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The 161m (0.1mile) rule in Geocaching is a pretty infamous one. However, the rules also state this:

Please don't hide a cache every 600 feet just because you can. The two main goals of the saturation guideline are to encourage you to seek out new places to hide caches rather than putting them in areas where caches already exist, and to limit the number of caches hidden in a particular area, especially by the same hider. Groundspeak may further restrict cache listings in areas where cache saturation becomes a concern.

So when exactly does an area become saturated and need further restriction? I've come across lots of areas with caches every 161m or so, some ridiculously riddled with caches. Is there any example of this rule being put into practice?

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Great question! – Russell Steen Apr 22 '12 at 16:37
up vote 4 down vote accepted

This is highly subjective, but I'll give it a shot.

Let's take a site of local significance, like a statue or memorial. All in all, only one cache is "needed" to "cover" this area. More caches will just be for people wanting to: A) Find more caches for the sake of the numbers, B) Hide more caches for the sake of numbers. Of course, this is not a "wrong" way to go geocaching, but having ten caches close up to one cathedral is probably too many, because they don't add anything new; they are just yet-another-cache for this area.

Encouraging people to hide their caches in different, unique and lesser-known places is a good way to make people see an otherwise unknown place. Putting a limit on the density of caches "forces" hiders into thinking of the well-known spots and instead be more creative in their search of a good spot.

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Good insight - better than anything I've found :-) – berry120 Apr 23 '12 at 11:28

It's probably a very subjective measure, but I think that the area is too saturated when I spend more time searching for cache as walking to other location.

For bicycle cachers it may be a bit else, but after finding 5 caches 500 meters from each other (5-6 minutes walk) I want to skip the next and simply walk half an hour without thinking and looking around.

However, if I have to walk an hour to next cache (4km or more) I think that there are simply too few caches.

My text applies to forest areas, but this is where I like to cache at most.

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