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Lake Herman Recreation Area

Date: (Sun.) Feb. 26, 2023
Location: Benicia, CA
Event Director: - 650.906.9672
Course Setter: Nick Corsano
Type: B; Standard 7-course event for beginners through advanced

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

February 24th Update

Power came back on last night, after 54 hours. Hooray!
A couple of people have responded to my plea for control pickup volunteers, but I really need a couple more.
I was out at Lake Herman today hanging controls. The scenic views were great.
[Editor’s note: There are some photos attached to the original message ( that was posted to the BayONet. You can click on those photos to see larger copies. You can see that message without being subscribed to the BayONet. If you want to subscribe, send an email to .]
– Nick Corsano ()

February 23rd Update

Your Event Director/Course Setter is one of the 20,000 PG&E customers on the Peninsula who have been without power since Tuesday’s storm. So I’m a little late with getting this update out.
The urgent need is for volunteers for control pickup. Please me soon! I could also use another person to help with early setup or with beginner clinics.
The Course Setter’s Notes will get published here sometime ahead of Sunday’s event​—​be sure to read them. In the meantime, the course statistics are posted below. [Later: The Course Setter’s Notes are here.]
– Nick Corsano ()

Come out to Lake Herman Recreation Area in the grassy hills above the Carquinez Strait for BAOC’s fourth event (and first in five years) at this venue, our only map in Solano County.

Registration for the event will be in Benicia Community Park. (Driving directions are below.)

With its fairly open terrain and modest hills by Bay Area standards, Lake Herman is a lot less intimidating than many of our locations. So, if you have been thinking of moving up to a more advanced level, or if you have been trying to get your kids or neighbors or co-workers to try our sport, this is a great place to do that.

We also invite (i.e., urge) you to volunteer! Choose from setup, registration, beginner clinics, starts, or control pickup. Most of these tasks require little or no experience (and training is provided). More information is below. The Event Director, Nick Corsano (), looks forward to hearing from many of you. 😉

What is Orienteering?

An adventure: Discover the outdoors and discover yourself! Teams of 1 to 5 find checkpoints in parks and wilderness areas using specially-produced maps. All are welcome at our events – runners, hikers, joggers, and walkers.


  9:00 AM – 11:59 AM: Registration open
  9:30 AM – 10:30 AM: Beginner clinic instruction (free)
 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM: Starts are open
                   2:00 PM: Courses close, checkpoint control pick-up begins

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/90KB)).

Note that you can register and start on courses anytime during the open times above. Thus, for example, you do not need to be “punctual” at 9:00 (but you can if you want, but please don’t show up earlier and expect to be served).

Beginner clinics are short (15–20 minutes), repeating sessions that introduce the sport of orienteering, and provide enough instruction to be able to complete the beginner (White) course.

Note that you must return to the Finish by 2:00, and then promptly go to the download table, even if you have not finished your course. If there are unaccounted people after 2:00, we must initiate a search for them.

After you finish, stay around and socialize with other participants!

Costs and Registration

The following fees apply at this event:

  $3 for each junior (age 8 through 20) on Beginner (White) and Advanced Beginner (Yellow) courses
  $8 for each adult on Beginner and Advanced Beginner courses
  $5 for each junior on Intermediate (Orange) and Advanced (BrownBlue) courses  
$15 for each member on Intermediate and Advanced courses
$20 for each non-member on Intermediate and Advanced courses
  $1 for a compass rental (optional)  
  $5 for an E-punch 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)  
  • At the event, we are able to accept payment only by cash or check​—​no credit cards or electronic payments.
  • Juniors are age 8 through 20 (under age 8 is free).
  • There is no charge for a second course (but you must end up paying for the more expensive course​—​i.e., an Advanced course after a Beginner course).
  • Members of other orienteering clubs can pay the “member” fee. (We hope your club would do the same for our members. 🙂)

More information about event pricing is available in the club FAQ. All the prices are also shown on the standard entry form (PDF/12KB), 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.)

Optional Online Registration

Online registration has closed, but you can still register at the event.

  • Online registration is not required​—​you can register at the event.
  • You can see who is registered here ( (but keep in mind that others will register at the event.

What to Bring

You might want to consider the possibility of rain ... and bring warm clothes for after you complete your course(s). Actually, you might want to bring warm clothes to wear while you complete your course(s), since the temperature might be chilly.

For Beginner courses (White and Yellow), comfortable outdoors attire and shoes are fine.

