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Keystone

Updates to the Cache Listing Guidelines

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Groundspeak and the team of Volunteer Cache Reviewers have worked on a new version of the Cache Listing Requirements/Guidelines. The new guidelines are effective immediately, and replace the prior version that's been in effect since November 2005. Caches submitted prior to the Guidelines change are generally considered "grandfathered" and allowed to remain as-is, because they complied with the Guidelines in effect at the time.

 

We thought it would be useful to summarize the changes, so Groundspeak asked me to write this post. But remember -- the actual text of the Guidelines controls over this Summary. And, there are many guideline provisions that were not changed in this version, so they're not described below. We encourage you to read the Guidelines in their entirety before submitting your next cache.

 

In addition to the usual minor terminology and wording changes, here are the main points covered in the new version:

 

General Comment

 

One goal of the new Guidelines is to make them easier to understand by the worldwide caching community. Terms used frequently in the U.S., but which are not familiar to readers living elsewhere, have been replaced with more universal wording. Metric equivalent measurements are included along with Imperial measurements in all Guidelines where they are relevant. I would like to thank the growing group of non-U.S. volunteer reviewers for their contributions to improving the Guidelines.

 

Introduction

 

We added a sentence at the end to tell readers to use the contact at geocaching.com e-mail address whenever the Guidelines say to obtain permission from Groundspeak.

 

Off Limit (Physical) Caches

 

We added an assumption that your cache placement complies with all applicable laws. If an obvious legal issue is present, or is brought to our attention, your listing may be immediately archived.

 

The guideline about U.S. National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges has been re-worded to cover all agencies who have a policy not to allow geocaches on the lands that they manage -- mentioning these two as prominent examples.

 

The sentence talking about defacing natural or man-made property has been expanded to cover "hiding places" (such as drilling holes in trees to conceal a container) in addition to "clues" and "logging methods" (such as using spray paint or "sharpies" on an object).

 

The listed "sensitive locations" and "possible terrorist targets" have been rephrased to be lists of examples. In many locations, a cache at a historic site may be perfectly acceptable. If the historic site is also environmentally sensitive, then it may be off limits.

 

We added a sentence clarifying that a reviewer may ask a cache hider for permission contact information in appropriate circumstances (for example, when a land manager's published geocaching policy requires that this information be stated). In most cases, though, this level of detail is not necessary.

 

Cache Sizes

 

We added approximate measurements as suggestions for the different container sizes.

 

Traditional Caches and Mystery/Unknown Caches

 

We added language to both these guideline sections to clarify that a cache with "Additional Logging Requirements" should be classified as a Mystery/Unknown cache. A find on a traditional cache generally can be logged by finding a cache at the posted coordinates, signing the logbook, and entering a narrative online log of the finder's choosing. If the cache owner wishes to add other requirements, it is generally their right to do so, but such caches should now be "flagged" by using the Mystery/Unknown cache type. If you own a cache like this and it is presently listed as a traditional cache, contact your volunteer cache reviewer if you would like to change it to a mystery/unknown cache.

 

Multicaches and Mystery/Unknown Caches

 

Instructions on using the "Additional Waypoints" feature to record all cache waypoints in addition to the posted coordinates have been added in several appropriate locations.

 

Offset Caches

 

Formerly a separate topic heading in the "Cache Types" guidelines, instructions about Offset Caches are now included as part of the discussion of Multicaches.

 

Mystery / Puzzle Caches

 

A mis-statement in prior versions of the Guidelines has been corrected. While many caches of this type use "bogus" posted coordinates, this is *not* a requirement. A Mystery / Puzzle cache may be located *at* the posted coordinates. An example is a locked ammo box, where the lock's combination is derived by solving a puzzle.

 

Letterbox Hybrid Caches

 

The guideline for this cache type has been clarified. A letterbox hybrid does not *have* to be located at the posted coordinates, like a traditional cache. It can be in the nature of a multicache or puzzle, so long as the letterbox hybrid meets the guidelines for the applicable cache type. GPS use is an integral part of the cache hunt -- a cache cannot be listed if it relies only on letterbox-style clues.

