Wekiwa Springs State Park
Saturday Nov 13, 2021 

Staging at Live Oak pavilion
what3words address:

What's this?
Driving Directions from w3w?

FLO Civilians:
Registration opens about 9:00 AM, first starts at 9:30 AM
All courses close at 3:00 PM

Boone HS will be hosting
Starts will most likely begin at 0900 (watch for more detailed info later)
We expect all JROTC units to have pre-registered


Welcome back to live orienteering - the original socially-distanced sport!  This month we are back at the always-lovely jewel of Apopka: Wekiwa Springs State Park!  We are looking forward to some gorgeous fall weather brought to you by central Florida, cooler temps, a stunning runnable forest venue, all at a beautiful venue with some of the best park amenities around.  Don't forget to bring your swimwear or perhaps consider packing your canoe, kayak, or SUP for a relaxing cool-down on the Wekiva River after your course!

This event will have both civilian orienteering and also a standard JROTC competition - a chance for cadets who just took orienteering training at the annual training camp at RSRSR in October to practice what they learned.  A variety of courses will be offered from beginner to advanced (see course list below).

Enter through the main entrance to the park on N Wekiwa Springs Rd

Park Entrance:  

Pay your park entrance fee at the ranger station:
 $4 per a single-occupant vehicle, $6 per vehicle for 2-8 people.  Park personnel will collect this fee at the ranger station at the park entrance.

Once inside the park, you can find Live Oak pavilion at the easternmost end of the spring boil parking loop at what3words address

Live Oak Pavilion:  ///callings.asparagus.naps

ADVISORY: WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU PLAN TO ARRIVE EARLY!  Wekiwa Springs is a *hugely* popular park, particularly when the weather is warm.  There is limited space in the parking area, and the rangers will restrict access once the lot fills up.  People know this, and so tend to pile into the park early, often as soon as the gate opens at 8:00 AM.  If you arrive later in the morning or early afternoon, you may have to wait in a line of cars at the gate until earlier arrivals depart.

Venue Notes
Wekiwa Springs Park contains many kinds of beautiful Florida habitats.  At the lower elevations you'll find the springs, the river, and surrounding lowland swamp.  Vegetation near the wet areas is often thick and unforgiving, but as you go uphill the forest thins out to prime runnable pine and oak whitewoods, which is where we will be running most of our courses. You will have many opportunities to hone your route choice skills.  Keep your eyes peeled for deer, turkeys, and other wildlife, and spare a look down for gopher tortoise burrows.

We're at the end of the prime growing season, so be prepared for tall grass off-trail.  Apply insect repellant to shoes, socks, and legs/pants to avoid mosquito and chigger bites.  Also, if you go out early in the day, your shoes and legs will probably get wet from dew on the grass.

We are excited to announce that our map of Wekiwa Springs Park has had a MAJOR update for this event!  Almost the entire map has been redrawn using modern digital mapping technology, and everything from elevation contours to vegetation has been updated throughout the course areas.  We hope you'll enjoy using this new & improved map!

The map contains a few "out of bounds" areas marked by swatches of
purple cross-hatch.  These indicate areas of private property, campgrounds, staff-use-only and habitat-restoration areas, and occasionally, hazards that we want to keep people away from.  Treat all such areas as if they were fenced off and do not enter.  Courses are typically designed to avoid such areas, but occasionally you might be tempted to "short-cut" through an out-of-bounds area.  Don't.  Our current and future welcome from park personnel depends on us obeying their rules, so please help us maintain our good standing.

Speaking of playing nice in the sandbox, be aware that this is a popular park and others will be enjoying it as well while we are there. Guests will crowd into the grassy area surrounding the spring boil, and some will also be making use of the same hiking trails we will be on.  Always be courteous to other park patrons - respect their space, smile, and say hello.  Be aware that there will be families with children present.  Always remember that your conduct reflects on FLO, your unit, and your school.  Let's keep all our reputations spotless!


  • White - for beginners. Course is mostly on trails with control points a short distance into the woods. There may be opportunities for those who feel able to take short cuts through the woods. Length 3.4 km.
  • Yellow - for beginners. Course is mostly on trails with control points a short distance into the woods. There may be opportunities for those who feel able to take short cuts through the woods. Length 4.3 km.
  • Orange - intermediate difficulty. Mix of on- trail and off-trail, generally relying on the more obvious mapped features. Length 5.3 km.
  • Green - an advanced course off trail and reliant on the subtler features of the terrain. Length 6.5 km.
  • Blue - the longest advanced course. Length 7.8 km.
Note that the course lengths mentioned above are measured straight-line from point to point to point.  Your actual route on the ground will often be on more winding trails or diverted around obstacles like ponds or dense tickets, so your actual distance traveled will often be 25-50% longer than the stated course length.

Also note that these courses are a bit longer than typical - especially on the novice end of things.  This reflects the fact that we expect nice weather for this event which make it possible to enjoy a bit longer hike than makes sense during the hot months.  Bring plenty of fluids and perhaps a trail snack, and enjoy yourselves!

If you are new and/or unsure of which course is right for you, ask us at registration and we will be happy to advise you.  Precise course lengths will be on display at registration to give you an idea of how far you'll be travelling to complete a course.  When in doubt, choose an easier course.  If you complete that one too fast and haven't had enough fun yet, you can trade up to the next harder map and go out again!

As usual, there is a 3 hour time limit on all FLO courses, and all courses close at 3:00 pm (1500 hours).

