Saturday December 11, 2021

Parking, Staging Area, Registration at Pavilion #5
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Driving Directions from w3w?
The Moss Park main gate will open early at 7:00 AM for setup

FLO Civilians:
Registration opens about 9:00 AM, first starts ASAP thereafter
All courses close at 2:00 PM

Winter Park HS will be hosting
Bus parking will be in the grassy triangle just south of Pavilion #5, or wherever you can find space
Starts will begin at 0930, but plan extra time to walk to the remote start, see below
This event is the Navy Nationals qualifier for area 7, so we expect it to be a large event
We expect all JROTC units to have pre-registered

Starts and Finishes:
ALL courses will finish at Pavilion #5.
White, Yellow, and Blue courses will also start at Pavilion #5.  White & Yellow will remain within Moss Park proper.
All Orange and Green courses will have a
remote start where the west end of the causeway crosses into Split Oak Forest (w3w location: ///series.echoing.kings).  This remote start is a 1.25 km walk from Pavilion #5, so plan ahead!  If you have a designated start time, allow for the transit time to walk to the remote start!


Welcome back to live orienteering - the original socially-distanced sport!

Back we go, into the friendly confines of Moss Park, with access into Split Oak Forest for the Intermediate and Advanced courses.
Note that Moss Park is the PERFECT venue for first-timers and novices, due to our ability to route the novice-level White and Yellow courses completely within the friendly, fairly manicured, grounds of Moss Park itself. So bring out your friends who’ve always wondered what it is you do when you go orienteering.  They’ll love it!

Flush toilet facilities will be available 100m south of Pavilion #5. NO PETS are allowed within Moss Park, with or without leash.

Moss Park Day Use Fees: $3 per vehicle for 1-2 people and $5 per vehicle for 3-8 people (Children under 12, free). This fee will be paid by all entrants at the main gate upon entry to the park.  This will be a large event and we don't want this single-file line to become a bottleneck, so be ready and help keep the line moving.

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!).

Venue Notes
Moss Park proper is an elongated north-south island between Lake Hart and Lake Mary Jane.  It is quite "civilized", with numerous structures and recreation amenities, but still with some tracts of undeveloped forest in which we can run.  It is bounded on all side by lakes and swamps, so it's impossible to go too far off the beaten path in any direction.  This makes it an ideal location for novice courses.

A single foot causeway at the SW corner of the island connects Moss Park to the much larger and wilder Split Oak Forest.  This massive tract is still shot through with numerous trails for access, but the terrain is much wilder, with no buildings or amenities, and areas with much thicker vegetation. This is great territory for our intermediate and longer advanced courses.

Wildlife: Deer are plentiful in both Moss Park and Split Oak Forest - I saw lots of them while mapping and course vetting.  Turkeys, cranes, and other waterbirds are likewise common.  Gopher tortoises are present, so watch for their burrows.  I saw some broken ground indicating the presence of wild boar, but did not spot any while out in the park.  I am pretty sure I saw 1 coyote at the south end of Moss Park, heading for the causeway entrance, so there might be some living in Split Oak Forest and visiting Moss Park at night.

Pests: We're at the end of the prime growing season, so be prepared for tall grass and other undergrowth off-trail, especially on the intermediate and advanced courses.  Apply insect repellant to shoes, socks, and legs/pants to avoid mosquito and chigger bites.  Mosquitoes especially can be plentiful in areas near the water, so bring bug spray and apply generously to ward off these pests.

Recent park changes: A new bathroom camping facility is currently under construction in the group camping area in the west central portion of Moss Park.  The construction area has a temporary fence around it to keep people out, and I have marked it as O.B. with purple cross-hatch on all maps.  There has also been a fairly recent controlled burn in the east central area of the park, north of Pavilion #5 and south of the fenced admin area.

Elevation: Both Moss Park and Split Oak Forest are quite low-lying, with little elevation to use for navigation.  The brown elevation contours on all maps are at 1 meter intervals, which means the elevation cues can be quite subtle.  Low elevation also means that the fringe areas of the maps near the lake shores and even some low-lying areas farther inland may be wet, even at this late point in the year.  On the more advanced courses, be prepared for the possibility of getting your feet wet, and pack an extra pair of dry shoes & socks to change into for comfort after you're through with your course.

The Map
We are excited to announce that our map of Moss Park proper and the course areas of Split Oak Forest have been completely redrawn for this event using modern digital mapping tools!  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.  Most such areas are physically fenced off to prevent entry, but always treat all such areas as if they were fenced off whether they are or not 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. Most guests will crowd into the open grassy and "beach" areas at the NE end of Moss Park, and some will also be making use of the same hiking trails we will be on.  Few will venture over the causeway into Split Oak Forest, but you may yet encounter non-orienteers over there as well.  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 1-2 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 2-3 km.
  • Orange - intermediate difficulty. Mix of on- trail and off-trail, generally relying on the more obvious mapped features. Length 3-5 km.
  • Green - an advanced course off trail and reliant on the subtler features of the terrain. Length 4-6 km.
  • Blue - the longest advanced course. Length 7-10 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.

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 will close at 2:00 pm (1400 hours).  This is a little earlier than our typical 3 PM close, to give our volunteers time to collect everything before the now-early sunset.  BTW, if you are an experienced orienteer and have the flexibility to stick around till 2:00 and volunteer to help us with control retrieval, it's MUCH APPRECIATED!  We're always racing the daylight this time of year to get everything back in and get packed up before dark...

SAFETY BEARING for ‘White’ and ‘Yellow’ Introductory courses within Moss Park is not necessary, since Moss Park is bounded on all sides by impassable lakes, dragon-infested swamps, etc. The main N-S dirt road down the center of the park will bring you back to Pavilion #5 from anywhere on the island.

SAFETY BEARING for all portions of all courses within Split Oak Forest is due east to the north-south-running open ride, which will guide one back to the west end of the Moss Park causeway. 

SPLIT OAK FOREST ACCESS – All courses ranging into Split Oak Forest MUST use the access causeway connecting Moss Park with Split Oak, in both directions.

SAFETY NOTE FOR HORSES – Within Split Oak Forest, you may encounter horseback riders – Remember: Horses always have the right of way and in fact we ask that you be extra careful not to spook horses since they are especially skittish when encountering runners. Walk calmly, smile, and say “Hello”. Thanks.

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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