Geocaching Permits, Placement and Casual Use Oregon/Washington BLM
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Geocaching Permits, Placement and Casual Use

Do I need a Special Recreation Permit?

Geocaching along trail

A special recreation permit (SRP) is not required if the geocaching activity complies with casual use conditions. The following conditions apply to casual use. The activity:

  • is not a commercial endeavor.
  • complies with land use decisions and designations, (i.e. special area designations and wilderness interim management policy).
  • does not award cash prizes.
  • is not publicly advertised.
  • poses minimal risk for damage to public land or related water resource values.
  • requires no monitoring.

Cache Placement

Geocaching within the Salem District

Even if the use is determined to be casual, there still may be some concerns about the use, such as placing a cache:

  • in Congressionally designated wilderness or wilderness study areas.
  • at cultural resource sites.
  • at areas with threatened or endangered species.
  • any other special fragile areas such as caves, bog, wetlands, riparian areas, or steep slopes.

In this case it would be appropriate to issue a "letter of agreement" with special stipulations attached that would address the concerns.

What About Commerical Activities?

If the geocaching activity or event does not meet the above conditions, the event should be treated as any other organized recreational group or competitive activity or event for which BLM would require the event organizer to obtain an special recreation permit.

The BLM believes that geocaching is an appropriate casual use of public land. However, if use increases or becomes a management issue in a particular area, the following minimum steps may be taken:

  1. Locate a person or group that is responsible for the cache and have them register the cache with the BLM. Make sure the cache is safe and environmentally sound.
  2. Prepare an environmental assessment or other appropriate National Environmental Protection Act document.
  3. Issue a letter of agreement or SRP with special stipulations to mitigate.
  4. Remove the cache from public lands if sites are not registered within a reasonable amount of time after notification. Normally, the cache would be determined to be abandoned property after 10 days unless the appropriate authorization has been obtained.
  5. Monitor the use to assess public health and safety and environmental protection issues.
  6. Take appropriate steps to properly manage the activity/sport if it becomes too large and begins to conflict with other authorized use.