It has been many years since the Moreau Lake State Park map was last
used. The last time I am aware of was in November of 1991. Even then,
I recall the course setter (Bill Jameson) saying he had found a number
of changes in the Park since it was mapped in 1990, which affected how
he set the courses. So there were potentially a lot of things to look
into once we decided to try putting on a Meet there once again.
One recent change turned out to be that there is a new Park Manager, who was already familiar with orienteering (Hooray!). He had managed a Park further south previously, and had dealt there with Hudson Valley Orienteering. This made explaining what we would be doing and what we would need much simpler. In fact, he had a great appreciation for orienteering maps, and had a copy of the 1990 Moreau map on his office wall. One other significant change, which we generally knew about ahead of time, is that the Park has grown much larger, more than tripling in size adding land to the west up over the ridge and down all the way to the Hudson River, and even some on the far shore. There was no way to include any of that new territory on a revised map in the time we had to prepare for this event, but it could serve as a good reintroduction, and give us a better sense of the possibilities for future map expansion.
The old Moreau map was hand crafted, but one more significant change in the last ten years has been the development of computer drafting software, specifically "OCAD," the PC package most often used for creating orienteering maps now. To put the map into the OCAD format essentially requires scanning the old map and then tracing every line and dot onto the computer. Even on a big monitor, this is pretty painstaking and eye-tiring work, but in the end you get a pretty nice product, which can be readily updated. There have been rumors of people creating programs for automatedly converting old map scans into OCAD, but so far no such software has surfaced.
Just as we were nearing readiness for the Meet, the World Trade Center and Pentagon were hit. In the immediate aftermath of that moment, many events were cancelled. But after a few days spent caught up in the insanity and intensity surrounding those actions, there began to be a push to re-start and revive many of America's good things. And spending active time outdoors in a beautiful place is one of those good things, so I decided to go ahead with our event as planned.
When the map was finally done, the courses finally set, and the flags finally hung, people came! Moreau is on the edge of what could be considered the "core" of EMPO territory (although this is true of most of our best maps, since our area's biggest and best parks are on the periphery). So it hadn't been certain how many folks would venture up to Northway Exit 17. But thankfully, many did. No one expressed concern about having to pay the Park's $5 entry fee, and everyone was impressed with the quality of the Park itself, and of the orienteering experience we were able to deliver. The fact that the day was gorgeous certainly helped, but on top of that all comers seemed to have a good time doing their courses. And several said they were glad to have this event to push them away from the news on their TV sets and get them back out into the world.
We had a broad range of results. This is a park with some serious woods, and sometimes confusing trails. The best times on each course were near what the US Orienteering Federation (USOF) guidelines say they should be. But, unlike some of our more recent venues where you can't get too far off track, one could easily make a serious mistake or two here, and thus take quite awhile to complete a course. Everyone did make it in, though, and even our most Overtime (OVT) members still had smiles on their faces when they finished and had a chance to sit down and chat about how they had done.
I want to say Thank You to Michael Greenslade and all the staff at Moreau Lake State Park. You were great to work with, and we look forward to getting back there soon. Thanks to all the cookie buyers, who contributed $25 to the Red Cross relief effort in New York and Washington. Thanks to Laszlo for encouraging a number of his friends and co-workers to try orienteering. If he can keep this up I'll have to start printing more maps! Also a special thanks to Glen, Janet and Rob Tryson, who arrived early with all the registration gear and helped set things up; and then stayed late and helped pick up many of the more distant controls. And thanks to Marty, who with Rob created and mapped the string course; and Sue, who baked, did much of the Registration work, and helped pick up controls. And finally, thanks to everyone who attended, for being pleasant and enthusiastic, and for making it all worthwhile.
-- Phil Hawkes-Teeter
last updated: --Thu May 27 2004 07:58:28 PM EDT--