Geocaching Site Application Process
- Physical caches are not allowed in sensitive ecological areas or where there is a risk to the public anywhere in the Alberta provincial parks system. Geocaches are NOT PERMITTED in any park in these land classifications: Heritage Rangelands, Ecological Reserves and Wilderness Areas.
- A cache owner (hider) who wants to place a physical cache in a Provincial Park, Provincial Recreation Area, Natural Area, Wildland Provincial Park or Willmore Wilderness Park must contact the regional/district Alberta Parks Geocaching Contact for the park.
- If the Alberta Parks Geocaching Contact approves the general location, the cache owner goes there and places a geocache following the standards, placement and location guidelines outlined below.
- Once the cache is placed, the cache owner forwards the location coordinates to the Alberta Parks Geocaching Contact for approval. The Parks contact will (in writing) approve, deny or provide feedback on the placement of the geocache to ensure that it's consistent with Alberta Parks' guidelines.
- Once placed and approved, the cache owner submits the geocache location to Geocaching.com. Each submission must include a copy of the placement's written approval from the Alberta Parks Geocaching Contact.
- If it meets the requirements of Geocaching.com (and providing that it has already been approved by Alberta Parks), the geocache location is posted on Geocaching.com.
- If the geocache is not approved by Alberta Parks or at the Geocaching.com review level, the rationale for it being refused is provided to the cache owner.
Note This application process must be followed for all Alberta Parks locations.
- If a cache owner inadvertently places a geocache in an Alberta Parks location and submits the geocache location to Geocaching.com, the organization will flag the geocache as being in a park and place it on hold. Geocaching.com will advise the cache owner to contact the appropriate Alberta Parks Geocaching Contact for review and approval.
- The geocache location will not be posted on Geocaching.com until after the Alberta Parks Geocaching Contact approves it.
Standards for Physical Caches
- Approval for physical caches will be given as long as the caches are placed in a location approved by a regional/district park staff member and consistent with the AlbertaParks guidelines for geocaching. Geocachers must also comply with the international Geocache Listing Requirements/Guidelines (found at Geocaching.com). Alberta Parks reserves the right to refuse any cache that does not comply with its guidelines.
- Cache contents must include a logbook. Often objects for trade such as geocoins, travel bugs or trade swag can also be included in geocache containers. Food items, tobacco, explosives or other dangerous items (such as knives and firearms) are not permitted.
- The size of the cache container must not be larger than 30 x 15 x 20 cm. (width, length, depth).
- Cache containers must be sealed (capable of being opened and closed multiple times), animal proof, never used for food or medication storage, and suitable for all weather conditions.
Placement of Physical Caches
- As long as there is no ecological or public safety concern
- Caches should be placed within 15-metres of an officially designated trail (as per a trail map for the site, where one is available)
- Caches can be placed within 15-metres of an informal trail if it is well-used and well-defined on the ground
- In sites with low visitation, caches may be placed near established trails or facilities IF they can be found with minimal disturbance to the environment
- Cache density is a minimum of 161 metres between caches.
The maximum number of geocache placements permitted at any Alberta Parks site is site-specific. Regional Alberta Parks staff has the flexibility to cap the number of caches at a level deemed manageable in the area.
Note Some sites have already reached capacity for geocaches, including Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area, Clifford E Lee Natural Area and Wagner Natural Area.
Location of Physical Caches
- Caches must NOT be
- Placed in locations that inherently create a risk to the public. This includes structures of a dangerous or prohibited nature (communication towers, electrical infrastructure, industry sites, railway tracks, below viewing platforms, well pads, etc).
- Buried, nailed or screwed to trees, or placed in restricted or environmentally sensitive areas
- Placed on/in nests or birdhouses, places of hibernation, wildlife corridors, underground burrows or other places of wildlife habitat
- Placed on cottages, trailer homes, trapper cabins, historic buildings, campsites or commercial lots
- Placed on Alberta Parks buildings or infrastructures, e.g. boat launches, docks, lagoons, garbage bins, shower facilities, toilets, electrical panels or closed staff areas. Some exceptions for certain types of infrastructure may be made if approved by regional Alberta Parks staff.
- Placed in an area that goes through significant annual change (erosion, flooding, thawing, etc.)
- In a location that requires adjustment or disturbance of any natural or heritage feature. For example, no removal of rocks, brush, trees or foliage, no burying the cache in the ground, and minimal disturbance to vegetation growth.
Geocache Monitoring, Maintenance and Removal
- The cache owner retains all responsibility for adequate oversight and maintenance of the cache. This includes monitoring the online listing for reports of the cache and any problems with it. Necessary maintenance may include: repair or replacement of the container, logbook or contents; disabling the geocache at times when access is prohibited; and removing the cache if the site is being adversely impacted.
- The cache owner should immediately remove any cache that is not in compliance with these guidelines, is improperly placed, interferes with public safety, interferes with maintenance activities, or does not have approval for placement.
- The owner must remove a cache once it's no longer being maintained. The owner is responsible for contacting Geocaching.com and Alberta Parks when the cache has been archived.
- If a cache owner fails to comply with these guidelines, Alberta Parks staff, in cooperation with Geocaching.com, will remove the cache. This may prevent the non-compliant cache owner from being issued additional caching approvals.
- EarthCaches must be educational, highlight a unique feature, and provide an earth science lesson (e.g., the sand dunes at Devonshire Beach in Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park).
- The cache owner creates a description of the EarthCache, including educational information about the geological feature and the coordinates, and forwards it to the Alberta Parks Geocaching Contact for the park.
- If the Alberta Parks Geocaching Contact approves the EarthCache location, the cache owner submits it to Geocaching.com. The submission must include a copy of the written approval from the Alberta Parks Geocaching Contact.
- EarthCaches must meet these Alberta Parks guidelines, Geocache Listing Requirements/Guidelines and EarthCache guidelines.
- The cache owner must provide accurate coordinates for each site where visitors are to perform the logging tasks, and ensure these areas are accessible to the public. The cache owner is responsible for taking appropriate actions if conditions change regarding access, permission or other concerns.
- An EarthCache is a virtual type of geocache. No physical object can be left at the site of an EarthCache.
- An EarthCache listing must include at least one task/question related to the EarthCache's earth science lesson that visitors need to answer in order to log their “find”.
Geocache Special Events
- A Special Event Permit is required for organized geocaching events conducted on Alberta Parks land. Check Special Events Permits for details.
I understand that geocaching may involve inherent risks that could cause serious injury and possibly death and that it is my responsibility to follow the rules, regulations and boundaries of the park. Her Majesty the Queen in right of Alberta, as represented by the Minister of Environment and Parks, being the Government of Alberta, and their respective employees, volunteers and representatives, “Alberta Parks”, are not responsible for any death, injury, loss or damage of any kind sustained by any person while participating in geocaching at the park to the extent resulting from the failure of such or any other person to adhere to the rules, regulations and boundaries of the park or to exercise reasonable care taking into consideration the inherent risks of geocaching and the park. Alberta Parks shall not be liable for loss of or physical damage to any cache placement.