Operating Instruction Number 26
Subject: Geocaching in Texas State Parks
The instructions and information contained herein prescribe guidelines and procedures for the management of "Geocaching" activities in State Parks that ensures resource protection and visitor safety, while encouraging responsible recreational activity.
Geocaching, also known as GPS Stash Hunt or GeoStash, involves “hiding” items, usually containers holding various “treasures” and then providing specific Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) coordinates for each “cache” on a website. Visitors to these websites can choose which “cache” they would like to locate using their own personal GPS device. Cache searchers typically bring along their own “treasures” and make an exchange once the cache has been located. Virtual Caching involves locating not a cache, but a specific landmark, feature, park sign, etc.
Geocaching on Texas State Park lands may only be done during regular operational hours. Geocachers should only access State Parks through typical public access points, and must pay all applicable fees. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department accepts no responsibility for damage to or loss of any cache or its contents. Procedures established under this Instruction are pursuant to authority granted by Sec. 13.101-13.112, Parks and Wildlife Code.
Notification and Approval
1. Pursuant to Chapter 59.134-135, Texas Administrative Code, a cache permit (Attachment A) must be completed by the person placing the cache and approved by the Park Superintendent or designee before a cache can be placed on a state park or historic site. The permit must include the exact cache location, including GPS coordinates; name of geocacher placing the cache, a valid address, telephone number, email address (if applicable), driver’s license number (if applicable), and the website address on which the cache will be posted.
2. The location of the cache must be approved by the Park Superintendent or designee, whose main concern will be public safety and the prevention of undesirable impacts to natural, historical, and cultural resources.
3. If it is determined that a cache has been the cause of adverse resource damage, causes a public safety concern, or is unauthorized, the cache may be removed by the Park
Superintendent or designee at any time.
Cache Containers and Contents
1. Cache containers must be non-breakable, have some form of latch or other closing
mechanism to prohibit content exposure to wildlife, and must be approved by the Park
Superintendent or designee.
2. Each cache container, excluding micro-caches and virtual caches, must have an identification label affixed to the outside identifying it as such.
3. Caches may not contain inappropriate or dangerous items. Such items include, but are not limited to, hazardous materials, food, medications, alcoholic beverages, personal hygiene products, pornography, weapons of any type, or fireworks.
4. All caches are subject to random inspection by Park Superintendent or designee. Park staff has the authority to immediately remove any item held in a cache deemed unacceptable or that is in violation of this policy.
1. The location of a cache must be pre-approved by the Park Superintendent designee.
2. Caches shall not be placed in a location that leads to the creation of spur trails or other
3. Caches may not be buried, nor may living vegetation or any historic features be disturbed to place a cache.
4. Caches may not be placed in dangerous, inappropriate or protected areas and habitats, on cliffs, underground, or underwater.
5. Caches shall not be placed in a location that is visible to the casual site visitor or that will degrade scenic views.
6. Caches may be removed if a placement results in unacceptable resource impacts. Removal shall be at the discretion of the Park Superintendent.
7. Metal detectors may not be used in cache searches.
1. Failure to comply with this policy directive or Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Rules and Regulations will result in the removal of geocaches.
2. If geocaching activities as a whole are found to have a negative impact on park resources or if safety becomes an issue in geocache searches, the Park Superintendent may ban geocaching from certain areas or from the entire park.
A Geocache Permit (Attachment A) shall be used for recording geocache placement contact information and kept on file at the park or office. Permits shall be completed by the person placing the cache and signed by the Superintendent of designee. Permits shall be renewed annually, if a cache permit is not current the cache may be removed by park staff as abandoned property.
State Parks Division Director
Attachment A: GEOCACHE PERMIT
This Virtual Cache______Traditional Geocache______has been placed by:
Name: Last____________________First___________________Middle Initial_______
Address Line 2:________________________________________
Day Time Phone:__________-_________-__________
Driver’s License Number:_______________________________State_______________
Website Referencing Cache:______________________________
Cache GPS Coordinates: ______Lat/Long ______UTM
If UTM, include Zone #______
The Cache I have placed (applicant initials each requirement) Yes No
1. Is in a non-breakable container. ______ ______
2. Does not contain inappropriate or dangerous items ______ ______
3. Is not buried or placed in a protected area, but placed
in an area approved by the Park Superintendent or designee. ______ ______
I hereby agree to respect and adhere to the regulations set forth. In addition, Texas Parks and Wildlife shall assume no responsibility whatsoever for the loss or damage to the property or injury of the applicant from any cause and applicant agrees at all times to indemnify, protect, and save harmless Texas Parks and Wildlife and its agents, and
employees from liability in connection with applicant’s property and/or operation under this permit.
Applicant Signature: ________________________________________________
Park Superintendent (or Designee) Name:________________________________
Park Superintendent (or Designee) Signature:__________________________________________________________
Permit is valid for one year from date of issuance