Although there are a variety of small stones and cobbles, there are no rocks large enough to be mapped as boulders.
There are no rock cliffs in the park. However, there are a large variety of erosional landforms, including high earth
banks, watercourses, ditches, and gullies. Thus, we used the following standard and non-standard mapping symbology:
Years of farming, ranching, and now horseback riding and hiking have formed an intricate system of watercourses. There
are so many small ditches (up to 1 meter deep), that using the standard brown dotted map symbol was confusing and impossible
to read in areas with dense ditches. Thus, we used the blue dashed small stream symbol to show a wide range of water courses
that can be crossed at speed (for the indicated vegetation). These include shallow reentrants, small ditches, and deeper swales.
Abandoned trails that are just ruts through the terrain are shown as brown dotted lines (non-standard symbol). A control clue
of “ruined trail” refers to such a brown dotted line abandoned trail.
One- to 3- meter gullies that are narrow are shown with the standard brown gully symbol. Depending upon vegetation, they are
crossable or else you only have to go upstream or downstream a short way to cross.
Some of the deep or wider gullies are shown with earth banks. Where they are most complex, they may be shown with contours
or form-lines without hachures. Since there are no rock cliffs, we use the black cliff symbol in a non-standard way to represent
an impassable earth bank and the regular brown earth bank for a passable earth bank. The brown earth bank indicates a 1- to 4-meter
tall earth bank that orienteers could traverse. Taller (2- to 8-meter) earth banks that are too steep to climb are shown using the
black cliff symbol. The earth banks symbolized as black cliffs should be crossed only at designated crossing points.
If it hasn’t rained recently, almost all of the watercourses and man-made ponds will be dry, with the exception of the larger
creek gullies that have lake water backed up into them. The dry ponds will look like an earth wall with either a depression form
line, depression symbol or intermittent marsh symbol. If it has rained recently, many of the watercourses, ponds, depressions,
intermittent marshes, and trails may have standing water.
The woods include a mix of evergreen eastern red cedar, deciduous post oak, winged elm, bois d’arc, and Texas honey locust, among
others. The eastern red bud blooming season starts in March. White, runnable woods are either open with native prairie grasses or
a mix of small brush/trees and vines – typically low green briar.
Occasionally, mature stands of evergreen cedar may be fast runnable and also shown as white forest. About half of the white runnable
forest is similar to what is often called the “Midwestern style” of white runnable forest. By that, we mean good visibility and running,
but significant low green briar in many places (not mapped). Gaiters are essential.
Lighter green woods are typically oak forest with patches of taller green briar or an excess of small sapling and vines, or large
cedar trees with enough low branches still intact to inhibit direct-line navigating. In low wet areas, light green often represents
canebrakes. A canebrake is a dense growth of canes that is 1- to 3-meters tall, about the diameter of a pencil and fairly easy to
push through, but with very low visibility. (See example below of trail through canebrake.)
Darker green woods can be thickets of small trees (including cedars and thorny honey locusts) and green briar that grow up as fields
first turn into woodlands or more established woods with a mix of cedar and other trees with extra tall green briar. Often the
vegetation is thicker at the edge of the woods where greater sunlight allows a mix of green briar, wild roses, poison ivy, and
honey locust to thrive.
Don’t depend on thickets for detailed navigation — consider them indications of variations in vegetation density (see example below).
Black Xs and Os indicate man-made features. The Black Xs could be green electric boxes (about 1 x 1 x 1 meters), picnic tables on
concrete (free standing picnic tables were not mapped since they get moved around), trail-side benches, gas wellhead equipment, guy
wire anchors for a tall radio tower, large animal traps, miscellaneous junk (including old rusty cars, old motorcycles, old culverts,
old metal farm equipment, etc.), and large signs. Only the very largest signs are mapped; smaller trail signs and road signs are not mapped.
Black Os could be street light poles, water supply components (ranging from 0.5- to 1-meter high water system access covers to large
overflow piping), birdhouses on poles, pilings or buoys (including those that got stranded in the woods by the record-setting
floods). Smaller junk less than 0.5-meter high was not mapped.
The black “small tunnel” symbol is used to indicate small road culverts (where quite visible or where significant water courses go
under the road)