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Orienteering

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." (see also: US Orienteering Federation)

Marker The best place in the Austin area for orienteering is Bastrop State Park. Steve Nelson, former president of the now-defunct Hill Country Orienteering Club, has laid out and maintains permanent markers for about 100 control points in the park. At the main ranger station where you enter the park, they will sell you for a few dollars a topo map of the park with all of the orienteering controls marked. You can make up your own course and go out and try to find the controls. The permanent markers are probably 6" wide and stand 12" to 18" out of the ground, and are orange and white. For an actual meet, they hang control markers at torso height above the permanent markers with punches you use to punch a paper card you take from control to control.

There are some photos of the 1999 Bastrop meet on the Houston Orienteering Club's web site. They organize the Bastrop meets now. The other major group is the North Texas Orienteering Association (DFW area). The vast majority of meet participants are ROTC, JROTC, and Boy Scouts, but there are a fair number of adults as well.

A recent development is that a new orienteering group is getting started in Austin, the Austin Orienteering Club.