Table of Contents
There are several National Park areas in Mississippi. Click here for an overall map. The National Park Service only allows geocaches on their lands with permission of the park superintendent. Currently two of the park units in Mississippi have allowed geocaches. You must receive permission from the park service before actually placing the geocache and follow their instructions for submitting the cache.
- Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield
- Corinth National Battlefield (Part of Shiloh National Military Park)
- Gulf Islands National Seashore (*See NOTE 1 below)
- Natchez National Historic Park
- Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail
- Natchez Trace Parkway (Also in TN and AL) (**see NOTE 2 for important update below)
- Tupelo National Battlefield
- Vicksburg National Military Park
*NOTE 1: the Davis Bayou unit of the Gulf Islands National Seashore has allowed one geocache in the unit as part of a tour of the unit. Currently they have not approved any other geocaches in the unit.
**NOTE:2: On August 8, 2012, the Natchez Trace Parkway National Park Service Rangers introduced a geocache to the Parkway. They are working with geocachers in the area on a limited basis. You are not allowed to place a cache without asking for permission first. Enjoy the new caches along the Natchez Trace Parkway, and many thanks to the NPS for allowing some geocaching fun!
US Fish and Wildlife Areas
Currently the following National Wildlife Refuges in Mississippi do not allow geocaches:
- Bogue Chitto
- Grand Bay
- Holt Collier
- Mathews Brake
- Mississippi Sandhill Crane
- Morgan Brake
- Panther Swamp
- Saint Catherine Creek
- Theodore Roosevelt
NOTE: As of April 6, 2015 the Noxabee National Wildlife Refuge has changed its geocaching policy. All existing geocaches will be archived over a period of time. The Refuge staff will be placing geocaches in certain areas that it determines will have an educational value.
Mississippi Wildlife Management Areas
Geocachers seeking geocaches in Mississippi Wildlife Management areas must follow all permit and check in procedures. Hunter orange clothing may be required during certain periods of the year. Cache owners must include any such procedures in the opening description of the cache page. Some Wildlife management areas are closed to non-hunters during hunting season. Geocaches may not be placed in any wildlife management area that is closed to the general public for six or more months of the year.
Geocaching is prohibited in all or portions of the following Wildlife Management Areas;
- Calhoun County Wildlife Management Area restricted area
- Canemount Wildlife Management Area
- Charlie Capps Wildlife Management Area
- Charles Ray Nix Wildlife Management Area shooting range
- Graham Wildlife Management Area
- Howard Miller Wildlife Management Area
- Indianola Wildlife Management Area
- Mahannah Wildlife Management Area
- Muscadine Farms Wildlife Management Area
- Trim Cane Wildlife Management Area
Mississippi State Parks
Geocaching is allowed inside the Mississippi State Parks. Certain areas of the state parks may be restricted to users paying a fee to use that specific area and geocaching may be prohibited in that area to non-users. Check with park management before placing geocaches in such areas. The following restrictions apply to geocaches in the Mississippi state parks.
- No tree climbing is allowed to place or find a geocache.
- No screws, nails or similar objects may be placed into the trunk of a tree to attach a geocache.
- No wires, bands or similar objects may be placed around the trunk of a tree to secure a geocache to a tree.
- No digging in the ground to place or seek a geocache is allowed.
- No geocaches may be placed in the camping areas of Paul B Johnson State Park.
The following military installations in Mississippi do not allow geocaches:
- Camp McCain
- Columbus Air Force Base
- Gulfport Naval Construction Battalion Center
- Jackson Air National Guard Base
- Keesler Air Force Base
- Meridian Naval Air Station
- Pascagoula Naval Station
Camp Shelby and the military operation areas of the DeSoto National Forest do allow geocaches in certain areas. The guidelines for geocaching in these areas are as follows and are subject to change.
Guidelines for placing and seeking geocaches at Camp Shelby:
- A photo ID and proof of automobile insurance is required to enter the base.
- Stay away from all buildings, historic or in use.
- Geocaches may only be placed in the designated public areas of the base.
- Do not park on the traveled portion of any roads. Park only on the shoulder or designated parking areas.
- Do not block any gates when parking.
- Do not use dummy or reconstructed ammunition as a cache or decoy.
- Do not drive down any roads that are not paved or gravel. Park and walk.
- If a sign indicates an area is currently restricted, do not enter the area under any circumstances.
- You may only geocache between 6 A.M. and 6 P.M. Gates close at 6 P.M. and you must be off the property at that time.
Guidelines for placing and seeking geocaches in the military operations area of the DeSoto National Forest:
- Caches may only be placed in non-restricted areas. Restricted areas include but are not limited to: tracked vehicle maneuver areas, artillery/mortar firing points, aircraft landing zones, artillery and aerial bombing impact areas, military range areas, military buildings and their grounds, drop zones and tank trails.
