Practice orienteering courses are an ideal introduction to adventure racing and orienteering and can be used to train for a Michigan Adventure Race, another event, or just for fun. The objective is to locate checkpoints on a course using a compass and map. The challenge comes from not knowing their locations ahead of time and the test is determining the best route between them (and some will also challenge themselves with finding them as fast as possible). The fun, of course, is the satisfaction of finding all the checkpoints you set out to visit! It’s an Easter egg hunt for grown-ups. Try not to “cheat” but consider bringing along the Terrain Navigator Pro app (link is to App store) or another app on your phone for when you get stuck.
The Seidman Park permanent orienteering course contains 13 checkpoints marked by wooden posts with numbers that match those on the map. You can start your hunt from either the Honey Creek trailhead kiosk or the Conversation trailhead kiosk. Dawn to dusk please. Hear gunfire? The Kent County Conversation League is to the east/southeast. Their range is far from the park and faces to the east, away from the park.
The Cannonsburg State Game Area “streamer” course has 21 checkpoints marked by orange tape. Most people park at the 4 Mile lot but there are lots on 3 Mile, 5 Mile and Dursum as well.
The game area was purchased with funds generated by hunter license money and federal excise taxes on the manufacture of firearms and ammunition. Because of this background, the primary purpose is to provide wildlife habitat and wildlife related recreation, especially hunting. The orienteering course is only a temporary course, not a permanent fixture, and hunting seasons are occurring during much of the yearly time frame. Spring turkey season is open until June 7. All area users should be respectful of this important recreational activity and avoid interfering with hunters.
You may find briars here and there on both courses. Long pants or long socks are recommended.
For instruction on how to use a compass with your map to establish a bearing that will send you in the correct direction of the checkpoint/post, review our Adventure Racing/Navigation 101+201 Clinic Presentation. As you develop skill in reading the map and the terrain reflected on the map, you will find that you will need your compass less and less. Also consider reading blog posts on the right side of the www.miadventurerace.com website.
Check out other permanent orienteering courses in Michigan.