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This is a control! Catching Features Game Orienteering Videos

Anyone can learn to navigate the woods, a city park, islands, around a lake, the night woods, or ski trails.   If you are intimidated by the thought of finding your way through a mall, this activity can give you confidence.  Most all events are open to the novice or the expert adventurer.  Kids can follow a string to stickers while the elite orienteers travel through miles of trail-less wilds to find a flag. It is easy to see how this simple game can be sophisticated and challenging or back yard easy.

What is Orienteering?

Orienteering is a sport in which orienteers use an accurate, detailed map and a compass to find points in the landscape. It can be enjoyed as a walk in the woods or as a competitive sport.  It all started in Sweden as a military training exercise and has developed into quite a long list of exciting map games using bikes, canoes, wheelchairs, lights in the dark, skis, and even unicycles.

A standard orienteering course consists of a start, a series of control sites that are marked by circles, connected by lines and numbered in the order they are to be visited, and a finish. The control site circles are centered around the feature that is to be found; this feature is also defined by control descriptions (sometimes called clues). On the ground, a control flag marks the location that the orienteer must visit.

To verify a visit, the orienteer uses a punch hanging next to the flag to mark his or her control card. Different punches make different patterns of holes in the paper. The route between “controls” (refers to the flag or the site) is not specified, and is entirely up to the orienteer; this element of route choice and the ability to navigate through the forest are the essence of orienteering. Control cards and punches have been replaced by electronic ‘dibblers’ that record the participants’ times and locations.

Most orienteering events use staggered starts to ensure that each orienteer has a chance to do his or her own navigating, but there are several other popular formats, including relays and events in which the orienteer must find as many controls as possible within a specified time. Come play with us!  It is fun and easy to start orienteering.

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Visit Up North Orienteers for local events Visit www.us.orienteering.org for national information

Thanks to Heather Williams (hwilliams@williams.edu)  for such a clear and concise description of Orienteering.