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Geocaching Impacted by Covid-19
Dear Oregon Caching Community,
We hope you are staying safe.
On March 23, we made adjustments in cache reviewing practices as a result of covid-19 and Governor Kate Brown's Stay Home, Save Lives Order. Now that Governor Brown has outlined the plan to reopen Oregon which includes Current, Phase I, Phase II and Phase III, we are updating how we review caches. We are using the information posted here as our guide: https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19. The Governor's plan anticipates that counties will enter Phase I and Phase II at different times, and cache reviewing will reflect this.
The information here is accurate as of May 12, and will continue to evolve. Our primary focus continues to be the health of the entire community, including cachers and non-cachers alike. We seek to comply with current and emerging information and requirements from health and government experts.
We announced March 23 that we would only be publishing caches in locations consistent with social distancing, such as on a hiking trails, and/or far from residential areas and businesses; not publish event caches, caches in or near residential areas, caches near businesses, or caches in locations that are officially closed (such as most state parks). We also said that if we are unsure about a particular cache, we would not publish it and that we realize this approach imperfect, but we feel it is both consistent with Governor Brown’s Stay Home, Save Lives order and preferable to stopping all cache publication. We will continue these processes for counties that remain in “Current” status.
For counties that have reached Phase I and Phase II, additional caches may be listed. Specifically, some caches in or near residential areas or businesses may be published. However, caches on or adjacent to residential properties, or on business property including parking lots will not be listed as long as “social distancing” guidelines remain in place (ie, they will not be listed until Oregon reaches Phase III). In addition, no caches inside a building, such as libraries, will be listed under these restrictions. If we are unsure about a particular cache, we will not publish it in Phase I and Phase II.
Event caches will NOT be considered for listing in Phase I and Phase II. Geocaching events by nature (and per the guidelines) are open to all. Once an event is listed – there is no means (no should there be) for the Event Owner to control the number of people attending. So, for those areas continuing to restrict the number of people who may gather, events will not be published. This will continue until the restrictions are lifted. This was discussed among the global reviewers (with HQ) on May 12.
We will continue to monitor covid-19 information and will continue to revisit which caches we can publish. Both of us will post the list of areas that are closed on our geocaching.com profile pages; we encourage you to let us know if something should be updated. The list of which counties are in each phase is posted at https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19 (scroll down).
If your cache is in an area that has reached Phase I or Phase II and meets the criteria above, resubmit it for publication.
Our commitment to look at each cache within 7 days of submission has not changed, though it’s possible that something may change between a first look and when a cache is ready for publication.
Thank you for understanding,
GeoCrater and ThunderEggs
National Wilderness Areas
All areas within the boundaries of all National Wilderness Areas located in Oregon are off limits to all geocaches and geocaching activities – with the exception of the Oregon Badlands Wilderness Area.
The Oregon Badlands Wilderness Area does allow geocaches under controlled rules. Only seventeen active caches IN TOTAL may be located within boundaries wilderness area. No new caches will be listed within the boundaries until such time as one or more is archived and removed. An informational link to this wilderness area may be found here: http://www.wilderness.net/NWPS/wildView?WID=734&tab=Trip%20Planning
National Wildlife Refuges
All areas within the boundaries of all National Wildlife Refuge areas located in Oregon are off limits to all geocaches and geocaching activities.
Please note - YOU will be the one responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of your cache as outlined in the Guidelines. If you are not going to be able to regularly visit and maintain your cache as required then please do not submit these caches. Your prompt attention to any log that indicates things could be amiss will be greatly appreciated by all geocachers. The rule is; if you can't fix it straight away then "Disable" it until you can, see this Help Center article - http://support.groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=235
You, as the Cache Owner, may not ask “the community” to maintain caches on your behalf. In certain circumstances, you may designate other cachers to assist in maintaining. These other cachers must be active local cachers, local to the area where the cache is placed. However – you – as the cache owner - remain primarily responsible for all maintenance.
To assure maintenance of this cache power trail is performed, I would request the following wording be placed on each cache page in a prominent location:
To assure this cache Power Trail remains active and available for all who seek these caches, this cache (and the others in this trail) is maintained by the cache owner (Name). (As appropriate – please add) These additional local cachers will assist with the cache maintenance: Name/Link, Name/Link, Name/Link.
Cachers are encouraged to communicate any caches requiring attention by placing a Needs Maintenance note on this cache page.
US Army Corps of Engineers National Policy
1. Purpose. Geocaching may be allowed on public lands managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations Title 36 (CFR 36) and any applicable State or local rules and regulations, provided the activity is conducted in a nonobtrusive manner. Geocaching can be an appropriate and compatible recreational activity on public land and water, as long as common sense guidelines are followed. Some Corps projects have used the popularity of the sport as an innovative tool to distribute information, such as water safety, in geocaches on Corps-managed lands.
