number of caches at a level deemed manageable in the area.
Location of Physical Caches
- Caches must NOT be
- Placed in locations that inherently create a risk to the public. This includes structures of a dangerous or prohibited nature (communication towers, electrical infrastructure, industry sites, railway tracks, below viewing platforms, well pads, etc).
- Buried, nailed or screwed to trees, or placed in restricted or environmentally sensitive areas
- Placed on/in nests or birdhouses, places of hibernation, wildlife corridors, underground burrows or other places of wildlife habitat
- Placed on cottages, trailer homes, trapper cabins, historic buildings, campsites or commercial lots
- Placed on Alberta Parks buildings or infrastructures, e.g. boat launches, docks, lagoons, garbage bins, shower facilities, toilets, electrical panels or closed staff areas. Some exceptions for certain types of infrastructure may be made if approved by regional Alberta Parks staff.
- Placed in an area that goes through significant annual change (erosion, flooding, thawing, etc.)
- In a location that requires adjustment or disturbance of any natural or heritage feature. For example, no removal of rocks, brush, trees or foliage, no burying the cache in the ground, and minimal disturbance to vegetation growth.
Geocache Monitoring, Maintenance and Removal
- The cache owner retains all responsibility for adequate oversight and maintenance of the cache. This includes monitoring the online listing for reports of the cache and any problems with it. Necessary maintenance may include: repair or replacement of the container, logbook or contents; disabling the geocache at times when access is prohibited; and removing the cache if the site is being adversely impacted.
- The cache owner should immediately remove any cache that is not in compliance with these guidelines, is improperly placed, interferes with public safety, interferes with maintenance activities, or does not have approval for placement.
- The owner must remove a cache once it's no longer being maintained. The owner is responsible for contacting Geocaching.com and Alberta Parks when the cache has been archived.
- If a cache owner fails to comply with these guidelines, Alberta Parks staff, in cooperation with Geocaching.com, will remove the cache. This may prevent the non-compliant cache owner from being issued additional caching approvals.
- EarthCaches must be educational, highlight a unique feature, and provide an earth science lesson (e.g., the sand dunes at Devonshire Beach in Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park).
- The cache owner creates a description of the EarthCache, including educational information about the geological feature and the coordinates, and forwards it to the Alberta Parks Geocaching Contact for the park.
- If the Alberta Parks Geocaching Contact approves the EarthCache location, the cache owner submits it to Geocaching.com. The submission must include a copy of the written approval from the Alberta Parks Geocaching Contact.
- EarthCaches must meet these Alberta Parks guidelines, Geocache Listing Requirements/Guidelines and EarthCache guidelines.
- The cache owner must provide accurate coordinates for each site where visitors are to perform the logging tasks, and ensure these areas are accessible to the public. The cache owner is responsible for taking appropriate actions if conditions change regarding access, permission or other concerns.
- An EarthCache is a virtual type of geocache. No physical object can be left at the site of an EarthCache.
- An EarthCache listing must include at least one task/question related to the EarthCache's earth science lesson that visitors need to answer in order to log their “find”.
Geocache Special Events
- A Special Event Permit is required for organized geocaching events conducted on Alberta Parks land. Check Special Events Permits for details.
I understand that geocaching may involve inherent risks that could cause serious injury and possibly death and that it is my responsibility to follow the rules, regulations and boundaries of the park. Her Majesty the Queen in right of Alberta, as represented by the Minister of Environment and Parks, being the Government of Alberta, and their respective employees, volunteers and representatives, “Alberta Parks”, are not responsible for any death, injury, loss or damage of any kind sustained by any person while participating in geocaching at the park to the extent resulting from the failure of such or any other person to adhere to the rules, regulations and boundaries of the park or to exercise reasonable care taking into consideration the inherent risks of geocaching and the park. Alberta Parks shall not be liable for loss of or physical damage to any cache placement.
Caches Placed In A National Park
Caches Placed in a National Park.
Permission and a permit are required.
Information for creating a geocache in Canada's national parks can be found here:http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/docs/pc/guide/geocache/index.aspx.
Contact Information: The general email address for creating a geocache in any national park is firstname.lastname@example.org
Fire Lookout Towers
As of March 2012: A new security policy is in place that prohibits the publishing of tower locations.
All requests within 1 kilometer of a Fire Lookout Tower, or that mention Lookout towers are to be denied.
Contact Info: For questions or concerns
Alberta Sustainable Resources and Development
(403) 297 8800
Office Building, Main Floor
8660 Bearspaw Dam Road N.W.
Calgary City Parks
Geocaching has quickly become a fun family event. To encourage low impact, healthy activities in parks, The City encourages seeking and placing geocaches in parks, natural areas and public greenspaces, if it is done in conjunction with related bylaws, policies, regulations, and protected area management direction.
Placement of Caches
Caches should be placed in areas publicly accessible from designated trails or along approved travel routes. Caches must be situated so that they can be found with minimal disturbance to the environment.
To protect our environment, please do not:
- Damage or disturb soil, wildlife, vegetation, or any natural or cultural heritage elements. For example, do not step on, or clear away a space; do not nail anything to a tree.
- Place caches in animal burrows, tree cavities; and special features such as amongst limestone rock within Waterfall Valley, Bowmont Park. Please leave holes in the ground or in trees alone.
- Dig holes of any size in any public space. For example, do not hide objects under moss, break branches or dig out rocks to place a cache.
- Disturb nesting birds or their nests. Migratory birds are federally protected.
- Place caches in Special Protection Natural Environment Parks except along the regional pathway.
