An App for California State Parks

California's Department of Parks and Recreation is getting into the app business. It is hoped that CaliParks will help improve access to the state's parks for young people and minorities.
March 21, 2015, 7am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious

California is trying to draw people outdoors with the same technology keeping many of them in. "CaliParks is a web-based data-visualization app with information about the state's 12,000 national, regional, and urban parks, which collectively encompass more than 1.6 million acres. Besides letting users filter parks by distance and recreational activities — as well as peruse maps — the app also integrates crowdsourced images from Flickr and Instagram so you can creep on other people's great time outdoors."

The app's developers want to lessen the distance between digital community and the natural world. "In addition to enticing minorities, the app also hopes to remind young people that being outdoors and being online aren't contradictory. By harnessing social media, the app aims to tear down the walls separating parks from the rest of the world (figuratively speaking) and create a more interactive visitor experience."

CaliParks and the Parks Forward commission want to demystify and de-mythologize the outdoors. "For its part, the Parks Forward Commission wants us to stop thinking of parks as 'wilderness cathedrals' and more like 'one of those small churches in South L.A. where people go every weekend,' in the words of commission member Manuel Pastor."

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Published on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 in The Bold Italic
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