Permanent Course at Pratt's Falls
CNYO maintains a permanent orienteering course at Pratt's Falls County Park in Pompey, New York. This beautiful Onondaga County park offers scouts, youth groups, and the general public the opportunity to practice map and compass skills amidst scenic waterfalls and verdant woods. It's a great training venue for scouts in anticipation of our annual Scout-O event at Highland Forest. The course is free and open to the public during regular park hours. Please note that the park is closed November-March.
What do I need?
To complete the course, you will need:
- A detailed orienteering course map
- A clue sheet
- A punch card
- A pen, pencil, or crayon
Download the map, the clue sheet, and the punch card from the links below. Print them out, and bring them with you. To protect them from the elements, place them in a page protector or gallon-sized plastic bag.
If you've never orienteered before, we suggest that you start with the easiest points first. It is possible to find the easiest points without a compass, but for points off-trail, we recommend that you bring a decent quality compass and be familiar with its use. Learning resources are available online.
How does the course work?
Our orienteering course uses 4" square metal markers permanently placed on trees and other features at the park. The course map shows the location of 24 of these control points sorted into three different levels of difficulty. The 8 beginner points are all within a half mile walk of the main parking lot and are located along trails and prominent features. The 8 intermediate points are off trail and a bit more challenging, but still an easy walk from the parking lot. The 8 advanced points will take you further afield and require some proficiency with a map and compass to find. Use the clue sheet to give you more information about the specific location of each point.
The control point difficulty is as follows:
- Short and easy points: 4, 6, 7, 10, 18, 19, 22, 23
- Intermediate points: 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17
- Advanced points: 1, 2, 3, 5, 14, 20, 21, 24
Each control marker has a two-letter code printed on it. When you find a control, write the code in the corresponding box on the punch card. The points can be found in any order (planning a route is part of the fun) and you don't need to limit yourself to just one skill level. Find them at your own pace and make multiple park visits if needed. When you have completed your adventure, you can scan your card or copy the information into an email and send it to our course steward for verification.
Stuck? If you can't find a control, look at the surrounding area to be sure the land matches the map. Then double check the clue sheet to be sure you are looking for the right features. The more you practice, the more successful you will become. If a control marker is damaged or missing please report it to course steward, who can also answer other questions regarding the course.
Where is our course located?
Pratt's Falls County Park
7671 Pratts Falls Road
Manlius, NY 13104
(between Hennebery Road and Watervale Road)
- Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. If you are a beginner, we recommend that you go with a friend(s).
- Bring a whistle. Three long blasts means "Help!"
- Safety bearing is SOUTH. If you become lost, you can travel due South to the Pratt's Falls Road. The park is rather small, so you should never be more than 1/3 mile from a road or trail.
- Always check back in with whomever you told your plans to. Otherwise you may be the object of an unnecessary search.