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Follow the Lines

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Published on: Jun. 2, 1997

Last revision: Oct. 26, 2010

to subtract the declination. For example, if you use a map to plot a 52° course to a spring, a 158° course to a scenic overlook and then a 295° course back to where you started, your actual course, given a 6° easterly declination must be 46°, 152° and 289°.

An easier alternative is to change your map so that the bearings you take from it will be the same as those in the field. To do this simply take a ruler and with a pencil extend the magnetic north line all the way across the sheet, then space more lines across the map exactly parallel to the first line.

Now, instead of using the top of the map as north, let your new lines indicate north and adjust your orienting arrow so it is parallel to them. Since they are pointing the same direction as the needle in your compass will in the field, no addition or subtraction is necessary.

The words make it sound more difficult than it actually is to follow a compass course plotted on a map. After spending a little time in the woods with a map and compass and taking a few bearings, everything will fall into place and you'll be as comfortable in the woods as those Indians I read about.

And you'll have the added bonus of always being able to make it home for dinner.

Map Sources

Official U.S. Geological Survey maps are available through:

Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Division of Geology and Land Survey

P.O. Box 250

Rolla, MO 65401

(573) 368-2125

or

Distribution Branch

U.S. Geological Survey

Box 25286, Federal Center

Denver, CO 80225

Ask for a free index and a folder describing the symbols used in topographical maps. Maps cost $4.00 each, plus shipping.

District maps of Mark Twain National Forest lands are available for $3 each at U.S. Forest Service District Offices or by contacting:

Supervisor's Office

Mark Twain National Forest

401 Fairgrounds Road

Rolla, MO 65401

(573) 364-4621

Maps of conservation areas are available free on site or at nearby Conservation Department offices.

Conservation Department lands, state parks and federal lands are detailed in Missouri's Conservation Atlas. This large format book, which includes a road map for each Missouri county, is being revised and updated and will be available in late July. A detailed index shows what facilities, activities and fish and wildlife you can expect to find. To order the book send a check or money order for $15 (Mo. residents add 93 cents sales tax) plus $5 for shipping to:

ATTN: Fiscal Services Division, Missouri Department of Conservation, PO Box 180, Jefferson City MO 65102-0180.

Price is subject to change.

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