Geocaching competition held at East Fork
By Martha Jacob
The world’s largest Geocaching Competition Mega was held April 2 at East Fork State Park.
Geocaching refers to an increasingly popular recreational activity of hunting for and finding hidden objects by means of GPS coordinates that have been posted on a website or phone app. Participants can download their own app.
One of the largest such groups is the Away From Keyboard Geocaching located near Indian Hills, just east of Milford. The group was started by Jesse Tuttle in 2014. Recently Tuttle met with Sarah Gleason, who does marketing and communications for the Clermont County Convention and Visitors Bureau, in hopes of joining forces to bring a geocaching competition to Clermont County.
Tuttle’s hope was to organize a geocaching event that would bring geocachers from across the country together for the first Midwest Open
Geocaching Adventure at East Fork State Park.
“This event was like a huge scavenger hunt using GPS skills for participants,” Tuttle said. “Before the event we had over 700 households signed up, but we ended up with well over that number of geocachers.”
The participants were from more than 30 countries and many states, including Washington, Florida, New York and Maine, Tuttle said.
“We actually started working on the East Fork geocaching competition MOGA over a year ago, and it all came together this past weekend.” Gleason said. “We are always looking for ways to bring great events to our communities in Clermont County, and this was one of the biggest ever. When Mr. Tuttle approached us with his idea to bring this activity to East Fork, we were all very excited.”
The event had a huge impact on the area’s economy, as more than 450 motel and hotel rooms were already booked two weeks prior to the event.
“MOGA was a lot of fun for everyone,” Gleason said, “but geocaching is also a very competitive sport and that’s what’s making it so popular with young and old.”
The first participant that made it back to “home base” was the winner. One group of participants started at 8 a.m., and there was another group that started at 3 p.m., Gleason said.
Many of the participants actually began their MOGA adventure on March 31 with a kick-off ceremony held at the Green Kayak in New Richmond, and then on April 1, visitors began arriving and enjoyed the actual opening ceremony at the Holiday Inn at Eastgate, Gleason said.
The opening ceremony was held from 5-9 p.m. The event was all day April 2 and the closing ceremony, which included an awards ceremony, was that night at the Holiday Inn.