Saturday June 10, 2023 

Staging area at the Snow Hill Rd Trailhead
what3words address:

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Driving Directions from w3w?

All participants:
Registration opens about 9:00 am, first starts right after.
All courses close at 3:00 PM

We are closing out our O season this Saturday at Little Big Econ State Forest, after which we'll be on summer break.  This year we will be returning to the Snow Hill Rd picnic pavilion for staging.  Use the the What3Words address above for turn-by-turn directions.

As usual, this will be a small event, so we don't expect a huge crowd.  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 or off-season JROTC trainees 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!).

In addition, we will also collect the $2 per person day use fee for the park to remit to the rangers.

Remote Start for Advanced Courses

The Green and Blue courses will finish at the Snow Hill picnic pavilion just like the shorter courses, but will have a remote start in Geneva Wilderness Area.  Participants on those courses will need to register and pick up their maps at Snow Hill but then drive to GWA for the remote start (w3w address: 
///tactile.astounding.imploded).  Plan ahead for this, and perhaps either bring friends or make new ones at the start for carpool purposes.

Venue Notes

Little Big Econ consists of the Econ River, surrounding wetlands and drainages, and drier territory including current or past pine plantation areas.  Rain runoff from the entire area drains to the Econ River on the south edge of the map through a series of permanent and seasonal drainages, which often spread out into swampy lowland areas.  Networks of multi-use trails crisscross the park and intersect with the feeder streams in numerous places.  Some of these crossings have small wooden bridges, but most don't.  In the wet season, much of the area can be quite wet, but in the winter less so.  Areas surrounding the river and drainages will still be damp/muddy and will often be thick with vegetation, and the drier areas will be a more grassy mix of whitewoods and rough open terrain.  Note however that the grasses can still be quite tall & thick - including up to waist high in some areas off-trail.  Occasional briars are present as well, so protect your legs.

While out in the park, watch for deer, wild turkey, and the occasional gopher tortoise.  I saw a couple of terrier-sized wild hogs while field-checking, and some broken-ground areas off trail indicating the presence of larger specimens as well.  Keep your eyes open for tortoise burrows, as you don't want to turn an ankle in one.

Speaking of animal life, please note that there is horseback riding in LBE, and you will sometimes encounter riders while out in the park.  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.

Bug spray on your shoes, gaiters, and pants is also essential for going off-trail.  Swampy territory means mosquitoes, so long sleeves and/or chemical protectant is a good idea all over.
DO NOT FORGET TO BRING WATER - LOTS OF WATER!  Each competitor is expected to carry their own water and to be sufficiently hydrated before competing.  And let’s not kid ourselves about this hydration thing - it's important, particularly at this time of year!  Orienteering is thirsty work, and dehydration can sneak up on you even under pleasant weather conditions.  Moreover, this event will be more hot and humid than any other we run, which will exacerbate the hydration problem. Carry LOTS of water - more 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 who didn't plan as well as you did.

Also note that although the terrain has been pretty dry during the month of May, we're starting to get those characteristic summer afternoon storms now, and water can accumulate in this low-lying territory quickly.  Dress for wet feet, and bring a dry pair of shoes and socks to change into after your course - your feet will thank you.

NOTE #1: OB Areas
We will be printing on your map several Out-Of-Bounds areas in purple cross-hatch – they are private property, campsites, horse corrals, park maintenance areas, etc. Please be very careful about not infringing on these areas.

NOTE #2: Snakes
Our FL venues make good habitat for snakes of various species.  Most of these are harmless and you will rarely see them - they're typically shy, retreat/hide when they sense you coming, and are expertly camouflaged.  However, the swampy low ground common in this particular venue is the preferred habitat of one species that's a noteworthy exception - the water moccasin.  This thick-bodied pit viper has variable coloration but is typically dark brown, grey, or black, and many (especially younger) specimens will have a banded pattern of darker and lighter brown.  The telltale signature is a dark brown stripe with lighter-colored borders running down the side of the head and through the eye (see photos below).  If you accidentally find yourself close enough to one of these snakes to receive its open-mouth threat display, you will see the uniform pearly-white interior of the mouth which gives the snake its common alias - cottonmouth.

These snakes can be dangerous to humans because they are highly venomous, typically will stay still when approached and will not retreat, and will strike repeatedly if molested.  They're not as mean as rumors sometimes say, but you don't want to accidentally step on one, so keep your eyes and ears open as you move through the woods off trail, in what is after all their home.  You will rarely see snakes of any kind on trails, but runners on the longer more advanced courses will be spending significant time off-trail, and that's where you may encounter these lovelies.

  • White - for first-timers and kids. Course short and entirely on trails. Length 1.9 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 2.4 km.
  • Orange - intermediate difficulty. Mix of on- trail and off-trail, generally relying on the more obvious mapped features. Length 3.1 km.
  • Green - advanced course off trail and reliant on the subtler features of the terrain. Length 4.5 km.
  • Blue - the longest advanced course. Length 5.3 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).  For this event especially, it is advisable to try to limit your time in the woods to the recommended 3 hour limit due to the heat.

Safety Bearing for all courses: E to Snow Hill Rd.  Walking along the paved road will bring you back to the Snow Hill trailhead. The course area is also bounded in the south by the Econ River, and a trail runs along the north side of it which also will lead you E back to Snow Hill.  Depending on where you are on the map, this may be the easier out.

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 
(blaik@floridaorienteering.org) & Joanie Haas (joanie@floridaorienteering.org)
LBE gopher tortoise digging on the apron of his burrow.
Good-sized swamp danger noodle (AKA water moccasin AKA cottonmouth) encountered while testing the 2022 Blue course.
Telltale brown head stripe of the water moccasin.
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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