 

Event Caches

 

For geocaching events that involve several components, such as a full weekend event that includes a geocoin trading session, a seminar and a potluck dinner, multiple event listings may be submitted if they each stand on their own merits as events meeting the listing guidelines.

 

For regional, national and international events where advance reservations and travel planning are needed, the event can be listed up to six months in advance instead of the usual three months. The reviewers have been following this more helpful standard for just over a year, and now it is an official part of the Guidelines.

 

Mega-Event Caches

 

A new guideline paragraph has been added for our newest cache type.

 

Earthcaches

 

Because Earthcaches are once again being accepted for publication on Geocaching.com, the applicable Guidelines have been moved out of the "Grandfathered Cache Types" section. We also clarified that all responsibility for reviewing Earthcache submissions and issues lies with the Geological Society of America and Groundspeak -- not the regular volunteer cache reviewers.

 

Guidelines that Apply to All Cache Types - Introduction

 

We expanded the language on using common sense when selecting cache locations and cache containers, to think about how the cache, and those seeking it, would appear to the general public. The guidelines now convey a message very similar to what was published in the new cache notification e-mail two weeks ago.

 

We added a sentence here to confirm that a logbook is required for all physical caches -- previously, this was covered only in the Traditional Cache guideline.

 

In May of 2006, Groundspeak asked the reviewers not to publish caches that require the downloading, installing or running of data and/or executables. This change was made in the interest of file security, and now appears as part of the official Guidelines text.

 

A new sentence explains that caches which require a geocacher to visit another website will not be published if the finder must create an account with, or provide personal information to, the other website.

 

The ten-day lead time requirement for submitting a large numbers of caches for "timed release" now applies to all such situations, not just mass releases in connection with event caches.

 

Cache Maintenance

 

The former section on "Vacation Caches" has been moved into the Cache Maintenance section, to emphasize that the primary reason for that guideline is to be sure the cache is within the owner's "maintainable distance." If the owner demonstrates an acceptable maintenance plan (the ability to respond to reported problems), the cache may be listed.

 

Cache Saturation

 

We clarified the "Power Trail" section of this Guideline by adding that term, and by giving an example -- a series of caches that are generally intended to be found as a group are good candidates for submission as a single multicache.

 

We clarified the situations where the "528 foot" separation guideline applies:

  • The guideline applies to all physical caches and physical stages of multicaches and mystery/puzzle caches.
  • The guideline applies to virtual stages of multicaches and mystery/puzzle caches ONLY if the cache owner uses the "Stages of a Multicache" type when entering an Additional Waypoint for that stage. If you don't want a "surprise" virtual spot in your multi to be spoiled by a later cache placement nearby, code the virtual waypoint as a "Stage of a Multicache."
  • The guideline does NOT apply to virtual stages of multicaches and mystery/puzzle caches coded as "Question to Answer" or "Reference Point." If you don't care whether another cache is hidden within 528 feet of the historic marker or park sign used as a stage in your cache, use one of these waypoint types.
  • The guideline does NOT apply to earthcaches or to grandfathered virtual caches and webcam caches. You can hide a physical cache at any distance from any of these.
  • The guideline does NOT apply to any "bogus" posted coordinates for puzzle caches.
  • The guideline does NOT apply to stages within a single cache. You can have two stages of your own multi hidden close together (but we recommend not placing them so close that the finder locates them in the wrong order).

Commercial Caches

 

We added a sentence saying that a cache is presumed to be commercial if the finder is required to go inside the business, interact with employees, and/or purchase a product or service. The cache owner would need to present facts to overcome this presumption, or seek special permission from Groundspeak.

 

Caches That Solicit

 

There's now a new separate section for the existing guideline text about caches that promote a religious, political or social agenda, or which solicit support for a charitable cause. This change was made to clarify that this is a requirement separate from the commercial cache provisions.

