July 27, 2008
Busse Woods Canoe-O
(and a bonus Sprint course)

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Course Setter:
Michael Collins

9:30 a.m. Beginners' Clinic
10 a.m. Registration and Start
12 p.m. Registration closes
2 p.m. Courses close

(Maximum time on course: 3 hours)

Cost: (per individual or team)
CAOC members $7
non-members $10
canoe rental $15
SI card rental $5
SI card purchase $30
additional maps $3
rental compass $1

On-line registration is now available.

(We suggest a maximum of four people per group.)

View Larger Map

Please join us for the fifth annual Chicago Area Orienteering Club Canoe-O. This event is designed to test your paddling skills as well as your orienteering skills.

The controls will be scattered around the main pool, with its many inlets and islands. We'll be using pre-printed courses on existing map supplies, so if you don't already have a map case, we strongly recommend buying one on-site and sealing it well with tape or with the heat sealer (also available on-site).

We will be using ePunch, so bring along your SI chip/card/stick. Sticks can be rented for $5 for the day, or purchased for $30. The course can be done without ePunch, but you will not have your time recorded or posted on the web site. You still need to check in and out so that we know you have safely returned.

There will be three courses; a long course (about 6 km) which should take the fastest paddlers about 75 minutes to complete, a medium course (3.5 km) which should take just under an hour, and a short course (2 km) which should take the fastest paddlers about a half hour to complete. Of course, your results may vary.

In the past, significant portions of the courses could be run by someone along shore. Because of the number of islands used as control locations, this years' courses will mostly favor paddling.

We will be keeping track of the number of people on each team, as well as the type of watercraft, but there will not be separate classes for single/double/canoe/kayak, etc.

We will also have a bonus sprint course (to be completed on foot). This course will be available at no additional charge to registrants of the canoe-O. It is designed to be completed in about 15 minutes by an experienced orienteer. Novice and intermediate orienteers may take a little longer, but it will still be a great introduction to more advanced control locations, without requiring a long time commitment. ;)

Bring shoes that you don't mind getting dirty. You will need to get out of your boat to punch at a few of the controls, and you may need to wade for very short distances. A change of clothes for afterward is highly recommended.

Canoe rental will be available at the start/finish. We have arranged for 10 canoes to be guaranteed for our use. These will be available for $15 (flat fee per team) on a reservation basis. All 9:45 a.m. slots have been reserved. Only 11:45 a.m. reservations are available. If any boats remain after reservations, they will be available on a first-come first-served basis. Boat rental includes paddles and personal floatation devices (PFDs). Competitors are welcome (nay, encouraged) to bring their own canoes, kayaks, or rowboats. Please have your current Illinois boat license already affixed.

Here are a few rules specific to Canoe-O (subject to change without notice):

  1. For safety reasons (and canoe rental rules), no more than 2 adults may be in a rented boat, and every person must be wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) at all times. If you are in your own boat, you may have up to 3 adults.

  2. Competitors start and finish with all crew members and equipment. One or all teammates may leave the boat during the event, but at the finish line the crew, boat, and all equipment must be back together again. This means that one teammate could run between controls while another paddles.

  3. No swimming is allowed. Many controls may be designated as "wet" controls, which means they must be visited in a boat. If you have any questions about whether a control is "wet" or "dry," please ask at the start/finish before you begin.

  4. No boat may be portaged across or along Higgins road, for safety reasons. The courses have been designed to make this a very unfavorable choice, anyway.


  • There will be some legs where paddling might not be your best option.

  • Running the entire course is not allowed. Some of the controls will be on islands, and forest preserve rules prohibit swimming in the reservoir.

  • Controls (especially on the long course) will probably not be visible from across the the water. However, other competitors' boats will be visible.

Take I-90 (Kennedy Expwy and Northwest Tollway) northwest of the Loop 23 miles. Exit at I-290 / Route 53 southbound. Go about 1 mile and exit at Higgins Road. Turn left and go about a quarter mile to the first forest preserve entrance on the right. Watch for the red and white orienteering signs to direct you to the registration area, which is near the boat rental.

Public Transportation:
The Pace #208 bus runs every half-hour starting at 7:45 a.m. from the Davis stop on the Purple Line in Evanston. The bus travels along Golf Road which borders Busse Woods on the north. A much shorter bus ride is available on the #606 Pace bus that leaves the Rosemont stop on the Blue Line at 8:15 and 9:45 Sunday mornings and also travels west on Golf Road. Get off either bus at the intersection of Golf and I-90, cross the drainage ditch near Salt Creek, and walk south into the fields and woods of the forest preserve, making sure you've brought an old copy of the orienteering map for guidance. On the way back to the City, you can stop for a hamburger and beer at Portillo's or Chili's on Golf Road near the bus stop (under 1 mile of walking from the bus to the meet location).

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