Governor Dick Park plans to hold an Introduction to Orienteering Class hosted by The Delaware Valley Orienteering Association (DVOA) on Sunday, Nov. 15.

The beginner orienteering class will begin at 11:00 a.m. and participants will be able to learn the basics of navigating an orienteering course either just for fun or for competitive purposes.

Orienteering begins with walking or running through the woods while taking up the challenge of picking a route and navigating to specific locations found on a map. Afterwards, orienteers typically share their adventures with others, including online results and route comparisons.

“Participants will be introduced to how to read an orienteering map: these maps are much more detailed than any other map you are likely to have seen,” Samuel Kolins, the event course setter, said. “In addition to basic information such as trails and elevation information, the map includes things like boulders and large downed trees, as well as special color-coding to show different types of vegetation thickness in the woods. After getting familiar with the map there will be a discussion of techniques for how to use the map to successfully navigate a course.”

Kolins and the DVOA’s event director, Ava Suhocki, will be in charge of the event and are responsible for the creation of the courses. This involves picking the locations the participants will find and setting out the ‘controls’ in the woods that mark each location.

After the beginner class, participants are encouraged to try out a course. There are a few different course options to choose from, depending on skill and experience level.

  • White Course: This course allows participants to stay on trails at all times. This level is best for young kids, those who physically don’t feel comfortable leaving a trail or those who would not like to use a regular trail map.
  • Yellow Course: This course will have locations to find that are near, but not on trails. There may be an exception of a few times when it is encouraged to cut through the woods as a shortcut. This is a good course for most adult beginners who would like to use a regular map.
  • Orange Course: This course is an intermediate level of difficulty and will take participants far off the trail. This is best for people who have some experience with off trail navigation.

“There will be eight different courses at this event, the three listed above and then five advanced courses of different lengths for experienced orienteers, including one of our longest and toughest courses of the year,” Kolins said. “There will be great opportunities to meet and talk with people who are really into the sport.”

The cost to do a course is $12 per group of any size. Also included is a map and a timing chip. A compass may be borrowed if needed. Groups may receive additional maps for $2 each.

“This class is recommended for anyone who enjoys being outdoors in the woods and would like to experience Governor Dick Park,” Kolins said. “If you like maps or navigation that is a plus too. We have members who walk courses as families and members who run courses full-speed and competitively, so there is a place for a very wide range of people in the sport. Orienteering is a great socially distanced activity – even more spread out than when you are hiking on a trail.”

Masks will be required during check-in, the class, and when finishing all courses. Check-in will be under the pavilion at the north end of the parking lot. The event will take place rain or shine, except for any extreme weather conditions. In the case of extreme conditions, the class will be moved inside the environmental center with social distancing measures.

All participants are required to pre-register and pre-pay prior to the event. Additional instructions to help navigate the registration system, especially if participants are registering a group, can be found in this Google Slides presentation. More details can be found on the DVOA’s event page. Registration for the beginner class is available here

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