Outdoors

Free app helps users find 6,000 parks, public lands nationwide

Posted April 05, 2011, at 9:39 a.m.

OGDEN, Utah — The nonprofit Tread Lightly! has re-established its relationship with Ford Motor Company through a special partnership with American Park Network — that just launched the free Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder™ app.

The app allows users to easily find parks and public lands throughout America, based on their favorite activities, according to a press release.

“Outdoor recreation not only provides priceless physical, economic and social benefits to this country, but it also creates future stewards of the environment,” said Lori McCullough, Tread Lightly!’s executive director. “This app will undoubtedly help get Americans outside and propel Tread Lightly!’s mission to promote responsible recreation by providing minimum impact information on a wide variety of outdoor activities.”

A team of more than 50 writers and editors created and curated a searchable database of every federal and state public land in America. This is the same team that publishes the ubiquitous little green Oh, Ranger!® guides to national parks and public lands that are read by more than 20 million park enthusiasts each year.

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The app offers 20 different activity categories from which to choose, including hiking, hunting, fishing and off-highway driving. Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder makes it easy to find great places to watch wildlife, discover historic sites, take scenic drives, go camping and much more. Users may also quickly toggle back and forth to find locations that have any or all of their desired activities.

Included in this exclusive database are thousands of national parks, state parks, national forests, wildlife refuges, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sites, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recreation areas and many more public lands. Each location is cross-referenced with information about available activities, allowing users to search for nearby parks based on their favorite activities.

“We’re excited to offer the Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder™ as a free resource for park-lovers and thrilled that it serves as a catalyst to support two national non-profit conservation partners,” said Mark Saferstein, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief at American Park Network. “The app will make it fun and easy for everyone to explore parks and public lands all across America.”

Once users have selected where they want to go, Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder helps plan adventures with directions, important phone numbers, activity descriptions, seasonality/weather, lodging and concession information, non-profit partners and links to events and related websites. Much of the information is embedded, so users don’t need the internet to display park information, an important feature as many parks have little or no connectivity.

The data is updated constantly and the most current information is received transparently in the background each time the app is opened.

The app has been made possible through the generous support of Ford Explorer and will directly benefit the non-profit Student Conservation Association, while also securing Ford Motor Company’s position as a Platinum Partner of Tread Lightly!

“Creating this database was a long term project,” said Saferstein. “Hopefully our efforts will pay dividends by encouraging the next generation of caretakers to preserve our country’s amazing resources.”

The app is initially available for iPhone and iPod Touch, with iPad-optimized and Android versions to follow. American Park Network is already developing version 2.0 of “Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder,”which adds social networking and other functionality that will allow users to keep track of all their favorite places and share them with thousands of others park-lovers.

To download the “Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder” app, visit the iTunes App store or go to OhRanger.com/app/parkfinder.

Tread Lightly! is a national nonprofit organization focused on helping outdoor enthusiasts minimize their impact on the environment and become good stewards of the great outdoors. Tread Lightly! is considered the nation’s signature ethics message for outdoor enthusiasts that use motorized vehicles in the great outdoors. The organization offers unique training and restoration programs strategically designed to instill an ethic of responsibility in a wide variety of outdoor enthusiasts and the industries that serve them.

American Park Network is a leading publisher of visitor guides to national parks and public lands. Their little, green Oh, Ranger! guides are read by more than 20 million park enthusiasts each year. American Park Network also publishes OhRanger.com, which hosts the online, searchable database that powers Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder. Website users can also ask questions and search for information about thousands of national parks, state parks and other public lands, making OhRanger.com a premier one-stop-shop for planning an outdoor adventure.

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