GGA is the very first Geocaching club on Planet Earth.™ (Seriously ...)
Brief Club History:
The Georgia Geocachers Association (GGA) was born out of curious circumstances. In the very earliest days of the game, when geocaches were few and far between, two geocachers happened to meet on a remote mountain trail one day. (At the time, this was a very remarkable coincidence.) They talked about how interesting it would be to meet other cachers. They decided to post one of those brand-new types of cache, an "event" cache. They listed it (GC919), and others joined in to help organize a location and such.
Right before the event, Georgia Geocachers suffered a blow of sorts as caches were banned in Georgia State Parks. (Suddenly, we had an actual serious agenda at this meeting!) Still, it was a great meeting. The event, hosted by tjbowers and LoCache on June 9, 2001, was a success, and the "event cache" is now a staple in geocaching. Over the next month, we discussed names and logos for our newly forming organization. At our next meeting, we chose a name for our group. The Georgia Geocachers Association began the tradition of monthly event caches and became the world's(!) first geocacher's association.
(Incidentally, the second oldest Geocaching club in the world is the Middle Tennessee Geocachers Club (MTGC), founded just a few months later by JoGPS – "the Godfather of GeoWoodstock" – and likewise still a very active club today.)
At our fourth meeting (Sept. 2001), several people who were working behind the scenes decided to form a management committee, or the Steering Committee (SC), which we use in lieu of elected officers.
Today, the GGA strives to promote the activity of Geocaching in many ways. We have partnered with Georgia State Parks to promote geocaching in the state parks, including the first(!) State Park Challenge series of caches and geocoins to be earned. (In January 2021, a brand-new State Park Challenge series will be rolled-out!) At our monthly meetings we host great events all over the state to get our members out there to explore and have fun while geocaching in Georgia. Past events have included: mountain hiking trips, river kayaking, Okefenokee swamp tours, Tree Top adventures at Callaway Gardens, Climbing the Naomi Ruth tree, boating on Lake Lanier in quest of early caches, and much more! Our meetings also cover topics such as: safety, puzzle cache tips & techniques, geocaching etiquette, Leave No Trace™ ethics, and other helpful topics for newcomers and experienced cachers alike. The GGA also plans other activities such as Geocaching Challenge Events, CITO (Cache In, Trash Out) Days, Geocaching 101 classes, and more.
GGA is also fairly unique in that the organization continues to maintain a state-wide scope, working with both individual cachers and regional clubs. Today, GGA continues to avidly support the sport of Geocaching throughout the entire State of Georgia.
This was published on our 10th anniversary event page: https://coord.info/GC2W06K
On May 2, 2000, at approximately midnight,eastern savings time, the great blue switch controlling selective availability was pressed. Twenty-four satellites around the globe processed their new orders, and instantly the accuracy of GPS technology improved tenfold. Tens of thousands of GPS receivers around the world had an instant upgrade.
For GPS enthusiasts, this was definitely a cause for celebration. Internet newsgroups suddenly teemed with ideas about how the technology could be used.
On May 3, one such enthusiast, Dave Ulmer, a computer consultant, wanted to test the accuracy by hiding a navigational target in the woods. He called the idea the "Great American GPS Stash Hunt" and posted it in an internet GPS users' group. The idea was simple: Hide a container out in the woods and note the coordinates with a GPS unit.
Within three days, two different readers read about his stash on the Internet, used their own GPS receivers to find the container, and shared their experiences online. Throughout the next week, others excited by the prospect of hiding and finding stashes began hiding their own containers and posting coordinates.
Slashdot, a popular online magazine for techies, reported the new activity on September 25, 2000, introducing a larger group of technology professionals to the activity. The New York Times picked up the story and featured it in its "Circuits" section in October, starting a domino effect of articles written in magazines, newspapers, and other media outlets around the world. CNN even did a segment in December 2000 to profile the new hobby.
The GGA was the first official geocaching organization. It was born out of an odd set of events. In 2001 two geocachers met on the trail one day. They talked about now interesting it would be to meet other cachers. They decided to list a new type of cache, an "event" cache. They listed it and others joined in to help organize a location and such.
The first meeting of Georgia geocachers was held on June 9, 2001. The idea was for Atlanta area geocachers to get together, share caching stories at a local park, and put a face with screen names.
Right before the event, GA Geocachers suffered a blow of sorts as caches were banned in GA State Parks. We suddenly had an actual serious agenda at this meeting. This gave the meeting a focal point and we spent most of the meeting discussing this issue.
Still, it was a great meeting. TJBowers' and LoCache's event went off great and the event cache is now a staple in geocaching.
Following the meeting an email discussion list was started which was used to develop what became the GGA. Over the next month, we discussed names and logos for our newly forming organization. At our next meeting we chose a name for our group. The Georgia Geocachers Association began the tradition of monthly event caches and became the first geocachers association. At our fourth meeting (Sept. 2001), several people who were working behind the scenes decided to form a management committee, or the Steering Committee (SC).
It was almost a year later in June of 2002 before the GGA convinced the GA State Parks to allow us to geocache in our parks. It is a limited policy, but at least we were able to place some caches back in the parks again.
Moving into 2003, March saw the first CITO events worldwide. Unfortunately, it was after Earth Day instead of before it so many parks across the world were pretty clean. The GGA saw the exception to that rule for sure. The GGA was proud to hold an event at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. We had 26 members in attendance. In 2004, we completed two CITO events.
In 2004 and 2005, GA Geocachers were hit with a moratorium on geocaches in the Chattahoochee National Forest, run by the USDA Forest Service. 2006 brought us back into the Chattahoochee National Forest again. The GGA has obtained a blanket permit that allows caches back in the National Forest areas again.
In 2010, after much hard work behind the scenes, GA State Parks released the Georgia State Parks Geo-Challenge with 45 caches in 42 different Parks across the state. To date there have been over 9,000 finds logged by almost 2,000 cachers.
May of 2011 GA State Parks, spurred on by the success of the Geo-Challenge, released the Georgia State Historic Sites History Trail.
(The History Trail is now under revision. A new State Parks Geo-Challenge was introduced in January 2021. Both "cache lists" will be featured on this site.)