Permanent Orienteering Courses
Permanent orienteering courses (POCs) are an excellent way to provide a training area for new and seasoned orienteers alike. Once established, they require zero set up and enable the orienteer or teacher or troop leader to arrive at the park and just GO ORIENTEERING! The 5 color maps are provided in a sealed, clear plastic bag and can be used over and over again.
MNOC has set up permanent orienteering courses at the following locations:
Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Washington County, MN
November 2013: The permanent course has now been revised to start and finish at the new Nordic Center building on the east side of the main park road. Points A, E and F have been moved and the map updated with all the trail/road changes. A new map (dated November 2013) is now available from MNOC and at the Lake Elmo Park office.
Lake Elmo Park Reserve has three courses: a 1.55 km beginner, a 2.76 km intermediate, and a 4.0 km advanced. The control points are marked by labelled brown fiberglass posts. The park is open to the public during daylight hours and requires a Washington County Parks permit. POC packets, including the map and clue sheets, can be purchased at the park office or online from MNOC.
Afton State Park, near Afton, MN
The Afton State Park permanent course has 26 control points of varying difficulty and three courses: a 1.9 km beginner, a 3.0 km intermediate, and a 4.4 km advanced. It starts at the visitor center. The control points are marked by labelled wooden posts. The park is open to the public during daylight hours and requires a MN State Park vehicle permit. POC packets, including the map and clue sheets, can be purchased at the park office, or online from MNOC.
Tamarack Nature Center, White Bear Township, MN
A new permanent orienteering course with 24 control points and courses from easy (600 meters) to advanced (5.3 km) was designed and installed by a joint team from Tamarack Nature Center (TNC) and MNOC in 2006. TNC is a 323 acre facility with over four miles of woodchipped paths, paved trails and boardwalks which provide year-round access to a diverse, natural community that includes red fox, deer, woodcock and other wildlife, as well as ever-changing seasonal foliage. TNC also offers orienteering classes for groups and instruction for group leaders/teachers. Information about TNC is available from their website. More information about the orienteering courses is also available. Permanent course maps can be purchased for $4.00 at the nature center or online from MNOC.
Wirth Park, Minneapolis/Golden Valley, MNWirth Park, Minneapolis/Golden Valley, MN
January 2013 update: Extensive trail changes are expected through 2013, and possibly later. The June 2011 tornado has also had a large impact on the park with many fallen trees and some blocked trails. This will make navigation and use of the POC in the southeast area of the park difficult. A revised POC map will be issued when the trail reroute work and storm clean-up is substantially complete. In the meantime, it is recommended that beginner orienteers visit the Tamarack Nature Center POC or other MNOC permanent course locations. More information about the proposed changes and a useful aerial photo map is available from the Minneapolis Park Board.
Wirth Park had three courses: a 600 meter beginner, a 1.8 km intermediate, and a 3.0 km advanced. The control points are marked by by 4" by 4" wooden posts about 3 feet high. The park is open during daylight hours, and there is a parking fee. POC packets, including the map and clue sheets, can be purchased online from MNOC.
Riverbend Nature Center, near Faribault, MN
The Riverbend Nature Center POC has 31 control points and three courses in beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. The park is open to the public during daylight hours. POC packets, including the map and clue sheets, can be purchased online from MNOC.
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chanhassen, MN
A beginner level permanent course is available at this location. Control points are marked by permanently installed posts. The area is not open for general orienteering, and there is an entry fee. POC packets, including the map, clue sheet, and instructions, can be purchased online from MNOC.
Hartley Nature Center, Duluth, MN
A new course with 22 control points of varying difficulty level has been established by Hartley Nature Center and MNOC, with the assistance of a grant from the City of Duluth. The control points are marked with 3 sided fiberglass posts. Courses from 600m (easy) to 4.1 km (advanced) are available. Maps are available at Hartley Nature Center during open hours, as well as online from MNOC. No fee is charged for admission to the park.
William O'Brien State Park, near Marine on St Croix, MN
There are three courses at William O'Brien: a 1.4 km beginner, a 3.3 km intermediate, and a 5.1 km advanced. The control points are marked by green metal posts with a wooden marker. The park is open during daylight hours, and a MN state park vehicle permit is required. POC packets, including the map and clue sheets, can be purchased online from MNOC.
Camp Hantesa, near Boone, IA
Camp Hantesa has 3 courses: beginner, intermediate and advanced. The control points are marked by labelled brown fiberglass posts. Contact the camp for access information by email, or at (515)-432-1417. POC packets, including the map and clue sheets, can be purchased at the camp or online from MNOC.
Sertoma Park (The Outdoor Campus), near Sioux Falls, SD
A new permanent O course has been established by the Outdoor Campus and an MNOC team at Sertoma Park in the southwest part of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It has 24 control points, beginner courses (1.0 km in length) and 2 intermediate courses (2.2 km and 3.2 km in length). It is located at Sertoma Park on The Outdoor Campus at 4500 S Oxbow Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57106. The Outdoor Campus holds classes in all aspects of outdoor sport and recreation. Maps are available during opening hours at the Outdoor Campus or online from MNOC.