Orienteering and the environment

Orienteering is a sport which is intertwined with the natural environment: it helps to educate people about the natural environment, and relies upon national parks, state forests and private land to hold events. Orienteering’s impact on the environment is negligible in most cases, but events can be managed to avoid areas of extreme sensitivity.

On this page, we provide some information about orienteering and the environment, including:

  • Orienteering Australia environmental code of practice (which is appendix 7 to the OA Competition Rules).
  • Scientific studies into the impact of orienteering upon the natural environment.
  • Examples of management plan or submissions from orienteers about ways to manage issues between orienteering associations and landowners.
  • Measuring the impact of recreational events within national parks by David Hogg & Cormac Farrell : Download Report PDF
  • ACT Environmental Monitoring Report on 2010 Australian 3-Days : Download Report PDF
  • Environmental Impact of an Orienteering event : Download Report PDF
  • Appendix to Environmental Impact of an Orienteering event (6.9 MB) : Download PDF
  • Environmental Hypochondria, article by David Hogg extracted from Environmental Practitioner Issue 2 June 2006 : Download Article PDF

Managing Environmental Issues in Orienteering

This page is designed to include resources relating to the management of Orienteering in National Parks and Nature Reserves. The intent is to provide information to land managers and orienteers as to existing agreements, and to highlight recent activity in this area. The resources are available in pdf format by clicking on the links below.

Agreements with Landholders

An agreement between the Orienteering Association of NSW and Forests NSW. The agreement sets out the application and approvals process for gaining access to forests, as well as stipulating the applicable fees and conditions of use, and is a cooperative effort between OANSW and FNSW. The agreement may be downloaded as a pdf document here.

Submissions to Landholders

In 2005, Environment ACT released a draft plan of management for recreation in Namadgi National Park. There were a number of submissions by orienteers into this draft plan. Submissions from OACT and Bob Mouatt are available here. The final plan will be released later in 2006.

IOF resolution on good environmental practice

At its meeting on 12/14 April 1996, the Council of the International Orienteering Federation, acknowledging the importance of maintaining the environmentally friendly nature of orienteering, and in accordance with the GAISF Resolution on the Environment of 26 October 1995, 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

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.