MILFORD – The wilds of nature, seemingly so far removed from the high technology and conveniences of civilization, may not be the setting one may expect for useful application of 21st century electronic wonders many people carry in their pockets.
Welcome to the Pike Outdoors app.
The Pike County Commissioners, August 1st, announced the launch of this new smartphone app, which allows hikers, campers, anglers and other outdoor recreation lovers to navigate the many public lands in the county.
With a few finger taps you may discover what’s out there, where the trails go, location of waterfalls, streams, lakes and ponds; where boats can be launched, what other amenities are there and an abundance of other useful information.
Jessica Yoder, Assistant Director at the Pike County Office of Community Planning, described the many functions.
Details shown include the difficulty of terrain, how you can reserve a campsite, and how to find scenic vistas.
Locate where you are on the trail, using the GPS tool.
There’s a built-in camera function as well.
Federal and state parks, state game lands, state forests and community parks are included.
Messages can be sent back through the app if there are any questions. There is also an emergency notification feature to notify people about storm hazards. If the Planning Department is aware of a trail being closed, they will note that on the app.
New trails that open up will be added as needed.
But is there service out in the woods?
“That was an important question for us and that is something we worked with the developer on,” Yoder said. They indicated, she said, that the app will work since the GPS functions off the satellite. They encourage the public to download the app and turn it on where there is wi-fi or good service. She said she has not had any issue using the app out on public lands.
“In worse case scenario you can turn your wi-fi off and put your phone in airplane mode, and then it using just the satellite’s GPS and you’ll have your data in there,” she said.
Geocaching isn’t included with the app but a pamphlet is available for hikers to find all nine sites in the county.
In the future, she said she hopes to include a search feature on the app to narrow down information such as degree of trail difficulty, where ATV trails are or snowmobile trails.
Yoder said that the popular paper version, Pike Outdoors, led to creation of the mobile app. She recommended that the public find them on Facebook @PikeOutdoors for the latest information on the roll-out of the app.
“If you find something and take a picture, send us a picture of that. We’d love to see a tag for PikeOutoors,” she said.
Much preparation was required, to load information on hundreds of trails and other information.
Funding for the Pike Outdoors App partly came through a Conservation Landscape grant through the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR).
Access is free to over 120,000 acres of federal and state owned land, not counting township and borough parks.
The new app is another way the county is seeking to enable residents and visitors to enjoy outdoors recreation, available in Pike County.
Pike County Commissioners meet on the first and third Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Administration Building, 506 Broad St., Milford.