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New maps for hikers and bikers.

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. The three-dimensional maps at the heart of Touring Eugene-this firm's first effort-were so popular that the small company used the same technique to depict landscape contours in its second book, the 1988 regional bestseller Touring the Islands: Bicycling in the San Juan, Gulf, and Vancouver Islands. A third book, Touring Seattle, will be released in February; cycling guides for San Francisco and the California wine country will be published in the next year. The spiralbound guides fit easily into seat bags. Cartographer Peter Powers bases his work on USGS quads, but his computergenerated images are easier to read. "They don't give you a technical look at the landscape; they give you a general feel for the area," he says. Maps include detailed mileage logs and route profiles. Current titles cost $9.95 (add 50 cents for mail order). Write to Terragraphics, Box 1025, Eugene, Ore. 97440.

Tom Harrison Cartography. Mr. Harrison, a former California state park ranger, splices together base quads to create comprehensive maps for state parks, national recreation areas, and national parks. His first four cover Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Valley, Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, and Santa Monica NRA (western section); among four new maps to be released this spring is Mount Rainier National Park, his first effort outside California.

Mr. Harrison also removes unnecessary details and adds shaded relief, allowing geographical features and trails to stand out. He field-cheeks when accurate information isn't available, and lists whether trails allow mountain biking or horse-packing. Indexes locate trails and landmarks. Maps cost $3.95 to $5.95. For a free list, write or call: 333 Bellam Blvd., San Rafael, Calif. 94901; (415) 456-7940. TrailTech. In a cooperative project with Park Service and Forest Service officials, engineer Al Hunter developed a computer program to analyze contour maps for hikers and climbers. Mr. Hunter can produce detailed reports, including mile-by-mile terrain descriptions and grade classifications. Reports end with a graph showing relative elevation gain and loss. Reports ($2 each) are available for 50 trails (some well known, some not) in Olympic and Mount Rainier national parks and Wenatchee and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie national forests; you can find them at Seattle or Bellevue REI stores, or by mail. For $5 and up, Mr. Hunter will prepare custom reports for routes anywhere, on or off trail. Write to Snohomish Engineering, 4520 Tom Marks Rd., Snohomish, Wash. 98290, or call (206) 334-5354 (evenings).

Wilderness Press. Best known for its guidebooks, Wilderness Press also publishes 15 California topo maps, 11 for the High Sierra and 4 for Marble Mountain Wilderness. Most are printed on durable plastic paper, with indexes on the back. Except for four national park maps, the quads generally follow the USGS grid. But boundaries extend in places (or are shown on map sections on the reverse side) to include details from adjacent quads. A surfeit of information and uneven print quality may give some maps a cluttered look. All trails (in black or gray), many roads, and terrain contours are fieldchecked. Maps cost $2.75 to $4.50. For a free catalog, write to Wilderness Press, 2440 Bancroft Way, Berkeley 94704, or call (415) 843-8080.
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jan 1, 1989
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