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Presidio of San Francisco

Date: (Sat.) Sep. 18, 2010
Location: San Francisco, CA
Event Director: - 415.453.3679
Course Setters: Vic Revenko, Chuck Spalding
Type: C; National Orienteering Day "Come and Try It" event -- White, Yellow, Orange, and Long Orange courses

Course Setter's Notes

By , Assistant to the Course Setter

Welcome to the Presidio of San Francisco. This is an ideal location for beginning and intermediate orienteers, with relatively easy terrain and plenty of trails and buildings to navigate by. Experienced orienteers and adventure runners should have a few challenges on the Orange and Long Orange courses, as well as a good workout.

Vic Revenko has designed a set of courses that provide spectacular views as well as interesting route-choice alternatives. The beginner (White and Yellow) courses might be a bit more difficult than usual, because there are so many decision points, but the map is sufficiently accurate that careful reading and attention will be successful. The Orange courses might take you to areas that you haven't seen before, even if you've been to this event many times.

Short, repeating beginner's clinics are available from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM. They provide an introduction to orienteering, and enough information to complete a beginner's course. Also, there will be an intermediate/advanced clinic from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM. We encourage school, scout, and JROTC groups to attend, but please expect to go out in groups no larger then four people.

Because this is an urban park with a high density of occupied housing, please respect property rights and out-of-bound areas (see comments below).

Before you go to the Start, please write your name(s) clearly on both parts of the punch card, and write your car license (or description) on the small part of the card (do not tear off the stub).

While you're on your course, please do not yell or talk loudly. Other orienteers want to find the controls on their own. Also, you're in a urban area, and we want to be courteous to the residents and other park visitors.

Please carry a whistle with you in case you get injured. You can get one for free at the registration desk. Note that the whistle is to be used only for an emergency — it's not a toy.

Restrooms are located near the registration area. Please use only this restroom facility.

Please park in the large lot directly west of the registration area (if it's not consumed by construction activities). You can also park along Ralston Ave, which is along the east edge of the large lot, and across the fields from the registration/start/finish area. Please do not park by the Log Cabin.

The registration area is by Building 1205.

There could be other events going on in the park — please do not disturb them.

We hope you'll enjoy this special venue. Even better, contact Vic with an offer to help — even if you've never helped at an event before (the tasks are easy, and training is provided).


Here are the details of the courses:

   Course        Length   Climb  Controls  Comments
   White         2.8 km    80 m      9     Beginner's course, no experience needed
   Yellow        4.2 km   160 m      9     Advanced beginners, mostly trail course
                                           requiring little orienteering experience
   Orange        5.8 km   230 m     10     Intermediate, longer, off-trail course, of
                                           moderate difficulty.  Requires experience.
   Long Orange   7.7 km   280 m     13     Intermediate, long, off-trail course of
                                           moderate difficulty.  Great for experienced
                                           orienteers of all levels.  A great runner's

Note regarding climb: The climb numbers this year are significantly larger than those published in prior years. Since this year's courses are generally similar to those of previous years, I doubt that there is actually a large increase in the climb this year. This is the first time I've computed climb, so I might have made errors. You can tell me after your run. (Before you ask: Yes, I did convert feet to meters.)

Note for beginners: The course lengths are measured along the straight lines connecting the controls. Since you can seldom travel along those straight lines, you will cover a greater distance. The climb numbers are estimates of how much ascending will be done while following the "optimum" route, without regard for any descending that is done. The distance and climb that you will actually experience will depend on your route choices and the errors you make.

Course Comments

Electronic punching will not be used at this event.

You must check in at the Finish whether or not you complete your course. We will not search for anyone, because this is an open urban park, but we'll sleep better if we know you have returned safely. Courses close at 2:30 PM. All participants must return to the Finish by then.

As always, there's a chance that you will see controls that are not on your course. Be sure to check the control codes when you punch.

The scale of the map for the White course is 1:7500. The scale of the maps for the other courses is 1:10000. The contour interval for all the courses is 20 feet.

The White course can be completed on roads, walkways, and trails, except for one open field that will need to be crossed (which will give you a taste of off-trail navigation). Also, some dirt trails will be used, so use of a child stroller on the course might not be a good idea.

The Yellow course will require looking for some controls that are a short distance off nearby trails, walkways, or roads. Those controls might not be visible from the trail, etc. Read your map carefully, and you'll find the controls.

In addition to being longer courses, navigation on the Orange courses is somewhat more difficult because of longer legs that involve route choices that are less clear. Because there are so many features on the map, navigation is not very challenging for advanced orienteers, but you'll have an opportunity to practice things like planning ahead and reading the map on the run.

Water is available at the Start and Finish, and also at one control on the Yellow, Orange, and Long Orange courses. However, if it's a hot day, or if you think you'll take a long time, you might want to carry some water.

Out-Of-Bounds Areas

There are many out-of-bounds areas on the map, which will affect your route choices. Please do not cut through those areas. In some cases, there are high fences that will help you remember this rule. In other cases, you will need to keep in mind that you could seriously jeopardize our permission to hold future events if you trespass on private property.

In the housing areas, you must stay on mapped trails, walkways, and roads. Do not cross private lawns or cut between houses. Take careful note that the streets in most residential areas are in bounds, even though the adjacent properties are out of bounds. Look closely at your map.

If you happen to go through the golf course area, note that only the mapped through road is in bounds. The fairways and cart paths are out of bounds.


The greatest hazard is car and bicycle traffic. All the courses will involve using and crossing roadways. Be particularly careful to look for bicyclists. Your safety is much more important than your course time!

There is poison oak in spots on the Yellow, Orange, and Long Orange courses. Long pants are strongly recommended on those courses.

The Orange courses climb and/or descend some steep, slippery slopes. That might lead you to think about wearing cleated shoes. However, be aware that you will be doing a lot of running on pavement. Most people will want to wear regular running shoes — just be extra careful on the slopes.

All the courses, particularly the Orange courses, involve some running on sandy ground. That's not a hazard, but it might influence your choice of footwear.

The Map

Everyone should be aware that the map is not perfect. Because of the evolving nature of the park, there will always be inaccuracies on the map. In particular, be aware that there are trails that are not shown on the map, and some of the mapped trails, and even some streets, might not be shown exactly correctly. If you don't have the patience to deal with a map that isn't perfect, this might not be the event for you.

This year there is much more construction activity than usual in the Presidio — mainly associated with the Doyle Dr project. Bob Cooley has done a great job of updating the map to reflect all the activity, but it's a moving target at best. Significant changes can occur in a day, and we have no way to predict them. The courses have been designed to stay clear of all that activity, but the work is constantly evolving and might have introduced some "surprises".