Updated – December 2017
We have a permanent course at Brecksville Reservation. Here’s more about it, including maps, instructions, and a bit about orienteering. If you enjoyed the course, let us know. If you had problems because of something that we could correct, let us know that too!
The orienteering course you are about to follow is mostly on interconnecting trails that will bring you back to the general area of the Nature Center and its parking lot. There are, however, some short forays off of the trail included to make the course a bit more interesting, so you should be prepared for that. The course is approx. (6.1 km or 3.7 miles) in its entirety. This is rather long as well as hilly for a beginner level course of its type, so feel free to attempt just a portion of it if your time or fitness level will not allow you to complete it all today.
The object of orienteering is to navigate efficiently to a series of land features that are represented on a detailed topographic map. The land features that you will seek are described for you on a clue sheet, which you see illustrated below. The clue sheet contains both symbols and a narrative description of the feature, but typically it only provides symbols. A land feature can be any reasonably permanent, clear and distinct object identifiable on the land or that identifies the type of landscape –a bridge, boulder, gully, stream, field, building, etc.
To confirm that you have found the correct feature you will find an orienteering control marker at that feature. For this course, the control marker is a 4×4 inch square plate that contains an opposing orange and white triangle on it. In its lower left corner it also contains a two letter code that coordinates to an identical code on your clue sheet. This confirms that you are at the land feature that you sought. Some are on posts. Others are above head height on trees.
It is helpful to orienteer with a compass, but for beginner level courses (truly all courses) the map typically contains more than enough information that allows you to navigate successfully from point to point. Keeping in touch with your map –meaning, frequently examining the area of the map as you move along and seeing those features on the landscape around you– will typically keep you found. And that’s always a good thing.
Download the course map and instruction below. This map is for recreational use only and is intended for use with adult supervision. The park contains dangers both obvious an hidden. It is a good idea to check in at the Nature Center before and after your hike, or let someone you know what you are planning. Most of the markers are on trail, but some are a short distance away from the path. Watch for poison ivy.
Maps & Instructions
- The Brecksville Nature center is south of Rt. 82 and east of Rt. 21, less than a mile from the center of Brecksville.
- Google Earth coordinates: 41.319,-81.616 / https://goo.gl/maps/Mfg79
- The Nature Center is only five hundred feet south of the parking lot.