Orienteering values responsible outdoor activity, minimal environmental impact and collaboration with land managers to promote outdoor recreation.

Responsible Orienteering

The resources on this page are intended to provide information to land managers, orienteering officials and participants, including agreements, policies and best practice guides.

environmental best practice

Orienteers worldwide acknowledge the importance of maintaining the environmentally friendly nature of orienteering, and have therefore, adopted the following principles:

  • to continue to be aware of the need to preserve a healthy environment and to integrate this principle into the fundamental conduct of orienteering
  • to ensure that the rules of competition and best practice in the organisation of events are consistent with the principle of respect for the environment and the protection of flora and fauna
  • to cooperate with landowners, government authorities and environmental organisations so that best practice may be defined
  • to take particular care to observe local regulations for environmental protection, to maintain the litter-free nature of orienteering and to take proper measures to avoid pollution
  • to include environmental good practice in the education and training of orienteers and officials
  • to heighten the national federations’ awareness of worldwide environmental problems so that they may adopt, apply and popularise principles to safeguard orienteering’s sensitive use of the countryside
  • to recommend that the national federations prepare environmental good practice guidelines specific to their own countries

Below is some information about orienteering and the environment, including:

Scientific Studies

Orienteering is a very low impact sport. There have been numerous scientific studies conducted, both in Australia and overseas, and some of these resources are provided here.

Australian Studies

A study conducted by Hugh Moore on the impact of the 2007 Oceania Championships in the Namadgi National Park. [Download pdf file]

A study conducted by Dr Tony Friend and Anna Napier examining the minimal vegetation damage caused by an orienteering event in Western Australia. Published in the OAWA Newsletter, 1987. [Download scanned jpg file]

A study conducted by Sue Moore into the impact of orienteering on granite rocks. Published in the Conservation and Land Management Newsletter, 1988. [Download scanned jpg file]

International Studies

A full review of scientific studies into the environmental impact of orienteering.

A study into the effect of an orienteering event on breeding wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) at Titterstone Clee, Shropshire, UK.

Comparison of the environmental impact of orienteering and other offf-track recreations in the Dartmoor National Park, UK).

These and other documents prepared by the IOF Environment Commission can be found here.

Agreements with Landholders

Access to natural areas relies heavily on negotiating access with land managers. One such example between the Orienteering Association of NSW and Forests NSW van be found below. The agreement sets out the application and approvals process for gaining access to forests, as well as outlining the terms and conditions of use. Download the PDF document here.