The Geocachers' Creed is designed to help orient new players to the ethos of the geocaching community and to guide experienced players in questionable situations, so that everyone can enjoy geocaching!
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When placing or seeking geocaches, I will:
Not endanger myself or others
- Like any outdoor activity, geocaching involves some inherent risk and many geocachers enjoy manageable risks. Minimize inordinate risks.
- When creating a cache, describe any hidden dangers and, if possible, arrange the hunt to minimize these dangers.
- When seeking a cache, know your limitations and be aware of your surroundings. Don't attempt anything beyond your abilities.
- A cache you own, or one you're trading out of, could be found by children or even a prisoner work crew - consider the location of the cache and those likely to find it when deciding what to leave as a trade item.
Observe all laws & rules of the area
- Don’t break the law or rules of an area, or encourage others to do so, when placing or seeking a cache.
- Don't leave illegal items in a cache.
Respect property rights and seek permission where appropriate
- Check if permission is required before placing a cache on private property, and respect the landowner's wishes.
- Check if public land has a geocaching policy and respect existing policies.
- Promptly remove your cache if the land manager or steward asks.
- Do not damage, or interfere with the function of, buildings, structures, or signage.
Avoid causing disruptions or public alarm
- Don’t place a cache near schools or government buildings unless the administration and staff are fully aware of the placement.
- Use caution where children play. Parents are understandably concerned when strangers are near their children.
- Don’t place a cache near critical infrastructure that might be considered a terrorist target, or create a cache that could be mistaken for a terrorist device (e.g. a pipe bomb).
Minimize my and others' impact on the environment
- Follow Leave No Trace ethics whenever possible.
- When seeking a cache, practice "Lift, Look, Replace" - put all stones or logs back where you found them. Leave the area as you found it or better (e.g. pick up litter).
- Obtain the best possible coordinates for your cache to reduce unwarranted wear on the area. Recheck and correct your coordinates if finders report significant errors.
- Do not abandon a cache.
- If you stop maintaining a cache, remove the container, archive its listing and explain the disposition of the cache in your archive note, or put it up for adoption or rescue.
- If you de-list a cache on one host, but keep it on another, make sure you mention this in the archive note to prevent rescues of active caches.
Be considerate of others
- Treat other geocachers civilly - in the field, in the forums, or wherever your paths may cross.
- Don't spoil the hunt for others - allow them to experience the cache as its owner intended.
- Avoid leaving tracks to the cache. Do not disrupt the cache area or mark the hiding spot.
- Minimize giving unsolicited clues that reveal the cache (i.e. "spoilers").
- Don't provide any hints if the cache description asks you not to. In all other cases, be cryptic or encrypt any hints or spoilers you enter in online logs.
- Edit your log if the cache owner requests that you remove spoilers.
- Promptly alert the owner of any issues with their cache. Make minor repairs if you can, it will save the owner a trip.
- Cache owners appreciate feedback - write an online log, send an email, or otherwise let the owner know about your experience with their cache.
- Only place caches you can maintain and respond promptly to problem reports.
- If you exchange trade items, trade kindly: Consider what future finders would like and leave something equal to or better than what you take.
- If you place a traveling item into the game, attach a tag that describes its goal, so that others can help it along. If you pick up a traveling item with a tag describing its goal, move the item toward its goal if possible. Contact the owner if you hold a traveling item for more than a couple of weeks or so.
- Obtain permission from the originator before copying unique themes and techniques, adding to an existing series of caches, or placing a cache close to another.
Protect the integrity of the game pieces
- The owner entrusts you to not damage or jeopardize the cache. Try to ensure the cache is ready for the next finder and is as good as or better than you found it.
- Make sure the container is properly closed to prevent the contents from getting wet or destroyed.
- Be inconspicuous in retrieving, signing in, and replacing a cache to avoid vandalism.
- Put the cache back where you found it and hide it well. Don’t move a cache - if you suspect the cache is not in the intended spot, hide it the best you can and alert the owner as soon as possible.
- Don’t collect traveling items meant to stay in the game. This is tantamount to stealing.
- Don’t tamper with or involve a game piece in "alternate" games without the owner’s permission.