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Discussion: 2015 Highlights & Looking Ahead

in: Orienteering; General;

Jan 1, 2016 9:08 PM # 
Pink Socks:
2015 is over, so I thought it would be nice to share some highlights from the year and what we're looking forward to in 2016!

For CascadeOC, our highlights include a record-high 4405 annual starts, and our first ever Seattle Adventure Running Tournament.

Looking ahead to 2016, we're excited about hosting the two-day Navy JROTC National Champs in March, a second year of SART, debuting a new website, and real-time wifi-enabled results!
Jan 3, 2016 1:50 PM # 
I'm looking forward to getting a job. Preferably one that works around all my races.
Jan 13, 2016 10:22 PM # 
Meant to write this quite a while ago but congratulations on beating QOC in annual starts by a little over 100. We'd presumably have just come out ahead if we hadn't had to cancel one not practically reschedulable event last February on account of the park asking us to clear out due to extremely high winds. Also pretty Arctic temperatures. And the power in the camp we had rented going out overnight.

2016 is mostly stay the course - energy focused on planning a 2017 national meet - but one likely improvement, we're almost certain to face better conditions for the Saturday training (junior and adult)/Saturday night-O/ Sunday classic courses weekend this year than we did, as mentioned above, last year. Anyone in the east who wants to get in two day of intensive orienteering the last weekend of February, come on down. The Prince William Forest Park cabin camp we'll be in sleeps 104; registration for beds and training to open soon.
Jan 19, 2016 8:09 AM # 
tRicky - have you considered becoming a public servant? I definitely had more of a life-life balance when I was.
Jan 19, 2016 8:23 AM # 
In the ADF they pay you to train. Plus I'd probably end up on the east coast so easier to get to the big races.
Jan 19, 2016 4:07 PM # 
For 2016, Western Pennsylvania Orienteering Club (WPOC) is planning to host a meet in a county park in the suburbs north of the city of Pittsburgh, a park that is very popular among the young and not-so-young suburbanites that enjoy power-walking around the lake, all while wearing a FitBit bracelet electronic device that informs them with messages "congratulations, you have just done the equivalent of climbing 342 sets of stairs", "or "739 calories lost". Hosting a meet in that park might attract newbies into the sport, and just placing the WPOC banner in a very busy intersection, where the Start/Finish shelter is, is just good marketing, and adding an additional big sign such as "Public Welcome", might just attract the casual curious observer that might eventually get sucked into the sport.
Jan 19, 2016 5:27 PM # 
adding "public welcome" to our banners and race material is a great idea. I get asked a lot what is going on at a race, and tell them they can find more info online.
Jan 19, 2016 7:23 PM # 
Pink Socks:

Seattle City Parks have a new rule where each "surface or display" (which would include a generic "public welcome" banner and even directional signs) are subject to a $100 fee. (And yes, a two-sided directional sign is worth $200. We've asked. Yes, even ones with no words and an orienteering flag.)

For SART 2016, we're planning using some Seattle City Parks. One benefit to having a hard tournament limit and pre-registration only is that we're effectively a private event, so we don't need any club banners, signage, or other public event hassles (like paying 10% of monies collected on-site to the park).
Jan 20, 2016 12:04 AM # 
Jan 20, 2016 12:15 AM # 
Maybe you could pay some kids $50 each to wear T-shirts with directional arrows on them and just stand at the locations for a few hours.

Also doesn't seem like the parks would have any control over personal vehicles as long as they are legally parked. Who are they to say what you can or can't display on your vehicle? What if your sun visor happens to say "Orienteering All Welcome" or "This way to the toilets -->"
Jan 20, 2016 1:10 AM # 
Tax avoidance 101. Well done.
Jan 20, 2016 1:36 AM # 
Would a sign stating "Public Not Welcome" be subject to the fee? You might get a few irate people ask why not and you can then sign them up.
Jan 20, 2016 4:22 AM # 
What is their justification for charging $100 to put up a temporary sign?
Jan 20, 2016 4:51 AM # 
Sign tax.
Jan 20, 2016 7:34 AM # 
Pink Socks:
The permitting document says: Parks charges $100 per surface, per day, for advertising in parks. Surfaces include - but are not limited to - banners, signs, tents/canopies, vehicles, inflatables and other structures that include advertising, logos or branding for organizations, services or products. Some structures/vehicles may be considered multiple surfaces. Permit applicants/holders are responsible for all advertising fees and are required to obtain design approval from Parks Event Management and must accurately disclose all applicable displays prior to permit issuance.

Their point is that if you're organizing a big 5K, say, and you have some booths and signs for energy drinks and shoes and whatever, the park wants to get some money for that, because otherwise it would look like the park is being overrun by big corporations and advertising and such. Those are the rules, and even little non-profits like us, despite not having energy drinks and whatever, we have to play by the same ones.
Jan 20, 2016 9:24 AM # 
that include advertising, logos or branding for organizations, services or products.

