In Fall 2022, a 20-point Orienteering and Land Navigation Course was mapped out and installed at Deerfield Nature Park as part of an Eagle Scout Service Project organized by Lukas DiMaria of local Boy Scouts of America Troop 604. The full project was completed with help from Cadet Trent Esch of Central Michigan University’s Army ROTC and Isabella County Parks staff.
The Land Navigation and Orienteering courses are the same course, but the course is used differently depending on whether it is being used for Orienteering or Land Navigation.
Orienteering is a sport in which orienteers use an accurate, detailed map and a compass to find points in the landscape for pleasure or sport. Points on the Deerfield course are marked with a wooden post displaying a number and a letter. Anyone with the proper equipment can try orienteering. There are beginner-friendly “Easy” course lane cards all the way up to “Expert”. Instructions on how to use the course for orienteering can be found on the Isabella County Parks website at isabellacounty.org/parks/orienteeringcourse. Visitors can also ask for maps and lane cards at the Deerfield Nature Park gatehouse when the gatehouse is staffed.
Land Navigation is the discipline of following a route through unfamiliar terrain on foot, using a map of the terrain, a compass, protractor, and other navigational tools to find points in the woods. This skill is normally exercised in a sanctioned event and rigorously tests one’s knowledge in traversing terrain. It is highly recommended that an individual is taught Land Navigation skills before attempting Land Navigation on their own on this course. Land Navigation course instructions can also be found on the Isabella County Parks website.
In Spring 2023, final instructions, maps and lane cards for both the Orienteering course and the Land Navigation course were all completed and added to the Isabella County Parks website. In addition, an instructional metal sign was installed at Deerfield Nature Park next to the course START post, located just east of the Sledding Hill parking lot.
Isabella County Parks would like to recognize and thank everyone involved in the creation of the course for their hard work, and invites park visitors to check out the website and test the course!