Permission and a permit are required for caches placed in a National Park
Contact Info: No main contact. Players are to contact each Park Superintendent on their own.
Deparment of National Defense Lands (DND)
All Department of National Defense property is out of bounds for all geocaching.
Indian Reserves / First Nations
First Nations lands are private property and caches cannot be published on tribal property without written permission from the local Band.
The Rail Safety Group of Transport Canada regulates the railway industry in Canada.
Section 26.1 of the Railway Safety Act makes it an offense to trespass on any railway lands in Canada.
Caches that require access to and/or are situated near railway lines may be subject to additional scrutiny during the Review process.
In British Columbia we generally require a distance of 46m (150ft) from active tracks. The only exception would be an impassable barrier between the geocache and the railroad. Examples include a fence, a deep ditch, brambles, etc.
One line that is regularly overlooked by geocachers is the Southern Railway of Vancouver Island as it appears they are operating very few trains. The Southern Railway's railroad runs from Victoria to Courtenay, with a branch line from Parksville to Port Alberni. There is an active section of rail that runs from the City of Port Alberni to McLean Mill. In some areas, a parallel multi-use trail has been built along these tracks. Any geocaches placed in these areas must be on the opposite side of the trail from the railroad tracks.
Geocaches placed along Rails to Trails projects will be considered once the rails themselves have been removed.
Metro Vancouver's Skytrain is critical infrastructure. Geocache placements are not permitted near the right of way. Virtual waypoints in areas generally open to the public (ie. trails underneath the tracks) are fine, but physical waypoints are not. This falls under the "Stay away from restricted areas" guideline:
The geocache is problematic due to its proximity to a public structure. Examples include highway bridges, major roadways, dams, government buildings, schools, military installations, hospitals, airports and other areas defined in the Regional Geocaching Policies Wiki.
British Columbia Provincial Parks
Geocaches within Provincial Parks in British Columbia do not require permission if they comply with their Geocache Placement Policy (PDF).
British Columbia Ecological Reserves
BC Ecological Reserves are out of bounds. These are areas that are managed by BC Parks, but are not classed as parks, but rather have “Ecological Reserve” or “ER” in their name. They are not created for outdoor recreation and should not be confused with parks or other recreational areas.
British Columbia Wildlife Management Areas
There is no policy for geocaching in Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) in the south coast at this time. In general, entering a WMA to view wildlife is an permissible activity, provided that folks are not cutting vegetation, modifying habitats, harassing wildlife, or depositing garbage or any substance harmful to wildlife or wildlife habitat (see the Wildlife Act).
Certain conservation lands mentioned in the Wildlife Act Public Access Prohibition Regulation are explicit exceptions in which it is an offence to access certain sites. Further, it is prohibited to access certain locations via motor vehicle (i.e., Motor Vehicle Prohibition Regulation) or to conduct certain activities in a WMA (i.e., WMA Use and Access Regulation).
WMAs are often not ideal locations for geocaches due to the risk of disturbing wildlife and risk to human safety. The following is from the Wildlife Act. In Part 1 section 4 it states:
“(4) Despite any other enactment, a person may not use land or resources in a wildlife management area without the written permission of the regional manager.”
BC Ministry of Transportation
Ministry of Transportation has asked that geocaches only be placed in areas that people are invited to stop. This includes pull outs, viewpoints, rest stops, break checks, etc... Geocaches are not allowed on overpasses, underpasses, tunnels, safety features, cloverleafs, or any signage designed to direct traffic.
Metro Vancouver Regional Parks
Geocaches within Metro Vancouver Regional Parks do not require permission if they comply with their Geocache Placement Policy (PDF). Minimum distance between geocaches is 500m instead of the usual 161m.
Metro Vancouver Watersheds
All three Metro Vancouver Watersheds are off limits to hiking and geocaching. They are the Capilano, Seymour and Coquitlam watersheds. A map of the three watersheds is available (PDF).
City of Surrey Parks
Geocaches are permitted in some City of Surrey Parks with a permit. Parks that are currently off-limits include Green Timbers Urban Forest, Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest, The Glades Park, Darts Hill Park, formal gardens at Fleetwood Park, City Hall, Hawthorne Park and Bear Creek Park, and playing surfaces such as sports fields, tennis courts, etc. City of Surrey Interactive Parks Map
Township of Langley
The Township of Langley has some regulations on Geocaching in Public Spaces in the township in their Bylaw 2018 No. 5298, Section 5.15.
