Apr. 30—It's time to grab a compass and a good pair of hiking boots as Lone Pine State Park will host its first-ever orienteering event at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
Presented by Grizzly Orienteering of Kalispell, the event is free to all newcomers as the group looks to introduce Flathead residents to the outdoor sport.
Orienteering is simple enough on the surface; participants are given a map with a predetermined course that includes several checkpoints. Participants are left to determine their route from checkpoint to checkpoint with only their map and a compass to guide them. Electronic boxes at each checkpoint keep time as participants make their way through the course.
With divisions for all skill levels from beginner to advanced, the course is sure to have something for everyone.
"One thing I love about orienteering is that the whole family can get involved," Grizzly Orienteering co-founder Boris Granovskiy said. "The kids can go out and the grandparents can go out and there will be courses there appropriate for them. It's a great sport to enjoy with the whole family."
Courses are expected to take anywhere from half an hour to two hours to complete and rental compasses will be available.
Organizer and orienteering enthusiast Will Dickinson of Whitefish said all people need to bring Sunday is a good pair of hiking shoes and a sense of adventure.
'We are just trying to get the word out and build momentum so that more people can enjoy this sport because it's a fun sport with a low entry level for beginners. All you need is to have a compass and some good walking shoes," he said. "When you get into this, you really learn about topography and how to get off the trails. It's a skill that most people don't think about. I think a lot of people are pushed away because of all the equipment required, like with paddleboarding or mountain biking. You don't need much for orienteering to have a lot of fun."
For more information, visit Grizzly Orienteering online at www.grizzlyorienteering.org.