Park Liaison Program

In the Park Liaison Program (PLP), a WSGA member is paired with a park system to help them with geocaching activities. In recent years, parks have come to recognize that geocaching is a popular, family-oriented activity, and are looking for ways to support it with limited staff and resources. The PLP helps parks embrace geocaching without compromising their goals or adding to their overhead.

The Park Liaison Program is another way in which WSGA is working with Washington parks at all levels (city, county, state, federal) to create mutually beneficial relationships and ensure continued access for geocachers – part of the club’s founding mission. The Liaison puts a face on geocaching and provides a go-to person for park personnel. In turn, WSGA builds trust with the park system by self-managing our activity, ensuring greater support and faster resolution should problems arise. Groundspeak has expressed its appreciation and support for our program, and offered to help if needed.

To date, the Liaison Program has mitigated issues in several parks, persuaded Seattle City Parks to reintroduce geocaching at Discovery Park, and led to the first physical caches in North Cascades National Park. Other parks see the mutual benefits of this program and are asking to participate.

Peach&Pete (Annette Bailes) is the current Park Liaison Manager. Please contact her about park issues going forward, or if you’re interested in becoming a liaison.

Below are the park systems currently in the program and their liaisons. In some cases, there are specific parks in the Liaison Program, with the backing of their larger park system. (Updated 7/19/17)
King County Parks (Cougar Mountain) – hydnsek
Snohomish County Parks (Lord Hill and Paradise Valley) – GrievousAngel
Kitsap County Parks – Cool Cow Cachers
Seattle City Parks (Discovery Park) – rodgowdy
Bellevue City Parks – hydnsek
Kent and Auburn city parks – Peach&Pete
Everett City Parks – Johnny_Boy_
Marysville City Parks – FluteFace
Mt Vernon City Parks – MilosPeople (working with VonDeets)
Ferndale City Parks (Whatcom Cty) – Radmando & Sons
Anacortes City Parks and Community Forest Lands (ACFL) – Jimmerbowl (aka Ponder&Wander)
Richland, Pasco, Kennewick city parks (Tri-Cities) – enjoydmoment
North Cascades National Park Service Complex – hydnsek
Washington State Parks (WSPRC), statewide – hydnsek
Camano Island and Cama Beach – Rey del Roble
Rockport and Rasar – BrewerMD
Saint Edward (Kirkland) – PhilNi
Larrabee (Bellingham) – PNWbrat
Upper Cowlitz area: Ike Kinswa, Lewis & Clark, Seaquest, Mount St. Helens, Matilda Jackson, Jackson House – rocketglider
San Juan Islands parks – Moran, Lime Kiln Point, Spencer Spit, et al. – las3dogs
Green River area: Nolte, Green River Gorge, Flaming Geyser, Kanaskat-Palmer – PhatBldGuy
North Whidbey area: Deception Pass, Joseph Whidbey, Fort Ebey – Crouchcrew

We also work with park systems outside the Park Liaison Program, including:
Mount Rainier NP – K2D2 (park ranger)
Olympia city parks – ohjoy!
Burien city parks
Renton city parks

What does a Park Liaison do? The specifics vary from park to park, but may include:
Ensuring geocachers adhere to park regulations. If a park says “no off-trail use,” all caches must be by a trail (specific distance defined – at Cougar Mountain, it’s 10 feet). “Day use only” – no night caching is permitted. If certain park areas are off-limits due to sensitive habitat or safety issues, no cache placements will be allowed.
Ensuring geocachers adhere to guidelines on placement, especially those under Off-Limit (Physical) Caches. We don’t bury caches, screw things into trees, deface property, contribute to habitat destruction, etc. Mantra: “What would the ranger think?”
Working with park personnel to create and/or implement caching guidelines for their lands. These may be informal, enforced by the Liaison, or written up as a public document. In most cases, cache placements can be overseen by the Liaison without a formal permitting or approval process by the park, as has been demonstrated over the past two years at Cougar Mountain, which has a strict no-off-trail policy.
Physically visiting cache placements to ensure they adhere to guidelines and minimize environmental impact (e.g., social trails, foliage damage).
Monitoring caches and addressing problems if the owner is not responsive, up to and including removing caches if required.
Contacting cache owners and working with them to mitigate any problems that arise.
Keeping park personnel informed about cache placements on their land, and promptly addressing any problems identified by park staff.
Educating park personnel about geocaching and its benefits, such as raising awareness, educating visitors, and increasing attendance.
Taking park personnel geocaching to familiarize them with the activity, show them cache placements in their parks, and get their feedback.
Helping park personnel place caches to further their educational and outreach goals.
Streamlining the park’s interactions with Groundspeak by serving as a conduit to the company and reviewers. This is particularly helpful if the park needs to clarify its boundaries, request cache removals or moratoriums, or otherwise present an official request.
Hosting CITO (Cache In, Trash Out) volunteer work parties to help the park. In addition to debris cleanup, a CITO event could be invasive-plant removal, native plant restoration, even trail-building – basically, whatever type of volunteer work the park needs.