View Full Version : National Forests

02-13-2005, 08:43 PM
When we went to the Clarksville event in January some discussion started about whether or not you can hide a cache in the National Forests. The question was quickly answered with no. But when we rephrased it stating we were asking about the National Forest as opposed to the Natioanl Parks, which we know is against the law, the question then became hmmmm, not sure. Weve both done a little reseach and have found that as long as it is considered casual use the cache can be placed without a permit. Some NF ask that a form be filled out but we can not locate anything for AR. Im sure someopne out there has an answer but I have emailed the NF here and requested an answer before I thought about asking you guys and gals. Here is the memo I found:


I know of some really great places here in AR if we can place these. When I look at the map it just doesnt seem like there are any int the NF areas...Im just wondering if there is a reason. Too far out of the way or maybe something I dont know about yet....? OK, well let us know.
Thanks to all....Grummen Goose

02-13-2005, 09:49 PM
Nice detective work! That's the first policy I've seen from the BLM, although others here may already know about it. That policy sounds pretty reasonable to me, and they seem to have a good understanding of how geocaching works.

Anybody else know more about this policy or about placing caches in National Forests specifically?

02-13-2005, 10:58 PM
Just FYI the Forest Service is under the Department of Agriculture not the Department of Interior like BLM, NPS, F&W, etc.

As far as I know there is no caching policy on USDA Forest Service lands. Dont quote me on that but I think that is correct.

There are no BLM lands in Arkansas so you shouldnt have to follow that policy here. You should not place any caches on NPS (National Park) or F&W (US Fish and Wildlife) Lands.


02-14-2005, 05:31 PM
Arparkguy is 100% correct.

National Forests are administered by the US Forest Service, a division of the USDA. They have no policy on geocaching, although SPECIFIC National Forests may have some policy. In my experience (both personal and from talking with other geocachers in other states and on the GC.com forums) the USFS is very cache friendly.

National Parks (NP Service) and National Wildlife Refuges (USFWS - US Fish and Wildlife Service) are part of the Department of Interior and have a blanket "NO" policy. I have heard of special exceptions - but these are truly the exception to the rule. As stated, the BLM doesn't have much land around here (Most of theres is out west) so that doesn't matter.

It's surprising to me that there's so much confusion on this subject, but it is VERY common for people to be confused - with all of the different types of "public" land. National Parks and National Forest are two different things.

State Parks and State Wildlife Managment areas are State lands. I'm sure you guys already know all of the policies on those.

Speaking from personal experience - the rangers at the Delta National Forest here in MS were VERY happy to have geocaches placed in the forest and the Biologist even gave location suggestions. There are geocaches in every National Forest in MS (some have many geocaches).

While there is no "National" policy for National Forests against geocaching, so you should be able to place a cache with no problem. If you are concerned - contact the National Forest and ask them if they have a policy.


02-14-2005, 10:19 PM
Interesting statement from the BLM. There are numerous caches in western Colorado on BLM land (some of which are in sensitive areas). And actually there are Nat'l Park "Earthcaches" (like virtuals) in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP. These are not physical containers, but coor's within the NP. Check out GCK3N5 and http://www.earthcache.org.

02-15-2005, 01:09 PM
When I look at the map it just doesnt seem like there are any int the NF areas...Im just wondering if there is a reason. Too far out of the way or maybe something I dont know about yet....? OK, well let us know.
Thanks to all....Grummen Goose
"Not many", "few", "not enough" are very relative terms but this, and maybe it's just to me, reads more like "hardly any to none".
I know I will miss many cache owners and maybe some of their caches are actually on Park lands within the Forest so let me apologize in advance for errors, it is not my intent to claim this list is even close to being complete or even very accurate but is just an attempt to address the lack of caches in Arkansas' National Forests.
So just let me say "as best I recall",owners of caches in our Ozark National Forest and Ouachita National Forest are:
Old River Runner
Captain Atom
Cadron Kids
Steve Mary Lee & Scott Brown
etc.....or more or less).
Some of their caches I have visited :D and some are still on my things I should be doing, instead of reading about things I should be doing list. :wink:
There are those with better memories or maybe even programs that can look this up, who can post a more accurate list but the National Forest in Arkansas are not short on caches, cachers, or admirers. I'm sure I would enjoy some "Top Down Days" visiting your caches in either of these forest.
Thanks for the link. It will be very useful in approaching other public land managers.

02-15-2005, 07:30 PM
Here is another link. this is to the Superior National Forest in Minnesota and their policy on geocaching along with a link to their cache form:

http://www.superiornationalforest.org/r ... eocaching/ (http://www.superiornationalforest.org/recreation/geocaching/)

Guess I know what we will be doing this weekend. This discussion just opened up a whole new world of placing geocaches. I just hope that if they are hidden they wont be too out of the way for others to seek. guess another thing we need now is a map for all the roads out there...its easy to get lost out there. Hope to se ya'll soon.
Thanks --GeoAviators

02-16-2005, 07:14 PM
I just received this note back from the National Forest:

Geocaching is a fairly new activity for our Forest, and we (along with
Ozark-St. Francis NF) are in the process of developing a form for
requesting approval for a cache. Until that is finalized, we ask that
send your cache locations and information to this email address (or by
to: ONF Recreation, PO Box 1270, Hot Springs, AR - 71902).

Thanks for your interest in the Ouachita National Forest and good luck
your geocaching!

Hope this helps... GeoAviators

02-16-2005, 08:16 PM
COOL! That is great news! Looks like they are open to geocaching. Now it's our job to retain their trust by showing them that we are responsible.

Thanks, GeoAviator, for keeping us updated on this...

02-19-2005, 10:47 AM
In order to try and clear up this issue before the waters are further muddied...there are many many many caches (as jack has said) on National Forest Lands in Arkansas. Just becasue they fall within a recreation area doesnt mean thats not in the forest. The many recreation areas are still administered by the USDA Forest Service.

Granted some recreation areas are surrounded entirely or almost entirely by National Forest Lands such as the Lake Ouachita Area. On Lake Ouachita you have three different agencies providing recreational areas/access. The USDA Forest Service, The US Army Corps of Engineers, and The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. I know this further confuses the issue.

Up by me I have found a few caches on USDA Forest Service land. By and large that is where most of the caches are placed in my neck of the woods. There are probably close to 200 (or more) caches within an hours drive of me located on the Ozark National Forest. Anyways thats my 2 cents worth for today.

I think this further drives home the point to make sure and know the polices of the landowner where you are placing or finding caches.

Thanks for bringing this up GeoAviators.


05-31-2006, 10:11 AM
yay! I finally found the thread I was looking for. At the moment (I'm currently moving into town) I live right on the border of the Ouachita National Forest, and I know quite a few awesome places out there I'd like to hide caches. I'm still going to call the Jesseville ranger station and the NFS in town to double check, though, before I do anything. I've also got to think of a creative place to put one at the State Park. There are at least two on the Caddo Bend trail, but I think I can talk the Superintendent into another one along the edge of the park.