Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cache Listing Tips

Here are some general cache listing tips. It is by no means exhaustive, but it can be a good starter checklist.

Before you submit a cache, read this page and the cache listing guidelines and ask yourself:

(1) Is the cache or stages of a multi more than .1 mile (528 feet) from another cache? Physical caches or physical stages of a multi must meet this without very good reason for an exception. If there is a reason, add it into a reviewer note.

(2) Is the cache on a railroad right of way? A cache cannot be listed there.

(3) Is the cache on a rails to trails area that might still show on maps as rail tracks? If so, please include that information in a reviewer note.

(4) Are there knives, fireworks, matches, lighters, or non-family friendly items in the cache? A cache cannot be listed with those types of items.

(5) Is the cache in a permitted area? If you have a permit or permission for private property, state so on the cache page. If a preschool, or elementary through high school, please include specific permission with contact information for the person giving permission in a reviewer note and state that there is permission on the cache page.

(6) Does the cache have a container and a log book? Both are required and the site no longer lists virtual or locationless caches.

(7) If the cache is in a cemetery did you get permission if it is private? If public, is it placed away from grave sites and was respect for the area mentioned on the page?

(8) If the submitted cache is a multi or puzzle cache did you include the coordinates for all stages and the final cache using the additional waypoint feature? Those are necessary to check the cache for listing.

(9) Did you provide any information that might be necessary for listing on the cache page or in a reviewer note?

(10) Did you tell the reviewer how great she or he is in a reviewer note? OK... you can skip this one. We just threw it in for fun and to get 10 items on the list. :)

Cache Listing Tips, Issues That Can Arise

What should you think about when listing a cache? Why was your listing denied? Do you have an idea that you think might push the rules? This is the place to get some answers. Where you don't find the answer here, please contact us!

Geocaching.com has an extensive set of guidelines/rules for listing a cache. As the local reviewers we have to follow these. If one of us cannot list a cache because it violates the guidelines/rules it is not personal. We like to list caches! But if a cache is submitted that violates the rules, we cannot list it. If one of us has a question about your cache or cannot list it, we will post a reviewer note and possibly disable or archive the cache with instructions.

The information below covers some common issues and questions, but not all. Please contact one of us if the below information does not provide the information that you need. We are always happy to help and answer questions! We cannot stress enough that the "reviewer note" is your friend when you submit a cache! Anytime you want to address something that might affect listing, please leave a note when you submit the cache. That can save the time of me having to write to you with a question. The note will be hidden from view upon listing. It will not show up on the listed cache page.

Proximity To Other Caches (.1 mile/528 feet rule): Geocaches listed on Geocaching.com are required to be .1 mile (528 feet) away from other caches unless there is a unique reason to make an exception to the rule. It also applies to physical stages of a multi-cache in relation to other physical caches or physical stages of other multi-caches. It does not apply within a single multi-cache. This rule came about for several reasons. First, people were finding the wrong cache at times and getting confused. Also, some parks and the sit in general became concerned about over saturation of areas. The upshot is that caches need to be separated by .1 mile. We can make an exception in unique (they must be truly unique) situations such as a cliff, river, or very large building separating the caches. If you feel an exception applies, please include that in a reviewer note when you submit the cache. How to avoid problems? Load the local caches in the area into your GPS when you place the cache. Use that to be sure that you are .1 mile away. If there is a multi cache in the area, find it and waypoint the stages so that you can check.

Multi-cache and Puzzle Cache Coordinates:
When you submit a muti-cache or puzzle cache, we need the coordinates to the stages and final cache. This is because the stages and final must also meet the cache listing guidelines and we have to check that. When placing such a cache please make sure that all stages meet the guidelines and provide the coordinates using the additional waypoint feature. A guide for using that can be found here.

Virtual or Locationless Caches
The geocaching.com site no longer lists virtual or locationless caches. For an alternative visit: Waymarking.com

Railroad Areas and Rails to Trails: Railroad right of ways, even if rarely or never used, cannot be listed. It is a federal offense to trespass on a railroad right of way, A cacher was once arrested and heavily fined for a cache on a railroad right of way. In many cases a cache is placed on a rails to trails area, where the tracks are gone and the area is now meant as a public bike path or trail. Those are OK (in Nebraska check for permit policies with the NRDs). But our maps often still show them as tracks. If you place a cache on a rails to trails area, please include a reviewer note stating that the tracks are gone and that it is a public trail now. We often know where those are, but the note helps in case we don't or if an outside reviewer is temporarily covering the area. That will save a reviewer writing to you asking about it.

