Daniel Boone Terrain

This document was originally prepared for the 2001 Daniel Boone Frontier Festival sponsored by DVOA, November 3 & 4, 2001. The document explains and compares the terrain offered by the two different venues (Daniel Boone Homestead and French Creek West). The explanation of how to handle the challenges offered by the two maps provides many valuable training tips that can be applied to all maps.


DVOA's Frontier Festival features two new maps of old DVOA terrains. These areas are geographically close, and united by historical significance, but extremely different from an orienteering perspective.

Saturday's venue, Daniel Boone Homestead (DBH), is not a classic orienteering terrain. Its dense vegetation and maze-like network of trails and clearings will provide a unique challenge, exercising o-skills not brought out by straightforward terrain. If competitors adjust expectations and leave the dreams of runnable woods at the parking lot, then the experience of navigating the twists and turns of DBH can be a positive one.

Sunday's venue, French Creek West (FCW), has a somewhat unique character as well, with broad hillsides and few distinct features. However the mature forest with generally good, runability and visibility makes for a more traditional o-terrain, at least by DVOA standards.

We know that these two areas are very contrasting. We will do what we can to make them complimentary as well.

Day 1/ Saturday - Daniel Boone Homestead


  • The vegetation is mostly young forest, and other transitional vegetation, much of it dense, some of it impenetrable.
  • There is a very dense network of trails, clearings, and passageways between thickets, including some active nursery areas.
  • DBH has somewhat interesting topography, consisting of low ridges, with some knoll, spur, and reentrant details. The overall pattern is rather unique in that it is oriented east - west and curves through the area. However, the contour picture is frequently made less significant to the orienteering because of the generally limited visibility, and dominance of other features.
  • There is at least one mapped cliff, but the only other rock features on the map might be in the legend.
  • DBH has a poorly draining clay soil over shale bedrock and can be muddy for a long time after rain.


  • Scale - 1:10,000
  • Contours - 2.5 meters (note change from earlier map)
  • The light green forest is usually pleasant, much closer to white than medium green
  • The darkest green (100% green) should be considered impenetrable
  • No hunter's stands are mapped
  • The cultivated area (100% yellow with black dots) near the start will be crossable (not out of bounds) for the event


  • Advanced level (brown and up) courses will be 10 - 20% shorter than normal, and have slightly shorter legs/more controls than normal
  • Advanced courses may have some control sites that are easier than normal, technically. -We will strive to avoid "burying" controls in unpleasant vegetation. Some controls may be in medium green but only where we believe it is reasonable


Take extra time to carefully plan routes. Rarely, will the straight line be a good option. Stay out of the dark green completely and avoid medium green whenever possible. There will almost always be a more pleasant, and probably faster option. Don't outrun your navigation. Stay on the trails, clearings, and whatever white and light green forest you can find. Miss a turn? Don't compound the mistake by diving into a green "shortcut". The vegetation will usually win.


There have been previous A-meets on terrains that share some qualities with DBH. The terrains that are most comparable are DVOA's Nockamixon, (fall '00) and Valley Forge Fatlands (short course champs - '94) maps, as well as Quantico's A-meet map of Soldier's Delight ('87?) These areas feature large amounts of very thick vegetation but with intricate network of passageways. This type of orienteering might be described as "maze - O", or "super - yellow" (course) orienteering, since much of the orienteering takes place on trails or clearings, with many turns/decision points occurring quickly at potentially high rate a speed.

I believe DBH is the best area of this style that I have seen, because of the richness of the passageway network. If the area were slightly larger it might be deserving of a World Cup. I think it is that uniquely challenging. The O- beauty of this area could be described as rose-like, in that the key to enjoying the beauty is learning how to grasp the stem between the thorns. Of course some participants may form other opinions or simply come to understand why Daniel Boone left home.

However, now we have a very sharp, up-to-date map of a quickly changing and detailed area. DBH area will probably not have another A- meet window for a long time. Some will be grateful for this, but we hope that most will at least appreciate this opportunity.

Day 2/ Sunday - French Creek West


The forest of FCW is predominantly mature hardwoods, providing generally good visibility and runability.

There are significant areas of stony ground and other small rock features but no big rock features in fact very few big features at all except for the general hill mass. There are many indistinct, abandoned trails that have become ditch-like over time. There are many small point features most notably charcoal terraces.


  • Scale - 1:15,000
  • Contours - 5 meters
  • The light green vegetation varies from arguably white to arguably medium green but that is partly the nature of the symbol and the nature of the forest, which is marked by very gradual transitions.
  • Most mapped boulders are 1.0 meters and smaller.
  • The map utilizes a lightly dotted green symbol (non-IOF) to highlight evergreen plantations. Not all courses will encounter this feature.
  • The charcoal terraces are marked with a brown triangle (also non-IOF). Every course (?) is expected to encounter this feature


  • Advanced level (brown and up) courses will be 10 - 20% longer than normal.
  • The start will be near the highest spot on the map, with the finish down low. Therefore the courses (especially the shorter courses) will have little climb and very much descent.


  • Ask others who have been here, how to orienteer at French Creek.
  • Read in depth articles on "French Creek Orienteering" originally published in Orienteering North America, March/April and May 1992 issues, republished in DVOA's Briar Patch newsletter, June and September2000.
  • It is very important to stay in contact with the few available features, sometimes "island hopping" from charcoal terrace to charcoal terrace.
  • The areas of mapped stony ground are often the strongest feature in an area.
  • Select and use precise attack points.
  • Use precise compass.
  • Pace count. If you don't normally pace count, now is the time to learn.
  • Find out what a charcoal terrace looks like. It is a circular flat area, 10 - 13 meters in diameter, most obvious when terraced into a hillside. We hope to highlight an example near the start.