Orienteering is an activity that adheres to sound environmental practices
Orienteering: The Activity
Orienteering: A Controlled Activity
Orienteering: An Environmentally Sustainable Activity
1. We have a set of standard guidelines for conducting and executing events in order to minimize or eliminate environmental impact.
2. We have developed procedures for the avoidance of environmentally sensitive areas such as nesting areas and sensitive wetlands.
3. We have asked our membership to come forward with ideas / views on how to address environmental issues.
4. We are actively gaining and/or strengthening current and potential contacts within Conservation Authorities, Ontario/Canada Parks and other environmental bodies both to learn about new strategies in conservation and to promote the sport.
5. We update all landowners of potential events long before the season begins. All landowners are contacted for permission to use the area for every event.
Golden Horseshoe Orienteering has been working under these environmental guidelines for many years. In addition, we have worked closely with various Conservation Authorities, respecting the NEPOSS policies for events taking place within the Niagara Escarpment Plan area.
Many scientific studies on the activity of orienteering and its impact on the Environment have been conducted. All of the studies demonstrate that orienteers do little short-term and no lasting environmental damage to any area that they use. In Europe, where some of the largest orienteering events in the world are held (>10,000 participants), studies have been conducted by Orienteering Federations along with the Government Departments for Environmental Sciences. The results of these studies have shown that little, if any; permanent damage is done to any plant life.
For example, the Danish Orienteering Federation reports that races with less than 100 entrants do not cause problems to the environment (not even during early spring) and therefore do not need to be restricted. Germany and France have rules stating that events with more than 100 participants should be limited to one such event in a given tract of forest in the spring. In Ontario, most orienteering events have about 75 participants, further divided into smaller groups of competitors traveling several different race courses.
Wetlands are not used as checkpoint locations and crossing these sensitive ecosystems is not permitted. These areas and other sensitive areas are marked out-of-bounds on the maps and officials on the race course enforce this. Orienteering is a low impact sport and we do not impact existing trails nor do we create new trails. We are aware of the sensitivity of certain terrain and particular species (nesting birds, deer, salamanders). We avoid the salamander breeding period and courses are designed so that large animals are not affected. If a course connecting areas must pass through a sensitive area, it does so only on designated official trails.
For more information contact the Orienteering Ontario Environmental Officer, Dr. Mike Waddington. Dr. Waddington is a Professor of Environmental Science at McMaster University. He has over 20 years of expertise in wetland hydrology and ecosystem restoration and has been an active orienteer for over 30 years.J.M. Waddington, Ph.D.
Tel: 905.525.9140 x 23217
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