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Green Lane
  • Topic created by kathyu on Wed Oct 7, 2020 at 11:16 am
    Kathy Urban (kathyu)
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    Had a nice hike starting from Knight Road at Green Lane.  That area is very interesting with random trails and bodies of water all irregular shapes.  Has DVOA ever considered expanding the map?
  • Reply by EricW on Wed Oct 7, 2020 at 5:47 pm
    Eric Weyman (EricW)
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    Kathy, there are numerous possible sections along Knight Road, generally seperated by inlets of the reservoir.
    Are you referring to a section or sections close to 29, Red Hill Road, Markley Road, 663, or all of them?
    Also, which side of Knight Road, or both?
  • Reply by kathyu on Thu Oct 8, 2020 at 7:03 pm
    Kathy Urban (kathyu)
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    I was referring to all of the park in that area.  It felt like a jigsaw puzzle.  I'll bet parking might be a problem.  The many road crossings of knight road are striped and marked.
  • Reply by EricW on Thu Oct 8, 2020 at 9:03 pm
    Eric Weyman (EricW)
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    OK.
    I had a superficial look at some of this terrain many years ago, probably around the time of the initial Green Lane-Upper Perk map, and was uninspired by what I saw.

    However, judging by internet sources, it looks like many changes have taken place since then, including the possible addition of all the county-owned land on the NE (upland) side of Knight Road, which I was ignorant of.

    As you mention, parking is frequently a limiting factor, which we would need to figure out.
    Many of these sections are disconnected, or barely connected to each other, so mapping here would be more like a new map than an expansion.
    It helps greatly if Knight Road is deemed safe enough for O traffic to cross, which it might be. Your comment, and my look at Google Street View seem to support this.
    On the intriguing side, the vegetation type and patterns look strikingly different from anything else we have.

    Bottom line, it certainly looks like this terrain warrants another look.
  • Reply by shiatsuron on Thu Oct 15, 2020 at 5:17 pm
    Ron Barron (shiatsuron)
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    There isn't much parking up there. Only one big lot, along Knight Rd, towards it's east end, near Gravel Pike. That's where the horsey set parks for their rides. I know a lot of riders, even from Chester County that uses the trails N or Knights Rd to ride their horses. It's actually quite a maze of trails in there. Water just north of Knights Rd, interspersed with open fields, cedar trees....Quite lovely.
  • Reply by EricW on Tue Oct 27, 2020 at 10:16 pm
    Eric Weyman (EricW)
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    On a terrain report I would normally email a group of map people, but because of the original eboard interest in this terrain, I’m posting here.

    This report is longer than most, because there are more-than-normal complicating factors with this terrain.

     

    Green Lane - Knight Road Corridor Terrain Report

    It took three visits, but I’ve finally seen every section.

    In my perspective there is a series of seven sections, connected to each other, but barely so, with weak or bottleneck connections.

    I assume readers can find an available map to follow along.

    Starting on the north side of the dam breast we have the existing map of Green Lane Nature Center.. Going counterclockwise (approx northwest ) around the reservoir are six more definable sections, three on each side of Knight Road.

    A. The existing GLNC map is now 15 years old, and almost certainly needs a major update to be used for a regular event. Also there is a contour interval issue with this map that could be improved upon.

    The forest vegetation is still nice enough in general.

    This section easily has the best parking options, even aside from the Elementary School, which has already proven sufficient for a local event.

    Unfortunately this area is situated at the extreme end of the potential terrain.

    I sense that the Nature Center may no longer exist. Some buildings have been torn down, and this area seems to be known as Hemlock Point.

    B. The next section north, has the next best local meet parking possibility (still not a certainty), along Knight Road. This might be large enough for a local event, but barely so, and must shared and coordinated with a sizable number of equestrians (needing much space) and general park users.

    C. This is the first “upland” section on the NE side of Knight Road.

    D. This is the first of two peninsula -like sections on the SW side of Knight Road, protruding into the reservoir.

    E. This is the middle upland section between Markley and Red Hill Roads.

    F. This is the second, smaller peninsula-like section. This has a mini P lot, not even large enough for a beginner event.

    G. This is the third, northwest-most upland area on the NE side of Knight Road.

     

    TOPOGRAPHY

    None of these sections has notable contour features, at best a few more soft reentrants than shown on the USGS.

     

    VEGETATION
    Area B has a good amount of very nice (white) hardwood forest, and the existing map map (A) has the next best forest.

    The rest of the areas have a combination of various stages of rough open areas, which transition into cedar (or juniper?) dominated forest, which, while not impassable, would be mostly mapped as light and medium green.

    The three upland areas (CEG) on the NE side of Knight Road are mostly mature cedar plantations, sill mostly a shade of green.

    The peninsula sections (DF) on the SW side of the road have more rough open and scrubbier, younger cedar trees, with the exception of some strips of white hardwood forest on steep slopes along the reservoir.

    There is some thorny vegetation mixed in everywhere, not prohibitive, at least an average amount by DVOA “Briar Patch” standards.

     

    TRAILS
    The three “upland” sections (CEG) have very complex trail networks, involving curving, looping, mountain bike trails, on top of an older network of linear forest management trails/rides.

    In total, I think these networks rival (or top?) the most intricate sections on any DVOA map that I can think of. Mt Penn, and Valley Forge Fatlands (years past) come to mind.

    Even though these mtn bike trails are probably relatively new, they appear to be well established, and without evidence of renegade unmanaged trails, such as on Mt Penn.

    For me this is easily the most interesting attraction of all this potential Green Lane terrain, and applicable to all course levels.