2. What is Geocaching. Geocaching is an outdoor adventure activity for users of global positioning systems (GPS). Individuals and organizations set up geocaches (caches) all over the world and share their locations, often through the Internet. Numerous websites are available, with one of the most popular being http://www.geocaching.com/. GPS users can then find the caches through published coordinates and site descriptions. Most commonly, a geocache is an object or container holding small objects for exchange. The finder may remove the enclosed "prize" and leave another, sign a logbook, or utilize a number of variations. Some "caches" are simply locations with unusual vegetation or unique land features the cache owner wants the cache hunter to experience (virtual caches). There is also a derivative form of the sport that searches for published coordinates of an existing historical monument, plaque, or benchmark. While geocaching has become the standard name for the sport, other terms include Navicaching, GPS Orienteering, GPS Stash Hunt, and Benchmarking.
3. Policy. In accordance with 36 CPR 327.19 or 327.21, District Engineers, or their designees, may develop permit systems or policies to track and/or control placement of geocaches on project lands, provided this use does not conflict with project missions or security. Simplicity and ease of compliance should be emphasized. Information needed from the proposed geocache owner will include the cache coordinates (location), his/her name, and his/her address and phone number. The intent of collecting this information is to keep track of the location and number of caches on the project and to contact the owner if the cache needs to be removed. During application, the project should ask the proposed cache owner to provide a current picture form of identification with an address to confirm the applicant's identity. This information is voluntary, however the applicants request can be denied for failure to comply with the information request. The project is required to store this information in a secure manner. Geocache objects or containers should be clearly identified as such when placed on public lands. Transparent containers are required, due to homeland security issues. Caches should not contain alcohol, illicit, or other inappropriate materials. It is the due diligence responsibility of the Project Operations Manager to work with the cache owners and jointly conduct periodically cache inspections to insure they are not being used for illicit and/or inappropriate materials.
a. Individuals or groups that participate in geocaching activities on Corps projects must assume responsibility for coordinating these activities with the appropriate Corps project. This will help prevent potential conflicts with management activities, such as controlled bums, timber sales, wildlife planting activities, etc.
4. Restrictions. It is the due diligence responsibility of the Project Operations Manager to establish designated areas where geocaching will be allowed and other areas where it will be restricted. Geocaching activities will not be allowed to occur in restricted areas where there could be conflicts with project missions, project security, or the safety of the general public.
Examples where geocaching would not be allowed include but are not limited to:
a. In designated restricted areas.
b. If the cache, directly or indirectly, would negatively affect ecologically, environmentally, or socially sensitive areas (threatened or endangered species, critical habitats, cultural resources, tribal lands without consent, etc.).
c. In areas that may pose safety risks, such as unstable banks, cliffs, or other potential hazards.
d. Where geocaching activities may interfere with established public uses, such as launching, picnicking, swimming, etc.
e. Below normal operating pool levels.
f. Where geocaching activities may interfere with the operation of the project.
g. In areas where the security of the project and/or public safety would be at risk.
5. Management Considerations. Management considerations at individual projects may require other permanent or temporary measures to ensure that geocaching activities are compatible with other project uses. For example, a project may need to prohibit geocaching during active management in an area for timber harvest, prescribed burning, hunting, or other wildlife management activities. Some projects may want to encourage and actively participate in geocaching activities to promote the Corps message in a positive way.
a. In certain instances, it may be necessary to issue a Special Event Permit in compliance with Title 36, 327.21. Conditions that may warrant the need for a Special Event Permit may include one-time activities that are publicly advertised, commercial in nature, involve large numbers of participants, provide cash prizes or other significant awards, have the potential to conflict with other uses of an area, etc.
b. If a cache must be removed from public lands for operational, safety, environmental, cultural, or other reason, a reasonable effort should be made to contact the cache owner and request removal. If the owner cannot be found, or the cache is not removed within a reasonable time, the cache may be removed and impounded as abandoned property, under 36 CFR 327.15.
6. Summary. In general, geocaching can be a fun and appropriate recreational activity at Corps projects, provided the security or missions of the project are not compromised. It provides an opportunity for positive interactions and partnerships with local groups involved in this activity.
Monitoring of web sites and communication and participation with these groups can form healthy relationships with benefits to all involved. Working with these groups can prevent undesired behavior and promote the Corps as a willing partner. Regulation should be based on common sense needs of specific projects or regions, with minimum permitting burden on the recreating public.
7. Point of Contact. The point of contact is Mr. Tim Toplisek, CECW-SAD, (202) 761-4259.
Native American Reservations
All geocaches and geocaching activities within the boundaries of all Native American Reservations located in Oregon are subject to verifiable, documented permission.