- Do not use dummy or reconstructed ammunition as a cache or decoy.
- If a sign indicates an area is currently restricted, do not enter the area under any circumstances.
John C. Stennis Space Center
- Geocaching is prohibited on the lands of the John C, Space Center.
- Geocaching is prohibited on the adjoining Naval Training Center lands.
- The buffer zone land surrounding the space center is a mixture of Federal and private land. Generally geocaching is not allowed in the buffer zone, but it has been allowed on the right of way of a few of the public roads not immediately adjacent to the Space Center. This is subject to change depending on law enforcement concerns in the area.
- Due to past landowner conflicts, geocaching is not allowed at the Point and Napoleon Cemetery areas.
- Geocaching is allowed at the Infinity Space Center with permission of the center.
- Geocaching is allowed at the rest area next to the Infinity Center.
Corps of Engineers lands
Geocaches may not be placed in the vicinity of Corps of Engineers locks, dams, or water control structures. They are also prohibited inside any fenced in areas, locations where signs indicate restricted access and areas restricted by Corps regulations and bulletins.
Generally geocaches are allowed on any other Corps lands.
There are six National Forests in Mississippi.
- Holly Springs
Generally geocaching is allowed in the National Forests.There are private landholdings in all the National Forests. Geocaches may not be placed in those locations without the landowners permission.
Geocaches may not be placed in the following Wilderness or Military areas of the DeSoto National Forest:
- Black Creek Wilderness area
- Camp Shelby military operations area (see Camp Shelby above)
- Leaf Wilderness area
Universities and Colleges
Generally geocaching is allowed in areas on University and College campuses where the general public is allowed to visit unrestricted. Geocaches are not allowed to be placed near student housing, including Greek fraternity areas.
There are several hiking, bicycle and horse back trails in Mississippi. Listed below are some of the more popular ones:
- Blackland Prairie Trail. This trail is part of the Natchez Trace Parkway unit of the National Park Service. See the guidelines for National Park caches above.
- Longleaf Trace. Geocaches are permitted.
- Potkopinu Trail. This trail is part of the Natchez Trace Parkway unit of the National Park Service. See the guidelines for National Park caches above.
- Ridgeland Mulituse Trail. This trail is a joint effort with the City of Ridgeland and the Natchez Trace Parkway. Caches placed on the portion of the trail inside the Parkway property must be approved by the National Park Service Ranger in Ridgeland. Caches on the city property are only required to meet the standard geocaching guidelines.
- Rocky Springs Trail. This trail is part of the Natchez Trace Parkway unit of the National Park Service. See the guidelines for National Park caches above.
- Tanglefoot Trail. Geocaches are permitted but the cache page must state access is limited to the hours between dawn and dusk.
- Tuxachanie Trail. Geocaches permitted
- Yockanookany Trail. This trail is part of the Natchez Trace Parkway unit of the National Park Service. See the guidelines for National Park caches above.
Most cemeteries are private property. There are a few cemeteries in the state that are owned by municipalities. Several states have banned geocaches in cemeteries due to disrespectful actions by geocachers. Geocaches may NOT be placed near graves in Mississippi. You must have permission from the entity that owns or controls the cemetery to place a geocache there. Just owning a plot in the cemetery is not sufficient permission. When submitting the geocache, attach photographs of the geocache placement to the reviewer note looking at the geocaching from different directions.
Navigable waterways, Gulf Coast beaches, and islands
- Geocaches may not be attached to navigation markers or buoys along the Mississippi Gulf coast, Mississippi River or Tenn-Tom Waterway.
- Islands along the Mississippi coast consist of property that are privately owned, owned by the State of Mississippi or included in the Gulf Islands National Seashore. The standard permission issues as if on the mainland apply for these islands.
- Islands along inland waterways generally are either privately owned or owned by the Corps of Engineers. Privately owned islands require permission of the landowner. Corps of Engineers islands are generally available for geocaching.
- Geocaches are not allowed in the Least Tern nesting areas along the Mississippi gulf coast.
- Events located at the beach fire pits in Harrison County require a permit from the Sand Beach Authority.
- Geocaches may not be placed near marine restricted areas at ports (Homeland Security designated).
Caches in residential areas tend to arouse the suspicion of neighborhood watch groups and general neighborly suspicion. This usually leads to either the police being called or confrontations with landowners. Geocaches in neighborhoods will require permission of the adjoining landowners.
Youth camps are properties dedicated for the use of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, special needs children, church camps for children or similar sites. Geocaches may not be placed on portions of these properties that are not open to the general public. A geocache placed on public portions of the camp must be placed with permission of the governing authority for the property and the contact information of the director granting that authority must be included in the reviewer note when the geocache is submitted to be published.