- Place caches in riparian zones or within watercourses or water bodies as per the Water Act, Public Lands Act and the Federal Fisheries Act if fish bearing. Riparian zones are the vegetated area on both sides of a water body that separate the water from the rest of the landscape.
- Place geocaches within 10 metres of the top bank of any water body.
- Place caches in any facility, including buildings, playgrounds and park infrastructure such as sports field back stops and goal posts.
The City of Calgary Parks retains the right to remove any caches located inappropriately.
- Stay on designated trails.
Official designated trails are established paths or formal trails that may be made of trail mix or shale. Designated trails are regularly maintained and can be found on a City of Calgary area map or brochure. An undesignated trail is any trail not recognized or maintained by The City of Calgary. Trail maps are available online or are present within the park.
- Place caches within one metre of the pathway within Special Protection Natural Environment Parks. Wildlife using areas adjacent to pathways and within Community Parks are habituated to people and human-related disturbances.
- Include in the cache either a concise hint and/or a small (no more than 10 cm) length of naturally coloured flagging in close proximity to the cache. Natural coloured flagging will not distract from the park environment, nor will it interfere with flagging used for designated purposes.
Caches must be removed once they are no longer being maintained. Parks will remove caches if they have a detrimental environmental impact, are impacting the use and enjoyment of the park by other park visitors, or have an impact on operation and maintenance.
Cache identification and contents
All caches in Calgary parks must be labelled “Geocache” on the outside of the container with the owner’s name and contact information inside. Caches cannot contain any prohibited items such as explosives, weapons or illegal substances, no food or beverage items or any other material that may attract wildlife, and must be suitable for all ages. No caches for commercial gain are permitted. Any caches without proper identification and owner information or deemed inappropriate may be removed by Parks staff. Removed caches will be held at the nearest Parks Divisional Office. Police will be notified regarding caches that contain illegal material. Removal of a cache may occur without prior notification to the owner. Caches can be retrieved by contacting 3-1-1.
Permits not required
Permits or prior authorization is not required for cache placement providing the cache is placed in an area open to public use and consistent with the direction of this guideline. Cache placement must be consistent with protected area management direction and placed in areas normally accessed by the public.
Cache placement in City of Calgary Cemeteries
Please do not place caches among these items in municipal cemeteries:
- Memorial trees
- Memorial vases
- Memorial benches
- Memorial rocks
- Memorial bronze plaques
- Upright monuments
- Flat markers
- Pillow markers
Geocaching events may be allowed in Calgary parks with a special event permit providing the event is non-commercial in nature and has been approved by the permitting process. Please contact 3-1-1 or for more information or apply online.
Related recreation and park management
Geocaching or cache placement within Calgary parks may not occur anywhere that may interfere with other approved recreational activities or management activities (rehabilitation zones, maintenance areas etc.)
For further information, please contact Calgary.Geocachers@gmail.com or call 3-1-1, 403-268-CITY (2489) if calling from outside Calgary.
Canada Post Corporation
Placements on Canada Post property (e.g. mailboxes) can be considered mail tampering which is a Federal Offense.
Permission from local Postmaster would be required.
City of Lethbridge
Guidelines for cache placement within a City of Lethbridge Park.
City of Lethbridge Geocaching Policy
For Placing a Cache
1. A permit is not required to place a geocache in a City of Lethbridge park providing placement is consistent with the direction of this policy. The person(s) placing the geocache retain all responsibility for the geocache listings and are responsible for the placement and care of the geocache.
a. Go to geocaching.com and apply to have the location published on the official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site.
2. Large sized containers may not be cached and containers which previously held food are not suitable for caching.
a. Containers must be durable and water resistant. Caches must contain family friendly items and may not contain food or potentially dangerous or illegal goods such as explosives, ammunition, knives weapons, alcohol or drugs. For more information on geocache containers and contents, please see How to Hide a Geocache at http://mbgeocaching.ca/.
b. Caches should contain a logbook, a writing utensil and possibly a “treasure.”
3. Geocaches may not be hidden:
i. In areas that may put participants at risk (i.e. Cliffs, unstable ground, etc.)
ii. In areas where new trails or clearings would be created due to the cache;
iii. Where retrieval would entail digging, vegetation damage or other environmental impacts;
iv. On or adjacent to commercial lots or other development sites;
v. In group use areas or other sites which can be reserved for private use;
vi. On or affixed to any park signs or structures.
And please remember - all general park rules apply to persons who are geocaching!
Certain trails may be closed at times due to conditions, maintenance requirements, or other concerns. Please respect trail closures and act in accordance with park signage.
The City of Lethbridge reserves the right to remove caches that do not adhere to this policy
University of Alberta:
The "U of A" has a no geocaching policy for their grounds due to many factors including insurance. with the exceptions of a few caches that have been granted special permission.
About This Guide
The local laws and guidelines for geocaching placement vary from place to place. As community reviewers learn geocache placement policies for a certain location, they can add it here. This site may not be a complete or accurate list of land policies. These policies are made by the land owner or manager, they are neither the reviewer’s nor Geocaching HQ’s. This guide is just for reference, if no policies for the area you’re looking for are listed, that doesn't mean no policies exist. You must still obtain permission to place your geocache from the landowner or land manager,comply with all applicable laws, and follow the Geocaching Listing Requirements.
If you have an update, email the community reviewer(s) listed.
If you contribute to this wiki, you agree to provide permission to others under this license.
If you share information from this site, you must mention "These regional land policies came from the Geocaching.com Public Wiki and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No-Derivatives 4.0 International License."
And, you agree to keep content current by checking back regularly for updates.