Letterboxing Code of Conduct
Respect laws, rules, property rights and copyrights whenever you conduct letterboxing activities. Most of these are common sense and common courtesy, but ultimately, it all comes down to respecting others.
- Do not publish clues or stamp images that are not your own unless you have the owner’s permission.
- Do not provide solutions to clues. The creator of a letterbox often puts enormous amounts of time into developing a challenging or unique clue, and giving away the solution to those who haven’t “earned” the right to find the letterbox is considered very rude and disrespectful.
- After finding a letterbox, re-hide it as well or better than when you originally found it.
- Do not plant letterboxes near other people’s existing letterboxes without permission. Also, do not use someone else’s letterbox as a starting point in your clue for your own box without permission. This is called poaching and while we may not always know if you’re breaking the other rules, we always learn when you break this one. Not only might the original letterbox planter not appreciate your efforts, but the added traffic with people getting your letterbox might cause unacceptable environmental damage or risk exposing the location of the original letterbox.
- Do not plant letterboxes in stone walls. Irresponsible letterboxers do exist, and they will tear apart that stone wall that’s withstood hundreds of years of time to find your box. Don’t give them a reason to—find somewhere else to plant your letterboxes.
- Be careful not to reveal the location of mystery letterboxes inadvertently. If the stamp from the mystery box reveals the location of the box, cover the image of it in your logbook with a Post-It note before showing your logbook to others.
- Do not ask the authorities about a letterbox if you cannot find it. While one should get permission to plant a letterbox beforehand, letterboxing is an unfamiliar sport to many people and the rules about it haven’t been defined in many areas. Most letterboxers work under the theory that planting letterboxes is okay (barring any known rules) until they are told otherwise. In such a case, not only will the authorities be unable to help you, they may instead confiscate the letterbox! And even if they do allow letterboxes, they may not want to be burdened with helping you find them. Contact the planter of the letterboxer for help instead.
- Do not hide a letterbox where you know the land managers do not allow them, and if the park has letterboxing guidelines, follow them to the letter. They have the authority to confiscate your letterboxes—and everyone else’s letterboxes if the land managers feel the letterboxing community isn’t respecting their guidelines. Check our list of known land manager policies.
- Do not put anything into a letterbox without the owner’s permission since they may not appreciate your efforts. Putting trinkets into hidden containers is a geocaching practice, not a letterboxing one.
- Putting materials such as drugs or needles in boxes is not only illegal, but stupid and dangerous.
- Do not replace a missing stamp or letterbox without the box owner’s permission.
- Do not put a plastic bag around a letterbox that does not already have them. Most letterboxers do not want their letterboxes placed inside of plastic bags (see why in the help pages), and they will not take kindly to your ‘helping’ them in that regard.
- If you letterbox in a group—especially large ones—create a group stamp to save space in the letterbox’s logbook. Most logbooks have limited pages and a single group using half a dozen pages is excessively wasteful. If you letterbox in a group of two or three, try to arrange all your stamps on a single page of the logbook. The person who planted this box may not be able to replace full logbooks often—or maybe not at all—so conserve pages.
- If you find a problem with the letterbox—maybe the clue needs updating or the letterbox needs maintenance—attempt to inform the owner of the letterbox of the problem.
- Follow any special directions included with hitchhikers, postals, LTCs, etc.
- Do not bring hitchhikers or postals to events without the owner’s permission.
- Do not mail postals to people who have not requested them.
- If you think you may have compromised a letterbox’s location or are wondering what actions you should do, consider what you would want others to do if the letterbox was your box. It’s hard to go wrong if you treat other people’s letterboxes like your own.
- Code of Conduct Introduction
- Leave No Trace
- Safety: Part I
- Safety: Part II