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March 15

UPDATE: This event has been postponed and will not take place March 15. We will announce the new date when possible.

McKeldinWelcome back to the McKeldin area of Patapsco Valley State Park, for orienteering in classic - albeit a bit steep at times - Mid-Atlantic terrain. There will be a full set (7) of courses designed by Kim Jepsen, and course stats and his comments are now posted below. Event timing will be standard (register any time between 10:45 - 1:15, start any time between 11 - 1:30, and finish and download no later than 3pm).

Patapsco Valley State Park has a strict rain policy, which will force us to postpone or cancel the event in case of more than 1/4” of rain within the 24 hours preceding the event. Please check this webpage for possible cancellation notices before traveling to the meet if rain has been falling. [Edit: Well, even though the event has been cancelled, at least rain wasn't the reason ...]

Any youth or large groups attending, please contact the Event Director so that we can coordinate pre-registration for your group; the group registration and waiver form is part of the information on our Group Leaders page.

If you are considering trying a harder level course than usual, you might want to consider it carefully since McKeldin is known for its rather steep terrain.

In addition to our regular courses, this event will feature a different navigational challenge: amateur radio direction finding. In ARDF, you use directional radio receivers to locate beacons in the woods. The beacons transmit periodically, and by listening for their signals as you move through the forest, you attempt to triangulate their locations. You carry a map with only the start and finish marked on it. Your goal is to find at least one transmitter station and return to the finish in the shortest time.

Michael Kholodov is designing and setting the ARDF course using his own equipment. He will have a number of receivers available for use at this event on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a separate fee of $10 for the use of a receiver. For a quick introduction to ARDF please go to

You can run the ARDF course before or after (or instead of) your regular course. The start window is the same (start between 11 and 1:30, off the course by 3). If you are interested in trying ARDF, please email Michael, letting him know the approximate time you think you'll be able to start.

Carpooling is encouraged as a courtesy to other park users due to limited parking space. All vehicles must park in designated parking spots. There are only about 80 parking spaces near the registration area, although more may be found going south and east in the park.

Note: There is a park entrance fee at this venue (on weekends, $3 per person for MD residents and $5 per person for others). Bring exact change since the park entrance fee will likely be collected using an honor system, and a ranger may not be on duty to provide change. Please remember to pay the fee even if the entry booth is unmanned.

Not Feeling That Well? If you're coughing and sneezing or just generally feeling under the weather, please stay at home. And if you’ve been in contact with someone who's not feeling well, or if you or others you are in close contact with have traveled this year to a CDC Level 3 country (China, South Korea, Italy, or Iran), we also recommend you skip this public event.


Patapsco Valley State Park, McKeldin Area, Shelter 501, Marriottsville, MD (Classic)

RegistrationTHIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED.No advance registration required.
Start TimesStart any time between the specified times (usually 11am - 1:30pm).
ScheduleSunday, March 15
11:00 am - 3:00 pmClassic:
Event Director:Mark Mace
Event Director:Patti Mace
Course Designer:Kim Jepsen
Location Details

Patapsco Valley State Park
McKeldin Area, Shelter 501
Marriottsville, MD
Google Map

From I-695/I-70 West take I-70 to Marriottsville Rd. (Exit 83). Go North on Marriottsville Rd. for 4 miles to the park entrance on the right. After paying park entrance fees, follow O-signs to shelter #501.

From I-70 East take Rt. 40 (Exit 82, Balt. Natl. Pike) to Marriottsville Rd. Turn left. Park entrance is 5 miles on the right. After paying park entrance fees, follow O-signs to shelter #501.

Course DetailsClassic
Course NameLength (km)Climb (m)No. Controls
White 2.5558
Yellow 2.611510
Orange 4.718012
Brown 419010
Green 5.928518
Red 734018
Blue 8.942023
Course NotesClassic

The McKeldin area has some of the steeper terrain amongst our venues and some of the courses (Green, Red, Blue) have more climb than usual - consider moving down a level if unsure whether your legs are up to it. The terrain is generally runnable with good visibility, but has some areas with deadfall and and barberry bushes that may slow you down; this is especially the case in the northernmost parts of the map, visited by the Green, Red, and Blue courses. Also, all but one of the advanced courses cross Marriottsville Road which carries high-speed traffic, so please use caution when crossing the road.

The Yellow course has three short off-trail sections (one on terrain that is a little steep) which are almost mandatory if long detours are to be avoided, and this may not be the best day to try out a Yellow course for the first time. However, the off-trail sections follow strong linear features in areas of good visibility, and there should be no chance of getting lost if standard beginner level orienteering techniques - such as map-orientation and a little terrain/contour awareness - are used.

The Orange course skews towards the easier side, and may offer a fine opportunity to try moving up from Yellow.

Drinking water is placed centrally on one of the footpaths. For Yellow and Orange courses, this is the only drinking water on the course - look for the “cup” symbol.

A good section of the eastern section of the map has recently been updated by John Blaisdell, and is in good shape with new rootstocks added, decayed rootstocks removed, path corrections, etc.

Map Scales: White & Yellow 1:5000; All others 1:10000. Contour interval 5m for all courses

Entry FeesIndividual Entries

Note: juniors = under 21

Club Member, adult Club Member, junior Non-Member, adult Non-Member, junior
Epunch Owner $5 $5 $10 $5
Epunch Borrower $10 $5 $15 $10

Team or Group Entries

Participants are welcome to compete together as a single team entry. Teams containing one or more nonmembers are charged the nonmember individual rate. Teams containing one or more adults are charged the adult 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 is an additional $2. Individuals or teams desiring to compete on a second course can do so for a reduced fee of $2/map.

Important Notes
  • If you wish to become a QOC member you should join online in advance via this webpage (which also explains the member benefits). Membership is completely optional.
  • Most of our events use an 'epunch' timing chip for electronic timing. Individuals or groups without their own epunch pay a higher entry fee (see above), which includes the loan of an epunch for that event. Loaned epunches that are lost incur a $40 replacement fee. Epunches (also known as SI-cards or finger sticks) can be purchased from online vendors as described here.
  • Former QOC members who have let their membership lapse pay non-member fees.
  • Compasses are available at no charge, but if lost incur a $15 replacement fee.
  • Please provide collateral (driver's license or car keys) when borrowing a compass or epunch.
  • For additional safety, whistles are available for sale at $1/each.
  • Free beginner instruction is always available - just ask at the registration table.