Saturday November 12, 2022 

Staging area at the Eagles Roost Trailhead
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FLO Civilians:
Registration opens about 9:00 am, first starts right after.
All courses close at 3:00 PM

Greetings orienteering fans!  This year has proven to be a challenging start for the FLO season. As you know, we had to postpone our big event at Kelly Park Oct 1st thanks to the arrival of Hurricane Ian, and the downstream effects of that unprecedented rain event have caused us problems with this month's scheduled event at Moss Park as well. Although the flood waters have drained away from Moss Park/Split Oak, the flooding damage to the electrical infrastructure at Moss Park's pavilions and campgrounds has caused the park to remain mostly closed long after the storm departed.  At this time, Moss Park remains about 80% closed, and the swamp causeway to Split Oak remains blocked off at the Moss Park end. With so little area available, we had no choice but to abandon Moss Park as a staging area for this month's event.

However, we have worked out an alternate!  There is a smaller trailhead called Eagles Roost that can be used as an entry point into the southwest side of Split Oak Forest.  This is a part of Split Oak that most of our participants have never seen - it is so far from our regular start/finish in Moss Park that only the most distant Blue course controls would ever be down here.  With substantial effort in the last 2-3 weeks, we have extended our new digital map to cover most of this area, and Bob has designed a set of courses to use it.  We will therefore have our event this Saturday Nov 12 as scheduled, but at this alternate location - see maps below and w3w address above.

For civilians, the usual FLO registration fees will be in effect: $7 per Map for FLO members, $9 per Map for non-members and, still, a reduced rate of $6 per Map for Groups such as Scouts whose leaders register all their groups and individuals 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!).

Because Eagles Roost has a smaller parking area, we chose to cancel the official JROTC side of this event. There will be no host school and no formal JROTC competition as we normally have. However, any schools that want to come to this event to get some woods practice prior to the big Navy Nationals Qualifier event Dec 10 at Wekiwa Springs are encouraged to participate. If you are with a school and would like to bring a squad in, please contact Blaik at 407-739-5579.  A cost of $6 per cadet payable the morning of will cover the map fee.  But please let us know ahead of time so we have enough maps on hand.

Aside: JROTC schools should also seriously consider competing at the Gold Head Branch State Park event scheduled for Nov 19.  Although this may be a farther drive, this park is well worth the visit!  It contains prime whitewoods orienteering terrain, elevation to practice in, and it has lovely facilities and amenities as well. In addition, this event will be scored using the same scoring system to be used at Navy Nationals and its Area 7 qualifier, so it's good practice for those events. Finally, this event draws schools from north FL and south GA, so you will get to meet and compete against a whole different group of people than at a typical central FL event. See the link on the FLO or SOAR web sites for registration details!

Venue Notes

Split Oak Forest is a much larger and wilder tract of natural land southwest of Moss Park and is connected to MP by a foot causeway (currently blocked at the MP end).  This massive tract is 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.  The southernmost part of the tract, which we'll be using, has a couple of very nice small ponds connected by a canal, crossable only at a single land bridge.  Both ponds have some interesting high ground adjacent to them.

Many of the swaths of terrain between the trails are heavily overgrown in this area, with limited accessible entry. However, there are also some whitewoods areas down here, containing some fairly spectacular root stocks and the massive oak trees for which Split Oak Forest is duly famous.

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 a coyote at the south end of Moss Park last year, so there might be some or those living in Split Oak Forest as well.

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: Hurricane Ian has left a few marks in Split Oak Forest in the form of new root stocks from trees the wind knocked down.  The floodwaters from Ian have fully receded, but now of course we have Hurricane Nicole coming our way which promises to drop a few inches more rain on the area. Most of the southern end of Split Oak is relatively high ground, so I doubt this will affect us much, but keep your eyes open around the marshy areas for weather-related  swamp creep. It is of course generally wise to pack a dry change of clothes and shoes & socks just in case you get some wet feet while on 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!

DO NOT FORGET TO BRING WATER - LOTS OF 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 hydration thing - it's important!  Orienteering is thirsty work, and dehydration can sneak up on you even under pleasant weather conditions.  It may be fall, but it was still in the mid 80's this past Sunday when I was out there mapping, and it still felt hot.  Carry more water than you think you will need.  Always plan as though you may be spending more time out there than you expected. It's also handy to have extra water to have some to give away if you run into someone in trouble who didn't plan as well as you did.

  • 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 2.6 km.
  • Orange - intermediate difficulty. Mix of on- trail and off-trail, generally relying on the more obvious mapped features. Length 4.0 km.
  • Green - advanced course off trail and reliant on the subtler features of the terrain. Length 4.9 km.
  • Blue - the longest advanced course. Length 6.5 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 close at 3:00 pm (1500 hours).

Safety Bearing for all courses: W to paved Clapp Simms Duda Rd.  

The Map

We will be using a brand new all-digital map for this event drawn from the latest hi-res Lidar.  Due to lack of time, this map has not been fully digitally field checked, but the areas of our current courses and controls have been, so it's complete enough for us to use.  We welcome your feedback on it.

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 
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

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: 
  • 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 whistle 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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