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Discussion: Montana news article on orienteering

in: Orienteering; General

Nov 5, 2021 10:29 PM # 
Great article from the Flathead Beacon on orienteering, featuring Grizzly orienteering club:

Can’t wait to do some MT orienteering someday!
Nov 6, 2021 1:45 AM # 
People who worry about clicking on links: Don't worry. I think that is one of the best introductory articles about orienteering that I have ever read. I bet it doubles their attendance at their next event. Or more.
Nov 6, 2021 4:23 AM # 
Yeah, we have over 40 first-timers signed up for Sunday's event right now, almost all of them from Whitefish, so the article probably had a good reach.
Nov 6, 2021 12:54 PM # 
Nice article. It is fantastic to see Boris, Will, et al. doing such great work getting this club off the ground. (or more accurately, running around on the ground in some fascinating terrain :-)

@Gord re links: On Attackpoint, from a known member, its not so much worry, although spoofing scams are getting more sophisticated by the day.
More importantly, I think its just a reasonable courtesy for the person providing a link to say what it is about, so that people who don't care about it don't waste their time clicking. Vector did a great job identifying with the thread title, plus text .
Nov 6, 2021 8:09 PM # 
Hold it. Credit should go where it is due and Boris deserves a lot of credit for a lot of things and perhaps he has hand here but this apparently someone else stepping up to the plate and doing what orienteers should be doing all over the country- planting seeds.
A bit from the article;: " Will Dickinson, a recent transplant to the Flathead Valley and longtime orienteering racer, reached out to Schwartz early this year to discuss holding some orienteering races at the park and took him along some of the prospective routes he was considering through Lone Pine."
I do not know Will. Is he related to other Dickinson orienteers?
Nov 6, 2021 8:25 PM # 
Yeah, Will has stepped up and done a ton for the club up in the Flathead valley. He has built a relationship with two venues and made two maps. The event we are holding at Lone Pine is the third one we've had there, and he's been a huge part of all three of them.
I don't think he is related to Judy Dickinson.
Nov 8, 2021 4:28 PM # 
From the article:

".....“It fits with our mission at the park to connect people with the outdoors and this is a very different way to do it that gets them off trails.”

I am not actually involved with obtaining permissions for orienteering, but my impression doing "user surveys" is that the "off the trails" part is likely going to be an increasing issue for at least some land management agencies in the future.
Nov 8, 2021 4:33 PM # 
Yes, it is certainly an issue for us in a number of venues that we try to get permission for, but luckily (knock on wood), not the park where yesterday's event took place.
Nov 9, 2021 10:05 AM # 
Why would the issue be "increasing"?

My sense is that it depends on the policy makers, whether they have authority over one venue or many. So off-trail activity being a problem for them seems limited to the preservationists (humans bad), whom IMO are a minority compared to conservationists (humans mostly good).
Nov 9, 2021 2:23 PM # 
Guy it seems increasing because it is increasing. For more than 50 years we in Ottawa have enjoyed pretty well unrestricted access to off-trail orienteering without ever a complaint of environmental damage. Not one in 50 years. Yes the orienteering club worked with the park management to pick appropriate control sites. But now comes a new park master plan and lo and behold suddenly off-trail activity, ALL off trail activity is banned except in a small corner of the park.
Why? Some activity such as off trail mountain biking is bad because it leaves a scar on the landscape, can led to erosion, etc,
But I think there is more. My pet theory is that for generations kids have been reading a short story about some time travellers who leave the present while discussion around them is about the election and how it looks like the candidate supporting democracy is going to win.
They get to the past and are taking a tour through a forest and are warned to stay on the path.
One guy steps off the path and inadvertently kills a butterfly.
They return to the present and find that the autocrat and his storm troopers have won the election.
The lesson, BS as it is, is clear: Mess with the environment in the very slightest and you will change the course of history.
Those kids who grew up reading that story and received similar lessons while studying environmental science and are now working for the agencies are taking the lessons out of the classroom and onto the job.
Yes there needs to be environmental protection but passing rules to stay out of the woods after the first frost when the turtles and snakes are deep in the ground and the sensitive plants are also ground protected makes no sense at all.
One other reason for banning off trail activity: If you keep people on the trails you are far less likely to have to form a search party for them and injury is far less likely to occur which means the US Park is far less likely to have to deal with that most feared of animals genus Morgan & Morgan.
Nov 9, 2021 8:27 PM # 
Nov 10, 2021 12:35 AM # 
I read that story and now I'm the OUSA President.
Nov 10, 2021 3:58 AM # 
Wasn't there some kind of resource that OUSA developed that provided information to venue managers about the misconceptions of off-trail orienteering impact? Seems like word needs to get out about that. I just had a scout working on an Eagle project who had a park force him to put permanent orienteering controls on trails which basically defeated the whole purpose of making an orienteering course.

