Environmental Impact Statement
A statement of how the park environment, or visitors,
may be affected by the event and what efforts will be made to mitigate that
Minimal impact on other park visitors & users:
- Courses and assembly areas are in areas away from the major park activities.
- Parking at Mt Laurie map will more than respect the limits of using
maximum 80% - we propose to use no more than 50% of the north parking, and
if it is possible we would park along the access road to the Exshaw dump so
as to use none of the parking.
Minimal impact on the environment:
Orienteering relies fundamentally on being able to
access wilderness terrain. Therefore issues of environmental impact have been
subject to various studies and the International Orienteering Federations
Environment Commission (web:
maintains a record of these studies and provides event organizers around the
world with information regarding the environmental impact of the sport and best
practises in planning and executing events to further reduce the impact. Of
particular interest are two reports by Brian Henry Parker, Chairman of the IOF
- Orienteering, A nature sport with low ecological impact (2010).
A view expressed by some ecologists is that orienteering, by
its off-track nature and often with large numbers of competitors, has the
potential for damaging flora and fauna. This potential appears not to be
realised in practice. In the many thousands of orienteering events that are
held worldwide each year ecological incidents resulting in unacceptable
damage are extremely rare, close to zero. This document gives reasons why
this is so and tests the expectation that orienteering has low ecological
impact against a summary of reported scientific studies.
Research has been conducted
in the three main areas of environmental concern: the trampling of
vegetation, the disturbance of large mammals and the disturbance of birds.
Some studies are reported in refereed journals but most of the others are
only available in documentation with very limited circulation. Those studies
which have come to the notice of the IOF are critically reviewed and, for
each of the three areas of concern, are used to test the hypothesis that
orienteering does cause significant long-term ecological damage.
The conclusion to be drawn from the general vegetation impact studies is
that orienteering has low to very low impact with generally rapid recovery.
With respect to sensitive vegetation, the sport takes precautionary measures
and no evidence of significant long-term damage has been reported. The
hypothesis is rejected.
With respect to the disturbance of large mammals the sport takes
precautionary action and no evidence of long-term detriment has been
reported. The hypothesis is rejected.
In general these studies show that there is
minimal impact on the environment. To give
some of the highlights from the 2010 report, this is due to several
- Dispersal in space. A wide range of courses are offered to
accommodate different ages and abilities (the youngest age group is
under 10 and the oldest is over 80). The combination of many control
points, different courses, and the individual inter-control route choice
results in competitors being spread out in the terrain and not
concentrated as in a cross country race or a marathon.
- Dispersal in time. Most orienteering races are a time trial format
which uses a staggered start with intervals between competitors on the
same course of at least one minute or more. This disperses the athletes
in time so that there are never large groups of runners travelling
- Low competitor density. The dispersal in time and space results in a
low competitor density at any point in the competition terrain, far less
than might be envisaged by those not familiar with the conduct of the
- Episodic, short period activity. Orienteering is episodic, it is
infrequent. It is also short in duration, an event completing in a few
- Refuges for large mammals. Guidelines are followed during the course
planning stages as follows:
- If the terrain covered by the various courses is large, then
refuge areas should be provided for animals. Ideally these will be
areas of thick forest. These will be marked as out of bounds on the
maps and courses will be designed so all sensible route choices will
stay away from these areas. Courses that go past these refuge areas
will be designed to circulate around them in the same direction.
- If the terrain covered by the various courses is relatively
small (perhaps 2-3 sq km or less) then no refuge areas are required
as animal flight distances will take them outside of the competition
- Sensitive areas. If sensitive areas are notified to the planners,
they will place controls not only outside the notified
areas but also in such
positions that the logical route choices do not pass through them.