The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has approved revisions for geocaching policy and licensing in an effort to better balance outdoor recreation and conservation.

Geocaching is a sport in which participants search for "caches" using a GPS unit and coordinates that are listed online. A cache is a small container with a logbook and a few small trinket items. Some caches, known as "containerless caches," are only coordinates to a location.

The revisions open more DNR properties to geocaching and allow more caches at properties where the sport is permitted. But the caches are also subject to new location restrictions aimed at protecting sensitive natural areas.

When the geocaching policy went into effect in 2005, all caches with containers that are on DNR properties have required a license from DNR. Still, thousands of unlicensed caches have popped up on DNR properties and their coordinates posted on

Clifty Falls State Park, which contains about 1,400 acres, has not approved any licenses for geocaching, according to property manager Darrell Skinner. He said the problem is that about three-fourths of the park is a designated natural preserve and that the park does not want pedestrians wandering off the trails.

Skinner said the park's naturalist, Richard Davis, should be the point of contact for those with questions on geocaching. He can be reached at (812) 273-8885.

The policy revisions were approved in September by the Natural Resources Commission and went into effect this month. As the DNR implements the new revisions, it is also taking action to eliminate unlicensed caches on its properties.