Friday, September 19, 2014 · 3:53 p.m.

Mobile app now available for Tennessee state parks

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In addition to Tennessee’s state parks, the free mobile app includes interactive information on Tennessee’s historic sites, state park golf courses and campgrounds. (Image: Contributed)

The Department of Environment and Conservation has partnered with the Parks by Nature Network to launch PocketRanger, a free iPhone and Android app for Tennessee state park visitors on the move.

“With more than 31 million visits annually, Tennessee’s 54 state parks serve as popular destinations year-round,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “This new mobile app will give those on-the-go park goers and nature enthusiasts the ability to access valuable park information quickly and efficiently, while providing an additional level of outstanding customer service.”

In addition to Tennessee’s state parks, the free mobile app includes interactive information on Tennessee’s historic sites, state park golf courses and campgrounds. The app is designed to provide everything a visitor would need to become familiar with a property, including contacts, directions, available amenities, maps, events and links to important numbers and services. Information is updated regularly, and users can search by GPS location or a desired activity to find nearby locations for hiking, camping, boating, birding, golfing and more. GPS maps can be cached in advance to ensure that navigation remains possible in the event of lost mobile reception or limited access.

Once a visitor arrives at a chosen destination, advanced GPS and GIS mapping technology allows them to track and record all trails, mark waypoints, locate friends inside the park and even play games using the app’s GeoChallenge. Other features that will maximize the adventure include a built-in compass, interpretative educational information, calendar of events, news and advisories, and weather alerts. The app’s social media function and photo sharing allow users to post photos and share experiences with friends and family via Facebook and Twitter, inspiring others to get outdoors.

“More and more individuals are utilizing smartphones to access information, and Tennessee state parks’ new PocketRanger app is a great use of technology, providing accurate and up-to-date information to explore what our great state parks have to offer,” Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill said. “We want to thank our partners at the Parks by Nature Network, who developed this resource at no cost to the taxpayers and free to the public to download."

The free mobile app can be found here. The app also is available through iTunes and the Android Market. A tutorial on how to navigate the new app’s features can be found on the PocketRanger website. Plans are already underway to format the new app as a mobile website for Blackberry and feature phone users.

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