Commercial/Solicitation Caches: Commercial caches or caches that solicit are not allowed without permission directly from Geocaching.com. We cannot give permission for those. You will have to write to them to seek permission. This includes caches with ads on the page, caches that list a business by name or slogan, caches that require or suggests visits to businesses, requests for donations for charity, caches sponsored by businesses or charities on the page etc. Caches located inside a business are presumed to be commercial. Caches should also not have an "agenda." Please don't use a cache to push a cause, whether that be political, religious, web site, etc.

Local or National Park Policies: The National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service (National Wildlife Refuges) ban caches. In Nebraska and North Dakota there are also state and local rules. Please see the park policies page for information.

Cache Items: Caches cannot contain knives (including multi-tools), fireworks, explosives, matches, lighters, "adult materials" or other non-family friendly items. This came about because some park managers sought to ban caching over concerns about such things. Geocaching.com also aims to be "family friendly" and does not want to list caches that might contain offensive items. Yes, pocket knives and such are common in the Great Plains and could be viewed as great trade items, but we cannot list a cache with one and will archive or disable a cache that shows it has one.

Cemetery Caches: The Geocaching.com reviewers are quite careful about cemetery placements. If you place a cache in cemetery, first ask yourself whether it is public or private. If there are any doubts, please seek permission. Beyond that, please place any physical cemetery cache away from grave sites and mention the need for respect in the area on the page. We have not seen problems in Nebraska or the Dakotas with disrespect in cemeteries, but will monitor caches in such areas and archive any cache that is found to be inappropriately placed or causing problems. Groundspeak has also allowed us to formulate restrictions on cemetery placements as we see fit. If problems arise, we may need to start requiring specific permission with the information on the contact person given to us. That is required in some other states.

Vacation Caches and Caches Beyond Normal Caching Distance: Caches placed while on vacation or outside of your normal caching distance cannot be listed unless you demonstrate a maintenance plan. Normally this is accomplished by obtaining a local person to maintain the cache. This is because cachers are expected to maintain their caches and get there quickly to fix problems. A statement that you visit the area once a month is often not enough unless we see from your cache logs that you regularly do so. How far is too far away? Well, it depends. Since the Great Plains are rural and driving here is easy, we often allow up to 100 miles, or even greater if it is a very rural area and we see that the person has cache logs at that distance, or we know them and trust them to maintain the cache. In Urban areas, that distance is sometimes lowered to 50-75 miles. It depends on the person's find logs, record, and assurances about the ability to maintain the cache. When in doubt contact one of us or leave a reviewer note explaining how you can and will maintain the cache.

Moving Caches: Caches that move are no longer allowed. This is because caches were at times getting placed in restricted areas and because owners were not updating the coordinates. If a moving cache is placed, we cannot list it.

School Grounds: Todays society is very careful where children are concerned. As a result, caches placed on school grounds also raise concerns. Owners placing caches on preschool and elemetary through high school grounds must inform us of specific permission from the top school official, both for the hide, and for finders to seek the cache before we can list it. Please state that permission is granted on the cache page. In a reviewer note, please give the contact information for the person giving permission.

South Dakota Policies Pertaining to Geocaching

In South Dakota, the State Parks have a permission policy for caches placed on their properties. Please contact the local state park superintendent to seek permission. If granted, please include a statement about that in the text of any submitted cache pages. The South Dakota State Park geocaching page.

Federally, the Black Elk National Wilderness Area, managed by the National Forest Service is off limits to geocaches. So is the Mount Rushmore area and any other areas managed by the National Park Service.

North Dakota Park Policies Pertaining to Geocaching

The North Dakota State Parks require a free permit to place a cache in a state park. The permit forms are available online. Information is available on the State Park's web site along with a list of caches in state parks and a map of caches. Link to the North Dakota State Parks Geocaching Page.

At this time, I have not been formally notified of any other policies in North Dakota. I have heard various rumors of policies involving other agencies, but do not know where those stand and have not been contacted by official representatives of those agencies.

