Burton Creek

Tahoe City
Saturday & Sunday, June 16-17, 2001

Contact: Evan Custer, 925-254-5628

We will return to Burton Creek State Park in the Lake Tahoe Basin for a 2-day weekend B-meet in June. Burton Creek was the venue for last year's Pacific Region Championships. It is one of our nicest areas, and well worth the 4-hour drive from the Bay Area.


Burton Creek State Park offers some of the most interesting orienteering terrain in Northern California, and no poison oak. Terrain in California is notoriously known as being very steep, but Burton Creek is significantly flatter, with only mild to moderate climb. In fact, large areas of the park are very runnable. The park is used as a cross-country ski area in the winter.

Vegetation varies from meadowlike clearings covered with wildflowers, to pine forest, to brush and chaparral. The density of rock feature varies from sparse to moderate. Some parts of the terrain have many boulders which vary in size from 0.5 m to 5.0 m, with 1.0-2.0 m being the most common. The trail system ranges from moderate to relatively dense in the northeastern part of the park. There are a few small streams, only one or two of which are now live. The altitude ranges from about 6800 to 7100 feet.

Courses and Classes

All seven courses (White, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Green, Red, and Blue) will be offered both days. Different courses will be offered on Saturday and Sunday.

The results of this event count toward the Pacific Region Rankings, and the class structure will follow its class format. Each course will have 6 different classes - junior, adult, and master for both men and women - as well as a group class for each course. (Junior is age 20 or under; Adult is 21 to 49; Master is 50 and over; Group is more than one person.)

When you fill out your entry form for Burton Creek, please indicate your class. For example, if you are a 48-year-old male running Green, your class will be GMA, with the first letter being the course (O, Br, G, R, Bl), the second being the gender/group (M, F, G) and the third being the age (J, A, M). We are going to have some very small numbers in some of the classes, but that is how the PR rankings have been set up.

Course Information

Because Burton Creek is relatively flat by Bay Area standards, the courses are well under the 4% guideline, some as low as 2%. It is generally quite runnable, so expect fast times. There are a lot of interesting rock features to challenge your navigational abilities.

Penny and Harold DeMoss set the Orange and advanced courses on Saturday, Kevin Schoenfeld set the White course on Saturday and Yellow course on Sunday, and I set the others, basically Sunday's courses except Yellow.


White      1.75 km    35 m     9 controls
Yellow     2.4        60       9 
Orange     4.5       100      10 
Brown      3.65       75       9 
Green      5.35      115      11 
Red        7.0       170      13 
Blue       9.15      205      17 

Sunday White 1.975 40 11 Yellow 3.0 60 11 Orange 4.325 85 10 Brown 3.45 55 8 Green 5.35 85 9 Red 8.075 110 13 Blue 10.275 190 17

Notes on Saturday's courses from Penny DeMoss:
Day 1 courses go into previously unused areas of the working forest half of the map. I didn't venture over to the far west because I hated it last year! It was not possible to totally avoid the grotty stuff, but the two legs I was most concerned about, with regard to footing and visibility, turned out to be the vetters' favorite legs. In areas with lots of boulders, only the obvious ones are mapped, and in areas with few boulders smaller ones are noted. Also, there are many more downed trees than are mapped. In general, there seems to be about three root stocks on the ground for every one that is on the map. Because this is a working forest, there are new unmapped logging tracks here and there. Evan has made map corrections for the ones you are likely to encounter, but don't be surprised if you see a short but obvious unmapped track to a clearing just off a main logging road.

Vetter Kelly Wells' quotes: Good courses, but TEK-NI-KAL...use attack points to find your attack points.


Last year was the first use of this map, which was field-checked and drafted by George Kirkov in 1999 and 2000, with minor corrections this year. Its scale is 1:10000 with 5-meter contours and meets IOF specifications.

