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Discussion: Good control materials for permanent courses.

in: Orienteering; General

Feb 26, 2023 11:49 PM # 
I keep thinking about setting up a permanent course in or near clarkesville tennessee. Does anyone know of light to carry durable materials for permanent control markers? I thought of 4x4 6 foot pressure treated wood posts but they are HEAVY. One club used flat vinyl slats but some fell down so i wonder how durable they are. Also how to best mark the control so the lettering and numbering weathers the elements over the long term.
Feb 28, 2023 7:17 PM # 
I have been replacing missing controls for the permanent courses in Louisville. The Carsonite posts are good and lightweight to carry around the forest. The two problems we have had with them are that they are prone to getting run over by large mowers at parks if they were along the vegetation boundary, and vandalism at a park where some points were placed at cool ruins that teenagers liked to hang out at. I replaced the vandalized posts with 5"x10" custom printed metal markers and attached them up out of reach to a dead (but firm) tree near the control location. For stickers on the Carsonite posts, I had my local print shop print them on "permanent stick backing, UV resistant ink, and laminated" material.

Carsonite Post

Custom Metal Sign

Start Sign

Custom Metal Sign Vendor
Mar 1, 2023 3:56 PM # 
For our permanent course at Beaumont Scout Reservation, we switched from Carsonite posts due to vandalism and damage from falling trees, to 1.5 inch PVC pipe over T-post pounded into the ground with a PVC cap. We use permanent weatherproof labels with a code on them. If so inclined you can attach a punch to the PVC pipe. We bolted one Carsonite post to the utility pole for safe keeping.

The ranger installed orange birdhouses on T-post at each control location, so we are in the process of attaching punches to the top of the birdhouses. The thought for the birdhouses was to put something inside them (like geocaching) for the scouts to collect to prove they were there.
Mar 1, 2023 10:37 PM # 
Won't the birds get upset with people reaching in to grab out their food?
Mar 2, 2023 4:25 AM # 
Thanks for the insights. I like the T-post idea. Just curious -- why cover it in PVC? Is to allow easy attachment of the weatherproof labels?
Mar 6, 2023 4:05 PM # 
Yes, it gives one a place to attach a label and make it more visible. I have also thought about just attaching a piece of wood painted white and orange with a punch attached.
Mar 19, 2023 6:27 AM # 
David Cynamon:
Here is a collection of control markers from permanent courses I've visited:
Orienteering Posts
The carsonite looks to hold up the best, but they were all placed in locations out of the way of mowers and in areas with less vandalism.
Mar 23, 2023 3:09 AM # 
Consider, maybe, just using a regular orienteering controls. I have been using the same O' markers for 6 years for seasonal courses though they are only out for 6 months each year.

Which brings me to my second suggestion---- consider maybe doing a "Seasonal" course instead of a permanent course. Yes, you will need to go around every year to move the controls (twice if you pick them up during the off season), but----you would probably at least go once just to make sure everything is still there. And by changing it every year, the locals will have something new to look forward to.
Mar 26, 2023 11:39 AM # 
Love it!
Mar 26, 2023 12:42 PM # 
The hittaut courses I did in Sweden last year used L-shaped aluminum stakes with stickers, or, in urban areas, laminated "cards".

No punches, just numbers (to identify the location) with letter codes (recorded to prove you visited). These are semi-permanent, out for ~6 months or so.

ROC uses the carsonite posts for permanent courses and 4x4" laminated cards with a hole punched in the corner for a ziptie for semi-permanent courses. I have had the hole break over the course of a winter, but the cards themselves are reasonably sturdy for a seasonal course. They should be hung with a streamer because the cards are hard to spot if you come at them edge-on.

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