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HomeMichigan County Grid Challenge

Map image derived from outline map provided by, with explicit permission.


Michigan County Grid Challenge:

This is not a contest. 

This is an ongoing challenge.   Everyone who reaches any of the three goal levels will qualify for that reward.

This challenge is open to all geocachers.  MiGO membership is not a requirement but will make it a bit easier to collect your reward(s).

The challenge has a start date of August 19th, 2023.  The challenge will remain open indefinitely, so long as parties are interested in completing it.  MiGO is committing to at least five years.  MiGO will not keep a stock of these rewards. They will be ordered on demand when a sufficient number of qualifiers have submitted their finds, using contact information provided by the players.

Everyone is starting with a clean slate.  Caches found or hidden by the player prior to the start date do not qualify for this challenge.

The object is to find (or hide) at least four caches of different categories in as many Michigan counties that you can.   You qualify for rewards by finding at least four of the cache types/categories per county, one cache per type/category, nine types/categories to choose from, per the following table:

Reward Levels:

 Bronze:  Qualify in 42 Michigan Counties
 Silver:  Qualify in 63 Michigan Counties
 Gold:  Qualify in 83 Michigan Counties

One more point. If you reach the Gold level and have not already gotten the MiGO 83 County Pin, you will qualify for that as well.

Cache Categories:

There are nine cache categories to search for. Eight are cache types and the ninth is by county name.  Each category is only scored once per county.  The posted coordinates of each of the 8 cache types must be within the county. 

The By Name cache category can be anywhere within Michigan.  The county name must be a whole, discrete word in the cache title for the By Name category.  If cache has two or more county names in the title, only the first county name is scoreable.

A sample tracker is shown below with the nine categories.

Be advised that as of the start of this challenge, there is/was one Michigan county with only two cache types and a few with only three.  We are counting on local cachers to create opportunities for their fellow cachers to be successful with this challenge.  We implore players to create caches with longevity in mind.  
Stuff You Need To Play:

Challenge Entry Form:  MCGC:Entry - Please submit this simple form on or as soon after the date you start the challenge as you can.  You will need to enter prior to claiming a reward.  Entry will get you added to the Players List and to our Leader Board.   Entry will also enter you into periodic drawings throughout the life of the challenge.  The entry form will include your name, cacher name and a valid email address so the MiGO Challenge Work Group can contact you, if necessary, especially if you win a drawing.  This information is critical for non-members.  It will also include delivery information for any reward(s) you qualify for.

Request Reward Form:  MCGC:RequestReward - Submit this simple form to request a reward that you qualify for.  You can submit this form at each level or at the last level you choose to complete.   Information from your MCGC:Entry form and the MCGC:RewardRequest form will be used to get your reward to you.  See the section below on Claim a Reward below for more information.

Inquiries Link:  MCGC:Inquiry - Click this link to send an email to the challenge manager(s).    If your email client doesn't like the link, send your inquiry to "" with this EXACT subject: "MCGC:Inquiry".  Questions will be answered on the contest page as well as replied via email, if possible.  This email, the MCGC:Entry form and the MCGC:RewardRequest form are the only accepted method of communication with the challenge manager(s).   Everyone will have access to the challenge page, the questions and the answers.

CheckerMCGC:P-GC Checker - A checker will be used to track everyone's official progress.  You do not have to be a paying member of to use the checker.  You do need to be aware that the checker is not updated in real time.  Non-paying members can expect a week or more delay between updates.  The Challenge Work Group recommends that you also track your own progress using supplied spreadsheet tracker (see below).   


Other Useful Stuff:

ProgressTracker:  MCGC:TrackerPDF or MCGC:TrackerXLSX - We are providing you with two versions of a progress tracker to help you track your finds.  Please keep track of your own progress.  The PDF version is a pencil on paper version.  The XLSX version, an Excel file that can be used with various spreadsheet software, like Google Docs.  Note: XLSX version must be downloaded to edit.  We recommend that all cachers seeking a reward for this challange use the Tracker.  If there is ever an issue with the Project-GC Checker, this downloaded tracker is your backup.      