Nebraska Park Polices Pertaining to Geocaching

The following is a list of park policies in Nebraska with contact/website information

State Parks, Recreation Areas and Wildlife Management Areas: The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission requires a free special use permit for geocaches placed in State Parks or Recreation Areas. No caches are allowed in State Historical Areas. Wildlife Management Areas do not require a permit. To obtain a permit, call the Game and Parks office and obtain the name for the park Superintendent. They should be able to send you the forms for the permit. When you obtain a permit and submit the cache, please state on the cache page that a permit was obtained and that a park pass is required to enter the area. Link for the full Game and Parks Policy

Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (LPSNRD): LPSNRD owns properties in and around the Lincoln area. This includes several rural lakes and the Mopac East bike trail. They require a free permit for caches. The permit forms are available and can be submitted online. When you obtain a permit and submit the cache please state that you have a permit on the cache page. Link to the LPSNRD full policy and forms

Papio Natural Resources District: The Papio NRD owns properties in and around the Omaha area, including Wherspan Lake and various bike trails. They have implimented a policy the same as the LPSNRD policy. The Papio NRD has the permit forms available for submission online. To see the full policy and a link to the permit form, click the link below then click or mouse over the link for "recreation and wildlife" on the left hand side of the page. Papio NRD Home Page

Lower Platte North Natural Resources District: The Lower Platte North NRD recently implimented a policy similar to those of the other listed NRDs. They are allowing caches at Czechland Lake and Homestead Lake with a permit. Permits are free and can be obtained online. Lower Platte North geocaching policy

Lincoln Parks and Recreation Policy: Lincoln Parks and Recreation have published guidelines for caching. They do not require a permit, but caches are not allowed in the Pioneers Park Nature Center, Sunken Gardens, or Antelope Park Rose Garden. They have said that they might re-think the Nature Center ban and asked that current owners of caches there contact them. Lincoln Parks and Recreation Guidelines

Native American Reservations and Military Areas

Please be aware of the following restrictions that apply in the Dakotas and Nebraska.

Native American Reservations:Native American Reservations are now considered private property and require permission to place a cache. To place a cache in a Reservation park or other location please contact the Reservation, obtain permission, and state that permission has been granted on the cache page.

Military Areas: Military areas, including military housing or parks on land owned by the military are considered private property. To place a cache in miltary housing or parks that are on military owned land, please seek permission from the officials governing the area. In some cases area online maps are out of date and the area is no longer military owned. The area might also actually be managed by the city. If this is the case please let me know in a reviewer note. Caches on Military bases will not be allowed without specific written permission and assurances that cache seekers will be allowed to seek the cache.

National Cache Policies

The following are national policies that apply to everyone at a national level.

National Parks: Physical geocaches are not allowed in National Parks or on properties owned or managed by the National Park Service. To list a cache on one of those properties, we would need to be provided with written permission for the cache by the top supervisor/ranger for the area and would also want to pass it by the other reviewers before listing. There is a cache on NPS property in Nebraska because such permission was granted. In the Dakotas, the Mount Rushmore Area is owned and operated by the National Park Service.

National Wildlife Refuges: National Wildlife Refuges have banned physical caches. We cannot list a physical cache in one of those areas. See the information on National Parks above.

National Forests, Wilderness, Recreation, and Grassland Areas: National Forests and Grasslands tend to be open to caching unless told otherwise. In Nebraska and the Dakotas, we know of none off limits. National Wilderness Areas tend to be problematic in many states. We are unaware of any such areas in Nebraska. In the Dakotas, the Black Elk Wilderness is off limits to geocaches. We are unaware of any bans in Nebraska or the Dakotas in National Recreation Areas, although in some other areas some of those have restricted caching.

About Us

Welcome to the Geocaching.com reviewers blog for Nebraska and the Dakotas. This blog is replacing the previous Electric Mouse home page and is authored by Electric Mouse and Heartland Cacher.

Electric Mouse is a former reviewer for Nebraska and the current reviewer for the Dakotas. She caches under the name Carleenp. Heartland Cacher is an active cacher in Nebraska and is the current reviewer for that state.

We hope that this blog will provide general information about geocaching, review process and specialized rules affecting Nebraska. We are always happy to assist with cache placement questions. Please email Heartland Cacher with Nebraska questions and Electric Mouse with Dakota questions at any time.

Email Electric Mouse

Email Heartland Cacher