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Updated Geocache Hiding Guidelines

Today, Geocaching HQ is releasing updated guidelines for hiding caches. The main goal of the update is to make the Geocache Hiding Guidelines easier to read and understand. Here is what we have done to achieve that goal:

  • Improved guideline layout
  • Made text more clear
  • Reduced number of words by 15%
  • Moved supporting material to Help Center
  • Added some changes or clarifications to specific guidelines (see below)

In addition to the text updates, the page got a face lift, including better navigation! Read the new guidelines.

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Introducing Virtual Rewards!

Based on feedback we have received about Virtual Rewards, Geocaching HQ has decided to update the blog post with a new statement, found at the end of the post.

Geocaching HQ is thrilled to announce the release of Virtual Rewards, a project to reward some of geocaching’s great contributors, while also introducing a limited number of new Virtual Caches for the enjoyment of the entire geocaching community.

Starting today, approximately 4,000 geocachers in 63 countries around the world will receive emails with information about their Virtual Reward. This group is made up largely of top quality cache hiders from countries with at least 100 hiders. We created an algorithm to identify these people based on overall cache quality and cache health. Active community volunteers are also receiving a Virtual Reward as a thank you for giving their time and talent to support the geocaching community.

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And the winner is…

The geocaching community has spoken. The Mission 9: Tunnel of Light APE cache will be returned to its original location and restored to active APE cache status. Once reactivated, the cache will be loggable throughout the year.

We will reactivate the APE cache on August 19, 2017, the date of the Going Ape 2017 Mega-Event at Washington’s Iron Horse State Park.

More than 10,000 geocachers helped make this decision. (Read the February 20th blog for more about the ballot choices.) Here are the results:

61% — Return and Reactivate

17% — Activate Once A Year

13% — Display at Geocaching HQ

9% — Traveling Artifact

Geocaching HQ’s Bryan Roth and Jon Stanley examine the recovered APE cache container at HQ in October 2016.

Many of you argued passionately on all sides of this issue. In the end, the consensus from the community was clear.

We understand people around the world are eager for more details. In the coming weeks, Geocaching HQ will work closely with the Washington State Geocaching Association (organizer of the Going Ape Mega-Event) and we will keep you updated as plans are made.

Thanks to everyone who took part in the process. From the Seattle-area cachers who rediscovered the long lost APE cache to the thousands who helped write its next chapter!

(Anyone wishing to visit Geocaching HQ around the time of the Going Ape event should see our Schedule A Visit page. It’s always a busy time, so there is a ticketing system in place during August 14 to September 8.)

Jon Stanley (aka Moun10Bike) at the hiding of the Mission 9: Tunnel of Light cache in 2001.
Several members of team who discovered the long-lost APE cache. At Geocaching HQ in October 2016.
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Help decide the fate of rediscovered APE cache!

Late last year, we announced the exciting news of how a group of Seattle-area geocachers rescued the muggled Mission 9: Tunnel of Light APE cache. We also offered the geocaching community an opportunity to suggest ideas for what should happen next with this renowned cache.

More than 9,000 geocachers responded to our survey! After considering all feedback, we have four options for the final vote. Now it’s time for you to decide the fate of Mission 9: Tunnel of Light. The idea receiving the most votes is the one we’ll implement. Simple as that!

Here are the ballot choices:

  • Return and Reactivate: Return the container to its original location and restore it to active APE cache status. It would be loggable throughout the year, although the unarchival date is to be determined.
  • Display at HQ: Display the APE cache container at Geocaching HQ as an important artifact of the game’s history. It would not be loggable as an APE cache, but would be assigned a special tracking number that could be logged only as a trackable with a unique trackable icon.
  • Activate Once A Year: Display the APE cache container at Geocaching HQ as a trackable for most of the year, and make it loggable as an APE cache at its original location only during the week of the annual Going Ape Mega-Event in Washington.
  • Traveling Artifact: Assign a special tracking number to the APE cache container and tour it to various events around the world. (It would be loggable only as a trackable, not as an APE cache.)

A few of these options would require exceptions to Geocaching.com guidelines. For example, it’s very rare for a cache to be unarchived, especially after a long period of time. However, this is an extraordinary situation for which we feel that exceptions can be made, especially with the support of a community vote.

The voting is open until March 5, 2017. One vote per person. Visit the ballot box here and make your voice heard!