The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has released a draft geocaching policy for New Jersey’s state parks and forests. The policy, issued by Division of Parks and Forestry Director Mark Textel, will take effect June 1st of this year.
Among its provision are a three year renewable permit for each cache placement and a requirement that all geocaches be in unbreakable containers with latching lids. The most controversial provision is that no cache can be more than five feet from a marked trail. The latter provision makes new policy one of the most restrictive state park geocaching policies in the nation.
Included in the policy are prohibitions against placing geocaches in trees, lakes, wetlands, historic sites or ecologically sensitive areas. According to the policy, there will be no grandfathering of existing geocaches. All cache owners have 120 days to bring their cache into compliance or archive and remove it.
The draft policy has been submitted to the south, central and northern New Jersey geocaching organizations for comment but it's unclear if those organizations will be able to effect any changes to it.
New Jersey has been one of the few northeastern states without a geocaching policy for its state parks and forests. Pennsylvania and New York were among the first states in the northeast to issue permits for geocaches in state parks with Pennsylvania introducing a permit system in 2002 and New York in 2005.