Photo gallery image (click to enlarge)

Tilden Regional Park

Date: (Sun.) Feb. 27, 2011
Location: Berkeley, CA
Event Director:
Course Setters: Jonas Kjall, Jim Fish, Angela Hunter
Type: B; Standard seven courses, beginner through advanced

Please note that fees and time limits apply, unless otherwise mentioned below. Events are typically not canceled due to bad weather.

The hills are green. The nasty vegetation is dormant. The ground is soft. Winter is the best time of year to orienteer in Tilden Park. We have been relatively fortunately the last two years in that the weather was gorgeous one year, and only intermittent drizzles last year. Let's hope the weather Gods keep up the good work.

Jonas Kjäll and Evan are teaming up again this year to produce what we hope will be a top notch orienteering event, A-meet quality at B-meet prices. Jonas, a Swedish grad student at UC Berkeley, is the course designer, with the help of Jim Fish and Angela Hunter. I am sure they will produce some interesting and challenging courses.

More information about Tilden Park is available here (

Be sure to read the Event Director's Notes for more information about the event.

Ten reasons for attending this event:

10. First B-meet in 4 months.
  9. Final event in this winter's COOL and BAWS series.
  8. Possibility of orienteering in snow in the Bay Area.
  7. 5-day forecast is clear skies with end of rain on Friday.
  6. Free hot and cold drinks.
  5. No parking fee.
  4. Close, convenient park.
  3. 2010–2011 season COOL award presentation.
  2. Lots of free food.
  1. Great courses designed by Jonas and Jim.

Assembly Area

Tilden is a very central park and is convenient to most Bay Area residents. This is one of the main reasons we decided to map Tilden — because of its close in location. The assembly area will be at the same place where we had this meet last year and the year before that — at the Mineral Springs Group Picnic Area on Wildcat Canyon Road. There is probably room for 60 cars in the parking lot, so please park close together. Late comers may have to park on the shoulder of the road or in several other relatively close parking lots.

Beginner's Clinics

Beginner's clinics will be offered between 9:30 and 10:30 AM, depending on the demand. These short, repeating sessions provide an introduction to orienteering and enough information to be able to complete a beginner course. There will also be a short 5-minute video available for viewing at any time during the event.

First time participants should probably visit our FAQ to answer common questions about orienteering, including what to bring to the event.

If you are planning on bringing a group of 5 or more people to the event, please try to notify the event director a week or so in advance, so we can print an adequate number of maps.


The following standard seven courses will be offered:

   Course    Length    Climb   Controls   Physicality   Navigation
   White     1.5 km     70 m      13      Low           Very Easy
   Yellow    2.4 km    105 m      14      Low           Easy
   Orange    3.0 km    145 m       9      Medium        Medium
   Brown     3.0 km    125 m      10      Medium        Advanced
   Green     4.2 km    235 m      14      High          Advanced
   Red       5.5 km    365 m      14      Very High     Advanced
   Blue      6.9 km    485 m      20      Very High     Advanced

Be sure to read the Course Setters' Notes for more information about the courses, and about the park.

Electronic Punching

Electronic punching (EP) will be used on all courses. If you do not own your own EP card (finger stick), you may rent one at the event. Please stop by the EP tent after you have registered but before you go out on the course to be entered into the event database. Participants who have never used EP before can read our User's Guide to Electronic Punching.


The terrain was field checked and drawn in 2006 by Russian mapper Vladimir Zherdev. The map is quite good. The maps will be printed at 1:10000 scale, except that the White and Yellow courses will be at 1:5000. The contour elevation is 5 meters. Standard IOF orienteering symbols are used. Zherdev frequently uses the dotted-line distinct vegetation boundary symbol, which many other mappers, particularly in this country, do not use.


Tilden Park is much like most of our Bay Area terrain: steep, lots of rough open with scattered areas of pine and eucalyptus forest, and a moderate amount of fight, which is mainly poison oak, brambles, blackberries, and dense coyote bush. In the summer, the meadows are filled with stickers, burrs and thistles, but by February, the hostile vegetation usually dies back and the rains beat it down so there will not be a significant problem. The poison oak is mainly in the reentrants, but since the event will be in the winter, the plant is not quite as noxious as in the early spring; however, poison oak prevention techniques should still be utilized.

The contour detail is relatively bland. There is a relatively dense trail network. There are some rock features, many of which will be used as control points. The vegetation is quite well mapped, particularly since the map is new.


The hillsides in Tilden can be steep and slippery, so preferably wear shoes with cleats. Poison oak is abundant in the park. Try to avoid it if possible, but use Tecnu after the event to wash off the toxic plant oil before it latches onto your skin. Ticks are very abundant in Tilden. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, and do a careful tick search before or after showering. The tick that carries Lyme disease is endemic in Tilden. It is a very small tick, about the size of the head of a pin. If a tick has already burrowed into you, use a fine pair of tweezers and pull it straight out. Keep the tick in a small container to be identified if necessary. If you get a target-shaped rash around a tick bite a week or two after the event, see a physician.

