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Orienteering season starts in right direction

The Buffalo Orienteering Club will kick off its season Saturday at Chestnut Ridge Park with a master class for beginners on map and compass use followed by a regular four-course event.

A training session is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. and the regular event, which is geared for runners or walkers of all ages and abilities, at 11 a.m. There is an $8 fee that includes a detailed map of the park.

For individuals looking for a wilder challenge, mark your calendar for Sept. 29, when the club will conduct an Adventure Run and Hike in the hills outside of Ellicottville by Holiday Valley ski resort. Participants will use strategy to make their way through three-hour or six-hour courses that will test their endurance and brains.

This year also will see the continuation of the club's "Explore Erie County Parks" trail runs. The races include 5k and 10k runs at Hunters Creek Park on June 3 and a 5k run at Chestnut Ridge on July 12.

In addition, there will be a full slate of standard orienteering meets -- at Emery Park on May 20; Hunters Creek Park on June 3; and Schoellkopf Scout Camp on June 23.

Orienteering involves using a map and compass to navigate terrain to find checkpoints. Events are conducted as competitive races, but can also be leisurely hiked alone or in groups, and are designed for all ages and abilities. The club also sets up permanent courses for the season in county parks for which participants can buy maps and try to find the checkpoints on their own.

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