I have wondered at times how much the off trail orienteering fear may be related to the over-reactive fears modern people seem to have about just about everything...or in other words safety obsessionism. But I digress...
Nov 10, 2021 5:12 AM # 
There is a relatively new professional class that views their role as being the gatekeeper to outdoor experience. My two cents worth.
Nov 10, 2021 9:15 AM # 
In other words, eco-fascists
Nov 10, 2021 1:27 PM # 
There's also a phenomenon where a person is given some power, but the power is only to stop someone from doing something. If they don't exercise that power, then it feels like they don't have any power after all. So to feel important, they have to deny permission. I've seen this in many aspects of life.
Nov 10, 2021 4:07 PM # 
We've had situations where the park was perfectly ok with us going off-trail, but the public was not. The rangers got complaints from other people in the park and then became more restrictive. (Not recently, but it's happened)
Nov 10, 2021 4:54 PM # 
Around here, the concerns I've heard have mostly been about the risk of spreading invasive species, e.g. seeds on shoes and clothing. In places where that is a concern, we could propose mandatory shoe cleaning before running, which I've had to do in some events. There isn't much we can do to prevent spreading seeds while running between different areas of a map but wildlife can do that too.
Nov 10, 2021 6:20 PM # 
In GA state parks you can only go off-trail with a permit, which we of course have. Other park users are invariably on trail and I think there is some consternation among them when they see us go off-trail seemingly against park rules.
Nov 10, 2021 6:27 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
We just got pushback about bandit trail concerns...curious how it will play out or if we retreat to a huntable venue that is more used to people going wherever they want.
Nov 11, 2021 2:42 AM # 
gordhun and J-J compiled a good psychological portrait of progressive Marxists.

I recall back in Soviet Union one could not change a residence without permission of authorities, and only those loyal to regime were allowed to live in big cities like Moscow -- all others had to stay at 100 kilometers away (one could briefly visit). That was known as propiska . To travel abroad one had to be interviewed by local commissar, and be approved.
Nov 11, 2021 11:25 AM # 
The rangers got complaints from other people in the park and then became more restrictive.

...park users are invariably on trail and I think there is some consternation among them when they see us go off-trail ...

...pushback about bandit trail concerns

Those folk need to be educated. I'm thinking that the way to make this happen, with minimal effort by O-friendly land managers, is to develop a pamphlet -- printed and/or pdf -- plus content for a FAQ page, for them.
Nov 14, 2021 6:15 PM # 
The ironclad argument in California is "but cows". Works every time on both rangers and the general public. Not useful at venues where there aren't cows, but most of these you wouldn't want to orienteer in anyway.
Nov 14, 2021 6:19 PM # 
Nov 14, 2021 7:39 PM # 
Deer leave more "herd paths" than orienteers do, especially in the northeastern US.
Nov 14, 2021 8:43 PM # 
Pink Socks:
I'm getting a kick out of imagining Ron Swanson sign off on an orienteering permit.
Nov 14, 2021 9:38 PM # 
I imagined Leslie tricking him into signing it, personally.
Nov 15, 2021 11:27 AM # 
Tom O:
The notion that humans need to be excluded from the environment is wrongheaded on so many levels. They have been traversing these woods for millennia. My experience is the restrictions increase the higher up in the government bureaucracy you get. Local/County parks are less restrictive than state parks which are less restrictive than national parks. In one of the venues we (DVOA) have been using for over 50 years without issues, a portion of a state park was carved out and used to create a national historical park. We were told that off-trail access would require a special permit (with a price tag possibly as high as $400) and all control sites would be subject to a 3 month environmental and cultural review. They were particularly concerned about the 1/4" stakes we drive into the ground to support our control stands. Any ground penetration requires an archaeological review. What is the point in conserving a resource if no one can ever venture off-trail to experience it except for a select few land managers?

This discussion thread is closed.