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Discussion: permanent course near Warren, Pennsylvania

in: Orienteering; General

Sep 28, 2020 12:39 PM # 
was pleasantly surprised to discover a permanent orienteering course in the Hearts Content area of the Allegheny National Forest.

Sep 28, 2020 10:57 PM # 
Fantastically well-timed post, Sherpes! I am going to arrive from Ohio into western Pennsylvania this evening, as part of my zigzag route home from the Indy 12-hour rogaine. And so the timing should be just perfect to do a little orienteering at Hearts Content in the morning, before crossing the rest of Pa.
Sep 30, 2020 6:29 PM # 
The OUSA website is a beautiful creation...I particularly like the photo of Cristina's Gang grinning into the camera that is on rotation with several other very good O shots.

However there used to be a listing of Permanent Courses across the US, so the o-maps and others could swing by in the middle of a trip and enjoy some O. What happened to it? Would it be too much to ask to post a (maybe incomplete) listing of permanent and temporary DIY courses that exist in these pandemic times?
Sep 30, 2020 6:35 PM # 
Permanent courses listed here -

I was trying to keep it updated with DIY/BYOM events earlier this year, but have ceased keeping short term events in there. I need to update the page text accordingly.

Also, permanent course listing are only as accurate as info I receive, best to check with clubs on current status.
Sep 30, 2020 6:39 PM # 
OK. Thank you Clint. Nice job. That site was a bit difficult to find from the OUSA home page. But the map locator works well.
Sep 30, 2020 6:59 PM # 
Main Homepage (or any page actually), click on Events, 3rd entry down is Permanent Courses, right after Calendar & Clubs...
Sep 30, 2020 10:11 PM # 
spotted two errors in where the pin is located on the finder map of the permanent courses map:

1. Greenwood Furnace State Park
2. Ridley Creek state park

the two have their pins located in the vicinity of Pittsburgh, PA, but those locations are no way near.

Also, the permanent course at Hearts Content in Allegheny National Forest is not listed.
Sep 30, 2020 10:38 PM # 
Alexis - if you could shoot me either a valid street address, or Lat/Lon of the errant maps I can update the map database. Also valid web address for folks to refer to - looks like Greenwood maps have to be procured from the park?

Also, if you have the info for Heart's Content I can add that as well - I'd prefer to have a link to something more permanent than a Twitter post though.

Sep 30, 2020 11:45 PM # 
I think most (or all) of the permanent courses listed on the OUSA site are those that were installed or are maintained by the clubs. I've occasionally stumbled across courses on simple black and white maps at random parks, or just come across permanent markers at parks that I know don't have a "real" map. I think many of these aren't listed because even the local orienteers don't know about them....
Sep 30, 2020 11:48 PM # 
Link to all DVOA permanent courses (including Ridley Creek):
Coordinates for Ridley Creek: 39.95369, -75.44122
Sep 30, 2020 11:51 PM # 
I found a permanent "orienteering course" near where I live. The signboard at the parking area has a list of compass bearings and distances... I won't be submitting that abomination...
Oct 1, 2020 12:02 AM # 
Ridley Creek updated... Thanks Glen...
Oct 1, 2020 12:04 AM # 
I notice that most of the permanent courses in OCIN area are slightly to moderately mis-located on the map. It looks like the pins are centered on the city / town in which the course is located. I'll be sending Clint corrected addresses / coordinates for all of them. The one exception, the pin for Big Bone Lick State Park is at the park entrance.
Oct 1, 2020 12:12 AM # 
Mike - thanks for doing the legwork on the OCIN entries - will make my job much easier since you know the maps in question. It appears that the map widget takes whatever address is entered to default the pin location if a lat/lon pair is not included in a separate step. In the case of Ridley - the location was just listed as Deleware County (misspelled) so who knows how it tried to place the pin.
Oct 1, 2020 6:08 AM # 
To get back on-thread:

Clint (and anyone wanting to try a little orienteering in northwestern Pennsylvania):

Information about the permanent orienteering course at Heart's Content Recreation Area in Allegheny National Forest near Warren, Pennsylvania, is on the US Forest Service's website here:

That webpage links to their orienteering brochure, including the black-and-white map and control descriptions, or you can go directly to that brochure & map with this link:

The Forest Service was kind enough to provide contact information for USOF in Forest Park, Ga., but that's obviously out of date; perhaps you (Clint) might be the right person to contact them to get it updated to OUSA and the correct mailing address (and maybe a web and/or email address too).

It's a perfectly serviceable map and course, even if a bit of a throwback to the 1970s. They've put 21 controls out, in the form of blade-style posts, which are not super conspicuous, especially if you happen to approach the blade edge-on. But they are all (at least the ones I visited) located right where the map and control description indicate, except they are often 5 or so meters off to the side (so if you are right at the feature but don't see a post, it might be behind you).

The map is fine; seemingly only field checked along the trails and streams relevant to the courses, although the lack of features elsewhere also may be simply be a reflection of the fact that the terrain was pretty darn featureless in my limited forays away from trail and stream.

The brochure describes 3 courses constructed from the 21 controls: introductory, intermediate, and advanced. I went around the advanced course, which felt about like a long-ish orange course.

According to the signage [sorry J-J], Heart's Content has been designated a Heritage Site in part because of its old-growth forest with many hemlocks, beeches, and other trees that are hundreds of years old. The forest is mostly very open, in part no doubt due to the shade of the old-growth tree crowns, but also, according to one sign, due to the high deer population (and I did observe a whole lot of them in my own short visit, mostly while driving in and out). The deer are said to eat everything near ground level except the ferns.
Oct 1, 2020 11:48 AM # 
Actually Steve, Allegheny NF has some really crazy rock labyrinth terrain, especially in that area. I just haven't had enough time to explore it in detail.
Oct 1, 2020 2:11 PM # 
ah, where are those rocks in the ANF? Minister Creek?

btw, here are some photos of Hearts Content. Really nice patch of virgin forest
Oct 3, 2020 8:56 PM # 
From the course brochure:
This orienteering course was developed by the generous donation of time, expertise and funding by the Delaware Valley Orienteering Association. Bob Putnam and Kate Putman completed the field work and Ann Merriam did the cartography. (Map was dated 1995)
Oct 3, 2020 11:41 PM # 
The same Bob Putnam of Florida Orienteering but formerly of DVOA?
Oct 4, 2020 2:45 AM # 

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