These reservations include (but are not limited to):
- Warm Springs
- Grand Ronde
Oregon State Parks
All areas within the boundaries of the following Oregon State Parks are off limits to all geocaches and geocaching activities.
- Tyron Creek State Park
- Fort Rock State Park
Any geocaches and geocaching activities within the following State Parks MUST have verifiable, documented permission prior to hiding the cache.
- Silver Falls State Park
- Smith Rock State Park (Contact number is 541 548 7501)
Lane County Parks
Lane County Parks Geocaching Regulations
Geocaching is a regulated activity within the Lane County Parks Division. In order to protect sensitive park areas, all people wishing to place a geocache within a Lane County park must receive
a permit and follow the regulations as stated below.
- Participants must comply with all Geocaching Guidelines and Lane County Parks Division Geocaching Regulations. Visit www.geocaching.com to review guidelines.
- Participants must comply with all general Lane County Parks Division Rules and Regulations.
- Before a cache is placed in a park, a permit must be obtained from the Lane County Parks Division. There is no charge for this permit. See the Geocaching Placement Site Permit Application for required information.
- Due to sensitive areas in county parks, the location of the cache is subject to the approval parks staff. Upon receipt of the permit application, the cache location(s) can either be approved or disapproved, or require modification to the location of the cache. The cache may be placed upon approval. At any time, the Parks Division manager can ask that the cache be moved or removed.
- Caches may remain in place from the date a permit is issued until April 15 of the next year. After that date, the cache must be removed or re-permitted. This is done to protect areas from foot traffic. If the caches are moved, removed, or re-permitted during this period, the Lane County Parks Division must be notified.
- Cache locations must be naturally occurring hiding spots. Trees cannot be cut, pruned or have things attached to them with nails, screws or other fasteners; no holes dug; no vegetation removed, trimmed or planted. No caches can be placed in birdhouses, nests or in animal dens.
- Containers must be clearly marked “GEOCACHE - PLEASE DON’T THROW AWAY” Do not use ammo boxes, PVC pipes or other containers that might cause alarm.
- Offensive, illegal or dangerous items are not allowed in any cache.
- Caches placed to promote commercial, political, religious or other social agendas are also not allowed.
- All caches must be family friendly. This means the cache should contain no food, alcohol, firearms, drugs, dangerous, or adult items.
- The following statement shall be included on the geocaching.com web page:
This cache is located within _____________________________ Park, a part of the Lane
County Parks Division park system. For general information please call 541-682-2000 or visit
our website at www.lanecounty.org/parks. All parks rules, regulations, and parking fees apply.
Geocaching Placement Site Permit Application
Cache Owner Information:
Address__________________________________ City_____________ State____ Zip________
Phone (____)_____________ E-mail________________________________________________
Cache Name____________________________ Type of cache__________________________
Park______________________________________ Nearest parking area_________________
(Local maps of Lane County Parks can be found at
GPS Location coordinates (Decimal Degrees)
Physical description of area
Physical description of container
How will the container be hidden and/or disguised i.e. under brush, rocks,
leaves, bench, etc.
- Permit is good from date of issue to April 15th of the next year.
- After that date, the cache must be removed or re-permitted.
- A cache can be removed at the discretion of the LCPD at any time without notice.
- You must maintain the cache to be family friendly.
- The cache should contain no food, alcohol, firearms, drugs, dangerous, or adult items.
- We request that you monitor this cache quarterly.
- We ask that on the geocaching.com webpage the following statement be included:
This cache is located within _____________________________ Park, a part of the Lane County
Parks Division park system. For general information please call 541-682-2000 or visitour
website at www.lanecounty.org/parks. All parks rules, regulations and parking fees apply.
Please forward any questions or concerns to:
Staff Person, LCP
Lane County Parks Division
3050 N. Delta Highway
Eugene, OR 97408
Shaded area for Parks use only
OSU Research Forests
Caches may be placed on OSU Research Forests property as long as they:
- Don’t require travel off authorized roads or trails. Authorized trails are marked with brown carsonite posts listing the use allowed on the trail and the seasons it is open. All other trails are unauthorized.
- Don’t require travel from or to adjacent landowners through unauthorized access points.
- Don’t require digging, damaging flora or otherwise disturbing an area.
- Are not in an area that is dangerous
- Are not located in areas that are sensitive due to research, teaching, cultural resources or threatened and endangered species
- Do not include items that are illegal, inappropriate for children or that may damage forest resources.
- Are restricted to hours that the forest is open to the public.
If at any time Geocaching proves to hinder the effective implementation of the OSU Research Forests mission and goals, it will no longer be an approved recreational use on the forest.
