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State parks launch app to mark centennial | Public Spaces

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State parks launch app to mark centennial
Public Spaces
State parks launch app to mark centennial

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission sure is tech-savvy for a 100-year-old.

The commission announced today that it is launching the Pocket Ranger Smartphone App that is available for both iPhone and Android devices. The app includes guides, information and amenities on more than 100 state parks.

From the commission:

 

The Commission invites the public to celebrate 100 years of state parks in Washington by using this new App to plan park trips. Centennial 2013 events and activities will be available in parks all over the state throughout 2013. Signature Centennial 2013 events are planned at Riverside State Park June 8 and at Deception Pass State Park August 3. Visit www.parks.wa.gov/events/ <http://www.parks.wa.gov/events/> for details.

Visitors can search for a park by GPS location or activity and find nearby locations for hiking, camping, boating, birding and more. Once visitors are in parks, advanced GPS and GIS mapping technology allows them to track and record trails, mark waypoints, locate friends within the parks and enjoy GeoChallenge activities and games. Users can even cache GPS maps in advance to ensure navigation remains possible in the event of lost mobile reception.

The app provides plenty of other features to maximize visitors' outdoor adventures, including:

'B7 Educational information, amenities, maps and directions

'B7 Real-time Calendar of Events

'B7 News, advisories and weather alerts

'B7 Social networking and photo sharing

'B7 Potentially life-saving Alert feature

'B7 Advanced GPS mapping features

State Parks is collaborating with ParksByNature Network™ to provide this free service to the public. To download the app, visit iTunes or Android Market. No state funds were used to develop the new app. ParksByNature Network™ locates sponsors to underwrite development of the app for the state park systems it serves.

The new app is part of a Commission strategy to expand the use of technology to provide meaningful visitor services and to market the park system. Technology advancement is one component of a larger Transformation Strategy being considered by the Commission to guide the park system in the next few years. The strategy includes exploration of new revenue sources to respond to a dramatic, recession-driven change in State Parks funding. State Parks financing is shifting away from primary reliance on general fund and toward greater reliance on revenues from use fees such as the Discover Pass. The new app is an example of State Parks working to ensure people continue to choose state parks for their recreation. Meanwhile, the Commission also is advocating for the park system to receive a "right mix" of funding that includes use fees, donations and general tax dollars so that the park system can meet its broad mission and ensure a legacy of parks for the future. 

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