March 16, 2017

Willow Creek-- Saturday, March 25 – A New LiDAR Map

Come hunt for the willows and the creek on our new Willow Creek Map. Spring weather has brought out the sagebrush buttercups and prairie stars. As for bigger features like creeks and willows this area is like one of those subdivisions utterly lacking in the romance of its fraudulent name. If a creek has to have water and a willow has to be a tree, you will find either only in your hallucinations after an exhausting tour of the advanced course. In my exploration of this large area I haven't found a single boulder, cliff or tree.

Willow Creek calls for endurance, speed, route choice and contour interpretation. The map derived from LiDAR data contains reliable contours with detailed vegetation. The dominant vegetation is sagebrush with rabbit brush and notable bitterbrush. Because these vegetation species have similar properties our LiDAR software identifies detail as fine as individual plants, making vegetation patterns useful navigation guides.

Design for Advanced and Intermediate courses attempts to eliminate gratuitous elevation gain and loss. However, orienteers will encounter several  choices between a longer running route and a shorter climbing/descending route. The Advanced Course has 15 controls over 7.1 k and the Intermediate Course has 11 controls over 4.7 k. There is no truly beginner course. A novice course consisting of 8 controls over 2.0 k will require some familiarity with orienteering maps and the use of a compass. It lacks the large elevation changes on the other two courses.

All three courses (novice, intermediate, and advanced) begin and end in a large parking area east of Eagle Road north of the City of Eagle.
In the desire to minimize waste and save myself some printing expenses, please RSVP to me no later than Thursday March 23 with your name and intended course choice (and if you want an extra map or two for a larger group.)  My email is jnm2870 AT cableone DOT net.  If you decide to show up impromptu, I expect to have a few blanks on hand and you will get to copy your course the old school way. When the maps are gone, they are gone.

Who: Orienteers of all ages, novice to advanced.
When: Saturday March 25. Courses will be open for starts from 9am – 10:00. Courses close at 1:00 pm. You may arrive within this window to try a course, as participants start separately a few minutes apart.

Finish and Parking Location: Willow Creek Parking Area on Eagle Road 3.5 miles north of the Beacon Light/Eagle Road intersection. If you are logged on to Google, you can find the start on this map:

Restrooms are not available. You are responsible for your own water.
Format: Classic. 
Cost:  $10 per person/team, $5 for a single junior, free to CTOC members (more info here)
You may want to bring: a watch, a compass, a snack, a whistle and a cell phone. (Some compasses will be available to borrow.)

A word about LiDAR: Several government agencies have acquired high resolution mapping data for land management. The process involves a low altitude GPS guided laser scan resulting in a digital elevation model with accuracy sometimes in a range below ten centimeters. These data have been made available free to the public in many cases via the Idaho LiDAR Consortium. "In July 2015, Quantum Spatial (QSI) was contracted by Ada County to collect Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data in the fall of 2015 for the Ada County Enhanced Wildfire Risk Map site in Idaho. Data were collected to aid Ada County in assessing the topographic and geophysical properties of the study area to assess and map wildfire hazards in Ada County."
Director: John Murray

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