 

Grandfathered Cache Types

 

We removed all references to Earthcaches in this section, because new listings are again being accepted. No new virtual or webcam caches will be published, but the remaining caches are grandfathered. We also removed all references to locationless caches, because these caches can no longer be hidden OR logged.

 

In the guidelines for logging virtual caches, we now say that the seeker must verify to the cache owner that he "was physically at the location," instead of the phrase "was really there."

 

There are a lot of changes, but I hope you'll agree that most of them are helpful clarifications, or increase the flexibility for caches that can be listed. And, I hope that you found this Summary to be useful.

Edited by Keystone

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The Volunteer Cache Reviewers also have three requests regarding the "Additional Waypoints" feature. These requests are especially timely because the Guidelines now directly refer to this tool, and because of the change in the "Cache Saturation" guideline noted above, relating to virtual waypoints.

 

1. Our first request is addressed to geocachers who own an older multicache or mystery/unknown cache (published prior to January 2006 when the Additional Waypoints tool was introduced). If you have not already done so, please add the information for all stages of your cache as Additional Waypoints. If the information is not entered in this manner, the reviewers cannot guarantee that the stages of your cache will be protected from having another cache published nearby.

 

2. Our second request is for everyone who owns a cache with a virtual waypoints currently entered as "Additional Waypoints." If you don't care whether your virtual waypoint has another cache or stage of a cache nearby, please go back and make sure that this waypoint is coded as a "Question to Answer" or "Reference Point" so that it is not counted when the reviewer checks for proximity conflicts between caches.

 

3. Finally, for all owners of caches with Additional Waypoints, please remember to keep the waypoint information up to date. If you moved your final multicache container 200 feet away because the first one went missing, it is the old spot that will have a 528 foot / 161 metre circle of protection around it. It's to your advantage to keep your Additional Waypoints current.

 

Thanks for your cooperation!

Edited by Keystone

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In May of 2006, Groundspeak asked the reviewers not to publish caches that require the downloading, installing or running of data and/or executables. This change was made in the interest of file security, and now appears as part of the official Guidelines text.

Since most of the discussion thus far has related to this particular guideline text, I've split the posts on that subject off into their own thread so as not to distract from discussions or questions about the many other changes. If other provisions spawn long debates, I'll give them their own thread as well. We are happy to answer questions here. :rolleyes:

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If you are placing a large number of caches to be published on the same date (for example, on the day of an event cache), please submit the cache pages for all of the caches at least ten days in advance of the release date. Leave a “note to reviewer” indicating that the cache is to be released on the date specified. This allows your reviewer adequate time to review the submissions or to arrange for help from another reviewer....

 

In connection with the guideline on "timed released" caches for events. What constitutes a large number of caches? 3, 8, 12? This should be clarified in the guidelines.

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If you are placing a large number of caches to be published on the same date (for example, on the day of an event cache), please submit the cache pages for all of the caches at least ten days in advance of the release date. Leave a “note to reviewer” indicating that the cache is to be released on the date specified. This allows your reviewer adequate time to review the submissions or to arrange for help from another reviewer....

 

In connection with the guideline on "timed released" caches for events. What constitutes a large number of caches? 3, 8, 12? This should be clarified in the guidelines.

 

Its different for different areas of the world. Large to some areas are not large to others. Ask your reviewer.

Edited by CO Admin

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In connection with the guideline on "timed released" caches for events. What constitutes a large number of caches? 3, 8, 12? This should be clarified in the guidelines.

There's no set number. Think mainly about the timing issue. Suppose the reviewer is traveling across the state to attend the event. He or she would need time to arrange for another volunteer to publish the caches. That would be true whether there were three, or twenty-three. Three caches would not normally put a stress on my schedule, and if I'm able to accommodate the request for a timed release, I will overlook the guideline and assist the cache hider. But when 20 caches show up on a Friday with a note to publish them at exactly 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, I'd cite the Guideline and say "no thanks, we'll look at them when time permits."

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Part of the Multi definitions found here...

