Intro to Orienteering

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August 27

IntroPre-registration is required and will open on Monday, August 14th at 6 PM and will close at Noon Saturday August 26th.
There will be no day-of registration.

Quantico Orienteering Club (QOC) invites you to join us for a free INTRODUCTION TO ORIENTEERING event at Ward Farm Park on Sunday, August 27th. Come spend a day in the woods with us to experience this fun, family-friendly sport.

We encourage you to check out our For Beginners webpage to help you prepare for your adventure, as well as this video created by QOC's instructional guru David Onkst. If you have questions, please use the Contact Form.

We will meet at in the Southern Parking Lot. Check-in will open at 9:45 AM, with free instruction sessions every 30 minutes from 10:00 until 11:30. Register for the time that works best for you and plan to be there at least 15 minutes early to get checked in. You will learn the basics of orienteering from experienced instructors and then apply your newly acquired skills on one of two beginner-level orienteering courses. Participants can orienteer solo or in small groups of up to four people.

Everyone will have until 1:30 PM to complete their courses. Remember to download at our e-punch station even if you did not finish the course.

The only equipment you’ll need to bring is active clothing/sportswear, a comfortable pair of athletic shoes, and a watch. Free loaner compasses will be available, but please bring your own if you have one. You will want to bring water, as there won’t be any out on the courses or at the check- in area.

Event notes as well as course setter comments are now posted below ('Course Notes' section).

Free CookiePost Event Social: meet after the event if you wish at Chesapeake Grille and Deli, located in Dunkirk MD here, just a 3 minute drive west of our event venue. Bring your map and get a free cookie with any purchase, courtesy of their manager Alexis!

Group Leaders: If you are bringing a group of 10 or more, please contact the Event Director in advance so we can better accommodate your needs.


  • There is no water on the course. Please come prepared!
  • Pets are allowed but must be on-leash at all times.
The Courses
Both the White and Yellow courses are for beginners. They will follow linear features such as roads, trails, edges of fields, or streams. Checkpoints for the White course will be set on the linear feature. The longer Yellow course checkpoints will be placed either on or a short distance from linear features. Going off trail is allowed on both courses, but legs on the Yellow course are set to encourage it.


Ward Farm Park, Southern Parking Lot, Dunkirk, MD (Free Beginner Event)

RegistrationRegistration for this event opens at 6pm on Monday Aug. 14 via this link. Advance registration is required. Registration will close at Noon on Saturday Aug 26 (the day before the event).
Who's registered? Check by clicking here. Sorting by column is possible too - just click on the column name.

Start TimesCheck-in will open at 9:45 AM, with free instruction sessions every 30 minutes from 10:00 until 11:30. During the online pre-registration process, you will choose one of these 30 minute windows.
ScheduleSunday, August 27
10:00 am - 12:00 pmFree Beginner Event:
Event Director:Craig Shelden
Event Director:Heidi Onkst
Course Designer:Craig Shelden
Location Details

Free Beginner Event
Ward Farm Park
Southern Parking Lot
Dunkirk, MD
Google Map

From I-495 (Capital Beltway) exit 11, head S on MD-4 towards Upper Marlboro. In about 17 miles, turn left onto Ward Road. In about one mile the park entrance will be on your right.
Google Maps Link
Apple/iPhone Link
Course DetailsFree Beginner Event
Course NameLength (km)Climb (m)No. Controls
White 2.44515
Yellow 2.86016
Course NotesFree Beginner Event

This will be QOC’s First Event on a new map in a very new park Calvert County just opened last spring. It’s a fun new park with expansion potential and still under development.
This park is mixed use. Soccer and baseball fields with open ground around them covered with 2-3 foot grasses and flowers, some clear woods with deep re-entrants and thick vegetation at forest edges, many good trails, and a network of wide, grass-covered, rolled-flat RUNWAYS that go around the heavily- overgrown farm fields.
The ball fields are open (with reservations) for public use, so expect them to be used during our event. Because we can’t predict whether they’ll be used or not, they are shown as dark green No Entry Authorized areas. The trails around them, of course are fine to use… and if the fields aren’t in use, they are fine to enter.
Restrooms are located in the north portion of the park near the soccer fields.
There are no stream crossings except on bridges or culverts.
There will be some mountain bike traffic on multi-use trails used by our courses. The bike presence is usually light but understand that others will be using the trails besides us.
Course maps will have a key for map symbols printed on the reverse side for easy reference.
At this time of year, you may wish to apply insect repellent liberally. There will be cans of repellent on hand for your use.
Both White and Yellow follow different trail loops and touring through the park woods. All courses return to the southern parking area.

White: All controls are immediately visible along the trails or in open areas along the route.
Yellow: Most controls are on the trails, but some controls are up to 50 meters or so off trail, allowing orienteers to venture off the trail for short distances and experience an additional navigational challenge. Several legs offer route choices.

Entry Fees

This event is free.

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.
  • Compasses are available at no charge, but if lost incur a $15 replacement fee.
  • Beginners are encouraged to watch relevant videos such as this one created by QOC's instructional guru David Onkst.