Officials Ban Premium Member Geocaches


Categories: Geocaching News Geocaching Rules United States


photo (14)Premium Member Only geocaches will soon be at a, well, premium in northwestern Ohio’s Hancock County.

Nor should you expect to find any ammo cans or any hides placed above ground level in the area’s parks, now that Hancock Park District officials have instituted geocaching permits.


Red alert: Hancock County in Ohio.

According to the Findlay-based authority, all caches and letterboxes placed on its properties must adhere to nine rules to limit the impact on native plants and animals.

While its conditions are similar to those imposed by and many other United States parks or wildlife departments, the Hancock County examples are far stricter.

Its guidelines state: “All information on caches in park property must be free. No premium paid-level caches permitted. All caches must be located on or at ground level in a safe, non-metal container (No ammo boxes or PVC pipes). No caches are to be buried.”

Hides should be family-friendly and checked monthly.  An initial contents list may also need to be submitted with the permit application. “Caches should contain no food, alcohol, firearms, drugs, or any dangerous or adult items. If a cache violates this agreement, it will be removed and not returned.”

Bush-bashing is off-limits too, with each ground zero required to be “within 15 feet” of an established and open park trail. “Any off-trail hiking is discouraged as it negatively impacts the native plants and animals,” the organisation says.

As of May 5th, the free permits are required for both current hides and new placements. Separate applications are needed for each cache, even if multiple containers are placed at the same time by the same geocacher.

After players have submitted the single-page application form, a park district employee will review each placement before deciding whether to approve a permit. Any container found without a permit will be automatically removed, and not returned to the owner.

Approved permits will be valid from the date of issue until December 31st of the following year. After that expiration date, the cache must be removed unless the authority grants a renewal. Applications can be submitted at the park district office in East Main Cross Street, or online.






HJPPermit*Would you abide by Hancock Park District’s new permit rules? Tell us below …
**For more information on whether permits are needed in your neck of the woods, check the regional land policies section of’s  Wiki.


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  1. twu07090 says:

    May 28, 2014 at 5:57 am

    My own stupid WordPress blog auto posted two “ping” comments to posts here, so I’m posting a couple to get them off the main page of INATN, as I can’t even delete them. :-). Don’t quote me on this, but I believe Pennsylvania State Parks also have a no premium member caches policy. Whether that’s it or not, there is a precedent out there. I personally have no problem with it.

  2. Doug Eberle says:

    July 26, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    This caught my attention since I live (and cache) in NW Ohio. I’m wondering what kind of impact these restrictions will have on the number of caches in Hancock County. What percentage of geocaches are hidden on private property vs. public lands? In Erie County, Ohio, not far from Findlay, the county parks & rec people are very enthusiastic about geocaching. I would guess roughly half of the county’s cache hides are on park property. Because of this, there are a lot more people (geocachers) enjoying what each park has to offer.

  3. Mr. Ollivander says:

    January 4, 2015 at 1:45 am

    In answer to an earlier post, Pennsylvania State Parks do not permit any pmo caches. The Hancock County Policy doesn’t seem out of line from others in Ohio. Numerous county park systems prohibit metal ammo cans. While I have not seen a direct prohibition of pvc pipe bomb type caches before, I applaud that decision. Within fifteen feet of the trail is a little close, but there should still be reasonable locations for a hide. The toughest county policy I have observed for that restriction is Portage Park District in Ohio. At 10 feet from the center-line of the trail, it is nearly impossible to provide adequate protection for a hide and has effectively ended new cache placements in that park system. The length of time the permit is in effect for Hancock’s system is much more lenient than Geauga Park District’s where each permit expires March 1st of the following year regardless of what date the cache is placed.

    As a reviewer, I have worked with land managers for policy development. I always encourage the land managers to consider the following, within 20-30 feet of the trail, preferably three year allowance for placements, and no micros. Since most land managers with a policy have a charter for conservation, I try to point out that most cache traffic appears in the first twelve months so constantly churning an annual program is the worst possible scenario. I also point out that a well hidden micro can be devastating to vegetation from the damage caused by cachers seeking the container.

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