Those placing caches shall contact OSU Research Forests staff in order to obtain approval for their cache by e-mailing this form to email@example.com. Caches must be approved of in advance before they are placed on the forest. OSU Research Forests reserves the right to remove Geocaches that are found to in any way to adversely affect the OSU Research Forests mission and goals, or any forest resource.
All other forest rules must be obeyed.
___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___
Please complete the following information:
Contact Person: _______________________________________________
Phone Number: _____________________________________
Email Address: _________________________________________________________
Purpose (be specific):
Location of Geocache (be specific as possible):
Bureau of Land Management
There are no designated geocaching areas on public lands managed by the BLM in Oregon. However, BLM welcomes this activity in appropriate locations on public lands when it is conducted with minimal impact to the environment.
A special recreation permit (SRP) is not required if the geocaching activity complies with casual use conditions. The following conditions apply to casual use. The activity:
- is not a commercial endeavor.
- complies with land use decisions and designations, (i.e. special area designations and wilderness interim management policy).
- does not award cash prizes.
- is not publicly advertised.
- poses minimal risk for damage to public land or related water resource values.
- requires no monitoring.
Even if the use is determined to be casual, there still may be some concerns about the use, such as placing a cache:
- in Congressionally designated wilderness or wilderness study areas.
- at cultural resource sites.
- at areas with threatened or endangered species.
- any other special fragile areas such as caves, bog, wetlands, riparian areas, or steep slopes.
In this case it would be appropriate to issue a "letter of agreement" with special stipulations attached that would address the concerns.
If the geocaching activity or event does not meet the above conditions, the event should be treated as any other organized recreational group or competitive activity or event for which BLM would require the event organizer to obtain an special recreation permit.
The BLM believes that geocaching is an appropriate casual use of public land. However, if use increases or becomes a management issue in a particular area, the following minimum steps may be taken:
- Locate a person or group that is responsible for the cache and have them register the cache with the BLM. Make sure the cache is safe and environmentally sound.
- Prepare an environmental assessment or other appropriate National Environmental Protection Act document.
- Issue a letter of agreement or SRP with special stipulations to mitigate.
- Remove the cache from public lands if sites are not registered within a reasonable amount of time after notification. Normally, the cache would be determined to be abandoned property after 10 days unless the appropriate authorization has been obtained.
- Monitor the use to assess public health and safety and environmental protection issues.
- Take appropriate steps to properly manage the activity/sport if it becomes too large and begins to conflict with other authorized use.
Links containing the above information and more may be found here: http://www.blm.gov/or/resources/recreation/geocaching.php
Bureau of Land Management - Prineville District
There are some locations where placement of physical geocaches are prohibited on BLM administered lands on the Prineville District. These include:
- Research Natural Areas (RNAs)
- Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs) created for the protection of archeological/cultural resources
Prineville District BLM monitors the placement and use of geocaches to ensure no resource damage occurs on Public Lands. If you are contemplating placing a geocache on Public Lands in Central Oregon contact Prineville BLM to assist you in placing a fun and enduring geocache. Please include pertinent coordinates.
The policy outlined herein establishes procedures to facilitate and control geocaching and letterboxing activities on Metro property. The same guidelines will apply to both geocaching and letterboxing.
Geocaches shall only be located in the following Metro owned parks and natural areas:
- Blue Lake Park
- Oxbow Park Regional Park
- Cooper Mountain Nature Park
- Mt. Talbert Nature Park
- Graham Oaks Nature Park
- Smith and Bybee Wetlands
- Gabbert Butte Natural Area
- Pioneer Cemeteries
- Chinook Landing Marine Park
- Gleason Boat Ramp
- Howell Territorial Park
- Sauvie Island Boat Ramp
- Mason Hill Park
If a specific park or natural area is not listed above, placing a geocache is prohibited. One or more of the following reasons are why a park or natural area may not be listed as an approved site:
- Lack of developed areas and/or lack of maintained trails.
- Lack of safe and legal parking in proximity to the park or natural area.
- The presence of sensitive cultural and natural resources.
- A permit is not required, but all caches must be registered on www.geocaching.com
- Caches must comply with all guidelines established with geocaching.com.
- No more than 5 caches shall be allowed in any one park or natural area.
- Each individual may only place one cache per site.
Placing a Geocache
- Geocaches shall be placed so that they are fully accessible from the tread of a maintained trail, from other hardscape features such as patios, paths, or parking lots or from mowed lawn areas. Leaving the trail, hardscape or mowed lawn area to place or retrieve a geocache is not permitted. Casual, demand footpaths or wildlife trails that are not signed or identified on park maps are not considered maintained trails.
