September 26, 2006
Geocaching, a recreational activity
involving the use of a hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS),
will now be allowed in Minnesota state parks and recreation areas,
the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced today.
“The GPS units are used to locate either virtual or actual ‘caches’
in a specific location,” said Courtland Nelson, director of the DNR
Division of Parks and Recreation. “Virtual geocaching usually
involves selecting something like a scenic overlook or historic site
in a park that participants would locate using the GPS coordinates.”
“The most common geocaches, however, involve placing an item or
container in a location and sharing the coordinates on the Internet.
Participants who find the cache container sign a logbook inside the
container and can post their ‘find’ on an online log book.” Public
interest in the geocaching hobby has grown right along with the
interest in and availability of GPS units. In some cases, items
placed in the container are removed and replaced with other items.
Yet another form of geocaching is called letterboxing that involves
using only clues, not GPS coordinates, to find the hidden container.
“We are pleased to be able to offer another recreational activity in
Minnesota’s state parks and recreation areas,” Nelson said. “We look
forward to working with geocaching participants to interpret the
guidelines we have in place that protect Minnesota’s natural
resources while they pursue their hobby.”
Guidelines for geocaching and letterboxing in Minnesota state parks
were developed in cooperation with representatives from the
“Minnesota statutes state that outdoor recreation activities that do
not cause material disturbance to a park’s natural features or
introduce undue artificiality into the natural scene may be
permitted,” said Nelson. “Geocaching and letterboxing conform with
that definition as long as the caches are placed in locations that
don’t negatively impact natural or cultural resources, visitor
safety or other park users. The guidelines we have established are
in place to inform participants of the criteria that need to be
Groups or individuals who wish to place a cache in any state park
can obtain a permit from the park or download a form from the Web.
The permit needs to be signed and dated by the park manager where
the cache will be placed. Each cache requires its own permit.
A complete set of guidelines and the permit form are available on
the Minnesota state park home page at
www.mnstateparks.info or call
the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll free