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Should an EC be free? cheap? or doesn't matter?


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Some earthcaches involve fees: park entrance, parking, guide, equipment, etc. What is a reasonable amount to ask someone to fork over in order to find your Earthcache? I recently was working on registering an Earthcache and was asked about the required guide fee (of about $20). The impression I was given was that Earthcaches should be free and accessible to all, regardless of budget. But I know of an Earthcache that requires an expenditure of over $150!


So anyway, just curious. Is there really a ceiling? Or just a "keep it free if possible" policy? I couldn't find anything in black and white about it so I thought I'd ask. Thanks!

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Earthcaches are following their own guidelines re the listing (ie, developing an Earth Science lesson) and the Geocaching.com listing guidelines more broadly.


So a cache doesn't have to be free, but it can't involve paying entry into a commercial for profit location. You'll find this in the commercial section of the listing guidelines




Paying an entry fee into a non-profit park is okay, paying an entry fee into a private park isn't.


Exceptions are granted, but the general principle isn't so much about "free" as about not generating income for commercial enterprise.


In a state park where I live there is a dive that cannot be made unless you use the approved guide (cave dive). This would be fairly expensive, but if I went to the trouble of preparing a cache (earthcache or physical, with permission) I' think it might be allowed by Groundspeak, as paying the private commercial guide is the requirement of the land manager (the state) - it has to be done this way. This might have to go to above the level of the volunteer reviewer for the okay.

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Lots of earthcaches are in State and National Parks which require an entrance fee. No problem there. And I've been to several in commercial enterprises that require an entrance fee. I have no problem with that either. But what I don't like is to show up at an earthcache and be surprised that a parking fee or some other fee is required. As a courtesy to other cachers, I suggest always stating in the cache write-up if a fee is required and what it is. There should be no upper limit on a fee as long as it is clearly stated. Then the cacher can choose to participate or not.

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There are a few ECs I'd love to visit, just because they exist. Though it would cost a little fortune to get there in the first place. For example:




As for entrance fees (for not commercial businesses): I would be miffed if it wasn't mentioned in the description, though for most of those locations I can think for myself that entrance will not be free.

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One of ours is in a cavern that is run by the town, they charge up to $18 for tours. I'd rather it be free, but that wasn't up to me. I'm sure the fee keeps some folks from stopping by, but at least I have it up front in the description so it's not a surprise and folks can make an informed decision.

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an EC should provide a special earth science lesson. If it is possible to provide this lesson in a real existing mine (under the natural ground), what place is better?

Usually these places are a kind of museum. OK, but many people visit these places without caching. If they can get in addition an earth science lessen, where is the problem?

The main point of EC's is to provide geologic information to the cache finders. This is possible here.

You have to pay? Yes, we pay for a lot, knowledge is not a bad idea. There are people excluded from this cache because they can not pay? Yes, sorry. There are a lot of T5 caches where you have to dive, climb 7500 m on Mount Everest, and so on. I try many of them, but I can't get all. Because I do not climb on Mout Everst.

Just my one german pfennig (sorry, we use EC cents now)


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I went to an Earthcache - Lady Knox Geyser (GC21VP1), near Rotorua in New Zealand.


Yes there was a fee to go see the actual geyser - the visitors centre drops some soap into the geyser at 10am every day to get it to erupt. You can only watch it if you pay the price.



BUT! Its a 'show'. They tell you lots of interesting and relevant information about the geyser and the other geothermal activity in the area, so it is worthwhile to go to even if not for the earthcache.


And from what it looks like, the CO also allows 'finds' if you prove you went to the visitors centre but didn't go to the geyser itself. Bit of a shame really because the idea of earthcaches is that you learn something about the unique geology of the area and you get more of that if you attend it properly.

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I went to an Earthcache - Lady Knox Geyser (GC21VP1), near Rotorua in New Zealand.


Yes there was a fee to go see the actual geyser - the visitors centre drops some soap into the geyser at 10am every day to get it to erupt. You can only watch it if you pay the price.


On a side note -- that's not the greatest way to treat a geyser. The original Geysir, in Iceland, has become very irregular and has stopped erupting for long periods of time because of all the foreign objects that got dropped into it, like soap.

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Visited Glacier Bay national park in Alaska whilst on a cruise that cost nearly £2500 for both the wife and I. Grabbed two Earthcaches whilst there - and there's no way to get into Glacier Bay national park short of a cruise ship, plane or chartered boat. I guess you could possibly fly into Gustavus and then kayak into the park, but even that itself would cost several hundred for even local flights.

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