Friday, March 9, 2007

The Dark Corners of a Race Director's Brain

Planning an Environmentally Sensitive Adventure Race

  • Course Planning

WeCeFAR looks for interesting places to take racers while maintaining a fluid and mangeable course. We try to use an area only once during the race to reduce the impact and enhance the experience. After we have an original course overview, the team looks for good transition areas that already exist and that are accessable to volunteers, which lowers overall impact. We create a basic route plan based on how we think teams would move through each section and draw on the maps we provide them.

  • Land Manager Meetings

WeCeFAR then meets with the respective Land Managers for comments and concerns. Each organization discusses the pros and cons of each area. We negotiate on any areas of disagreement with respect to usage. We then modify the course plan to accomodate Land Manager concerns for sensitive areas.

Picking an environmentally stable boat launch and take-out, like this gravel-lined area, is a major step towards reducing the footprint of your adventure race.

  • Environment Expert Review

Last but not least we send the final plan to an naturalist for an outside consultantion. This individual provides WeCeFAR with general environmental concerns such as canoe launch areas. In the recent SmartWool Swamp Stomp we had a landing at Kettle Island. Our consultant was concerned because the map didn't show an area for this landing. we assured him that the area had a rocky shore line and that the impact would be minimal.

It all sounds incredibly obvious, but steps like this can lead to a small footprint--and make everyone's racing season better.

Tune in next week for more tips from Dave Kauffman.

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