Which Counties have which cache types?  - Follow this link for instructions on how to use Project-GC Map Compare to find which counties have which cache types?  Thanks  MrandMrsMan for this.

Color Your Own Map:  MCGC:ColorYourOwnMap - Download this file to color your own map.  The colors are in the box lower left. 

Fair Play:

As this is not a contest, there are no general contest rules, but all players are expected to understand and follow the  
MiGO Code of Fair Play.  Entry requires you agree to this.

Qualify County:
  1. Find (hide, or hold an event) four or more caches per Michigan county, according to the outline in Cache Categories (above).
  2. Finds:
    1. Caches found must be in the county as defined by Project-GC and the checker we provide or anywhere in Michigan for the "By Name" category.
    2. Finds must be made after the start date of the challenge.
    3. Finds must be made and logged with the same date.  Banked finds are prohibited.
  3. Hides:  
    1. Hides made must be in the county as defined by Project-GC and the checker we provide or anywhere in Michigan for the "By Name" category.  Vacation hides are frowned upon.
    2. Hides must be made in the cacher's own name, not a sock puppet account or different name.
    3. Please refrain from hiding "Vacation" caches that you don't intend on maintaining.
  4. Events:
    1. Events must be in the county as defined by Project-GC and the checker we provide.  "By Name" category can be used for events but the Events Category cannot be used if the event is not in the county in question.
    2. Events must be held after the challenge start date.

Note: The published posted coordinates determine which county the cache is in for the purposes of this challenge.

Checker Anomalies:

The Project-GC checker for this challenge is a special case and may not behave as you might expect. There are a number of reasons for unexpected results.

  1. Types First:When the checker detects a new found cache that fits both type within a particular county or a county name anywhere within the state, it will attempt to use the cache as the appropriate type within a particular county first.  If the slot for that type is already populated by the player, it will then attempt to use the by name category for the county whose name is in the title.  If that slot is also already filled, the new found cache is not used. 
    Example:  On day 1, a find is made on a Multi cache within Clinton County that includes "St. Clair" in the title.   It is assigned the open  Multi slot in Clinton county.  On day 2, a find is made of a different Multi cache within Clinton County that does not have a county name in the title.  The first multi with "St. Clair" in the title is now assigned by name to St. Clair county (as the red text implies) and the day 2 cache put in the Clinton County Multi slot.

    Note that this is an update from the original checker which filled the by-name category first before checking for types.

  2. Whole Names: The checker looks for whole county names, such as Grand Traverse or Muskegon.

    If the county name is part of another word, like Kentucky, the cache won't be counted. Proper plurals, however, will be counted. A cache with Kent's in the title can be used for Kent County. The punctuation is the key.  The pattern recognition code looks for non-alpha characters to delineate words.

  3. Correct Spelling:  Obviously, county names must be spelled correctly. In addition, St. Clair and St. Joseph must be spelled exactly that way. St  without the period and a space or Saint will not work.  Mackinac is the correct spelling for the county above the Bridge, not Mackinaw.  Including alternate spellings could rapidly turn into a rats nest in the checker and once that line is crossed, it is difficult to avoid crossing it again and again.

  4. County Boundaries Project-GC uses geometry to determine boundaries.  It sometimes places a cache on a county boundary in the wrong county.  Players need to be aware of this possibility and try to avoid caches on county lines if at all possible.  Project-GC does not update in real time, even for paying customers.  It is up to the player to try to avoid these potential surprises.

  5. Multiple County Names: If multiple county names are present in the name of a cache, only the first county name is considered. For example, if a cache is named "Lake Gogebic," only "Lake" (as in Lake County) will count toward the By Name category, not "Gogebic" (as in Gogebic County).
Claim a Reward:

Once you realize you qualify for one (or more) of the rewards (Bronze, Silver or Gold), you will need to notify MiGO that you wish to claim one (or more) of the rewards by submitting the MCGC:RewardRequest form.  You may claim any of the levels you qualify for.  We hope you claim rewards as you qualify to ensure the steady flow of rewards. Rewards will be ordered in lots of fifty or more to keep the cost reasonable.  