With the offset cache the published coordinates could be of an existing historical monument, plaque, or even a benchmark that you would like to have your cache hunter visit. At this spot, the hunter looks for numbers or information already appearing on the marker or on some part of the marker or site (geocachers NEVER deface public or private property). The geocacher is then able to manipulate these numbers or information using instructions posted on the cache page to continue the hunt.

 

I highlighted the part of the passage that has me a bit concerned.

 

Are we now allowed to only use what is already there? This seems to be telling me that it is assumed there are only two ways to create a stage; with information already there or deface property. There are ways to introduce information without defacing property. Are these techniques now forbidden?

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CR, that language has been there for years. It accurately describes an offset cache. If you place something of your own making at stage one, then it's a regular multicache.

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Caches that require a geocacher to visit another website will not be published if the finder must create an account with, or provide personal information to, the other website.

Does this mean that new cache submissions like this will be allowed?

 

-eP

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Caches that require a geocacher to visit another website will not be published if the finder must create an account with, or provide personal information to, the other website.

Does this mean that new cache submissions like this will be allowed?

 

-eP

If you have to create an account with, or provide personal information to, the other website, then it would not be allowed. If you are just interacting with the page and do not have to create an account with, or provide personal information to, the other website then it would be allowed.

Edited by CO Admin

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Thanx to all for your hard work! Although it might seem to be the case at times, y'all are not unappreciated. :rolleyes:

Ditto. Though I'm making a fuss in the offshoot thread, I am glad to see these clarifications.

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The guidelines are updated from time to time. I see this update addresses several issues that have been dicussed here recently. Don't let anyone say that TPTB don't pay attention to what is said in the forums.

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Keystone-

 

Could you give some clarification as to whether the new 'commercial' guidelines would affect a cache placed in a non-profit zoo?

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Keystone-

 

Could you give some clarification as to whether the new 'commercial' guidelines would affect a cache placed in a non-profit zoo?

No, I don't think anything has changed in the Guidelines applicable to that situation. The new language just establishes some rebuttable presumptions about *business* locations.

 

Under my player account, the multicache at the non-profit Cleveland MetroParks Zoo is on my all-time favorites list. Well worth the price of admission. :rolleyes:

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Keystone-

 

Could you give some clarification as to whether the new 'commercial' guidelines would affect a cache placed in a non-profit zoo?

No, I don't think anything has changed in the Guidelines applicable to that situation. The new language just establishes some rebuttable presumptions about *business* locations.

 

Under my player account, the multicache at the non-profit Cleveland MetroParks Zoo is on my all-time favorites list. Well worth the price of admission. :rolleyes:

You have a player account?

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Those are a great new set of guidelines! Thanks for all the hard work that went in to make these possible. It is not an easy task....keep it up. There are a few minor things that make me go.... :rolleyes: ......but like I said, it is minor and not worth saying anything! I think you guys have done a bang-up job.

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Keystone, thank you and thanks to al the reviewers and other volunteers who helped to update the guidelines. It all looks good to me, and I partiularly like the requirement that all Additional Logging Requirement Caches must now be listed as ?/Puzzle/Mystery cache -- that makes a lot of sense, and is something for which I have been lobbying for a while.

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Off Limit (Physical) Caches

The guideline about U.S. National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges has been re-worded to cover all agencies who have a policy not to allow geocaches on the lands that they manage -- mentioning these two as prominent examples.

 

The sentence talking about defacing natural or man-made property has been expanded to cover "hiding places" (such as drilling holes in trees to conceal a container) in addition to "clues" and "logging methods" (such as using spray paint or "sharpies" on an object).

 

I have found a few of these that have bothered me. Should I be expressing my concern to the reviewer? Or does that make me the cache police?

 

Dead trees, live trees, or any trees at all, including timber flat on the ground? I would certainly object to drilling holes in living trees. But I would have no concern for a dead tree lying on the ground.

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The one item I still don't get is the off-set cache. Shouldn't this be listed as a mystery/puzzle cache?

A traditional and multi should be able to be completed with just the coordinates in your GPS. An offset cache requires searching for specific information and applying it to a formula or substitution method to get the final or next stage. It just seems that it's more appropriate to label a off-set cache as a mystery/puzzle cache.

