Geocaching on Public Lands

Geocaching is a 21st century treasure-hunting activity using Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. The BLM welcomes this activity on public lands if conducted with minimal impact to the environment and if 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

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