Here is how the reward system works.

Rewards are in the form of a custom and trackable GeoCoin, in three different metals corresponding to the Bronze, Silver and Gold levels, each serial numbered from 1, up.  Originally, these coins were going to be ordered once per year, ordering only coins earned in the prior year.  A decision by MiGO to pre-order a stock of each color coin has changed the distribution policy somewhat.  

The first five geocachers to qualify at each level will get coins numbered B-001 through B-005, S-001 through S-005 and G-001 through G-005.  Thereafter, qualifiers will get the next available serial number based on the order that MCGC:RequestReward forms are received.  If there is a tie, the qualification date will determine the order. Please don't attempt to request a particular number.  All coins, serial numbered or blank, will also have a unique tracking number.

Qualifiers may also request to purchase one or more additional coins at any of the levels they qualify for.  Only the initial "earned" coin will be serial numbered.  Any additional coins will be blank where the serial number goes.  If there are blank coins in stock, one will be reserved for you.  Additional quantities will be added to the next batch of coins ordered from the mint.   You will be billed for all coins at the time of your request at the current estimated cost.    

There is a cost for the rewards:

  • MiGO Lake Superior Member – 1st coin submitted for at no change, additional coins at our cost.
  • MiGO Lake Huron Member – All coins requested are sold at our cost, what ever that is at the time of MiGO placing the order.
  • All Others - All coins requested are sold at our cost plus $6, what ever the cost is at the time of MiGO placing the order.

Everyone pays for shipping or arranges a pick-up point. Options are listed on the Claim Reward form.
Coins are not ordered until we hit an order point of 50 coins or more. Coins are re-ordered in batches of 50 more coins. 

Once a MCGC:RewardRequest is received and validated, charges will be made to the cacher making the request, as follows:

  • Active MiGO Members will have charges put on their account. Once the member pays that charge, the requested reward(s) will be shipped as available.
  • Non-members and expired MiGO Members will receive a charge from the MiGO PayPal account. Once we receive payment, the requested reward(s) will be shipped as available.  

  You do not need your own PayPal account to pay charges via your credit card.  

Questions and Answers:

Questions submitted by the MCGC:Inquiry form will be answered here unless a private response is deemed absolutely necessary.  Questions posed not using the Inquiry form will be ignored.

  • Question:  Would a CITO be eligible to be counted as an event?  Or does it have to be an event?
    Answer:     I believe we intended on it being just a simple event, not any kind of event.  I am not the author of checker, but being an old SW guy, it appears to me that the checker is looking for any type of event.  For a definitive answer, I need to check with the work group and checker author.  When I have an answer, I will update this one.
    Update: The checker is designed to find only the Event type.  Other cache types in the event family will not trigger.

  • Question: What map shows county lines to know what County you are in when searching for caches? Is there an easy way to determine that?
    Answer:     Good question.  The map on now shows county lines now (as of mid-February).  Their accuracy on the map image may not be precise, but it may be what project-gc uses.  I don't know if any of the phone apps show county lines, but if you have service, opening in a browser and viewing the map gets you to the map with county lines.  Update:  Users of c:geo on Android phones can see county lines on the online OSM map. Most offline OSM maps (don't show them. Users of Cachly on iPhone can see counties on the offline OSM map but there is an extra charge to use that It is likely that map versions are are not the same when it comes to county lines.  Project-GC will be the determining factor of what county a cache is in.  Be forwarned that the geometry that Project-GC uses differs in places from any map, but Project-GC will be the deciding factor.  If you are unsure, find another cache before leaving the county.

  • Question: When is the start date for this challenge?  The home page shows the 19th, this page shows the 15th of August.
    Answer:     Challenge starts August 19th.  That is start date in the checker.  This page has been corrected.  Woops.  Proofreaders missed my oversight on this one, but I thank them profusely for all of their help.  

