On Sunday April 10, BOK will hold its first event at Carolina North Forest (CNF). This is a “Members” event, open only to BOK members who have completed an orange (or more advanced) course. You must pre-register for this event here, before 5:00 PM on Friday, April 8, so that we know how many maps to print. Registration, start, and finish will all be from the trail parking lot, approximately 800m off of Municipal Drive (GPS coordinates: 35.936489, -79.066052; Map here. Overflow parking at 35.939518, -79.058368). Starts can be accommodated between noon and 2:00, with control pickup beginning around 3:00. Please read below for important information about this event.
Directions to the start: From I-40, take exit 266 south on NC-86 (MLK Jr. Blvd.). In approximately 2 miles, turn right at the traffic light onto Municipal drive. The road bends and turns to gravel. Follow signs to the trail parking. Park at the east side trail parking lot, approximately half a mile off Municipal drive. GPS coordinates are: 35.936489, -79.066052.
Brown: 4.2 km, 8 controls.
Green: 5.7 km, 11 controls.
Red: 7.0 km, 14 controls.
The map is drafted at 1:10000 scale, with a contour interval of 2.5 m. Courses will be printed on an 8.5” x 11” page, aligned with magnetic north. Contours are based on USGS lidar and will appear more jittery than usual. Smoothing these contour lines is an ongoing project.
If you have not yet been to CNF, you will instantly be struck by its large complex network of single track mountain bike trails. These trails are generally fairly-well mapped; however, they are very twisty, and it is simply not possible to map every single bend accurately and legibly at 1:10000 scale. Please keep this in mind if you need to orient yourself on a trail – base your orientation on the global direction of the trail, not on a small, local (and possibly un-mapped) turn. The large network of trails means that controls cannot be located too far from a trail, and thus advanced courses may feel somewhat easier to navigate than is customary. (But remember: if the course is too easy navigationally, then just run faster!) Keys to successful navigation will be making good route choices and staying in contact with the map.
On using the map, you will likely notice several differences in mapping style between the CNF map and other BOK maps. Notably, I generally did not map boulders and knolls that are less than 1 meter high. Prominent dry ditches less than 1 meter high are generally mapped. I did not map rootstocks, and only mapped single trees as ‘significant’ (green circle) if it was truly magnificent, seemed especially prominent (or was a great possibility for a control site.)
An unusual feature of this map is its dozens of long rows of disturbed ground. These rows are only a few meters wide, and can run for more than 100 meters. They look like a series of small knolls, none of which is large enough to map. Their linear pattern, though, is fairly clear and thus have been included on the map as disturbed ground.
Careful observation of parts of the woods reveals old, and quite indistinct, logging roads or tracks associated with the previous airport runways. I have mapped a handful of the more prominent remains of these tracks as ‘rides’ (and in one case as a pair of distinct vegetation boundaries). Don’t mistake the ride symbol on the map as a trail, because these rides can be often quite difficult to discern, unless you see them from exactly the right angle.
Minor stream bends have not yet been accurately mapped. You can trust the overall orientation and the major bends of streams, but do not look for precise mapping of every bend with the same accuracy that the trails are mapped. Similarly, the mapping of vegetation differences is an ongoing project. The current map may only be suggestive of the type of vegetation thickness that you will find. In general, and relative to the Umstead map, you will probably find the woods to be slightly thicker than mapped (e.g., I use light green where the Umstead map uses medium green).
The document Orienteering in Carolina North Forest contains additional general information about CNF and its support of orienteering and includes a map snippet.