If you hide geocaches, do you get permission for every cache you hide? I will freely admit that we did not when we started. We made the assumption that if there was a geocache nearby, ours was surely okay. Who wants to track down the owner of a business property to simply throw a pill bottle under a lamp skirt. (I’m purposely avoiding the discussion on the likely quality of that cache.) What about in a city park? That’s public property so it should be implied permission right? No. The short answer is that every single time we hide a geocache, we should seek explicit permission from someone in authority.
Now that we have gained a little more knowledge and experience in the geocaching world, we are trying to increase the quality and integrity of every aspect of our game. This, getting permission, is one of them. One of the first places we received permission for was on State land. Since then we have spoken with business owners, park employees, and even stimulated a discussion at Lory State Park that resulted in a change in their policy of placing caches in their park.
The big thing to know is… its really not that scary. Business owners and park officials are usually pretty curious about geocaching and are often quite receptive to adding a quality geocache to their property. If they seem hesitant don’t forget to mention one of the greatest public relations tools we have at our disposal – CITO – we clean up our own playground.
Besides being the part of the rules, not getting permission can really impact our (geocachers) relations with the public and landowners. Let me give you a real life example:
My family and I were recently at the opening of a new city park when we overheard the park officials talking about geocaching. Since they were at the welcome booth, I stopped to see if I could offer some information. We had a good conversation as I explained what exactly geocaching was and how it could bring visitors to the park. They were excited and they collected my contact info and said they wanted to put one in the park. One day later, a new nano pops up right in the center of the park. Do you think they got permission from the park employees? Of course not, but even more importantly, when I meet with the park officials, I am going to have to explain how someone already hid a geocache inside the park without their permission. That should be a fun conversation.
So, the take away from this small rant should be: get permission! Its not that hard and it gives you not only the high moral ground but it ultimately helps in relations between geocachers and the keepers of our playground (the city/world).