Safety Bearing: 
Live Oak pavilion is at the southeastern corner of the park, so safety bearing for all courses is south to either the paved road or park fenceline, then east to the spring boil area and Live Oak pavilion.

Typical FLO registration fees are in effect: $7 per Map for FLO members, $9 per Map for non-members and $6 per Map for Groups such as JROTC and Scouts whose leaders register, and pay for, all their groups at once (this group rate minimizes the crowd and the confusion at the registration table and is well worth the discount to FLO registration volunteers!).

We hope you all enjoy the day and this lovely venue. Thanks for coming out, and Bring A Friend!
Course Design: Bob Putnam (bob@floridaorienteering.org)
Vetting & Map Update: Blaik Mathews (blaik@floridaorienteering.org), Joanie Haas (joanie@floridaorienteering.org)
Smartphone prep for orienteering participants:
For safety and event management reasons, we strongly suggest all participants and support staff get the following 2 apps installed and set up on their phones prior to coming to the orienteering event:

Incredibly useful app for conveying precise locations anywhere in the world using a 3-word address.  Such addresses can be easily communicated via voice or text message, and can be fed into navigation apps like Waze and Google Maps to obtain turn-by-turn directions to the corresponding locations.

W3W Elevator pitch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNp-divt_50

We use this app for:  

App for recording your GPS track during your course which will overlay on your map when you're done.  Allows us to track real-time runner locations during the event for safety and operational risk management. Review and debriefing based on the recorded tracks is also one of the best ways to train!
How to install and set up the app: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OY8nzr6prk
  • Check the weather before coming and bring appropriate clothing.  This includes layers during colder weather, cool moisture-wicking clothing in hotter months, and a waterproof jacket or poncho if rain is a possibility (FLO events run rain or shine!).
  • We recommend wearing supportive shoes with a upper tougher than fabric, particularly if you plan to do a course beyond novice level.  If you plan to do an advanced course, you will likely spend significant time off trail.  Covering your lower legs with outdoor pants or even gaiters will protect you from scratches.
  • It's Florida. Bring sun screen and bug spray as appropriate.
  • DO NOT FORGET TO BRING WATER.  Each competitor is expected to carry their own water or to be sufficiently hydrated before competing.  And let’s not kid ourselves about this hydrating thing: Plan on carrying your own water even though it’s an option, because if you become lost or disoriented, you may be spending more time out there than you planned. Stay hydrated. It may be warm and there will be no water on the courses. Carrying a little extra can also let you be a hero to someone else who didn't plan ahead as well as you did.
  • When registering a group, make sure you tell us the exact number of people who will be in that group.  FLO absolutely needs to know how many people are in each group and what the individual names are. Do not treat this as a choice; this is a safety issue. We hope never to use this information as part of a Search & Rescue effort, but if it is neglected and a search becomes necessary, you can appreciate how vital it may be.
  • The Safety Bearing for all courses will always be PRINTED ON YOUR MAP, and will generally lead to a road or fence that will guide you back to the finish.
  • If you become severely lost or injured, or lose your map and/or compass: If you are at a control, stay there until help arrives. Bail out to the Safety Bearing ONLY if you are CERTAIN you now know which way is the way back.
  • Carry a whistle and know how to use it: If in trouble, give 3 short blasts on the whistle, and repeat every few minutes until found. If you hear another wistle answer back (single blast), respond with your 3 blasts every time they signal so they can home in on you.
  • If you have a smartphone, carry it with you and use the Livelox app to record your hike (see info below).  With Livelox and cell signal, event staff can monitor your position and movements in real time, which is VERY handy if you should become lost.
  • An emergency contact number will also be printed on your map.  If you get in trouble or see someone else who is, call in for help.
  • At some of our venues, there may be horse trails with riders on horseback.  Running toward or past a horse can spook it, leading to highly unfortunate events (or at the very least, angry riders who will complain to park officials).  If you encounter horses, STOP RUNNING, yield right-of-way, and be courteous.  Play nice in the sandbox.
Florida Orienteering is a non-profit entity and our entire operation runs on the efforts of volunteers - people who love the sport, love the outdoors, and love sharing the experience of enjoying Florida's unique and beautiful natural spaces.  We are always on the lookout for new friends who share these interests and are willing to help - so if you have some time to share, please volunteer!

We always need people to help out at every event - even an hour or two really helps.  We will train any skills needed.  Possible duties include setup or take-down, registration, start table, finish table, Livelox monitoring, and control retrieval (starting at 3pm).

Contact the event coordinator listed above or email Blaik at 
blaik@floridaorienteering.org.   Let them know you can volunteer for a few hours either early (9:00 to noon) or late (noon-3:00), and whether there is anything in particular you’d like to do. 

SPECIAL NOTE - Volunteering for Control Retrieval at the end of the event is one of the best ways to learn the skill of navigation!  Adventure Racers and JROTC Cadets, especially the AR’s who like to run two or three courses, should consider Retrieval as an alternative training exercise.
SportIdent “e-punch” timing is now the required method of timing at all FLO events.  In addition to providing more information about your course, it also lightens the workload of accurate record-keeping, scoring, tracking, and results posting for FLO event staff and volunteers.  If you don’t own an e-punch finger stick, one can be easily rented for $3 at registration.  E-punch sticks can also be purchased for $30 (or $27 after rental) and used at orienteering events worldwide. For more information on e-punch timing see the intro video linked below:

 Training Video on “E-Punch” Timing & Finger Sticks:
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