  • Question: Are you allowed to tell us which county needs help with placement?
    Answer:     That is a moving target. The information we have currently is that Gladwin is the only county with 2 types (Traditional and Mystery) and Iron, Menominee, and Missaukee have three (Traditional, Multi and Mystery). I have inquired with the Challenge Work Group if there is a way to generate this information and keep it up to date, or if it is just manual digging.
    Update:     At the start of the contest, Gladwin County had only two types.  Alcona County, Dickinson County, Iron County, Menominee County, and Missaukee County had only three types.  We are hoping that cachers will rectify this with maintened caches.

  • Question: Was wondering if hosting and of course attending your own event counts?  I hosted an event on August 17th and I ran the checker and it shows nothing on the event line in my home county of Ottawa?
    Answer:     The start date for the challenge was Saturday, August 19th.  This page errantly displayed August 15th until it was repaired a few days ago.  The home page and the checker both had August 19th.  I hope you accept our apologies for the error.  See the answer two questions up.

  • Question: For caches located someplace other than the published coordinates (e.g., Mystery, Multi-cache, WhereIGo, Letterbox Hybrid), the cache coordinates may be in one county but the final cache in a different county. Shall we assume that the published coordinates are controlling?
    Answer:     The posted coordinates and determine which county the cache is in.

  • Question: I thought I read somewhere that there is a Project GC Checker. Can you please give me the link to the checker? Thanks.
    Answer:     Please click the link after the word Checker: in the fourth paragraph of the section labeled Things You Need to Play, above.

  • Question: Checker issue. I found a virtual with the word Sanilac in the title and the checker used the cache for the by name slot, not the virtual. Once I found another cache with the name Sanilac it changed the first to the Virtual Icon on the checker. As rare as Virtuals are you would think it would place it in the Virtual Icon spot first on the checker. Thank you for checking to see if there is an issue with the checker.
    Answer:     The checker should try the appropriate cache type icon before attempting the by-name slot.  The fact that the checker solved the problem after the fact this time may not be the correct solution.  We will bring this to the checker author's attention.  Update: Code in the checker has been updated to attempt to apply a cache type before applying a by-name category.

  • Question: The link to click on the email for inquiry opens an email link I never use. Could you just make the link so I can copy it and open it through my gmail account.
    Answer:     The "mailto" html function used to create this email link that has both a subject and part of the body uses your default email client. The code can't create a populated message any other way. The alternative is already in the inquiry description. Create your own email with the address and subject shown. Your other choice would be to change your default email client.  Sorry, this is the best we can do with the tools at hand.

  • Question: ?I found two earth caches yesterday in two different counties.  The checker picked one up properly, but not the other.  Using the map compare feature, Project-GC correctly identifies both finds in the correct counties.  Any idea why the checker wouldn’t pick it up?   Cache is GC14EWP.
    Answer:     The initial checker looked for county names first, then specific types.  The checker was changed to apply caches by type first, then by name. 

  • Question: Greetings,  I like the Michigan County Grid Challenge. I ran the checker just to get an idea of where I am and one of my finds, "The Lake Angelus School" (GC9P6R5) which is a virtual in Oakland County showed up in the Name category of Lake County. I will be manually tracking my finds but thought you would like to know.
    Also, I qualified for the 83 County pin but have not submitted for the reward. Is it still available?
    Answer:     Including the "By Name" category has thrown a wrench in the checker works.  Two other people (including the challenge designer, me) have had this occur as well.  In both cases, when a traditional cache with the county name in it was logged, the checker put that cache in the "by name" category and put the virtual (in one case) and an earthcache, both with a county name in the title, into the proper county with the proper type.  We still recommend using a progress tracker to track your finds.   To answer your other question, yes, we do still have 83 county pins.   There is a link in the "Challenges" menu to the 83 County Challenge.  That page has links to how to request your pin(s).  Update: The checker has been updated to search by type first, then by name.  Refer to the Checker Anomalies section above for an example.