    The peninsula sections (DF) have simple trail networks, mostly around their perimeter, leaving the center of these area with relatively thick vegetation, and few ways to create route choices through the middle.

     

    WATER FEATURES
    There are definitely plenty of scenic water features, but mostly around the edges, and not many water features involved in the actual O “playing field”

    ROCK FEATURES

    Almost no significant rock features.

    MAN-MADE FEATURES

    A few cultural features, but only average or less.

    TECHNICAL LEVELNone of this area is normal advanced course terrain. I think the trail mazes are interesting, even for advanced orienteers, but there is no conventionally challenging advanced terrain. The next most challenging theme would be figuring out yellow/green vegetation intricacies, which can easily border on being unpleasant.

     

    ISSUES/ CONCERNS

    Traffic- I would describe Knight Road’s traffic as moderate in volume and speed.

    There are very good sight distances along straight stretches of road, but very poor visibility to the sides, where orienteers might emerge.

    The road has little or no shoulder, and sometimes it’s just two lanes with guard rails.

    Road crossings- There are multiple official trail crossings along Knight Road. They are well marked and signed, and seem to be well respected by motorists, which might account for me not noticing any speeding, where it would normally be tempting.

    Equestrian use- As others have noted, the larger parking area along Knight road is an active center for equestrian activity. I believe all or most of the trails are multi use, which brings the potential for orienteering – horse problems. Granted we seem to co-exist well enough at other venues (Fair Hill and other places?), but here a much higher percentage of O use would be on-trail.

    However, despite all the trailers in the parking lot, I didn’t cross paths with a single equestrian during my time in the terrain (6+hrs and mostly on trail).

     

    POSSIBILITIES
    There is enough terrain here for long courses, up to roughly 12km Blue length, although not with normal technical difficulty.

    A practical mapping approach might be to start with the SE most sections, A&B, with the nicest forest, no road crossing, and best parking, and add sections further N and W if enthusiasm/demand permits.

    This small area would probably allow W, Y, and easy Brown/ short Orange.

    The most remote trail networks (E& G) seem to be the best, but not reachable by Brown and Green courses from A or B

    Sections D and F have low value for advanced courses, and are not reachable by W and Y from projected parking area(s)

     

    PARKING
    There is a potential local meet size parking spot, in a good location with an open mowed area, on a lot owned (or at least posted) by Aqua PA on the SW side of Knight Road in section F at the Markley Road intersection. The odds of getting permission are probably very low, but I thought this was at least worth mentioning.

    As mentioned previously, there is another official, but very small parking lot nearby, along Knight Road, also in section F.

     

    CONCLUSIONS

    If we have a driving-force member who understands all the issues, and takes responsibility as course setter or meet director, I would say, go for it.

    If we don’t have such a take-charge member, I think there are too many complications and shortcomings to justify the risk/reward investment in mapping this entire terrain as a general local meet map.

    On the positive side, I think this terrain would be a good candidate for a developing map concept, which I’ll describe as DIY orienteering, with semi-permanent courses.

    This would compliment the parking situation very well.

    Has anyone figured out a way to monetize the DIY format?

     

     

     

  • Reply by Steve on Wed Oct 28, 2020 at 12:46 pm
    Steve Aronson (Steve)
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    Thank you Eric for letting us see how decisions are made about mapping. It is a side that I have never witnessed, and I have been the driving force on a handful of maps.

    You have stated that the maps are too far from the parking for Brown and down courses. Have you considered as a possible mini rogaine? May six or eight hours? 
  • Reply by EricW on Wed Oct 28, 2020 at 7:03 pm
    Eric Weyman (EricW)
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    Well, a mini-mini rogaine might work or a score O might help more people get to the far end, but probably nothing over three hours, and even then a many people will  get everything. Remember, a high % is on trails. Since these sections are essentially in a line the setter would have to figure a way to force people to get controls both outgoing and returning (not a problem with conventional course setting in the e-punch era), otherwise it would be a road run on Knight Road in one of the directions.

    The greater point probably is that it is unlikely to be practical to make an O map just for one event, or a specialty format, that wouldn't project a return comparable to a hard working local meet venue (2x/year), or an A meet venue.
  • Reply by EricW on Wed Oct 28, 2020 at 7:52 pm
    Eric Weyman (EricW)
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    This Green Lane conversation might be an appropriate time to talk about automated or semi-automated forms of mapmaking, which can be done at reduced cost, and might apply to some questionably feasible venues such as this Green Lane- Knight Road project (GL-KR).

    There best known of these lidar- based based programs is Karttapullatin (KP).
    It is important to know the strengths and weaknesses of this type of mapping to know where it might apply.

    The most consistent strength of KP is probably contours, although this is not much of a consideration at GL-KR.
    The next strength is depicting thick evergreen vegetation, especially in open areas without an additional overhead canopy. This might produce very good results in the rough open scrubby cedar vegeation which covers much of at GL-KR.
    It is less clear how KP would do in the higher canopy mature cedar forests which dominate the "upland' trail maze sections, and the more normal hardwood forests. It seems to be tricky to set parameters that do a good job in these settings.
    The most important weakness of KP (and other lidar based programs) is simply trails, which unfortunately is an extremely critical issue at GL-KP.
    The trail networks here would need to be field surveyed in the traditional way, by one of our pro level mappers. Even the best GPS mapping that I have observed (Wyatt, Petr) would not suffice here to depict the necessary small bends and acurate intersections.

    The clearly proven application of KP mapping is in contour rich terrain, where the runnability is defined by evergreen vegetation (esp Mtn Laurel & Rhod.), and the users are advanced orienteers, who don't need reliable trail info, unlike beginners.
    The next step is to learn where and how we might apply this mapping to other situatiions.
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