Learn Digital Orienteering at Ontario Parks

The idea behind orienteering is to use a map and compass to navigate from point to point in the least amount of time. If you’re a newbie and the whole map and compass thing is a little intimidating, try digital orienteering.  

Two southern Ontario Parks now offer this outdoor-lover’s sport. At Frontenac Provincial Park north of Kingston, Ontario, traditional and GPS orienteering (levels I and II) are offered every spring by the Friends of Frontenac Park  and west of Toronto, Bronte Creek Provincial Park hosts summer GPS orienteering classes.

“It’s not like the navigation system you use in your car where you punch in the address”, says Sheila Weibe, who teaches the course at Bronte Creek Provincial Park.  “GPS orienteering requires you to punch in the coordinates. We teach participants why it works, how it works and then they go out and do a bit of a scavenger hunt.”

Digital orienteering is ideal for RV campers too, who want to find their way around an area, identify the nearest historical points of interest, hospital or gas station. It can also be used to map a route that avoids traffic.

Thanks to sponsorship and donations from the Canada Trust Friends of the Environment and Radio World, Bronte Creek was able to buy GPS units for its classes. Visitors learn how to use the hand-held GPS units to navigate as if they were in a wilderness setting. Park safely is a big priority in each class. GPS etiquette is another class feature. It teaches visitors to travel within Ontario Parks in a way that does not disrupt a park’s natural beauty.

For future course dates and times at Frontenac Provincial Park, contact the Friends of Frontenac. To sign up or learn more about Bronte Creek’s GPS orienteering courses, call Sheila at 905-827-6911, extension 228 or email her at sheila.wiebe@ontario.ca.