  • Question: While we were in Keweenaw County we found 2 caches that are the names of other counties "Oceola" and "Schoolcraft". To not confuse the checker program would it be better to wait and log those finds when we have found the other 3 for the counties or should it be ok to go ahead and log them now?
    Answer:     It should not make a difference, but if they were for a type you did not have in Keweenaw County, they would be applied to that type, until you found another of that type in Keweenaw County.   The checker will reapply a find with a county name in the title if another c ache of the same type is found in Keweenaw County.   It might actually be easier to understand if you log the county name caches first.  I (Kevin) have been to Sleepy Hollow SP and have 82 of 83 county name caches logged.   

  • Question: The checker isn't picking up the wherigo I got on 9/20/23 in Clinton County?
    Answer:     You did not identify the GC Code, but we figured out from your list of finds that you are inquiring about GCAATMY, which is on the border of Clinton and Ionia counties.  Project-GC uses its own geometry to determine what county a cache is in based on the posted coordinates. You got credit for this cache in Ionia county, which is where Project-GC believes it to be.   This is one of those cases we warned you about in the Checker Anomalies section above.  There is nothing we can do about this.  You will need to find another cache in Clinton county or a cache with Clinton in the title.

  • Question: Does capitalization affect the checker picking up county names? I have seen county names appear in titles in all caps and all lowercase but otherwise spelled correctly and wondered if these would be okay to use.
    Answer:     Upper/lower case does not matter for county names.  The checker actually converts everything to lower case before doing a compare. 

  • Question: Caching yesterday I found four icons in Oceana county. The checker only recognized two: letterbox gcADZ5Z and unknown gcADZ3W. The finds not included in checker are: traditional gcAD0B3 and multi gcAC3WB. These are in the center of county (Hart) so should not be affected by that anomaly and they do not have county names in their title so should not be affected by the other anomaly. Is there a third thing going on? Thanks!
    Answer:     It turns out that Project-GC took 36 plus hours to update, but the update was eventually made. I have seen this on my own results as well, but not that extended period of time. All I can say is please be patient.

  • Question: I was checking the Leaderboard for the County Grid Challenge and noticed that our name is not displayed. I’m not sure if my attempts to join the challenge were successful or not - and if they were, does that mean caches we found don’t qualify until after we “signed up” despite finding them after August 19, 2023?
    Answer:     Your entry came just after the last update to the leaderboard, which was January 30th.  Your finds since the start of the challenge will be included then.  Because the activity is lower during winter months, the updates are less frequent.  There will be another update prior to Winter Social.

  • Question: We will be traveling to Schoolcraft and Delta Counties. As I was looking for caches to qualify I realized we have a slight problem with Schoolcraft County. On 9-17-23 we found GC9YVWH "schoolcraft cemetery" in Houghton County, it is listed as an alternate find in Houghton County. We have 4 other finds that qualify in Houghton County so we would like to know if we can get credit for "schoolcraft cemetery" for the name option in Schoolcraft County?
    Answer:     Sorry, but that is not possible. The checker is the final word, and we can't back off from that. The checker prioritizes the cache type over the by name category.  It shows the alternative to make you aware of the possibility of using it for the by name category should you find another cache of the same type.  The only way to get the mystery cache named Schoolcraft Cemetery found in Houghton County to qualify for the by name category is to find a different mystery cache in Houghton County.  An alternative you have is to find or hide a cache with Schoolcraft in the name, anywhere in the state. Just be careful to find a different cache of the same type as the cache with Schoolcraft in the name.

