top of page

Last Updated:

March 26, 2023

While our course setters and officials prioritize safety and fairness, here are a few of the potential hazards you are most likely to encounter while orienteering in Ontario, and steps you can take to minimize their impact:


Full leg covering is recommended for all races in wooded areas and open fields due to the possibility of encountering:

Poison Ivy: Contact with poison ivy oil can cause skin irritation and blistering that will often last for 10 days or more. If you have made contact with poison ivy, handle clothing carefully and immediately wash down clothing and skin with soap and water. More details at this Health Canada site.

Wild Parsnip: This invasive plant is becoming more common along roadsides, ditches, railways and in meadows and may harm you. The sap can cause extreme sensitivity to sunlight, which can result in severe burns, and even blindness if you get sap in your eyes. See this link for more info.

Giant Hogweed: Another invader similar to Wild Parsnip yet more

dangerous. Like Wild Parsnip, Giant Hogweed has a phototoxic sap that can cause severe burns on human skin when exposed to sunlight. It also tends to grow in meadows and along roads, railroads and ditches. See this link for more info.

Wildlife :

Large animals: Black bears, coyotes, cougars, porcupines, moose and deer can be seen in our woods. They don't want to encounter you any more than you want to encounter them. Give them space. Back away, slowly. Report the sighting to meet officials when you return.

Ticks: Black-legged ticks which are found most often in long grasses may carry Lyme Disease and may infect you after burrowing into your skin. Please see Health Canada's site to understand how to protect yourself from ticks, how to remove a tick and how to recognize any symptoms. Please always do a complete and through tick check after every event.

Aside from the above mentioned plant and animal hazards, certain areas can feature steep terrain and/or a lot of rocky uneven ground and deadfall, which can be very slippery when wet. Footing with excellent traction is strongly advised for all events in forested terrain.

Potential Hazards

bottom of page