Thoughts on US Orienteering   1 comment

My side trip to the Buffalo Orienteering Festival (see previous posts) in the USA set me thinking about US orienteering, as compared to Israel. First, let's look at the relative sizes:

The black arrow is the distance I covered to get from my business destination to the event. Basically, it was in the same small corner of the USA, but I still had to drive 5 hours, and that was only in one direction!
In Israel, every one-day national event has 400-500 participants. This two-day event (which was an official USOF "A-meet") had 200-250, and I noticed that there were very few juniors. The organisation was excellent, from both a logistical and technical point of view, and the terrain was very good as well.
The point here is that in Israel, every orienteering event is within (driving) range, so all 60-70 events during a season have large numbers of participants. In the USA, orienteers are spread out much more, and fewer in relation to the total population, so events are smaller by far, even though the organisational ability seems to be slightly better.
However, the potential in the USA is much higher. In my opinion, there are several areas (states?) there with the potential to build up an orienteering scene at least at our level, from the point of view of population (several millions) and terrain (50-100 forest maps). If there were a number of such concentrations, each with 10-20 clubs and an event at least every weekend, there would be a basis for strong intra-regional and inter-regional competitiveness. We have less than 1000 members in a population of 7 million. If the USA had even 3-4 regions at our scale and close to our geographic level of concentration, orienteering there would take a large step forward.

Posted 24/05/2009 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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One response to “Thoughts on US Orienteering

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  1. I think Israel is much smaller than what you depicted.In orienteering, smaller is sometimes better, not to mention the diversity of terrain (in Israel). Also, in the US there's a big issue of private property.

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