  • Question: There is something that is not clear. From what I can find in the challenge description, it sounds like the requirement is to find different types of caches. It says nothing about getting credit for hiding one. Please clarify this. If hiding one counts, please update the description to make it clear. If it does not count, then another problem pops up. The description states "Caches found or hidden prior to the start date do not qualify for this challenge.” Does this mean anything hidden before the start date does not count? I find this hard to believe. It sounds to me like the most likely explanation is that hides also count as long as they are hidden after the start date.
    Answer:     Yes, your own hides count, as addressed in item 3 under the Qualify County section. We apologize if this was not clear.  The wording in the opening paragraphs has been updated as follows to hopefully eliminate your confusion:

    Everyone is starting with a clean slate. Caches found or hidden by the player prior to the start date do not qualify for this challenge. The object is to find (or hide) at least four caches of different categories in as many Michigan counties that you can. You qualify for rewards by finding at least four of the cache types/categories per county, one cache per type/category, nine types/categories to choose from, per the following table:

  • Question: ?
    Answer:     .

  • Question: ?
    Answer:     .
Leader Board as of June 10th, 2024:

Cacher  Counties
Bronze ~
Silver ~
DirtBikeGranny 83 4 2 1
bgscrabble 83 3 4 2
GeoGnarles 83 12 8 3
Goldfinch 83 7 11 4
aghudley 83 5 5 5
MrandMrsMan 83 1 3 6
syfun 83 11 10 7
LiteOnCache 83 20 15 8
CCSquire 83 18 14 9
RXWranglers 64 2 1
grizz-rider 68 6 6
mkettel 68 10 7
flipflopfly 68 15 9
Merlin1392 63 14 12
IFollowRoads 64 9 13
pairomedicchick 67 19 16
llski 62 8
kzooOtters 48 13
Hawk Woods 57 16
Quadpin 52 17
CynicalHipster 42 21
Fallin' 39
kmans 38
jhbdfamily 34
usyoopers 33
Holmer4Manistee 31
cache_hunter2 30
HelloLola 28
JenOvations 27
lost-in-woods? 27
scoobeee3 26
ScouterSteve 26
vj24 24
TPM2013 24
Roselee2 23
woofer and tweeter 22
hollandweavers 21
Moldslug 21
austinb1 21
debgeoseeker 19
GeoNiffs 19
Ypsimom 18
RDC4106 18
CritterLover 18
GreatLakesCacher 17
RoaminThirtiesGirl 16
Oneforfortytwo 16
GramiB 15
robriki 13
Dai5ylu 12
afishoutawater 11
sgerbs 11
Sky'sRiders 9
Glasstiger1515 9
BowzTheWowz 9
theDeeJays 9
iMerge 9
GetInTheCarson 8
23Peanut 8
MI_Crew 8
jimanda2013 7
GerardvL 7
GDpunkgirl73 7
beenhere 6
Team Peterson 6
liskiss17 6
RedhedMary 5
3bearsmomma 5
LynnGeoGin (LGG) 4
FishyPeople27 4
Grayseelou 3
CynJa 3
Mermaidsh 3
LarryRobyn 3
reedmar 2
reed bill 2
Sarahjo27 2
chelle00 2
kucharsm 1
K&A Enterprises 1
siamesedrummer 1
coolmamaof5 1
G3tth3cach3 1
njdaniels13 1
idnar 96 0
Equine1030 0
jbowden412 0
Red Rose 0
tracered 0
TheBluedogTeam 0
sycloneman 0
LilLOC 0
jordand30 0
MichiSeekers 0
mom1of6 0
ferrofem 0
RonC 0


The Michigan County Grid Challenge is brought to you from the twisted 🥴 mind of aghudley using a grid approach created by  LynnGeoGin, for a MiGO Contest.  The geocoin rewards were also designed by aghudley with plenty of input from the MiGO Challenge Work Group.  Special thanks to MrandMrsMan, and LynnGeoGin for all of your ideas and help.   Thanks to oneforfortytwo for creating the Project-GC Checker.  Also, thanks to for allowing us to make use of their map without royalties.

Michigan Geocaching Organization (MiGO) is a 501(c)(7) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the adventure of geocaching in the Great Lake State.

Content on this site is the property of the MiGO and may not be duplicated without consent unless specifically stated. 
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