- Geocachers must “leave no trace”. This means not damaging the ground or vegetation while placing or locating a cache and considering potential damage that may result from other geocachers searching for or accessing the cache location.
- Geocaches shall not be attached to or placed in any living or non-living natural resources. No caches shall be placed in birdhouses, nests, or animal dens.
- Offensive, illegal, perishable, or dangerous items are not allowed in any cache. All items placed in caches must comply with the policies of Geocaching.com.
- Metro retains at its discretion the right to remove, or have removed, any cache that it feels is in an inappropriate location, is causing undo damage to natural, physical or cultural resources, or for other reasons is deemed inconsistent with the mission and statutes of Metro.
- Moving downed logs or debris and moving rocks to hide caches is not permitted. Excavating soils, digging holes, cutting vegetation, and moving or removing archeological or natural objects is not permitted. The use of metal detectors to locate geocaches on Metro property is not permitted.
- Geocaches shall not be attached to any man-made park amenity in such a manner as to damage the object or to impede proper use. The physical placement or attachment of caches to any buildings or sheds is prohibited. Altering signs, fences, posts, trails, trail markers or buildings is prohibited. Acceptable use includes attaching a small magnetic geocache to the back side of an interpretive sign.
- Geocaches must comply with all Metro Title 10 park and natural areas rules, regulations and other restrictions. http://library.oregonmetro.gov/files/chap10.01.eff._011410.pdf
- Night caching and earth caching on Metro property is prohibited. Cache owners should include wording stating the acceptable caching hours (within stated park hours) on their cache pages.
- Caches shall only be placed in safe locations that do not pose undue visitor risk. Geocachers must review the topography of the location where the cache is to be placed and the potential safety risks to the visitors trying to find the cache.
The Metro policy may be found here: http://www.oregonmetro.gov/index.cfm/go/by.web/id=1110
Eugene Parks and Open Space
POS Geocaching and Letterboxing Policy
June 10, 2013
The City of Eugene’s system of parks and natural areas is intended to provide visitors with safe and enjoyable recreational opportunities. The Parks and Open Space division (POS) actively manages these areas for multiple objectives including recreational use, aesthetic beauty, and protection and restoration of natural resources. The policy outlined herein establishes procedures to facilitate and manage geocaching and letterboxing activities on City of Eugene POS property. This policy applies to both geocaching and letterboxing.
The purpose of this policy is to protect park resources and the safety of all visitors and City staff, while providing reasonable opportunities for geocaching on Eugene public park land.
- Geocaches may be located only in POS-managed properties that are listed in Appendix A:
- If a specific park or natural area is not listed in Appendix A, placing a geocache at that site is prohibited. See Eugene’s Parks and Open Space Map for park locations. http://eugene-or.gov//DocumentCenter/Home/View/4747
- A park or natural area may be excluded from the list of approved geocaching sites for one or more of the following reasons:
- Lack of developed areas and/or lack of maintained trails.
- Lack of safe and legal parking in proximity to the park or natural area.
- The presence of sensitive cultural and/or natural resources.
- A City permit is not required to place a geocache, but all caches must be registered on www.geocaching.com. Any unregistered geocaches will be considered abandoned property and may be removed without notification.
- Caches shall comply with all guidelines established by geocaching.com.
- All caches on POS-managed lands shall be at least 528 ft. apart from another cache located in the same park or natural area with a maximum of 12 caches per park.
- Each individual may place only one cache per park or natural area.
- Geocache Placement
- Geocaches are only allowed within 30” of the following: the tread of a maintained path or trail, other hardscape features such as patios or parking lots, or mowed lawn areas. Leaving the trail, hardscape or mowed lawn area to place or retrieve a geocache is not permitted. Unofficial footpaths or wildlife trails that are not signed or identified on park maps are not considered maintained trails. Islands not reachable via a developed path are not acceptable geocache locations.
- Geocaches are also prohibited within 25 feet of any children’s play area.
- Geocachers must “leave no trace”. This means not damaging the ground or vegetation while placing or locating a cache and, when placing a geocache, considering potential damage that may result from other geocachers searching for or accessing the cache location.
- POS retains the right to remove, or have removed, any cache that is considered to be in an inappropriate location, causes undo damage to natural, physical, or cultural resources, or for other reasons consistent with the mission and management principals of POS.
- Caches may only be placed in safe locations that do not pose undue risk to park visitors. Geocachers must review the topography of the location where the cache is to be placed and minimize the potential safety risks to the visitors trying to find the cache.
- Geocaches and geocachers shall comply with all City of Eugene Park and Open Space rules, which can be found at http://www.eugene-or.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/3737
Unless otherwise noted, all parks and natural areas are closed between the hours of 11:00 pm and 6:00 am.