Seems to me that an arrow would not meet this criteria. Not sure if "orienteering" would be considered branding...
Jan 20, 2016 11:06 AM # 
It seems fair to me that the special purpose users of a park pay a fair fee so that the cost of maintaining the park is at least lifted off the shoulders of the general taxpayers.
However it seems bureaucratically burdensome for Seattle Parks to have to collect fees for and then police banner placement when a simple adjustment of the per user charge - at the gate or elsewhere - would achieve the same end.
Not being able to place directional arrows and traditional WELCOME, START and FINISH banners seems particularly anal. How would the staff on duty in the park feel if every one looking for the orienteering were to stop to ask them ' Where is the Orienteering?' As their coffee got colder they would be urging their bosses to get the policy amended.
Jan 20, 2016 2:36 PM # 
i remember we had a situation several years ago, in which an energy drink that agreed to sponsor us, later pulled out saying that because the venue we chose had signed an agreement with a rival company, giving them exclusive rights, it all meant that we were not going to be allowed to string up between the trees their big product banner.
Jan 20, 2016 3:49 PM # 
This appears to be a version of Face Control policy --- this way a park is trying to make sure that only strong, healthy mainstream sports and activities, such as golf for example, are practiced, to prevent damage to its reputation, and not to scare away respectable public.
Particularly in upscale Seattle, home of Bill Gates and other elite members of the society, this is unfortunately a necessity.
Jan 20, 2016 6:08 PM # 
Presumably most people nowadays have a phone with Google Maps or other means of navigating to the event? Does it suffice to have coordinates, and maybe a photo or map, of the registration location on the club web site, with no signage? I've organized a training here in Colorado without signage because that was one condition of not needing a permit.

But do orienteering controls count as "surfaces" as well? $300 per control (or maybe $500 including the number tag) could add up.
Jan 20, 2016 10:41 PM # 
Would each map count as one surface or two?
Jan 20, 2016 10:46 PM # 
Ooh ooh, can we charge for the clothing participants are wearing too???
Jan 20, 2016 11:00 PM # 
Car branding!!
Jan 21, 2016 2:01 AM # 
So if you own your own business and your car has your logo on it permanently, you can no longer go to the park without paying $100 per day?

Their wording is really broad. Technically, just about every car on the planet is a vehicle that includes a logo for a product (the car itself). So I guess we all have to walk to the park.
Jan 21, 2016 3:19 AM # 
If there were an event going on at the park that was sponsored by the company advertised on the vehicle, I think this would apply, but because this is part of the event permitting process, it presumably wouldn't apply otherwise. That said, in one of the prime orienteering parks in the USA, commercially registered vehicles are flat-out banned, and I know an orienteer who owned a truck that she used for her business, and I think she got ticketed more than once because she either forgot or figured she might not get caught. Just for driving through Harriman.
Jan 21, 2016 3:41 AM # 
That man Harry can't have been too pleased about getting driven through. It was probably worth fining her over.
Jan 21, 2016 4:10 AM # 
To be honest, the Seattle parks fee for signage makes me wonder if it's really an attempt to limit or deter organized events in parks, or at least larger, more visible ones. (If it were just a matter of money, then a percentage of fees might have been all.) Jefferson County, Colorado recently announced limits on how many large events could be held each year in their parks (limit of five large events a year where large was 200+ participants, if I recall the article correctly), due to the increasing number of such events and the effort to support them. I suspect that the reason that it's harder to get a permit for an event of >50-60 people in the national forests or parks is that they've adopted that limit (and sized their parking lots accordingly) in order to limit impact (on wildlife, or on other nearby humans who want a peaceful forest experience) in any one area. Large events may get harder due to the massive number of well funded mega events in recent years, and likely some pushback against them. It may be easier to host smaller and less visible events in many parks and forests, with only a few parks wanting big or visible events.
Jan 21, 2016 8:43 AM # 
This raises the question of whether COC could reduce or eliminate use of Seattle City Parks, while still maintaining a strong schedule...

As for the "elite" nature of the area making exorbitant signage fees necessary, GMAFB.
Jan 21, 2016 5:23 PM # 

Have to agree with GuyO. Don't think there is grand plan by the evil park overlords to create a master race of park goers. Just another revenue stream and the government bureaucracy finding ever more ways to collect dough from us.
Jan 21, 2016 7:37 PM # 
Wow our races would be a lot more expensive to host in Seattle.
Jan 21, 2016 8:36 PM # 
I too doubt that it's an evil plan, but I think that parks and their governments get negative feedback from park-goers and citizens about big events and their effect on other use of the park (or forest). And, even a dozen hours of work that it causes for government employees can far exceed government income from the event. So, maybe it's just money, but maybe it's other things as well. I think that it's worth pondering the impact on park relations that big events may cause. Are we making things better (park manager: "Yay! Economic development and park fees!") or worse (permit officer: "ugh, something that'll take a lot of my budget (which perhaps is not a function of economic development or permit fees) to monitor and process, and which will generate whining from neighbors and environmentalists and visitors who see banners instead of wilderness...besides, now the ATVers/equestrians/rock concert will say why not us too?")? I suspect that in some places it may be possible to run small events for decades with no problems, but big events may raise issues. I wonder whether that has been an issue with some parks near me.
Jan 22, 2016 3:13 AM # 
Around here 100 seems to be the magic number. Events smaller than that generally don't get questioned or they ask us to limit to that number. Most of our parks will still allow a larger crowd, but they ask a larger fee for it. Nothing our fee structure can't handle. We have one park that has been letting us orienteer for free, but now that our crowd is typically 150-200 people they will be charging us. And many of these places also charge a $5 to $10 per car entry fee. No signage fees though.
Jan 22, 2016 3:30 AM # 
Just run two concurrent events of 75-100 people to avoid fees.
Jan 22, 2016 8:51 PM # 
The idea of running two concurrent events is a good one and thought about it to beat the mandatory $125 special events permit that our city requires should there ever be an assemblage of 25 people or more for any purpose that doesn't fall within the category of Freedom of Speech, aka First Amendment.
Jan 22, 2016 9:14 PM # 
The Blue Hills Traverse did that once. Mass start race, two simultaneous separate mass starts at two start areas, and courses converged at the first control, but we never had more than the allowable number of people in one place at the same time.

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