N.J. Launches New App for Corson's Inlet and State Parks
The state Department of Environmental Protection provides a new smartphone app for visitors of state parks and forests.
The state Department of Environmental Protection launched a new mobile phone application this week to help plan visits to New Jersey's state parks, forests and historic sites.
The free Pocket Ranger application provides information on activities, amenities and services directly to users' smartphones, and is part of Gov. Chris Christie's plan to improve visitor services.
The version of the application compatible with Apple iPhones was launched on Tuesday. The Android version will be launched in several days. The applications can be downloaded at StateParkApps.com or through the iPhone App Store.
The Corson's Inlet State Park functions of the new app include general information, a park map (with GPS), links to park and saltwater fishing regulations, operating hours, attractions and weather.
A Tuesday news alert on the app provided an update on a National Weather Service gale warning. Users can share photos and comments through the app.
The DEP will receive a portion of advertising revenues generated by the application, which is not costing anything for the department to implement, according to a news release from the DEP.
"This new ParksByNature application is a first step in the major overhaul and modernization of how we operate and protect our parks," said DEP Chief Project Advisor Lou Valente. "This app will provide immediate benefits to our visitors while providing the DEP with information that we will use to continue to improve the park experience for millions of visitors."
The state park system encompasses 440,000 acres in all 21 counties, and includes more than 50 historic sites, historic battlefields and villages, and 39 active recreation areas with year-round operations. The park system also boasts more than 500 miles of hiking and riding trails and 10 miles of ocean beaches.
Pocket Ranger can help visitors make lodging reservations, has social networking capabilities, and provides an advanced map-caching feature that allows users to continue to navigate even if mobile service is lost. In addition, advanced GPS technology allows hikers to keep track of where they are and how far they've hiked. The same technology enables hunters and anglers to mark favorite hunting spots and fishing holes.
The application also has a Friend Finder feature that allows users to keep track of the location of friends and family. As an added safety feature, Pocket Ranger has an alert feature that notifies select contacts of your GPS coordinates in the event of an emergency.
"Our expectation is for the Pocket Ranger Mobile Tour Guide to encourage a new generation of park goers explore and discover all that New Jersey's state parks have to offer," said ParksByNature co-founder and program coordinator Brett Melillo. "This robust mobile app will not only enhance the visitors' experience, but will also renew overall interest in New Jersey parks and raise the funds needed to preserve and sustain them. It's a win for the state parks and a win for the people of New Jersey."
New Jersey is the ninth state to make the mobile tour guide application available to the public. The others are Pennsylvania, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Missouri, Rhode Island and South Dakota.