GEOCACHING / LETTERBOXING

SPECIAL USE PERMIT CONDITIONS AND CONSIDERATIONS

 

DEFINITION AND/OR CODE REFERENCE

 

Cache or Geocache - a hidden container typically holding a pen/pencil, logbook, and trinkets.

 

Geocaching - a treasure hunt which involves using a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit,

map coordinates, and clues posted on geocaching websites to find the location of a hidden

container.

 

Letterbox - a hidden container typically holding a rubber stamp and a logbook.

 

Letterboxing - a treasure hunt which involves using clues posted on letterboxing websites to find

the location of a hidden container.

 

Multi-cache - a series of caches in which one container is located by using information found in

the previous container.

 

 

3 CSR 10-11.110 General Provisions. (1) The following activities are allowed on department

areas only where and as authorized by this chapter or by signs and area brochures or by a

special use permit issued by the area manager; swimming, sailboarding, sailboating,

skateboarding, boating, entry on areas closed to public use, bicycling, camping, shooting,

hunting, fishing, trapping, removal of water, commercial use, vending, fires outside of

designated camping areas, rock collecting, digging and other soil disturbance, field trials,

horseback riding, ranging of horses and other livestock, possession of pets and hunting dogs,

caving, rock climbing, rappelling, paint-balling, scuba diving, water skiing, geocaching and

letterboxing, the use and possession of vehicles and aircraft, the use of decoys, and the use or

construction of blinds and tree stands.

 

 

INFORMATION (from the applicant)

 

1.      Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinates for the proposed container location.

2.      Written description of the proposed container location, if a GPS location is not available.

3.      Written description of the proposed container and initial contents.

 

 

CONSIDERATIONS

 

1.      Primary public uses are fishing, hunting, nature observation, and conservation education.  Primary public uses are encouraged on all Department areas, with few exceptions. Other public uses of Department areas may be appropriate and are evaluated locally using statewide Public Use Guidelines. Geocaching and letterboxing are “other” uses in which the public may enjoy and learn about fish, forest, and wildlife resources. Area managers must consider and balance site-specific natural resources management, primary public uses, and staff time necessary to monitor the activity. As with any “other” public use, geocaching/letterboxing will not be appropriate on every area.

 

2.      A Special Use Permit is required for geocaching/letterboxing to control potential user conflicts, and to enable area managers to ensure that the container is safe and family friendly.

 

3.      Natural Areas are specially-designated areas that may be contained within a Conservation Area or on their own through public or private ownership. Natural Areas represent the natural character, diversity and ecological processes of Missouri's native landscapes.

 

Containers may be placed on many Conservation Areas. Containers may be placed on many, but not all Natural Areas owned or managed by MDC.

 

Following is a list of Natural Areas on which geocaches/letterboxes may be permitted:

 

-Barn Hollow NA

-Morris Prairie NA

-Big Buffalo Creek Forest NA

-Osage Prairie NA

-Bradyville NA

-Paint Brush Prairie NA

-Brickyard Hill Loess Mound NA

-Pawnee Prairie NA

-Brush Creek NA

-Pelican Island NA

-Bryant Creek NA

-Pipestem Hollow NA

-Buffalo Hills NA

-Poplar Bluff Forest NA

-Burr Oak Woods NA

-Prairie Slough NA

-Caney Mountain NA

-Quercus Flatwoods NA

-Castor River Shut-ins NA

-Reifsnider Forest NA

-Danville Glades NA

-Royal Gorge NA

-Dark Hollow NA

-Spring Creek Gap Glades NA

-Diamond Grove Prairie NA

-Spring's End Forest NA

-Donaldson Point NA

-St. Francis River NA

-Dupont NA

-St. Francois Mountains NA

-Eck Memorial NA

-Star School Hill Prairie NA

-Elmslie Forest NA

-Stegall Mountain NA

-Engelmann Woods NA

-Sunklands NA

-Golden Seal NA

-Taberville Prairie NA

-Grand Bluffs NA

-Weldon Spring Hollow NA

-Hughes Mountain NA

-Whetstone Creek NA

-Indian Trail NA

-Yellow Creek NA

-McCormack Loess Mounds NA

 

 

4.      Ensure that an individual is identified on the Special Use Permit (SUP) as the responsible permit holder, not just a group or organization.

 

5.      Area managers should check containers upon initial placement to ensure that (a) it is properly labeled with SUP number (create number/id record), (b) it is located in a safe, appropriate place, and (c) its contents are safe and family-friendly. Area managers may consider either taking a digital photo of the in-place container, or requiring the permittee to do so as a condition of the permit.

 

6.      Area managers should monitor permitted containers at a frequency that allows the identification of resource damage/management issues, such as a trail being developed. Containers should be removed or relocated before significant resource damage occurs.

 

7.      Area managers should monitor the area to be aware of any unauthorized containers. Upon discovery of an unauthorized container, the area manager should coordinate with the Conservation Agent to have a seizure tag placed on the site before confiscating the illegal container, then use Protection Division guidelines to document and process the illegally placed container (similar to when unlabeled deer stands or traps are found).

 

 

CONDITIONS (In addition to the 10 standard conditions in the Special Use Permit)

 

11.  Containers may not be placed in sensitive archaeological, historical, or ecological areas such as historic buildings, caves, glades, or locations that contain rare plant species. Permittee must consult area manager regarding the possibility of such sites before placing the container.

 

12.  Multi-containers are limited to three (3) total locations on one conservation area, but are considered as one container requiring only one permit.

 

13.  The permittee is limited to a maximum of two (2) permits at any given time on a specific conservation area.

 

14.  The permittee is required to clearly label the container with the Special Use Permit number. Unlabeled containers will be considered unauthorized, and will be confiscated and reported to the local Conservation Agent.

 

15.   Permittee accepts the possibility that a container may be stolen, damaged or destroyed by other area users, or as a result of common natural resource management activities, such as prescribed burns.

 

16.  The permittee will follow up to ensure that all communication regarding the existence and location of the container includes a reference/hotlink to http://mdc.mo.gov/18290.

 

17.  The permittee is responsible for checking the container and its contents at least once every two months to ensure that its contents are family-friendly and do not contain food, alcohol, drugs, firearms, or dangerous items. The permittee must notify the area manager if a container is missing or is removed prior to the permit expiration date.

 

18.  Permittee accepts that the area manager may remove the container if it becomes unsightly, the surrounding natural resources are adversely affected, or the container contains items that are not family-friendly.

 

19.  No digging or disruption of soil or vegetation is permitted when placing a container. Lifting or moving rocks is prohibited.

 

20.  Containers may not be placed in locations that could potentially endanger those searching for them, e.g., on cliffs or bluffs, in or near bodies of water, or in areas prone to frequent flooding.

 

21.   Geocaching/letterboxing permits are valid for a maximum period of one year from the approval date. Prior to the end of the permit period, the permittee is responsible for contacting the area manager if s/he desires to renew the permit for an additional year. Area use and management, environmental conditions, container location, visitor impacts, and requests from others will be evaluated when considering renewal requests. Failure to contact the area manager to renew a permit will result in removal of the container(s).