Florida State Parks offering free smartphone app pocket ranger

February 18, 2013

Walton Outdoors, pocket ranger,Download the app, get into a State Park Free Jan. 18

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service has developed a new, FREE smartphone app, available for download today.

This interactive guide gives users on-the-go access to Florida’s 171 state parks, trails and historic sites, complete with detailed information about campgrounds, amenities, facility maps, directions and so much more.

In honor of the new app, Florida’s state parks will offer free entry* to state parks on Monday, Feb. 18 to visitors who show the app downloaded on their mobile device at the ranger station. Visitors are encouraged to download the app this week and plan a visit to their favorite state park or a state park they discovered by using the new app.

Governor Scott said, “This app is a great tool for families to enjoy Florida’s state parks, which provide incredible recreation opportunities to visitors worldwide. Also, this app is great for anyone that’s looking for an easy-to-use guide for enjoying Florida’s great outdoors.”

One of DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr.’s priorities for the Department is increasing access to state parks and trails for Floridians and visitors. The app allows visitors to plan that perfect outdoor trip by searching for a park by GPS location or activity to find nearby locations to enjoy hiking, camping, boating, birding and more. Once there, advanced GPS and GIS mapping technology allows visitors to track and record trails, mark waypoints and locate friends within the park. There is even an option to cache GPS maps in advance to ensure that navigation remains possible in the event of lost mobile reception.

“This is an exciting new feature that will increase public access to DEP’s award-winning park system,” said DEP Secretary Vinyard. “Being able to plan your trip to one of our parks, trails or historic sites from your phone makes experiencing Florida’s natural, cultural and historical resources easier.”

The apps provide plenty of other features to maximize visitors’ outdoor adventure:

–          Educational information, amenities, maps & directions.

–          Real-time calendar of events.

–          News, advisories, and weather alerts.

–          Social networking and photo sharing.

–          Potentially life-saving alert feature.

–          Advanced GPS mapping features.

–          Record trail distance and time elapsed.

–          Recall, post or share saved data.

–          Friend Finder.

–          Built-in compass.

“With the new Florida State Parks Pocket Ranger® mobile app, essential state park information will be in the palm of our visitors’ hands, allowing them to further enjoy the natural and cultural resources our state has to offer,” said Donald Forgione, DEP’s Florida Park Service Director. “We are excited to provide this app so that Florida residents and visitors can have a more in-depth and enhanced experience while visiting our state parks, trails and historic sites.”

New features such as GeoChallenge games and a photo share option will be added in the coming months. Follow FLStateParks on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.

The Florida State Parks Pocket Ranger® app is available now on iTunes and Android Market by searching “Official Florida State Parks” and is identified under ParksByNature Network. It is also available on PocketRanger.com and is formatted as a Mobile Website: http://fl.pocketranger.com.

The Florida Park Service partnered with ParksByNature Network™ and PocketRanger.com to create this app free for the public. For a tutorial on how to use the app, please visit www.pocketranger.com. It is recommended to use Wi-Fi or a strong wireless connection when downloading the app.

To receive free entry, please show the ranger station or staff at the park entrance booth the app downloaded on your mobile device. Mobile App Free Entry offer is available on Monday, Feb. 18, 2013 only.