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Table of ContentsGeocaching HQ encourages geocachers to find at least 20 geocaches before setting out to hide their own geocache.The greater variety of geocaches that someone finds, the better they will understand how to create an enjoyable experience for other geocachers.
Find additional guidance about hiding caches in the Geocaching Help Center.
For publication, geocaches must follow the Geocaching Guidelines.
For caches placed in South Korea the items listed below also apply.
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When will my Geocache be published?
In Arizona, we have 2 Volunteers who review and publish geocaches. We strive to begin review of geocaches within 7 days. Typically, it is much sooner. If some of your geocaches are published by one reviewer and some are still unpublished, please be patient. The other reviewer will get to them as schedules permit. If for some reason one reviewer gets behind, it is possible that another reviewer will help out.
Include a complete Reviewer Note about your geocache
We ask all cache hiders to provide basic information in a Reviewer Note about their cache. In your private response to me, please describe your cache container in detail, as well as how and where your cache is hidden and how a visiting geocacher finds and retrieves the cache. If your cache is attached to anything, please describe the attachment method. Be specific about how the cache is hidden. And please do not say something like "The same as the rest". Each cache page needs it's own description.
Some examples: pill bottle in a hole in the tree in 'Name of City park', hide-a-key on guardrail on 'Name of Road', in water, retrieved by pulling up line from Name of Park fishing pier, a keyholder magnetically attached to a lamp post in commercial parking lot.
Please be specific about what the container is and the size. Just saying a "plastic container" or a 'Metal box" is incomplete. Is it a tupperware container, a film canister, a camoed pill bottle on guard rail, a 5 gallon bucket, or a pipe resembling a stick of dynamite? We want to know in case there is some question in the future by Law Enforcement or a property owner.
If you need to include a picture, please upload the image to a Reviewer Note. When the cache is publishes, the image will be archived and not visible to the public.
- We need to know how your puzzle/mystery cache is solvable, please include this information in a Reviewer Note.
- A coordinate checker is required. We do test your coordinate checker for accuracy. If a keyword is needed to get a positive answer or coordinates other than the Final waypoint coordinates, please include this information in a Reviewer Note.
- Please do not put your 'posted' coordinates in areas where people should not search such as freeways, private residences, railroads, off-limits locations, or other areas where access is restricted. Lakes and street corners are fine. I know your cache page says the cache is not at the posted coordinates, but people do search those coordinates. We have many new cachers who are using cell phones and may not look at the cache page. If you have any questions about a location, feel free to ask one of us.
If the cache owner intends to keep the cache in the game, they should:
- At least monthly post ongoing status updates on the cache page using a Write Note log
- Confirm when a maintenance visit has been completed using an Owner Maintenance log
- Use the Enable option when it has been confirmed the cache is ready to be found
A Reviewer may Archive the cache if the cache owner has not posted an update within 14 days.
- 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.
An event must be a minimum of 50 kilometers distance or 5 hours before or after another event. This is a regional rule to prevent event stacking. A registered series of events can also be rejected as unique events, even if the distance is over 50 km, if it is essentially the same group traveling from event to event. The intention of an event is to be central; a social gathering for and with geocachers.
Most common issues that prevent a cache from being published
Too Close to Another Cache
Geocaches and ANY physical stages of different geocaches must be at least 161 meters apart.
You should check your location first before placing a cache to see what is there. You can use the planning map which shows you caches on a map with a 161 meter red circle around them. You won't be able to see where hidden stages are (and the reviewers won't tell you!). You'll need to go and find those caches yourself.
Commercial caches are not allowed. This means you cannot mention a business by name however trivial or even a seemingly innocent mention such as, park next to Starbucks or the path starts at the 7-11 make reference to a business. Oblique references may also not be allowed. For example, "bus stop where I'm lovin' it" is clearly a reference to McDonald. Commercial requirements also apply to non-profit businesses as well.
For Event caches, it's okay to mention the event location in the cache page.
Caches need to be maintained, and that may be hard to do if the cacher lives far away. If the cache disappears, gets wet or damaged, needs a new logbook, etc.... the cachers need to fix the problem in a timely manner.
Before vacation caches can be listed on the website, the reviewer needs to know how the cache(s) will be properly maintained. Be sure to document a maintenance plan in a Note to REVIEWER and include the maintainer's geocaching username on your CACHE PAGE DESCRIPTION
At a minimum in a note to the reviewer include the following;
- Local maintainer's geocaching username
- Geocacher's contact information
Physical caches placed on islands the cache owner can visit only by ferry or plane from the mainland requires a maintenance plan.
Cache pages perceived to promote an agenda or highlight a cause will not be published. Geocaching is a fun, family-friendly game, not a platform for promoting a cause. In geocaching, an agenda is content that highlights a cause, promotes a cache owner's personal opinion or hidden intention. Also, cache pages cannot require or encourage players to place more caches.
In short, a cache page cannot:
- tells geocachers how to think or feel
- ask geocachers to do something
- raise awareness of a cause
- requires or encourages finders to place caches
Sometimes your geocache may comply with the geocaching guidelines, but placed in a manner that geocachers searching for the cache could be causing damage from their searching activity. Some typical damage caused might be walking in landscape planting, moving rocks in a drainage area and not returning them as designed, moving retaining wall blocks and not returned them correctly, or scraping the ground bare while searching for a very difficult cache. We have seen this happen. If we believe your cache placement may result in damage to an area, we may ask you to relocate it. If damage to an area from searching for a cache already published is reported, the cache will be archived. No reason to give geocaching a bad name because of our searching activities.
As per the guidelines: "Do not place caches in a location that requires or encourages geocachers to damage, deface, or destroy public or private property, especially archaeological or historical sites."
This listing is not all-inclusive as some land managers may have instituted policies we are not yet aware of or may have amended their posted policies. If you have additional information, please send an email with your contact information to a local reviewer.
El Toro Wilderness
Geocaches not allowed in Wilderness Parks. http://www.wilderness.net/index.cfm?fuse=toolboxes&sec=geocaching#
Little Free Libraries
The libraries are privately owned and permission must be obtained from the library owner.
San Juan National Historic Site
No geocaches allowed.
School Grounds and Proximity
We will not publish caches that are on or adjacent to school grounds or school property without express written permission on file from that school administrator. A statement of permission must be placed on the cache page, along with any restrictions for that location. Generally - should some one seeking a cache be visible from the school, parking areas, and/or playing fields - We consider the cache to be "too close".
Universities and Colleges
Generally geocaching is allowed on University and College campuses where the general public is allowed to visit unrestricted. Geocaches are not allowed to be placed near or on student housing property.