Take a hike

… There’s an app for that

Posted on Sep 01 2016 in General
Photo Illustration by Richard G. Biever

Photo Illustration by Richard G. Biever

I have to admit, I don’t know what I did before I got an iPhone. I use my phone for all kinds of things … as a camera, compass and calculator. And now, I can use it to take a hike.

Finding a trail for hiking Hoosiers to explore will be easier this year thanks to a new web application from the DNR Division of Outdoor Recreation. The web app, called “InDNR Trail Finder,” allows users to explore Indiana’s more than 3,600 miles of public trails, including federal, state, local and non-profit trails. The app is compatible with a variety of interfaces and uses data from the existing Indiana Trails Inventory.

The trail finder features information on trails for hiking, biking, mountain biking, horseback riding and motorized recreation. The app is at dnr.IN.gov/outdoor/4240.htm.

Once on the site, app users will find an interactive map displaying Indiana’s trails. The map can be panned and zoomed. Users may search for trails by trail name, property name or location. The map may be sorted by trail activity or surface type. Once users click on a trail, a pop-up box will provide information on mileage, surface type and the managing agency.

Devices with an enabled GPS feature can be used to find trails near the user’s current location. The feature may be helpful when trying to navigate, especially at properties with multiple trails.

Indiana’s public trails continue to grow as more people discover their many benefits. Some of the trails are single-use, and many are multi-use. Multi-use trails can be enjoyed by a variety of different user types.

Public trails in Indiana range from wide, flat, paved trails to winding, narrow natural-surface single-track trails. No matter what type of trail you are on, you are likely to encounter others. All trail users deserve to have a safe and enjoyable experience, regardless of age, ability or activity.

Know and follow the rules

• Stay on the marked trail and do not trespass: Follow all trail signs; do not use trails that are closed or do not permit your user type.

• Be courteous: Travel in single file or take up no more than half the trail; step off the trail when taking a break; travel at a safe and controlled speed; be mindful of space and noise level; keep children close by and teach them to be courteous trail users; and always yield to slow users, uphill traffic and HORSES.

• Communicate: Give an audible warning before passing and, if necessary, communicate how to pass; don’t tune out — always be alert and able to hear other trail users; use proper hand signals when verbal communication is not effective; greet fellow users with a smile, nod, wave or a friendly hello.

• Practice pet etiquette: Keep pets on a leash and under control at all times; keep pets close by when other trail users are close or passing; and always pick up after your pet.

• Be a good steward: Dispose of all waste properly; do not disturb wildlife and their habitats; respect all trail infrastructure or natural and cultural resources; and leave what you find for others to enjoy.

Earlier this week, I got my iPhone updated and ready to go … now all I have to do is find it.

Jack Spaulding is a state outdoors writer and a consumer of RushShelby Energy living along the Flatrock River in Moscow. Readers with questions or comments can write to him in care of Electric Consumer, P.O. Box 24517, Indianapolis, IN 46224; or email jackspaulding@hughes.net.