- Geocaches may not be attached to any constructed or fabricated park amenity in such a manner as to damage the object or impede proper use. The physical placement or attachment of caches to any buildings or sheds is prohibited. Altering signs, fences, posts, trails, trail markers or buildings is prohibited. Attaching a small magnetic geocache to the back side of an interpretive sign is acceptable.
- Geocaches shall not be placed in areas showing recent utilization by wildlife such as birdhouses, nests, or animal dens.
- Offensive, illegal, perishable, or dangerous items are not allowed in any cache. All items placed in caches shall comply with the policies of geocaching.com.
- Night caching, earth caching, and Munzee placement on POS property are prohibited. Cache owners shall include wording stating the acceptable caching hours (within stated park hours) on their cache pages.
Cache Containers and Contents
- All caches placed after June 1, 2013 shall be in see-through, waterproof (or sealable) containers that are no greater than 9”L x 6”W x 3”H. All caches shall be permanently labeled on the container’s exterior with the word “geocache” and the registered geocache “GC” code from geocaching.com in minimum 3/16” font.
- Use of ammo cans and pipe-shaped containers is prohibited.
- Caches which promote commercial, political, religious or other social agendas are not allowed.
- Caches may contain only a logbook in which to record visits; a description of geocaching; and non-perishable, family-friendly items.
- Caches that have not been maintained will be considered abandoned and will be removed and discarded.
- POS is not responsible for any damage to, or loss of, geocaches or equipment. POS will dispose of any removed cache if unable to contact the owner of the cache to remove or pick up the items within five days.
Eugene Parks and Open Space Contact Information
For questions about geocaching on City of Eugene Parks and Open Space property, please call: 541-682-4800.
Lane County Parks
The Land Managers for Lane County Parks have a policy that they need to review and approve the placement of all caches on their lands prior to publication.
Cache owners should not reach out directly to staff. Instead, please submit the cache as "normal". The Reviewer will contact the LCP Staff on your behalf and secure permission. Once this permission is obtained, the Reviewer will then list your cache.
Talking Waters Garden - Albany, Oregon
Geocaches are allowed. However - all physical containers and their location must be reviewed and approved prior to listing.
- Tom Ten Pas
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Office: 541 497 6224
- Cell: 541 223 3317
Geocaching in Portland Parks
This PP&R Geocaching Policy addresses a long-standing need for the bureau to address this growing recreation activity in a way that both encourages it and ensures it does not inappropriately impact parks, properties, assets, staff or the public.
Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) supports and encourages the sport of geocaching as an activity that promotes exploration of our varied landscapes.
PP&R’s public parks, natural areas, recreational facilities, gardens and trails are intended to provide visitors with safe and enjoyable recreational opportunities. PP&R actively manages public properties and facilities for a range of purposes – including both recreational and natural habitat values. This policy establishes procedures to facilitate and control geocaching on PP&R property to provide a balance of wise stewardship and recreational opportunity.
The development of this policy followed the following Guiding Principles:
1). Encourage continued geocaching activity on PP&R properties
2). Create rules that will limit the impacts of geocaching activities Geocaching in Portland Parks
Procedures & Guidelines
All geocaches, both new ones and those already on PP&R property, must be in compliance with these PP&R policies for the placement and maintenance of caches.
The purpose of these policies is to protect natural and cultural resources, park assets, and the safety of all visitors and staff while providing reasonable opportunities for geocaching on PP&R lands. These policies are intended to ensure all park users, including geocachers, have ample recreational opportunity, while minimizing adverse impacts on other park uses, operations and maintenance.
PP&R developed these policies, in collaboration with staff at Groundspeak (Geocaching.com) and geocachers, to manage geocaching on PP&R properties.
Geocachers who wish to have geocaches hidden in PP&R properties must read the policies and affirm that their caches meet all the requirements before they can be reviewed and published on Geocaching.com by community volunteer reviewers.
If a published geocache is found to be out of compliance with the policy, the geocache listing may be archived from Geocaching.com.
Any caches found on PP&R property that have not been registered through Geocaching.com will be considered trash and disposed of by PP&R staff.
PP&R policies regarding placement and access to geocaches differentiate between natural area parks (which are managed primarily for their habitat and conservation values) and our developed parks (which are managed primarily for their recreational opportunities). Different policies apply to these different types of public spaces.
Some parks contain developed elements and natural areas. In those instances, area-specific rules may apply, as detailed below.
General Rules regarding geocaching at sites where caches ARE allowed:
Many natural areas, developed parks or other PP&R properties are open to caches, subject to the following stipulations.
A list of sites where caches ARE allowed, is available on the web at www.PortlandParks.org, and as an attachment to this policy document. It will be updated periodically.
