Geocaching on Public Lands

Geocaching is a 21st Century treasure hunting adventure game played by global positioning system (GPS) users while enjoying freedom of access to the public lands. BLM welcomes this activity in the right locations on the public lands if conducted with minimal impact to the environment and conscientious land use ethics are followed.

Geocaching is related to orienteering (where participants find their way with a compass) except it takes advantage of a GPS unit's capabilities. The locations of physical and virtual caches all over the world are shared on the Internet. Visitors use location coordinates to find caches, then are faced with a variety of rewards. The visitor may be expected to leave or replace items in the cache, deliver items to another cache, or take a self-portrait to upload to an Internet virtual album. The cache may be a small waterproof box or simply an unmistakable landmark to include in the portrait.

Geocaching may become a management concern for BLM if it jeopardizes public health and safety, causes environmental damage, or conflicts with other authorized uses.

You can avoid concern about establishing a cache by contacting the local BLM office to identify the intended location and request authorization. BLM will be happy to check that the proposed cache location:

  • Is not near a known archaeological site
  • Will not interfere with threatened or endangered species habitat
  • Will not conflict with other land uses
  • Is not hazardous
  • Requires no other special considerations

 Be sure to check out the BLM's Ripples in Time earthcache.

Related Links
BLM's Geocaching Game Rules
  • Identify proposed cache locations to the local BLM office before placing a cache
  • Do not place caches at archaeological sites
  • Obtain a BLM permit for any competitive events, contests for prizes, paid participation, or caches hosted by commercial business
  • Advise BLM if you observe any misuse or abuse of a cache location
There's no Excuse for Abuse!

Please help us protect our public lands by contacting the local BLM office if you observe or become aware of the following at a cache location:

  • Graffiti
  • Digging
  • Trash
  • Illegal off-road vehicle use
  • Vandalism
  • Suspicious behavior, substances, or objects
  • Commercial use or sponsorship


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