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Reader Participation Day: Do You Use A Smartphone App To The National Parks?


Last week we wondered how many folks were using their smartphones as cameras in the national parks. Let's stay with the smartphone theme this week: Do you have a national park app on your phone, and do you use it?

That's an intriguing question for a few reasons. One, to find out if these apps were just a flash in the pan and aren't thought of now. Two, to find out if you have a favorite park app and if so, why? And three, whether you can use them in parks that might not be fully WiFied.

And then there's No. 4: Do you rely on a park app instead of using a park brochure or newspaper?

This all ties in, of course, to the smartphone movement and evolution. Some view smartphones as a new portal for the National Park Service to use to reach out to visitors without generating a huge paper footprint. Others point to the growing reliance on Wi-Fi as a reason for the National Park System to become more wired.

But if there's little reliance on park apps, is there really a great need to use "interpretation" as a reason to justify expanded "wiring" of national parks?

Tell us what you think!


Yes, I have a national park app on my phone. I find it pretty useless as it just gives a very general overview, nothing I don't already know. However, after reading this article, I checked my phone and the app and learned that the company is making more detailed, individual park apps. I downloaded one and was very happy with the detail - lists of campgrounds, lists of hikes, lists of events... Thanks for the push to look! Though I carry a GPS and a smart phone, I will always rely on paper maps (the screen is a lot bigger) and research. But, the app will come in handy - it has tides and sunrise/sunset - two pieces of information that are great to have at your fingertips. I am looking forward to more parks apps - there seems to be about 20 now. I am very glad they included a "Leave No Trace" section. So, going forward, I am more likely to rely on the individual park apps, now that I know they exist. In just a quick browse, I have found it can be very useful. I am seriously trying to get over my need for paper.

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