Other Permits

What is Geocaching and EarthCaching?

Geo-caching hidden in the trees.Geocaching are challenging outdoor activities for global positioning system (GPS) users.  The basic idea is that individuals and organizations set up caches and share the locations of those caches on the internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Caches can be either “virtual,” meaning they exist only as coordinates that lead to a place, or “physical,” meaning that the coordinates lead to a thing to be found.

EarthCaching is like geocaching in that a GPS unit is used to guide a person to a site. Once there, however, no physical record is established or left behind. EarthCaching is sponsored on the World Wide Web by an organization called the Geological Society of America. EarthCache sites are “virtual” caches established to provide environmental education about an area’s unique geological features without involving any disturbance at the site.

Are Geocaches or EarthCaches allowed on National Forest lands?

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest recognizes Geocaching and EarthCaching as legitimate outdoor recreation activities and does allow in most places on the Forest. For either activity, access routes and caches must not be placed in dangerous, inappropriate, fragile, or protected areas or habitats, such as wetlands, steep slopes, historic structures or sites, wilderness areas, recreation sites, and other sensitive sites. They must not be in areas closed to the public. The Forest Service is asking you to help us maintain the quality of our natural resources.

Do I need to register my Geocaches or EarthCaches?

Yes. Approval for placement of a Geocache or EarthCache needs to be given from the district ranger responsible for the management of the area where the cache would be placed. Please download the registration form to complete and submit for review. An approved geocacher must follow the rules outlined in the registration form.

If you have questions, please contact Tim Vetter, Forest Recreation Program Manager, at (715) 362-1373 or via email timothy.vetter@usda.gov.