5.15 A person placing a Geocache in a Public Space must ensure that:
(1)the Geocache is marked “Geocache” on the outside;
(2)the Geocache contains the person’s name and contact information on the inside;
(3)the Geocache is not permanently attached to any building, structure or naturalfeature in the Public Space; and
(4)the Geocache is not placed anywhere that will interfere with, obstruct or impede the lawful free use and enjoyment of any Public Space by any person.
Hours of use
5.17 No person shall enter or remain in a Park during the hours when the Park is closed as indicated by Township signage, or where no hours are posted, between dusk and dawn except as authorized by and in compliance with a Park Permit.
5.18 No person shall enter or remain in a School Space during the hours when the School Space is closed to the general public as indicated by School District signage, or where no hours are posted, between dusk and dawn
Capital Regional District Parks
Capital Regional District requires notification of the cache location, but does not require a permit. Guidelines for Geocaching in CRD Regional Parks (PDF).
District of Saanich
Saanich Parks, Recreation & Culture has some Geocaching Guidelines in their Park Bylaws, Section 3.4, April 2016.
3.4 Geocaching Guidelines
Geocaching is a recreational activity getting people outdoors searching for caches with GPS or compass coordinates. Saanich Parks may be used for geocache locations with prior permission from the Parks Manager. This will allow our staff to be aware of the location of caches and reduce the chance of accidental removal. Any formal geocaching event requires a park permit.
3.4.1 Cache Placement
Caches can only be placed in approved locations, typically immediately alongside a formal pathway or in a publicly accessible area. Caches must not result in the disturbance of any natural areas nor be affixed permanently to any item. They may not be buried, placed inside any tree or plant, pond or piece of playground equipment. They may not be placed in any sensitive ecosystem or riparian area.
3.4.2 Cache Container and Contents
Caches should be no more than 30 cm (width, length or depth) and be water resistant and suitable for all weather conditions. The container must not have been used for food storage at any time nor have any markings or images that would not be suitable for all
ages. Caches may not contain food items, tobacco, any item meant for sale/trade or any dangerous or illegal item (e.g., knives, explosives, etc.).
Geocache containers are considered temporary and must be removed if it is no longer active and/or the event has been completed. Cache owners should physical check on caches on an annual basis to ensure that they are in place, contents stacked, container in good working condition and that the area placed is still appropriate.
Saanich Parks staff will remove and dispose of any cache container or its contents deemed inappropriate or placed without prior permission.
3.4.3 Liability or Risk
As with all activities in Saanich Parks, a geocacher assumes some risk in undertaking this activity. The District of Saanich is in no way responsible for any damage to or loss of caches that is caused by others.
Portions of the Sooke Watershed, including the Sooke Hills are off-limits to all geocaching activity.
City of Kelowna
The city of Kelowna has included bylaws for Geocaching in the Parks and Public Spaces Bylaw, revised March 30, 2015:
4.10 Geocaches placed in parks may be removed if they do not meet the following conditions:
a) all caches must be marked “geocache” on the outside of the container if practical, and the owner’s name and contact information must be inside the container;
b) caches must not be placed in areas that may put participants at risk of injury;
c) caches must not be buried or result in the disturbance of vegetation, wildlife, wildlife nests or burrows, or cultural heritage sites and features;
d) cache placement must not interfere with other approved recreational activities; and
e) caches in parks are not considered permanent and may not be permanently attached to any structure or natural feature.
Many city parks in BC are closed at night. Night caching in these areas is off limits.
BC Hydro Equipment
BC Hydro equipment is off limits to geocaching. As it is difficult to determine if the equipment belongs to BC Hydro or not, it is best to refrain from placing geocaches on or near any electrical equipment.
From BC Hydro: "To ensure public safety and reliability of the electrical system, geocaches must not be placed or hidden on or near BC Hydro infrastructure or equipment such as poles, guy wire sleeves, pad mounted transformers and kiosks. The location of geocaches in the vicinity of BC Hydro infrastructure or equipment may lead participants to open or tamper with containers or covers when trying to find or access geocaches. This is a dangerous practice that could result in injury if participants, members of the public or BC Hydro workers inadvertently come in contact with live electrical components."
- Observatory Hill, Victoria, BC is currently off limits to geocaching.
- Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver, BC is currently off limits to geocaching.
- Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary, Saanich is currently off-limits to all geocaching activity, except by special permission.
- Knockan Hill Park, Saanich is currently off-limits to all geocaching activity.
- Kludahk Trail Kludahk Outdoors Club has restrictions on cache placements in their geocaching policy (PDF).
|Last Updated: April 29, 2019|
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.
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