The contours are very reliable. Most of the rock features are well mapped. One source of confusion may be in the "boulder fields". When the boulders became too numerous to be mapped individually, the small black scalene triangle, symbol number 208, boulder field, was utilized. This symbol appears to be less prominent than the individual boulder (round black dot) and boulder cluster (relatively large black equilateral triangle) symbols. However, when the boulder field symbol is used it means that there are a lot of boulders in the area, and not each boulder is mapped individually. Only the very large boulders or significant boulder clusters are mapped in an area where the boulder field symbol is utilized.

The large clearings are quite reliable. However, there are numerous small clearings which may be difficult to discern, and should not be relied on for navigation. Similarly, individual trees (green X's), small copses (green O's), and the brown X, which represents either a rootstock or a large stump or standing dead tree, are sometimes difficult to discern in the field, and also, there are many unmapped stumps and downed trees that are not mapped. Therefore, these symbols may not be the most reliable feature to use for navigation.

The seasonal streams are dry this year.

Controls and Electronic Punching

Most of the control markers on Saturday, and also for the White and Yellow courses on Sunday, may be hung on trees. All of the control markers for the Orange and advanced courses on Sunday will be on stands. The stands will be quite low, about knee high, and therefore you most likely will see the control feature before the control flag.

SportIdent electronic punching will be used on the Orange and advanced courses both days. Standard paper punch cards and manual pin punching will be used on the White and Yellow courses. You must have a SportIdent e-card in order to compete on the Orange and advanced courses. If you do not own one, you may rent one for $2 per day or purchase one from Scarborough Orienteering.

Be sure to clear and check your SI card before you start. Be sure use the start control when told to start in order to get a valid start time. If a control unit does not beep or flash, use the manual punch attached to the marker to punch your map. After punching the finish control, go directly to EP Central to download your card and receive your splits. Rental cards will be collected at the download station. If you do not download, you will not get a result, and also we will have to assume you are still in the forest, either lost or injured, and have to send out a search party. If you lose your rental SI card, you will be charged $26 to replace it.

Registration and Assembly Area

You do not have to preregister, although you may at Active.com. You may enter on the day of competition at the registration area.

Standard BAOC entry fees will apply: $6 for White and Yellow; $8 for Orange and advanced courses ($12 for nonmembers); plus $2.00 for each additional person in a group. Juniors (under age 21) are half price. If you do not own your own e-punch card, the rental fee is $2 per day; compass rental is $1 per day.

The registration, assembly area, and finish are at the North Tahoe High School at the west end of Polaris Drive. Toilets and showers will be available at the high school.


The start areas will be very close to registration and the assembly area. The start window on Saturday will be between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m, and the start window on Sunday will be between 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Start procedure for Sunday:
Go to the start area and request a start time. When your time appears on the display clock and the horn sounds, insert your SI card into the start unit, wait until it beeps and flashes, and then follow the taped route to the remote start point (start triangle). The start point will be marked by a control marker without a code number, EP unit or a punch. Do not attempt to punch this control. Pick up the appropriate map, and begin navigating.


The biggest hazard at this event is probably the altitude. You will be competing at 6200 feet. One of the best ways to decrease some of the effects of high altitude is to stay hydrated throughout the competition. Start drinking water about 1 hour before your start, and drink water at all of the water stops. If it is warm, it is even more important to stay hydrated.

There are no rattlesnakes or poison oak.


Whistles must be carried by all competitors. If you do not have a whistle, ask for a free one at registration.

The safety bearing is south until you reach a residential area or Highway 28.


From the Bay Area, take I-80 to Truckee. Turn south on Route 89 toward Tahoe City.

In Tahoe City, at the Y-intersection, continue straight on Route 28, North Lake Boulevard. Go about 2 miles towards Dollar Point, turn left onto Fabian Way (there is a 7-11 on the opposite side of the highway), then make an immediate right onto Village Road. Turn left at the 3rd intersection onto Polaris Drive, and go to the end of the street and follow signs for parking at the North Tahoe High School.

There is free parking in the North Tahoe High School parking lot. In addition, you may park on the streets near the school.


Here is a partial list of hotels and motels in and near Tahoe City. There are more and cheaper places to stay in King's Beach, about 7 miles east of Tahoe City. You can also check out our lodging list of accommodations in the North Lake Tahoe area.