version: 2018-05-25

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Rules & Notes

Directions and last minute notes

The Event

As a sort of “Short” emulation of the world’s largest orienteering event, held annually somewhere in Sweden, this event will offer races on Five different maps, but all on a single day: Saturday, June 2, 2018. All the venues are within what are known as the “Helderberg Hilltowns”, in the southwest corner of Albany County, and all are within a short drive of each other.

The ultimate winners will be determined by their total time over the five courses. But you do not need to attend/compete on all five if you don’t wish to do so. All the courses will be e-punch (SI) timed, though manual punch will be available for those competing on fewer than all five.

Depending upon available equipment, downloading may only be done at some of the venues (there will be instructions on where and when to do so). For those competing over all five, they must be completed in the order listed below (1 - 5).


You are welcome to compete on all five maps, or any subset you choose. The prices are somewhat different than usual due to additional expenses:

-$25 for all five maps/courses for EMPO members; $40 for non-members ages 21+
 [new] -$15 for junior EMPO members under 21 competing as an individual; $20 for non-members <21

- OR -

-$7 per individual map for EMPO members; $10 for non-members (if you are NOT doing all five)

-$3 per SI stick rental for the whole day

The Maps

All maps use ISOM 2007 and symbols, plus some common (in the U.S.) Mark Dominie symbols. Legends showing all symbols used are available. Some of the maps also have a legend showing the symbols on that map. The maps were all created by Phil Hawkes-Teeter, except Camp Pinnacle which was initially created by Mark Dominie, updated by Glen Tryson, and updated again with LIDAR contours recently by Phil H-T. The Cole Hill map was created over an excellent base-map made by Eddie Bergeron. (Directions to maps and links to Google maps on our maps page)
  • (1) Margaret Burke WMA
    New map, never used before (and thus never corrected!). Scale is 1-10,000, with 2.5m contours. Even with 2.5m contours, some form lines are included, as it is a generally flat area, so any climb is noticeable. Special symbols used:
    • Brown dashed lines: (area symbol) These indicate areas where there are rock crevices/fissures which are much too prevalent to individually map. This symbol (created by Mark Dominie) has been used in the past at Thacher Park. At Margaret Burke the fissures aren’t quite as common, but they are still unmappable individually.
    • Smaller black X’s: These are mostly something I would not normally map – birdhouses. I have mapped them because they are quite visible at about 2 feet high and about 10 feet above the ground; and because there are few point features on this map. They are all in very open woods areas, but any flags placed using these will be on the opposite side of the tree (which are not extremely wide), so if you don’t see the birdhouse as you approach, you will see the flag. You’ll likely see the birdhouse first, from some distance.
    • Shale area: There is a section which is an open former shale mining area. After some internet discussion with other mappers, I have decided to use the “sandy ground” symbol for this area. [We seem to be rotating among “paved area,” bare rock, and the sand symbol. I would say it depends upon the movement and movability of the shale piles. In Margaret Burke, the shale piles are movable, and get moved around by the illegal four-wheeler enthusiasts.]
    • Other factors:
      • The rough-open/undergrowth areas on the North portion of the map are periodically mowed, and sometimes have brush-hog paths created within them.There is no way to map this as it is sporadic and frequently different from time to time. So, when in these areas, take advantage of any seeming paths when they present themselves, but don’t expect them on the map or to continue going where you want to go.
      • Parking – there are two very small parking areas; Registration/Start/Finish are near the southern one; park near that area on the west side of Pleasant Valley Rd.
      • There are No Sanitary Facilities at Margaret Burke WMA. (Stewart's Shops, a local convenience store chain, has public restrooms at most of their stores)

  • (2) Camp Pinnacle
    Originally part of the Thacher Park map made by Mark Dominie in 1993, this has been separated and then updated a couple times. Last used by EMPO apart from the overall Thacher map in 2017; updated and separated for 2018. Scale is 1-10,000, with 5m contours. The Start/Finish area will be on the east side of Pinnacle Road, not in the main building area on the west side of Pinnacle Rd. Look for EMPO signs.
    There will be bathrooms available at Camp Pinnacle.

  • (3) Cole Hill State Forest
    Debuting in 2010, most of this map has been left fallow for a few years as EMPO has been encouraged to hold events at the Town of Berne’s “Switzkill Farm” recreation center, which was added to the western edge of this map (see next area, below). This course uses only the original State Forest portion of the map, because you will get to the Farm next. Updated in 2018 primarily to show recent logging, which has an uncommon (Dominie-created) symbol: rough-open yellow bars running from upper left to lower right. I sometimes add the undergrowth symbol when it is particularly hard to get through the area, but it’s never easy or optimal. Scale is 1-10,000, with 5m contours.
    • Other factors:
      • Parking – There is only a tiny pull-over for parking near Reg/Start/Finish; park on the west side of Cole Hill Rd.
      • There are No Facilities at Cole Hill State Forest.

