Mason Neck

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March 21

Mason Neck WoodsAfter several delays due to Virginia COVID restrictions and a date change from Saturday to SUNDAY, March 21, we are going back to Mason Neck State Park in Virginia for a classic orienteering meet. Orienteering in Mason Neck provides a distinctive navigation experience due to its flat ground and relatively few easily identifiable features. Its 2.5m map contours (rather than the standard 5 meters) will give orienteers the chance to develop a heightened appreciation of terrain subtleties and provide a great opportunity for them to work on their compass skills and pace counting. Runners will have their choice of a full set of classic courses designed by Tavia Sullens and Mark Thomsen. Unfortunately, an expansion of the restricted areas in the park has forced us to shorten some of the advanced courses, so keep that in mind when you select your course during registration.

This Sunday event requires on-line pre-registration, and we will open registration at 6pm on Monday, March 15. 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.

Other points:

  • PROPERLY WORN MASKS ARE REQUIRED at all times when near registration and epunch areas and their volunteers.
  • There is an entrance fee for the park ($7 per car). Please pay your entrance fee prior to arrival at the meet check-in for your course.
  • As usual, we will set up the check-in site on the west side of main parking area. Rest rooms are immediately adjacent.
  • We encourage everyone to download and use any or even all of the DC, Maryland and Virginia COVID exposure notification apps.
  • Dogs are welcome in the park, but must be on a leash of length 6 feet or less at all times and "with a human on the other end", as a park ranger said.
  • Park Information: Mason Neck State Park is also a great place by bike this time of year, a very smooth and family-friendly bike path runs through the park and connects with other parks on the Mason Neck peninsula.
  • The park has Nature Programs for Kids & Families: There are three programs on March 21: 11am (Roving Ranger at the Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge), 1pm (Out of the Blue), 3pm (Eco Invaders). Go to the park website for more information.
  • 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). Unregistered "tag-alongs" are not allowed (other than babies or toddlers). 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

    Mason Neck SP, Mason Neck SP, Lorton, VA (Classic)

    RegistrationPre-registration will open at 6pm on Monday March 15 for this event, - via this link. Registration will close no later than 6pm Sat. March 20 (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 21
    10:00 am - 3:00 pmClassic:
    Event Director:Bill Wright
    Course Designer:Tavia Sullens
    Course Designer:Mark Thomsen
    Location Details

    Mason Neck SP
    Mason Neck SP
    Lorton, VA
    Google Map

    From southbound I-95, take exit 163 (Lorton). Go left onto Lorton Rd at the end of exit ramp. Go under the 2nd overpass and turn right onto Lorton Market St., then go about 1.5 miles to the traffic light at Route 1. Go straight through light (the road name changes to Gunston Rd) and go about 5 miles to the right turn on High Point Road (it's about 1.2 miles after the Pohick entrance). Once in the park ($10 entrance fee per vehicle), follow the signs towards the Visitor Center. The registration area will be to the left just before the Visitor Center; look for the banner.
    Google Maps Link
    Apple/iPhone Link
    Course DetailsClassic
    Course NameLength (km)Climb (m)No. Controls
    White 2.4408
    Yellow 3.53011
    Orange 5.46511
    Brown 4.7559
    Green 56011
    Red 5.67510
    Blue 7.511517
    Course NotesClassic

    The Mason Neck Map is beginning to show some wear. Many rootstocks and some knolls have decayed considerably. Accordingly, rootstocks and knolls, where used for controls, are sufficiently isolated and/or remain sufficiently prominent to be identified. Unless used as a control, it is not recommended to rely on rootstocks for navigation, as those mapped tend to have decayed and there are many newer rootstocks that are not mapped. At last field check visibility was excellent and marshy areas tended to be on the drier side (rain prior to the event may change this). Dry marshy areas can generally be distinguished from the surrounding areas by regions of flattened leaves.

    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.