The park is typical glaciated New England terrain consisting of two major ridges and the valley between them, but rock features are concentrated in certain bands with other areas featuring complicated areas of small hills and depressions. Overall, the forest is 40% light green, 40% medium green, and 15% white woods.
Willard Brook State Forest is similar to nearby Townsend State Forest (5 miles away as the crow flies), used for previous national ranking events, including the 2014 Troll Cup. Previous courses at Townsend SF are available for review on Routegadget on the NEOC website.
Rick DeWitt produced the LiDAR basemap for Willard Brook. Jon Campbell field checked and drafted the map from January 2019 until summer 2021. There are about 500 hours of work represented in the 8 sq-km of this IOF standard orienteering map (ISOM17-2).
There is a lot of complexity and variety in the terrain at Willard Brook. Parts of the map have complex contour features, including depressions, while other parts have bland contours. You will notice incredible rock detail in some places and nearly no rock elsewhere. On top of this, the forest is a patchwork of vegetation of various densities. Much time and effort went into depicting all this complexity fairly and accurately—enjoy! -Jon Campbell
Vegetation The forest is predominantly mapped as light green (Vegetation: Slow Run). Where shown, the “white woods” (Open Forest) is significantly faster and has better visibility. While not a map of plant species, the medium green (Vegetation: Walk) is normally mountain laurel, the “single green stripe” (Vegetation/Undergrowth, Slow Running, Good Visibility) is normally low bush blueberry, the “double green stripe” (Vegetation/Undergrowth, Walk, Good Visibility) is normally thorny green brier. The few patches of dark green (Vegetation, Fight) are nearly impassable thickets.
Remember that vegetation shown on an orienteering map is by necessity a generalized area feature, and in most cases the boundary between “colors” is indistinct. Corridors shown (white in light green, light green through medium green) offer significant advantage. My hope is you will find the mapped vegetation detail useful for route choice and navigation.
Rock features Mapping of cliffs, boulders, and stony ground is “relative,” with the goal being local consistency (within at least the competitor’s “sight bubble”) rather than consistency across the whole map. In other words, in the very rocky areas, a marginal 1m boulder might be generalized away as part of a boulder field or as stony ground. In a bland area of the map, or near a trail, the same boulder will be shown. Speaking of stony ground, remember it’s a generalized area feature. In some cases, stony ground dots are used to show a “rocky something” that doesn’t quite meet the definitions of cliff, boulder, or bare rock, but is nonetheless prominent and useful for navigation.
Mountain bike trails. There is an active mountain biking community that uses the forest, including for off-trail riding. These users actively re-route existing trails or build new ones, either deliberately or through heavy use. Don’t be surprised to find an unmapped short trail segment that suddenly disappears.
Deliberate variations from IOF standards (ISOM 2017-2): Even though they are not 1m high, the few stone walls on the map are shown because they are useful for navigation.
Miscellaneous feature definitions.
Green X (Prominent Vegetation Feature): Prominent rootstock > 1.5m
Black X and O (Prominent Manmade Feature): Typically “junk” in the forest—rusty old car, 55-gallon drum, tarp teepee, etc. If in the area, these will catch your eye and be prominent & useful for navigation: “Whoa, what’s that doing here?” There is a mapped tent near a control on Sunday.
Unknown/Unmapped detail. There is the potential that if you fight your way into a large area of medium or dark green, you will find unmapped detail (rock feature, light green or white forest pockets, etc). I visually inspected every square meter of light green and white woods and as far as I could see into medium green from the last mapped feature. In many cases, I plowed through medium green, particularly if there was any hint on the LiDAR of useful features. If you go awandering and find something interesting, unmapped in the medium or dark green, by all means let me know. Besides noting it for a future update, I’ll probably laugh and ask what on earth you were doing in there in the first place. -Jon