Patapsco McKeldin

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March 14


UPDATE SAT. MARCH 13: Weather is fine and this event is on! Remember to adjust any clocks for Daylight Savings Time.

As long as it stays dry enough*, plan on enjoying orienteering in the McKeldin area of Patapsco Valley State Park, near Marriottsville, MD. There will be eight courses to choose from (2 beginner, 1 intermediate, and 5 advanced), and detailed park and course notes are now posted below, thanks to course setters & event directors Kim & Anne Jepsen.

This Sunday event requires on-line pre-registration, and we will open registration at 6pm on Monday, March 8. QOC’s COVID risk reduction protocols, as also enumerated here, will be in effect. Please read these guidelines carefully, particularly keeping in mind the need for participants to bring their own water for all their hydration needs before, during, and after their runs/walks.

*Why did we say "dry enough" earlier? Doesn't orienteering occur rain or shine? Well, yes, normally, but Patapsco Valley State Park cancels our permit if it's been too wet within the 24 hours prior to our event. Make sure to check this webpage just prior to this event to ensure we've been allowed to conduct it. And yes, if we cancel the event, we will refund all registration payments.

Parking: McKeldin has limited parking space and 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 (see locator map), so be prepared for having to add a hike to the registration area.

Other points:

  • PROPERLY WORN MASKS ARE REQUIRED at all times when near registration and epunch areas and their volunteers.
  • Entrance fees/procedures: There is a park entrance fee at this venue (Maryland Residents $2/vehicle; out-of-state residents $4/vehicle). We suggest bringing 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.
  • Don't forget to adjust any manually set clocks and watches ahead one hour on Saturday evening (March 13) due to Daylight Savings Time. Please show up at the correct registration time!
  • Water will not provided in accordance with QOC COVID-19 risk reduction policies. BYOW.
  • We encourage everyone to download and use any or even all of the DC, Maryland and Virginia COVID exposure notification apps.
  • Pets are permitted in the park but must be on the leash at all times.
  • The restrooms by the entrance station will be open as usual.
  • The size of start teams (groups of individuals orienteering together with one e-punch) on a course must be no more than four (4) individuals (juniors and adults combined). Any youth or large groups attending, although you will be pre-registering online, please contact the Event Directors of your plans and numbers for their awareness.
  • There is no planned, on-site beginner instruction, but beginners are encouraged to watch relevant videos such as this one created by QOC's instructional guru David Onkst
  • Location

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

    RegistrationPre-registration will open at 6pm on Monday March 8 for this event, - via this link. Registration will close no later than 6pm Sat. March 13 (the night before the event).
    Who's registered? Check by clicking here. Sorting by column is possible too - just click on the column name.
    Start TimesParticipants will register in advance for a specified 15 or 45 minute check-in window (including map pick-up), starting at 9:45am until the final window from 1:15-1:30pm. Each window will be limited to 15 or 45 "starts" (solo individuals or groups).
    ScheduleSunday, March 14
    10:00 am - 3:00 pmClassic:
    Event Director:Anne Jepsen
    Event Director:Kim Jepsen
    Course Designer:Anne Jepsen
    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 2.4558
    Yellow 2.411510
    Orange 4.518012
    Beige 3.11359
    Brown 4.118512
    Green 5.425017
    Red 6.830519
    Blue 8.537523
    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, these 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 downhill 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 do follow strong linear features in areas of good visibility, and there should be no chance of getting really lost if advanced-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. Likewise, since the McKeldin park is well-bounded with many paths throughout the park, this could also be an opportunity to try out a Brown course – beware of the climb, though.

    A good section of the eastern section of the map has recently been updated by John Blaisdell, and should be in good shape with new rootstocks added, decayed rootstocks removed, path corrections included, etc. That being said, note that this year’s courses have been revived following last year’s Covid cancellation, and have not been re-vetted.

    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
    $10 $5 $20 $5

    Group Entries

    Participants are welcome to orienteer together as a group (up to the maximum for that event; usually 4). Each member of a group is charged their individual rate as shown above, up to a group total of $30 (maximum), and each receives a map. A group receives one epunch. Individuals or groups desiring to compete on a second course after completing their first can do so for a reduced fee of $2/map subject to approval at the event by the Event Director.

    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 will be loaned one 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 (such as car keys) when borrowing a compass or epunch.
    • Free beginner instruction is always available - just ask at the registration table. While COVID-19 policies are in effect, please check out instructional videos online such as those mentioned above in lieu of in-person/at-event instruction.