Be aware that certain commercial businesses or land management corporations have standing policies that no geocaches may be placed on any properties that they own or manage. These policies supersede any permissions that may be granted by their tenants.
Bridges and guardrails
Geocaches may not be placed on, over or under bridges located on federal roadways, interstate highways, U. S. highways and Mississippi highways.
Geocaches generally may be placed on municipal and parish road bridges with the following exceptions:
- Over or under federal roads, interstates, U. S. routes and Mississippi state highways.
- Over or under railroads.
- On bridges containing active drawbridges as listed by the Corps of Engineers.
- Bridges located over spillways or part of dams.
Geocaches may be placed on bridges designed for pedestrian use only or former railroad bridges converted to pedestrian trails that pass over interstate or U.S. highways with the following restrictions:
- The geocache must be accessible by a geocacher standing on the surface area designed for foot traffic.
- Ammo cans or PVC containers are not allowed.
- Containers must be clearly labeled as being a geocache and designed where they could not be mistaken as an explosive device.
Guardrail caches are not allowed on interstate highways, controlled access highways or as part of railroad signaling locations.
On U. S. and Mississippi highways they must be placed on the portion of the guardrail away from the bridge structure.
For bridge and guardrail geocaches to be published, there must be a location available for a geocacher to park his vehicle completely clear of the roadway and the parking location shall not be in a curve or other visually obstructed area.
Geocachers should understand that all roadway bridges are inspected on a regular basis by government inspectors and any geocache found attached to the bridge structure will probably be removed by the inspectors.
Geocaches may not be placed near:
- Airports used for commercial or military flights.
- Electrical Power generation facilities and substations
- Facilities restricted to access or approach by Homeland Security rules.
- Federal Courthouses
- Financial institutions including close proximity to drop boxes and ATM machines.
- Highways designated as controlled access by the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
- Nuclear facilities
- Post Offices (including virtual stages). This includes blue postal service mail boxes and green postal service mail storage boxes.
- Prisons and jails
- Schools and day cares
The rest of Mississippi is pretty much wide open as long as the geocaching guidelines are met. Be aware that geocaching guidelines are subject to change. There is no precedent for placing geocaches. This means that the past publication of a similar geocache in and of itself is not a valid justification for the publication of a new geocache. If a geocache has been published and violates any guidelines listed, you are encouraged to report it. However, if the geocache was placed prior to the date when a guideline was issued or updated, the geocache is likely to be grandfathered and allowed to stand as is.
Many of the counties in Mississippi have on-line resources that can be used to help you determine the ownership of land and obtain permission to place a geocache. For the other counties, you may have to either visit the local courthouse or subscribe to a paid service to determine the land ownership.
Virtual Posted Coordinates
Generally if the posted coordinates for a multi-cache, puzzle cache or wherigo cache are virtual coordinates, they must not be placed in any restricted area listed above without permission of the landowner or authority controlling the property. This helps avoid confrontations for new geocachers who may not understand what a virtual waypoint is.
- To help improve the overall caching experience, Geocaching HQ created an algorithm to calculate a hidden Health Score for each geocache.
- A low Health Score provides an indication that the cache may need attention from the owner.
- The goal is to improve the overall geocaching experience and avoid frustrations due to missing or broken caches.
- The algorithm isn't perfect; it cannot read and interpret the text within a cache page - however it does take the following aspects of a page into consideration:
- Did Not Find logs (DNF)
- Needs Maintenance logs (NM)
- Needs Archived logs (NA)
- Last find date
- Difficulty and terrain rating
- If the Health Score of a cache is calculated below a dynamic threshold, an automatic alert email is sent to the cache owner by Geocaching HQ.
- A Community Volunteer Reviewer may follow up to perform further actions on the cache page.
- Neither Geocaching HQ or the Community Volunteer Reviewer can assess the true status of a cache; it is the responsibility of the cache owner, as part of cache maintenance.
- If there are a multiple DNFs logs on a cache - the community may not know if the cache is missing or is simply hard to find.
- If a cache page has several posted DNFs - and the cache owner knows that the cache is in definitely in place - they should reassure the community by posting a Note log.
e.g. "There have been a few DNFs, however it is a clever hide! I checked on it this morning. Check the hint!"
- If a Community Volunteer Reviewer does not see a posted response from a cache owner on their cache page after several DNF/Maintenance requests, it may be Disabled.
- If a cache owner knows with certainty that their cache is in place and ready to be found, they may Enable the cache page, with an explanatory note.
- If a cache owner is unable to definitively confirm the status of their cache, the cache page should remain Disabled and a Maintenance visit should be scheduled.
- An Owner Maintenance log should only be posted after a maintenance visit has occurred.
- Only when a cache is confirmed to be in place and ready to be found should a cache page be Enabled.
The number of "false positives" flagged with this process are minimal compared to the number of abandoned caches that this process will remove from the game.
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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