Get Your Compass Out For Orienteering Clinics



A series of free clinics for people wanting to learn about orienteering and adventure racing is scheduled to begin this Wednesday evening at the Swasey recreation area west of Redding.

The Shasta Orienteering and Adventure Racing (SOAR) team is conducting the clinics to introduce people to the sport, and to generate interest in an adventure race scheduled for October 9 and 10 at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area.

Participants will learn the basics of using a compass, orienting themselves on a map, and finding and following a race course, said Tracy Evans, one the organizers. After about an hour’s worth of instruction and question-and-answer, participants will head out on a course to test their newly acquired skills for another 60 to 90 minutes.

This sort of racing is not like trail running or mountain biking events, where competitors follow a marked course along well-established trails and dirt roads. Rather, competitors in adventure racing and orienteering have to locate checkpoints on an unmarked course that often includes a good bit of cross-country travel and scrambling.

“We’re giving people the skills they need to be successful at the beginner level in an adventure race,” Evans said. “At the entry level, if you can read a compass and read a map, you’re going to be successful.”

Although adventure racing often involves travel by foot, bicycle, boat and other means, the clinics will keep people on their feet. The first clinic is set for 6 p.m. at September 1 at the Swasey recreation area on Swasey Road, between Placer and Lower Springs roads, west of Redding. The second clinic is scheduled for 6 p.m. on September 8 at Whiskeytown’s Oak Bottom parking lot, just off Highway 299. A third clinic is scheduled for September 15 at a yet-to-be-determined location. Another clinic or two could follow later in September.

Team SOAR will provide maps and snacks. Participants should bring their own compass, appropriate footwear and water. If you plan to attend or have questions, contact Team SOAR through its website,


• All alumni of Igo-Ono School are invited a potluck party at this school at 4 p.m. Saturday, September 4, to honor teachers Kathy Smith-Burwell and Sally Ryan, both of whom recently retired after 30-plus years on the job. To RSVP or learn more details, contact Larry Blaygrave at (530) 396-2574 or Stephanie Luck at (530) 396-2324.

• The Women’s Fund of the Shasta Regional Community Foundation has issued its first ever grant to Girls Inc. of Northern Sacramento Valley. Girls Inc. intends to use the $15,000 grant to implement a financial literacy training program for middle school and high school girls in Redding. The focus of this year’s grant program is on providing economic self-sufficiency skills to women. Of course, plenty of us men couldn’t balance a checkbook if our lives depended on it.

• The Shasta County Health and Human Services agency continues to issue pleas for foster parents, as there are more children needing foster care than the local system currently is able to accommodate. If you have any interest, contact the agency at (530) 229-8484.

shigley-mugshotPaul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and is pretty sure he knows north from south. He lives in Centerville. Paul Shigley may be reached at

has been a professional journalist since 1987. For 12 years, he served as editor or senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a statewide trade publication for land use planners, real estate development professionals and attorneys. Prior to that, he worked as a reporter or editor at newspapers in Redding, Grass Valley, Napa and Calistoga. Shigley's work also has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Planning magazine, Governing magazine, California Law Week, National Speed Sport News and elsewhere. In addition, he is co-author of Guide to California Planning, a college text and reference book, and is currently working on a book for the American Planning Association about the Bay Delta and California water resources. A graduate of California State University, Sacramento, Shigley has contributed to A News Cafe since 2009. He and his wife, Dana, live in western Shasta County.
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