Designing your own orienteering courses

Are you itching to get out for some navigation practice? How about setting up your own course in a neighborhood park – but how to do that? We have posted a very basic step-by-step guide to using Purple Pen, the software that the COC club uses for designing courses. Many of the club’s maps are available in the club library as PDF-files. That is all you need to get started!
Here is the guide (you need to open this post for the link).
If you have any questions, email

June 2020 Update

Dear Cascaders,


  1. Black Lives Matter. Can you join a new COC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion working group? Email
  2. We’re still in a pandemic. Can you help COC create and review COVID-19 operating procedures? Email
  3. Would you like to join any orienteering virtual training, or are you interested in sharing your skills? Fill out this survey.

Black Lives Matter. The movement for Black lives deserves your support. Cascade Orienteering Club intends to foster a community where Black, Indigenous, and People of Color are welcomed and supported. I know there is more work to be done to fully achieve this, and therefore I am convening a diversity, equity, and inclusion working group to recommend concrete steps forward for COC. Can you help this effort with your time, experience, resources, or perspective? Please reach out to me via

I encourage all of you to listen, learn, and engage in ways that elevate BIPOC leaders and challenge your own positions. You can learn about and get involved with local initiatives via King County Equity Now, Decriminalize Seattle, and Black Lives Matter Seattle King County. There are many more resources at

We’re all still living through the coronavirus pandemic and that means the COC event calendar continues to remain empty and uncertain. We do not have plans to host any events before the Seattle metro counties (and the event location if not in the Seattle metro) have reached at least Phase 3 of the Governor’s Safe Start Washington plan. Many land owners may choose to not grant permits for our events until Phase 4.

When COC is able to hold events, the logistics will be different from what you’ve experienced the past few years with COC. To be in compliance with state and local guidance, we’re considering changes such as no day-of registration to minimize cash transactions, assigned start times for public courses, requiring face coverings for volunteers, and much more reliance on participants to manage themselves at both start and finish. While we’ve had ideas around these topics for months, small groups are currently forming to draft detailed operational plans for event functions such as registration, start, and finish. Can you share your experience as a participant or volunteer to help us craft these plans? Contact and Eric will connect you. We will share details broadly as these plans are formalized and events are back on the calendar.

Looking further forward, it is too early to know what this winter may entail for the Winter League. Seattle Public Schools is expected to use at least some virtual schooling in the fall. The WIAA plans to host fall sports seasons, but is dependent on Washington DOH approvals. We hope to hold Winter League events, but this remains dependent on both permitting as well as our ability to be confident in the safety of our participants, coaches, staff, and volunteers. Thanks for your flexibility and understanding now and as we approach Winter League.

In the meantime, please do explore your local parks – there are 19 permanent courses so you likely have one or two in your local area, and we’re working on adding more unmarked maps to a map library for your (personal) use. If you’d like to learn something new (orienteering skills, coaching, course design, etc) or can volunteer some time to share your knowledge in a virtual setting, fill out this survey and we’ll do our best to connect folks.

Stay safe, recreate locally and responsibly, and we’ll see you as soon as it’s safe to do so.


Eric Jones

Cascade Orienteering Club

June Ultimate Series events rescheduled

The Ultimate Series events scheduled for June 13/14 are being rescheduled to (we hope) August 15/16. In order to allow for social distancing, we’ve also changed the format of the Jack Creek event from a Score-O (mass start) to a Middle distance (interval starts). The new dates are not final, so please check back later for updates.

The minimum requirement for even holding an event is for the state to be in Phase 3 of the Governor’s Safe Start reopening plan. Phase 3 allows non-essential travel and events of up to 50 participants. If we are in Phase 4, we can have more than 50 participants.

While you can register for the events now (currently limited to 50 participants each day), be aware that nothing is final. If you have already registered, you are still registered for the new dates. If you’d like to cancel or change your registration, please log in to your account on our registration site.

CANCELLED – Orienteering Event March 21-22 and April 4

Update: The Ultimate Orienteering Classic events on March 21-22 in Quincy WA and the Relay on April 4 at Fort Steilacoom have been cancelled. Grant County’s event guidance due to the corona virus is asking organizers to postpone events with more than twenty participants. King County allows small events only with certain guidelines.

Night navigation without the vampires

Tired of vampires stealing your hard-earned punch card? Our annual Night orienteering event is coming up on March 7. This will be Cascade’s only event of the year where you can navigate at night without worrying about those pesky vampires. Come on out to Lynndale Park in Lynnwood to kick off the 2020 Ultimate Orienteer Series season!

This event is just the first in the 2020 Ultimate Orienteer Series of events. This series allows you to try out several different orienteering formats: Night, Individual Relay, Classic, Ultralong, Goat, Score-O, and Middle.

In addition to a couple of local parks, you will have the opportunity to experience the joy of running through the woods in the open pine forests of eastern Washington and across the desert and scabland terrain of the Columbia Basin. This is orienteering at its finest!

JN2020 – Early registration closes March 1 at 11:59pm

Registration for JN2020 is now open.  Early registration closes March 1 at 11:59pm.  Overall registration closes on March 29 at 11:59pm.  Sign up to experience the fun and excitement of a large national level competition. Stay in the athlete’s village and get to know orienteers from all over the USA. 3 races, 3 venues, Movie Night, Game Night, and much, much more.  You won’t want to miss any of it.  Register now here!

Junior Nationals 2020- Registration is Open

Registration for JN2020 is now open.  Sign up to experience the fun and excitement of a large national level competition. Stay in the athlete’s village and get to know orienteers from all over the USA. 3 races, 3 venues, Movie Night, Game Night, and much, much more.  You won’t want to miss any of it.  Register now here!

Fire Mountain- Orienteering this Saturday

Join us this Saturday (2/7) as we head north to Fire Mountain Boy Scout Camp for some excellent off trial orienteering. Here you will experience a variety of terrain, from typical Pacific Northwest trails, to numerous small cabin clusters, to forested hillsides with up to waist-high undergrowth. Register now and join us as we finish the regular season of Winter League/WIOL off strong.

COC Congratulates 4 Junior National Program Members

On Jan 6th, the Junior Team Executive Steering Committee (JTESC) at Orienteering USA announced the USA Junior National Team and the Junior Development Team athletes for 2020.  Congratulations to COC members Jessica Colleran and Kai Mihata for being named to the Junior National Team and to Benjamin Brady and Annika Mihata for being placed on the Junior Development Team.  You can read about all members here.

OUSA is still accepting applications for the  Junior Development Team (JDT), and will be doing so throughout the year.  They encourage all juniors, ages 13-20, who run confidently at the Orange level (or above), and want to connect with other young people who love orienteering and take their orienteering to the next level, to join the 2020 JDT.  Learn more about the Junior Program here.