- All caches must be registered on www.geocaching.com
- No permit is required from PP&R.
- Caches must comply with all guidelines established by geocaching.com.
- Leaving a geocache in a park is allowed under Park Rules, so long as its placement follows this policy regarding its placement.
- Geocaching is only allowed during posted park hours. Cache pages should state that “Caching is only allowed during park hours.”
- Physical caches must follow this policy document. Virtual waypoints can be in any park as long as both
- The person hiding and the person seeking the cache follow the posted rules in the park.
Rules Regarding Caches on PP&R Sites:
- A separate list of each PP&R park site/property is attached, indicating IF caching is allowed on that site, and if so, how many are allowed on it.
- Geocaches should be placed at least 50 feet from adjacent residences
- Geocaches shall only be placed in safe locations that do not pose undue Geocaching in Portland Parks risk to park visitors and those searching for caches. Geocachers must review and consider the topography of the location where a cache is to be placed, and the potential safety risks to the visitors trying to find the cache.
- Geocachers must “leave no trace” in the selection of cache locations. This means not damaging the ground, site furniture (i.e. benches, picnic tables, garbage cans, etc.), built structures (i.e. retaining walls, irrigation, utility boxes, control boxes, etc.), landscaping, or vegetation while placing or locating a cache, and they must consider potential damage that may result from other geocachers searching for or accessing the cache.
- Geocaches shall not be attached to any human-made park amenity (i.e. signs, fences, posts, trails, markers, etc.) in such a manner as to alter, damage, or impede its proper use. However, attaching to them in a way that does not damage, deteriorate, or impede their primary function is allowed. For example, attaching a small magnetic cache to the back side of signs is acceptable.
- People hiding caches need to consider the potential adverse impact that finding a cache will have on the environment. Cachers should hide caches with the expectation that they can be found without disturbing the location or environment around them.
The following actions are prohibited, in relation to placement of caches:
- The use of rocks and pebbles of all sizes.
- The use of sticks or logs greater than two (2) inches in diameter. (Sticks that are smaller than two (2) inches in diameter may be used IF they are dead, loose on the ground, and not embedded in
- the landscape. Embedded materials provide habitat.)
- Removing bark from a tree to use as camouflage.
- Relocating or cutting of any living plants or vegetation.
- Excavation of soils or breaking of ground to place a cache.
- Moving or removing of archaeological or natural objects, including living plants, animals, minerals, fungi, archaeological artifacts or features, etc.
Rules specific to Natural Area sites/parks:
- Geocaches shall be placed so that they are fully accessible from the tread of a maintained trail, from other hardscape features such as patios, paths, or parking lots or from mowed lawn areas. Leaving the trail, hardscape or mowed lawn area to place or retrieve a geocache is not permitted.
- Casual, demand footpaths or wildlife trails that are not signed or identified on park maps are not considered maintained trails. All maintained trails are shown on www.PortlandParks.org.
- All park visitors must stay on trails in all natural areas.
- Geocaches shall not be attached to or placed in any living or non-living natural resources, such as birdhouses, nests, or animal dens.
Number of Caches / site:
The allowable number of caches varies per site based on the acreage of the property, access, trails, site amenities, other recreational activities, or natural resource functions. See Appendix for specific details.
- Each individual cacher may only place one cache per park, to allow fair opportunity to all geocachers.
Where Caches are NOT allowed:
For a variety of reasons, some properties or park sites do not allow geocaching. These are
Examples of reasons a park or natural area may not be an approved site for caching:
- The presence of sensitive cultural and natural resources
- Difficult or underdeveloped access/entry points
- Lack of safe and legal parking in proximity to the park or natural area
- Fee for entry facilities (i.e. golf courses)
- Potential impact on the major value or purpose of a given site
- Lack of developed areas and/or formal trail system
To protect specific park elements, features, habitats, or characteristics, the following
policies detail restrictions on placement of geocaches.
Geocaches are not allowed in the following PP&R and Water Bureau
types of properties:
- Areas within any park (natural area or developed) that are closed to the public for any reason. These areas are designated by sign or fence.
- PP&R managed golf courses
- Specialty Gardens (Rose Gardens, Memory Garden, etc.)
Limitations on Placement of Caches:
Physical Geocaches are prohibited from being placed in or on the following types of park
features. (These features can be used as reference points in finding a cache, but the actual features should not be the location for any caches.)
- Drinking fountains
- Bathroom structures
- Water Bureau Reservoirs and water tanks
- Fenced dog off-leash areas
- Retaining walls or built walls
- Any park buildings, sheds or other structures
- Utility boxes – These are either above or below ground vaults, in a range of sizes, which hold controls to various systems (electrical, irrigation, etc.). Placing caches in them can be both dangerous to
- cachers and/or damaging to the equipment. (See examples above in Definitions section).