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The one item I still don't get is the off-set cache. Shouldn't this be listed as a mystery/puzzle cache?

A traditional and multi should be able to be completed with just the coordinates in your GPS. An offset cache requires searching for specific information and applying it to a formula or substitution method to get the final or next stage. It just seems that it's more appropriate to label a off-set cache as a mystery/puzzle cache.

No, the only type that you should always be able to find with only the coordinates are Traditionals. You shouldn't assume that multi-stage caches will lead your from one container to another. Multi-caches can have "virtual" stages, which are existing object containing information that leads you to the next stage. Like this one, for example.

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The one item I still don't get is the off-set cache. Shouldn't this be listed as a mystery/puzzle cache?

A traditional and multi should be able to be completed with just the coordinates in your GPS. An offset cache requires searching for specific information and applying it to a formula or substitution method to get the final or next stage. It just seems that it's more appropriate to label a off-set cache as a mystery/puzzle cache.

No, the only type that you should always be able to find with only the coordinates are Traditionals. You shouldn't assume that multi-stage caches will lead your from one container to another. Multi-caches can have "virtual" stages, which are existing object containing information that leads you to the next stage. Like this one, for example.

 

Once again, labling a cache as a multi would seem to indicate that there are containers to find with coordinates for the next stage. Multis that contain "virtuals" may result in cachers starting a hunt and then ripping apart a stage where a virtual is looking for a micro that isn't there.

I've found myself chasing phantoms several times and I read several logs about other cachers looking for cache containers that weren't there.

At least the myster/puzzle icon indicates that a cacher should read the instructions on the cache page.

I fully understand that many off-sets are labled as multis, but I also believe this is because many cachers filter out puzzle and the cache placers are trying to capture those that filter out puzzles.

(I've also seen many multi staged puzzle listed as multis)

It just seems that if a traditional that has "additional logging requirements", should be listed as a myster/puzzle an off-set cache should be also.

 

Which brings up another curiousity, how come you can't change the cache type? I never understood this lock down. Even my local reviewer wont change what is an off-set cache to a puzzle or multi-cache.

Why is that?

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Once again, labling a cache as a multi would seem to indicate that there are containers to find with coordinates for the next stage.

Instead of relying on "what would seem", you could simply check out the cache type definitions. There you'll find that off-set caches fall under Multi-caches, and that not all stages of a multi-cache are containers.

 

Which brings up another curiousity, how come you can't change the cache type? I never understood this lock down. Even my local reviewer wont change what is an off-set cache to a puzzle or multi-cache.

Why is that?

Because it screws up peoples history and stats. If the cache you're referring to has always been an off-set, then it should be changed, because that would be correcting an existing inaccuracy. I assume it's a physical cache. If it's a grandfathered virtual, it's a Virtual regardless of how you get there.

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The one item I still don't get is the off-set cache. Shouldn't this be listed as a mystery/puzzle cache?

A traditional and multi should be able to be completed with just the coordinates in your GPS. An offset cache requires searching for specific information and applying it to a formula or substitution method to get the final or next stage. It just seems that it's more appropriate to label a off-set cache as a mystery/puzzle cache.

No, the only type that you should always be able to find with only the coordinates are Traditionals. You shouldn't assume that multi-stage caches will lead your from one container to another. Multi-caches can have "virtual" stages, which are existing object containing information that leads you to the next stage. Like this one, for example.

 

Once again, labling a cache as a multi would seem to indicate that there are containers to find with coordinates for the next stage. Multis that contain "virtuals" may result in cachers starting a hunt and then ripping apart a stage where a virtual is looking for a micro that isn't there.

I've found myself chasing phantoms several times and I read several logs about other cachers looking for cache containers that weren't there.

At least the myster/puzzle icon indicates that a cacher should read the instructions on the cache page.

I fully understand that many off-sets are labled as multis, but I also believe this is because many cachers filter out puzzle and the cache placers are trying to capture those that filter out puzzles.

