Magazine article Sunset

New Maps for Hikers and Bikers

Magazine article Sunset

New Maps for Hikers and Bikers

Article excerpt

As gardeners begin their annual perusal of spring seed catalogs, hikers and cyclists are performing their own rite of winter: scanning guidebooks and contour maps to plan summer treks.

The U.S. Geological Survey is the primary source for topographical quadrangle maps. However, many "quads" haven't been resurveyed for decades-while trails, forest boundaries, and even geographical features may have changed. Recently, several small companies have taken on the job of updating USGS quads. The resulting maps are often more accurate, more detailed, and easier to read.

We know of six companies that publish detailed topo maps for the West; each takes a slightly different approach to improving on old standbys. A seventh feeds USGS quads through a computer to create innovative three-dimensional maps for cyclists, runners, and walkers. Still another has gone a step beyond maps to provide hikers with detailed analyses of mileage and elevation for selected trails. You'll find them in book, map, and sporting goods stores in the regions they cover, or you can order by mail.

Custom Correct Maps. About five years ago, a veteran ranger from Olympic National Park began producing updated maps of the park and adjacent wilderness areas. Tom Shindler rearranges map boundaries according to trails and destinations, rather than sticking to the strict USGS grid. He cites a Murphy's Law of the wilderness: "The best places are always at the intersection of four quads."

Mr. Shindler checks every trail on his 16 maps with an altimeter and a measuring wheel. Trails (in red) show intervals in miles and kilometers. He updates woodland shading, coloring burned or clear-cut areas white, not green. Maps cost $1.95; for a free index, write or call Little River Enterprises, 499 Little River Rd., Port Angeles, Wash. 98362; (206) 457-5667.

Geo-Graphics. AI Cardwell publishes maps ($5.95 to $7.95) of three Oregon wilderness areas: Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, and Three Sisters. Trail markings clearly indicate routes for hikers, climbers, skiers, and snowmobilers. Mr. Cardwell updates trails, roads, and woodlands; he also marks abandoned trails. Shaded relief and careful selection of detail make for easy reading. Mount Hood and Three Sisters include detailed peak maps. To order, call (503) 241-9287, or write to 225 S.W. Broadway, Apt. 418, Portland 97205.

Green Trails. Walt Locke began updating quads in 1972; today his maps cover the Washington Cascades and Olympic Peninsula (I 00 maps), and the Oregon Cascades south to Mount Jefferson (15). Smaller and easier to handle than USGS maps, the pared-down quads include only essential hiking information. The quads have indexes to adjacent maps; on newer revisions, tables list trails and facilities. Mr. Locke field-checks trails when current information isn't available. Maps cost $1.95 ($2.25 by mail); for a list (specify Oregon or Washington), write to Green Trails, Box 1142, Kingston, Wash. 98346.

Mountaineers Books. Most of this publisher's five topo maps are produced as companions to guidebooks for Alaska and Washington. Size and format vary, from a detailed map of Alpine Lake Wilderness (1:100,000 scale) to an overview of Alaskan parks (1:2,500,000). For a catalog, call (800) 553-4453.

Terragraphics. …

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