- Landscape beds – These are planted areas in developed park sites which contain a range of plants (seasonal flowers, annuals, shrubs, trees, etc.) or other features (such as entry signs, drinking fountains,
- public art, etc.). Staff and park volunteers work hard to maintain our landscape beds, keep them weed-free, replace and refresh plantings, maintain irrigation systems, prune for visibility and public safety, and for the enjoyment of all. (See examples above in Definitions section).
In order to minimize conflicts between different user groups, geocaches may not be placed in certain active recreation areas, as detailed below. Caches may be placed along the perimeter of these areas, or in places that do not interfere with areas that can have active use. (For example, a cache could be placed
in/on/around a bench at the edge of a tennis court, but should not be attached to the net across a tennis court, as placement and searching for such a cache would potentially interfere with active use of the tennis courts.)
The following are considered active recreation features which would fall under this “only around the
- All athletic fields (i.e. soccer, baseball)
- Running Tracks
- Sport Courts (i.e. basketball, tennis)
- Splash Pads
- Outdoor pools
- Drinking fountains
- Decorative and Interactive Fountains (i.e. Salmon Springs, Jamison Square fountain, etc.)
- Community Gardens
PP&R Responsibility and Discretion
PP&R is not responsible for any damage to or loss of geocaches or equipment. PP&R reserves the right to have any geocache removed.
Potential reasons for the removal of a cache could include:
- being sited in an inappropriate location
- causing undue damage to natural, physical or cultural resources and amenities
- causing undue adverse impacts on other users
- caches that have not been maintained;
- or for other reasons deemed inconsistent with PP&R mission/statutes
PP&R will dispose of any removed cache if we are unable to contact the owner of the cache to remove or pick up the items.
Cache Containers and Contents
- Containers must be non-breakable, waterproof or sealable and have some form of latch or other closing mechanism to prohibit content exposure to wildlife.
- Caches should be no greater in cubic area than 162 cubic inches (multiply height x width x length to get cubic area) which is roughly 9” x 6” x 3”.
- Caches must be identified as a geocache, either with the word “geocache” sticker or logo.
- Ammo cans are prohibited.
- Caches may not contain food, weapons, hazardous materials or other potential hazards to the safety of visitors, staff, or the parks themselves.
- PP&R prohibits caches that look like park utilities/features (i.e. fake sprinkler heads) that would give people cause to interfere with actual park utilities/features.
Caches are meant to be fun for the whole family.
Please use common sense when leaving things in the caches.
Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife Official - Lanny Fujishin, Klamath Wildlife Area Manager
The manager has no problem with Geocachers on Miller Island, as long as they follow some simple rules.
Cache placement is allowed on, or near open, public roads (no more than 50 feet off road), and parking areas. No walking across fields.
The state advised that no caching should be done during peak spring migration season which is Jan 1st through May 1st. The Miller Island Unit is closed to public use from February 1st to May 1st by Administrative Rule, with the exception of the public roads, parking lots, and Dog Training Area near the boat ramp. Reason being that people walking around caching will adversely affect the use of the habitat of nesting by staging and resting migratory waterfowl.
They also request that on each Geocache description page that the Cache owner states the restriction dates. Our suggestion would be to disable the caches on the Miller Island Unit of the Klamath Wildlife Area from Jan 1 st through May 1st, and also have the cache owner post the restrictive time frame on their cache page.
During hunting season on Miller Island (Sept 1st – Jan 31st) the ODFW suggests that Geocachers wear either an orange vest or hat while Geocaching on the Miller Island for safety.
As of Jan 1st 2013, an Oregon Wildlife Area Parking Permit will be required to park on any established parking lot on Klamath Wildlife Area. Parking on road shoulders will not be allowed. This permit has been in effect for many years at Sauvie Island Wildlife Area outside of Portland, and is being phased-in at all state wildlife areas over the next few years. When you purchase your hunting license, or combination hunting tag, a parking permit will be included. You can also purchase a daily or annual parking permit from any store that sells hunting or fishing licenses. The permits are $7 per day or $22 for a yearly pass.
Before placing a cache container on Klamath Wildlife Area (including Shoalwater Bay, Gorr Island, and Sesti Tgawaals Point), you will need to e-mail your future cache coordinates to Lanny Fujishin (email@example.com) and he’ll review your location to see if it is going to have any adverse impact on wildlife use or habitat on the wildlife area.
There are other miscellaneous areas within the State of Oregon which prohibit geocaches or geocaching activities either on a temporary or permanent basis. The Volunteer Reviewers for Geocaching.com will highlight these and work with the cache owners as appropriate.
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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