Monday, July 11, 2011

DCNR: State Parks, State Forests? There's An App For That

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is partnering with the PA Parks and Forests Foundation and ParksByNature Network to offer a state parks and forests mobile app for smart phones.
“This mobile app will allow our visitors, while they are on-the-go, to search for park and forest locations; activities and events; get directions; share photos and even make a reservation,” DCNR Secretary Richard J. Allan said. “This project supports our conservation initiatives by reducing the need for printed material; provides the opportunity to use technology to better connect with visitors; and creates an additional revenue stream for DCNR.”
The software has both free and paid versions that are available through the Apple App Store and Android market. The paid version, which includes additional GPS features, costs $3.99.
“This is an ingenious way to involve and interest more people in our parks and forests. Each app downloaded or purchased will result in a donation to the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation for revenue-producing projects in state parks,” said Marci Mowery, PPFF president.
The free features are: search by activity of interest on-the-go; search by park, forest or region; stay current on park and forest events; receive news, alerts, and location-based weather updates; access park information such as hours of operation; view maps of facilities, trails and campgrounds; learn about state park or forest history; get directions; get contact information; access online reservations; network through Facebook and Twitter; and share photos on Flickr.
Paid features include: ability to work with content, maps and features offline; GPS mapping options include road, satellite, hybrid and terrain; pre-programmed state park GIS and points of interest will help guide you; a friend-finder feature lets you keep track of companions while on a trail; a built-in compass can help point to your direction; record, save and recall tracks or waypoints; and let your family and friends know your whereabouts with the alert communication feature.
You can search for ‘Pennsylvania State Parks’ or ‘State Parks’ or ‘Pocket Ranger’ through your phone’s app link, or follow the directs links for Apple or Android.
With 2.2-million acres of state forests, and 117 state parks covering 295,000 acres, there is a state park within 25 miles of nearly every Pennsylvanian. They feature an array of recreational opportunities and conserve thousands of acres of unique natural areas, among many other features.
State parks also serve as economic generators to the communities that surround them, with visitors spending about $928 million annually.
For more information, visit the DCNR State Park and State Forests webpage.

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