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Indian Valley Open Space Preserve

Date: (Sun.) Mar. 12, 2017
Location: Novato, CA
Event Director: - 415.895.6039
Course Setter: Tobias Tornqvist
Type: B; Regular 7-course event for beginners through advanced

Please note that fees and time limits apply. Events are typically not canceled due to bad weather.

March 7th Update

Please bring your uniform items to Indian Valley, as we plan to take a large group picture. Don't worry if you don't have a uniform, you can borrow an item from someone, or even buy it from the extras we have for sale (hint, hint).
Let's plan on taking the group picture at 10 AM, before everyone goes out on their courses.

This year we are having our annual event at Indian Valley in Novato a little earlier than usual, on Sunday, March 12. March should see the beginnings of spring flowers, with plenty of greenery and wildlife flush from the winter's rains. Tobias Tornqvist will be your course setter. He promises all seven standard courses, similar in spirit to last year's event.

Please consider volunteering to help at the event. No matter what your skill set or experience, we can use you! We need several people to work on starts, one or two people on registration, any help on E-punch will be gratefully accepted, someone to give Beginner's Clinics, and lots of people are needed for control pickup.

What is Orienteering?

An adventure! Discover the outdoors and discover yourself! You can explore a course by yourself or go as a team with your friends. You will get a highly detailed orienteering map, probably unlike any map you have seen before. The map will have a lot of detail on it, such as fences, boulders, lone trees, vegetation boundaries, and anything else you might see. Your course will be printed on the map.

Orienteering is easy to learn, a challenge to master, and incredibly fun!


  9:00 AM – Registration opens (closes at noon sharp​—​no latecomers!)
  9:30 AM – Beginner's clinic instruction available (free)
10:00 AM – Starts officially open, you can start on courses anytime until 12:30
 2:00 PM – Courses close; checkpoint pick-up begins

Note: Daylight Saving Time begins on March 12th.

At registration, all juniors must be accompanied by parents or legal guardians, or bring with them a waiver signed by their parent or legal guardian (the registration form is available here (PDF/100KB)).

Beginner's clinics are repeating sessions that provide an introduction to orienteering and enough instruction to be able to complete a beginner (White) course. The sessions will continue until 10:30–11:00 (they could stop earlier if there is no more demand).

Please note that everyone must return to the Finish by 2:00 PM, and check in at E-punch, even if you don't complete your course. We need to account for all participants, because otherwise we must organize a search party for you.

After you finish, enjoy free snacks and refreshments, and socialize with other participants!


The following fees apply at this event:

  $3 for juniors (age 8 through 20) on beginner's (White) and advanced beginner's (Yellow) courses
  $8 for adults on beginner's and advanced beginner's courses
  $5 for juniors on intermediate (Orange) and advanced (Brown, Green, Red, Blue) courses  
$12 member price for intermediate and advanced courses
$18 non-member price for intermediate and advanced courses
  $1 for a compass rental (optional)  
  $5 for an electronic fingerstick rental (if you don't own one; you'll need one to complete the course)
$15 for the lowest-cost individual one-year BAOC membership (optional)  

For extra people on a team, add $5 per adult on beginners' courses or $7 per adult on intermediate and advanced courses (with lower prices for juniors).

More information about event pricing is available in the club FAQ. All the prices are also shown on the standard entry form (PDF/100KB), which you can print and fill out in advance to save some time at the event. (You will need one entry form for each group of people going on a course together.) Please note that the form has a second page for signatures of group members.

Location Within the Park

Registration and E-punch will be at the normal spot, adjacent to the college swimming pool. All the courses will finish close to registration.


You will be orienteering partially on the college campus and partially through the meadows and (sometimes steep) oak-covered hills surrounding the campus. The courses will be slightly shorter than last year's courses, but just as exciting. Here are the stats:

    Course     Length     Climb   Controls
    White      2.0 km      30 m       9  
    Yellow     2.9 km      95 m      11
    Orange     3.7 km     175 m      13
    Brown      3.7 km     215 m      14
    Green      4.3 km     285 m      17
    Red        5.5 km     360 m      22
    Blue       7.1 km     440 m      23

The White course is perfect for first-timers and families with small children. It is a beginning-level orienteering course that is completely on trails and paths.

The Yellow course is advanced-beginner level, mostly along trails, but with easy cross-country opportunities available. If you wish, you can do both beginner courses at this event, as there will be no overlapping controls.

The Orange course is intermediate level technically, but physically long and tough. This is a great course for adventure racers and others with stamina and enthusiasm.

The Brown, Green, Red, and Blue courses are difficult both technically and physically. The courses have different lengths, with Brown being the shortest and Blue being the longest.

There are unmapped trails everywhere, which often are quite distinct and runnable for short distances. These trails may have been created by animals, mountain bikers, orienteers, and adventurous hikers, or some combination thereof, but if you find them, they can be quite helpful. Also be warned: The advanced courses go through some areas with steep slopes that can be potentially dangerous (shoes with cleats are definitely desirable).

Beginners should be aware that course lengths are measured "as the crow flies", in straight lines from control to control. Unless you have wings, you will travel farther than this distance! To estimate how far you will actually go, change "km" to "mi" (e.g., for a "2 km" course, you might travel up to "2 mi").

What to Bring

For beginners' courses, comfortable outdoors attire and shoes are fine.

For intermediate and advanced courses, leg cover or gaiters are recommended, as well as shoes with some extra grip on the sole. The courses will be steep!

A compass is not necessary, but can be helpful. We have compasses available for a $1 rental fee.

We time the courses with the SPORTident system, so each entry/team needs to have a SPORTident fingerstick. If you don't have your own, you can rent one at registration for $5. (Use of the "E-punch" system is easy. You can learn how at the event, or read about it here.)

Venue Facilities

Water fountains and flush toilets are available, as well as a large sunny lawn, so please feel free to bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy after you finish your course.


Participants on the intermediate and advanced courses should be aware that the park has some poison oak that you will want to avoid. It looks like this. Washing clothes and shoes, and bathing with dishwashing soap or a commercial product such as Tecnu, is recommended to remove the irritant oil.

Volunteers Needed

If you would like to help with the event, we need many volunteers. Some available volunteer tasks are Starts, Registration, Beginners Clinics, E-punch, and Control Pickup. We will train you! And you can do a course either before or after your volunteer duties.

Please send an email if you can help out. Rosemary Johnson is always looking for help at E-punch, so if that interests you, let or know.

And, finally, the event will use lots of control units, many in remote locations. So help with control pick-up is essential. You don't need to let Gary know before the event (although you can if you wish), but please plan on helping to pick up controls afterwards if you are an experienced orienteer and can fit it into your schedule. If you are in a carpool and can talk your carpool buddies into it, even better!! Courses will close, and control pick-up will begin, at 2:00 PM sharp.

Driving Directions

To get to the Indian Valley campus, take Highway 101 through Marin County to southern Novato, and exit at Ignacio Blvd. Go west on Ignacio Blvd as far as you can go, where it terminates at the College of Marin Indian Valley campus entrance. Follow the campus road to its end, and park in the huge parking lot.

There's a map here that shows the location of the event.

Note: Unlike last year's Saturday event, we will not need to pay a parking fee on Sunday.