Happy trails at Oregon Ridge

Oregon Ridge is better known for its concerts by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, July 4th fireworks and other festivities outside its wooded periphery, but that will change Sunday when most of the action will be at the park's Nature Center — and in the woods.

The Quantico Orienteering Club will hold Orienteering on the Ridge for those interested in a sport that combines hiking and running with navigating and exploring by using compasses and maps. According to Mike Newman, vice president for Maryland events of the Northern Virginia-based club, there will be a variety of courses from beginner (2.9 kilometers) to advanced (10 kilometers).

Registration begins at 10:15 a.m., the races start at 11 and all participants have to be off their respective course by 3 p.m.

Along with navigating the terrain, participants will be required to locate the "controls" placed along the course route. The "controls" are nylon bags that resemble Japanese lanterns, Newman said.

Newman said there will be demonstrations for first-timers and others relatively new to the sport, which is extremely popular in Europe, in particular Scandinavia, and is beginning to catch on in the United States. Newman, who lives in Baltimore, said he has been orienteering for about 12 years.

Although many participate by themselves, orienteering is geared toward families or groups.

"Some people are pretty competitive, but more are just in it to be outdoors," Newman said. "It's really a group event."

According to the QOC's website, the cost is $10 for nonmember adults and $6 for nonmembers under the age of 21.

Participants can compete in teams, but teams containing one or more nonmembers are charged the nonmember individual rate.

For teams to receive member or junior rates, all members of the team must be members or juniors, respectively.

Each extra team map beyond the first costs an additional $4. Individuals or teams desiring to compete on a second course may do so for a reduced fee of $4 per map.

At the event, particpants may pay in cash or check; online, particpants may use a credit card or PayPal account.


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