LIOC History

Jim and Chuck Laun first got interested in Orienteering ("O") as a sport on a scout campout at Camp Wauwapex (now Schiff Scout Reservation) in Wading River in 1977.  From there they found Westchester Orienteering Club holding meets regularly at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. That was where they met Ed Hicks and Nina Roark, who were both involved in outdoor education programs.  Ed and others had a strong club in Westchester and he was a huge promoter of the sport throughout the region. 

The Long Island Orienteering Club started in 1978 when Dawson Hunter, a long time Scouter who was then the advisor to Post One, a High Adventure Explorer Post, organized a meet at Muttontown Preserve using a black and white map.  The leadership of the club formed in the ROTC facility at Hofstra University.  Nina Roark was President and Jim Laun was Vice President.  Nina served until she moved in 1982, then Jim took over for a few years and was replaced by his brother Chuck.  

The commander of the ROTC printed our first maps and brought his students out as it fit their land navigation curriculum.  The first two color maps were both drawn by George LoCasio and in use starting in 1979  (see below).  Gradually adding new maps we improved our field checking and mapping skills eventually converting to the IOF standards for map symbols and printing. We got help from all quarters.  For example, some of our better early maps were printed by the Bronx Zoo.

Our efforts focused on introducing folks to the sport we had come to love.  We had large training sessions at each meet as the turnout grew. The cost was $1 and most participants were not yet serious competitors.  That changed by 1981 as more club members began travelling to 'A' meets sanctioned by USOF.  A dozen or more would head out on a Friday night for a weekend of orienteering as near as Bear Mountain or as far as Quantico, VA. We even made it to New Hampshire and Ottawa, Canada.    We tried Ski O and night O, then brought the fun back to LIOC with the first Canoe O in 1982.  The Halloween costume O was another fun event.   Jim met Nancy at the canoe O in 1982 and he convinced her to help with course setting for the Eisenhower Park meet in November. Forty plus years later and the whole family still enjoys orienteering. 

By this time we had 5 maps (Muttontown, Sunken Meadow, Nissequogue River, Caumsett, and West Hills).

In 1987, John Pekarik attended his first O meet with his son (see Newsday article below).  Two years later John became president and lead the club for 31 years.  This meant that he fulfilled most of the club tasks including compiling the newsletter, setting up the registration and signage for each meet, setting courses, learning OCAD to be able to keep our maps current and print maps before the event.  Previously, each participant needed to draw the course on a blank map.  This now saves the participants time but wastes maps as we always print more than we need.

In 2020, Glen Malings, who had retired and no longer had an excuse, took over as club president.  

We now have 10 maps where we hold O meets (Muttontown, Sunken Meadow North and South, Nissequogue River, Caumsett, West Hills North and South, Stillwell Woods, Nissequogue River State Park, and Edgewood

We have several more that we created but can not use for the general public  (Avalon - no longer allows meets after COVID inundated their parking facilities, Baiting Hollow - Scout camp, Northport HS - for their use, William T Rogers middle school - for use by the Scout troop that meets there, Caleb Smith - will not allow us to hold meets due to parking restrictions)