UNO club history

The Early History of Up North Orienteers

[Written by Tony Federer for the US Orienteering Federation's Annual Meeting at Sargent Camp, Hancock NH, in 2003, and revised in 2018.]

The New England Orienteering Club already had three established “chapters” (‘Western Mass, Connecticut, and Musquetaquid) when Steve Tarry first used the designation NEOC-NH at Northfield-Mt.Hermon on November 11, 1979. Results for a February 3, 1980 ski-O show Tony and Kari Federer, ]oe Stieglitz, Donn Springer, and Ron Goldthwaite all using the new chapter designation. A year later NEOC-NH put on what can be considered UNO’s first A meet - the Troll Cup at Hackett Hill, Manchester NH, May 9-10, 1981, with meet directors Steve Tarry and Tony Federer, and Donn Springer beginning his long career as equipment manager. Sometime in the early 1980’s NEOC-NH acquired its own equipment set; some UNO controls said “NEOC-NH” for many years, and we still use the original Springer-made direction signs.

The February 1987 issue of the "NEOC Times" had a page titled “UNO What?” and an article “The Beginning of UNO” that stated: “At a December ad hoc meeting a sort of executive committee agreed that we change our name [from NEOC-NH] to UNO - Up North Orienteers... Our relationship with NEOC, our parent organization, will not change... The goal of UNO was established as ‘to encourage and promote orienteering in northern New England, by mapping new areas, by holding orienteering meets, and by publicizing orienteering activities.' Not that we really want all of three states, but we will take it until some more groups come along.” The article does not state the origin of the name. We were brainstorming and we agreed the acronym UNO would be a good one. This began our sometimes disparaged claim to be number one! (Our president is designated the “Numero UNO”) But then we had to figure out what the acronym stood for. The “O” was easy, but the “U” and “N” were not. After much discussion the best we could come up with was “Up North”, which we agreed really only made sense with respect to the Boston base of NEOC. But it did at least also relate to the printed orientation of maps. UNO’s first executive committee included Virginia Lehman, Susan and Steven Tarry, Donn Springer, Tony and Suzanne Federer, Donna Mercier, Rick Hayden, and Bob and Maureen Knepp. Pete and Lex Bundschuh were certainly also involved. Complete separation from NEOC was discussed on and off for years.

On November 12, 1995 at Ruutopolds' house Lex and Pete Bundschuh, Cathy and Dave Dunham, Tony Federer, Bob Knepp, Nancy LeFebvre, Ernst Linder, Bob Lux, Jon Reeves, Eva and Alar Ruutopold, Mette and Olaf Tabur, Bob and Jeanne Walsh, and Steve Tarry debated formal separation from NEOC for three and a half hours and voted 10 to 5 to establish a formal separation committee to negotiate with NEOC. In June 1996 Up North Orienteers legally became a non-profit New Hampshire corporation, with Steve Tarry as Numero Uno. NEOC equipment and maps were legally transferred, UNO became a new USOF club, and we began publishing our own newsletter "UNOWhat?". 

UNO officially started off with 35 runners nationally ranked in 1995. Our first A meet as an independent club was held at Fort Rock-Oaklands, Exeter NH in 1997. Jon Reeves came up with the name “Boulder Dash”, which, if you haven’t noticed, is what we say to anyone who complains. We’ve used this name for our biennial events ever since.

Other orienteering clubs in the area

MA,RI,CT: NEOC (New England Orienteering Club)

West CT: WCOC (Western Connecticut Orienteering Club)

Boston: CSU (Cambridge Sports Union)

Vermont: GMOC (Green Mountain Orienteering Club)

USA: OrienteeringUSA