  • (4) Switzkill Farm
    • This area was purchased relatively recently by the town of Berne, and it is adjacent to Cole Hill State Forest. The courses here will only use the Farm lands, and not cross over to Cole Hill SF.Scale 1-5000, with 5m contours.
      There will be bathrooms available.

  • (5) Foxenkill Flats (BKW School)
    • Debuted in 2009 and only sporadically used with school kids since. Updated for 2018. Scale 1-5000; contours 2.5m. Because of the season, the marsh areas may be larger and deeper than mapped. There will be port-a-johns available.

The Courses

There will be two courses set on each map. The longer course will be of “Middle” distance, and “Orange/Green” difficulty. The shorter course will be “Yellow” distance and difficulty.
The statistics are:

(1) Margaret Burke WMA:

-Start Window: 9:00 – 11:00
-Course closes: 12:00
-Short: 1.6k, 6 controls; minimal climb.
-Middle: 3.2k, 12 controls; 55m climb.
-Distance to Camp Pinnacle: 6.7 miles.

(2) Camp Pinnacle:

-Start Window: 10:00 - Noon
-Course closes: 1:00
-Short: 1.6k, 6 controls; minimal climb.
-Middle: 3.4k, 7 controls; 70m climb.
-Distance to Cole Hill State Forest: 7.4 miles.

(3) Cole Hill State Forest:

-Start Window: 11:00 - 1:00
-Course closes: 2:00
-Short: 1.2k, 5 controls; minimal climb.
-Middle: 3.1k, 7 controls; 65m climb.
-Distance to Switzkill Farm: 5.4 miles.

(4) Switzkill Farm Town Park:

-Start Window: Noon - 2:00
-Course closes: 3:00
-Short: 1.6k, 5 controls; minimal climb.
-Middle: 3.7k, 5 controls; 70m climb.
-Distance to Foxenkill Flats: 4.3 miles.

(5) Foxenkill Flats (BKW School):

- Start Window 1:00 - 3:00
- Course closes: 4:00
- Short: 1.2k, 7 controls; 15m climb.
- Middle: 2.1k, 8 controls; 30m climb.
- Distance to H-T home for snacks and a brewskie: 0.5 miles


Due to manpower and equipment limitations, we must require that if you are doing all the courses, they must be visited in the required sequence. We may not have results printouts available for all separate courses, but we are trying to set that up. The only event “winners” will be among those who completed all five courses. Their times will be simply added up, as all courses are considered equal. Total winning times may not be calculated until sometime into the evening.

All courses are subject to change depending upon conditions.


This is our first try at something like this, so there may be some rough edges. Still, I think it should all work out. Pay attention to the instructions you will receive on-site about where and when to download and clear your SI sticks, as we must move some equipment around to cover all 5 locations, within a tight time window. 

Following is a link to a Google Map showing the routes between the 5 locations. If you click on the vertical ellipsis (it’s a 3 dot column) to the right of the “Directions from…” you can get turn-by-turn directions. The map is here:

Of course, you first have to get to Margaret Burke (MBWMA). I can’t predict how everyone will be approaching, but generally:   
  • Coming from the North and East: use NY 146 to get to Altamont, NY; from there follow NY 156 south up the hill, then left onto Pleasant Valley Road. See map. 
  • If you to use the NY Thruway Berkshire Extension bridge from the East/MassPike, continue to the Thruway and head north; go one exit north then exit and turn right twice to pass through Selkirk. From Selkirk head to Clarksville, and from there go to MBWMA; this is shorter, but there is no place to stay overnight in that area. Maybe a few Bed & Breakfasts which I don’t know about, and there’s one motel further west in Schoharie off I-88. 
  • Coming from the South, your initial target should be Westerlo or Schoharie; from there you can use the map to get to Knox, for the first event. 
  • Coming from the West, if you're using the Thruway, your initial target should be Canajoharie; if using US 20, your initial target should be Sloansville; from there head to Knox for the first event.   
If you do some research and find other/better options, let me know, and I will pass them along. 

It will help tremendously if I have the data in advance about all who are coming (or planning to possibly come). This will make both your registration and mine much faster and easier. So, if you plan (or even just HOPE) to attend, please send me an e-mail announcing your plans and your data: 
  • Name (or name of group/team)
  • Which course/s you plan to do
  • Your year-of-birth
  • Your SI #
I look forward to seeing you all; I pray for good weather; and I hope you’ll be able to maintain a sense of humor.   
-Phil H-T
(see email address on Schedule page)