For the Intermediate (Orange) and Advanced (BrownBlue) courses, leg cover or gaiters are recommended, as well shoes with some extra grip on the sole.

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 E-punch 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

The assembly area is in Benicia Community Park, which is adjacent to Lake Herman Recreation Area. We have reserved the Red Quadrant of the picnic area.

The park offers ample free parking, restrooms, picnic tables and barbecues, and a children’s playground. Feel free to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy after you finish your course.

Dogs are not allowed in Benicia Community Park, other than in the enclosed dog area.

Terrain and Courses

The park consists of about 2.3 sq km of rolling hills sloping down to Lake Herman, a small reservoir that is the source of drinking water for the city of Benicia. The base map, produced by Bob Cooley in 2012, was a high-resolution aerial photograph overlaid on 2.5-meter LIDAR contours. The map was then drawn in OCAD by Benicia teenager Emily Radtke as a Girl Scout Silver Award project. There are some wooded areas on the outskirts of the park and in streambeds, but over most of the area, mapped vegetation consists of bushes and small trees.

Because of the relatively open terrain and gentle climb in most of the park, this is a good opportunity for anyone considering moving up a level to do so.


Here are the course details:

    Course    Length    Climb  Controls  Navigation
    White     1.8 km     50 m     13     Beginner  
    Yellow    2.5 km     95 m     13     Advanced beginner
    Orange    4.4 km    180 m     20     Intermediate  
    Brown     3.8 km    175 m     13     Advanced  
    Green     5.0 km    250 m     15     Advanced
    Red       6.1 km    275 m     17     Advanced
    Blue      7.2 km    295 m     20     Advanced

Beginners should be aware that the lengths shown are the cumulative straight-line distances between controls. The climb numbers represent the amount of ascending that would be done on the “optimum route” (i.e., in the Course Setter’s opinion), without regard for any descending. Because you won’t travel in straight lines, and might not follow the optimum routes, your actual distance and climb will be somewhat more than what is shown above, and will depend on your route choices (and any errors you make).

All the maps are printed at 1:7500.

The Course Setter’s Notes are here​—​be sure to read them.

We Need Volunteers!!!

Specifically, it will be very helpful if you volunteer to help with E-punch, starts, beginner clinics, or control pickup.

E-punch is not as difficult as you might think, and adequate instruction will be given.

Managing starts is a nice activity that anyone can do, regardless of orienteering experience, so I encourage new members who are looking for a way to help the club to step up. We will have shifts working on the Start Line, so you will be able to run a course.

And imagine the newcomers that you can inspire as their beginner-clinic guru. Marriages have even resulted from our beginner clinics!

OK, enough of the volunteer spiel. And seriously, all BAOC events can be put on only with volunteers like you. If you can help, please contact Event Director Nick Corsano ().

Driving Directions

The assembly area will be in Benicia Community Park. Its official address is 540 Rose Dr, Benicia​—​that will get you close enough to find us. Alternatively, the approximate coordinates of the assembly area are 38.0862,-122.1586. Or you can follow the directions below.

Note: Do not follow Google Maps directions to Lake Herman Recreation Area. That would put you on the opposite side of the park.

From the South Bay, most of the East Bay, and the southern half of the Peninsula:

Take I-680 North across the Benicia-Martinez Bridge (toll crossing). Stay in the left lanes on the bridge to merge onto I-780 West. Take the second exit (#5) from I-780, E 2nd St. Go straight-ish (uphill) on E 2nd St, and continue 1.3 miles. At the traffic light, turn left onto Rose Dr. Continue 1.1 miles, and then turn into Benicia Community Park (Dempsey Dr) on your right.

From Sacramento:

Take I-80 West to I-680 South. Take exit #61 for Mount Herman Road, and turn right. At the stop sign (almost immediately), turn left onto E 2nd St. After 2.1 miles, turn right at the traffic light onto Rose Dr. Continue 1.1 miles, and then turn into Benicia Community Park (Dempsey Dr) on your right.

From San Francisco, Oakland and surrounding communities, and from the North Bay:

Go to I-80, and take it to Vallejo (toll bridge). Take exit #30A onto I-780 East. After about 5 miles, take exit #5 for E 2nd St, turn right and continue 1.4 miles. At the traffic light, turn left onto Rose Dr. Continue 1.1 miles, and then turn into Benicia Community Park (Dempsey Dr) on your right.