(I've also seen many multi staged puzzle listed as multis)

It just seems that if a traditional that has "additional logging requirements", should be listed as a myster/puzzle an off-set cache should be also.

 

Which brings up another curiousity, how come you can't change the cache type? I never understood this lock down. Even my local reviewer wont change what is an off-set cache to a puzzle or multi-cache.

Why is that?

There are many types of multi's that don't follow this very narrow view of multi's. I have a multi that is a series of containers, none of which tell you where the next stage is (that's on the cache page) but have pieces of the final co-ords. You are going to be logging a lot of DNF's if you expect all mutli's to be done without the cache page.

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The one item I still don't get is the off-set cache. Shouldn't this be listed as a mystery/puzzle cache?

A traditional and multi should be able to be completed with just the coordinates in your GPS. An offset cache requires searching for specific information and applying it to a formula or substitution method to get the final or next stage. It just seems that it's more appropriate to label a off-set cache as a mystery/puzzle cache.

No, the only type that you should always be able to find with only the coordinates are Traditionals. You shouldn't assume that multi-stage caches will lead your from one container to another. Multi-caches can have "virtual" stages, which are existing object containing information that leads you to the next stage. Like this one, for example.

 

Once again, labling a cache as a multi would seem to indicate that there are containers to find with coordinates for the next stage. Multis that contain "virtuals" may result in cachers starting a hunt and then ripping apart a stage where a virtual is looking for a micro that isn't there.

I've found myself chasing phantoms several times and I read several logs about other cachers looking for cache containers that weren't there.

At least the myster/puzzle icon indicates that a cacher should read the instructions on the cache page.

I fully understand that many off-sets are labled as multis, but I also believe this is because many cachers filter out puzzle and the cache placers are trying to capture those that filter out puzzles.

(I've also seen many multi staged puzzle listed as multis)

It just seems that if a traditional that has "additional logging requirements", should be listed as a myster/puzzle an off-set cache should be also.

 

Which brings up another curiousity, how come you can't change the cache type? I never understood this lock down. Even my local reviewer wont change what is an off-set cache to a puzzle or multi-cache.

Why is that?

Hm. I've never assumed that multis have containers at each stage. If anything, at least with the ones that I've done, there are more with virtual stages than with physical.

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Once again, labling a cache as a multi would seem to indicate that there are containers to find with coordinates for the next stage. Multis that contain "virtuals" may result in cachers starting a hunt and then ripping apart a stage where a virtual is looking for a micro that isn't there.

I've found myself chasing phantoms several times and I read several logs about other cachers looking for cache containers that weren't there.

...

There are many types of multi's that don't follow this very narrow view of multi's. I have a multi that is a series of containers, none of which tell you where the next stage is (that's on the cache page) but have pieces of the final co-ords. You are going to be logging a lot of DNF's if you expect all mutli's to be done without the cache page.

 

This is very true. I'm also pretty dense and I do end up logging a lot of DNF's because I haven't learned. :D

 

I think the scenario I've pointed out happens more often than is logged as a DNF based on talk I've had at events and with new cachers I've meet on the trails.

 

Ambrosia]

[/b]Hm. I've never assumed that multis have containers at each stage. If anything, at least with the ones that I've done, there are more with virtual stages than with physical.

 

But the little icon for the multi cache is of two containers, not one container and a virtual!?!? :D:) (OK, I'm being silly ... in the old days, I thought all multis had to have 4 stages! :D )

 

I also think there is a "stigma" with listing caches as the dreaded "?" cache ... but that's another story. :D

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key stone:

 

Is it true that you can not place a cache where you must pay a admission charge to get into? (can you show a part in the guidelines if there is) i need to show someone.

 

Thanks

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key stone:

 

Is it true that you can not place a cache where you must pay a admission charge to get into? (can you show a part in the guidelines if there is) i need to show someone.

 

Thanks

It depends on whether the admission charge is for a nonprofit organization (museum, state park) or a for-profit business. See the guideline on "Commercial Caches."

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