February 21 Update:

There is good news and bad news about the poison oak (PO) situation at Tilden. Jonas and Jim were doing some last-minute field checking and they report that the PO is beginning to leaf out, and it probably will be even more leafy by next Sunday.
The good news is that it will be easier to identify than the bare stalks. The new leaves have a dark greenish color with a red hue and they are very shiny, and of course, look like oak leaves, and are in groups of three. The bad news is that the new leaves have the most potent antigen, and thus it can cause the rash more easily. I guess we waited a little too long to have the Tilden event. January seems to be the best month, no star thistles and dormant PO, but we learn by our mistakes.
Use the standard PO precautions. Avoid touching the plant if at all possible. Wear long sleeves and long pants. As soon as possible after the event, preferably at the event site, remove all exterior clothes and shoes and put them in a plastic bag, and do not touch them again until they are washed. Use Tecnu at the event site, trying to rub it in on as much exposed skin as possible. Some people rinse it off, but I usually just take a towel and wipe off the excess oil after a few minutes, and then toss the towel in the contaminated bag. Put clean clothes on. When you get home, toss those clothes in the contaminated bag, reapply Tecnu before you shower. Do your tick search at that time. Let the Tecnu work for a few minutes, and then thoroughly rinse it off in the shower, preferably with lukewarm water, not hot water (which opens your pores and lets in the PO oil).
If you are very allergic or were in some serious PO, you will probably still get some rash in the next 24 to 72 hours. As soon as you notice some small red bumps or itching, apply a prescription strength steroid cream to the affected area. I use Fluocinonide 0.05% cream. It is generic and relatively inexpensive, but you do need a doctor's prescription. Repeat application of the steroid cream every 3 to 4 hours as needed to beat down the rash.
If you follow these guidelines, most people are fairly comfortable. However, do not let it become a huge, red, weeping rash, for which you will have to see a physician and go on systemic steroids.
– Evan


I will need volunteers to staff the usual jobs: starts, finish, beginner's clinics, control pickup, etc.

February 24 Update:

I want to thank the people who have stepped forward to help out at the Tilden event this Sunday. Some of them are first-time volunteers, which is always a good sign.
I want to thank Melte Storvestre for agreeing to help with setup, Sarah Williams and her husband for helping out with registration, and Don Gee for agreeing to do the second shift of starts. Of course, I am really dependent on the stalwart workhorses of our club for a successful event, including Jay Hann, Jim Fish, Harold and Penny DeMoss, Kelly Wells, George Minarik, James Wilson, Gary Kraght, Scott Aster, Rosemary Johnson, Jeff Lanam, and Joan Roos, and the control pick up crew that Harold has been accumulating, all of whose names I don't know at this time. It is always dangerous to list names, because I am sure I have forgotten some people.
However, more hands make easier work for all, so if you see a problem, such as a backup in registration, starts, EP, feel free to become an ad hoc volunteer.
— Evan


– Event Director
Jonas Kjäll – Course Setter
Jim Fish and Angela Hunter – Assistant Course Setters
Kelly Wells – Vetter
Bob Cooley – Map Printing
James Wilson, Gary Kraght, Sarah Williams – Registration
Jay Hann, COOL director and food provider
Scott Aster – Beginner's Clinics
George Minarik, Don Gee – Starts
Harold and Penny DeMoss – Control Pickup Chiefs
Matre Storvestre – Set up
Nancy Lindeman – Social and refreshments
Joan Roos, First Aid

Driving Directions

There are many ways to reach the Mineral Springs Area in Tilden Park, depending on what direction you are coming. Since you are an orienteer, you may want to check a map. Here are a few possibilities:

From the east, take the Orinda exit from Rte. 24, and head north towards Orinda Village and Richmond on Camino Pablo. Go about 3 miles, and turn left at the signal onto Wildcat Canyon Road (Bear Creek Rd. goes off to the right towards Briones), and wind your way up Wildcat for 3.1 miles. Mineral Springs will be on your right past Inspiration Point, but before you get to the Botanical Garden.

If you are coming from the north or from Berkeley, it probably will be easier to go up to Grizzly Peak Rd., east on Shasta, and right on Wildcat Canyon Road past the Botanic Garden and turn left into Mineral Springs.

In the winter, the park closes South Park Drive, so if you are coming from the south on Grizzly Peak Road from Claremont or Fish Ranch Road, you will not be able to take South Park Drive down to Wildcat Canyon Rd. but should continue to Shasta Road, and turn east.

If the lot is full, you may park on the shoulder of the road if the vehicle is completely off the road and is not in a "No Parking Zone".

The GPS coordinates for the Mineral Springs Group Area are: N 37° 53.94 W 122° 14.87. There's a map here that shows the location of the event.

Public Transportation

AC Transit line 67 runs on Sunday from downtown Berkeley near the Berkeley BART station at Shattuck and Center every 45 minutes beginning at 8:00 AM and goes to the Brazilian Room in Tilden. The trip takes about 23 minutes. From the Brazilian Room, you can walk east on Wildcat Canyon Road (toward the Botanic Garden) approximately 0.8 mile to the Mineral Springs assembly area.