Tuesday, June 26, 2007

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.

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