Just in time for National Trails Day, a newly improved Trail Finder is packed with adventures and ready for planning hiking, biking, running or other trail experiences. The Upper Valley Trails Alliance and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation have joined together with the Center for Community GIS to create a new and expanded online Trail Finder.
Trail Finder is a searchable trails information website that combines state-of-the-art interactive trail map capabilities, high quality graphics, and descriptive trail details. These features enable Trail Finder users, including guides and outing leaders, to locate preferred trail experiences as well as share their trip comments and photos.
Vermont’s Trail Finder is a collaborative venture engaging over 85 stakeholders – state agencies, towns, trail managers, tourism entities and regional planning organizations.
“Trail Finder represents countless volunteer and trail manager hours,” says Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation Commissioner Michael Snyder. “It is a prime example of how important recreation is to Vermonters.”
Thanks primarily to funding from the Recreational Trails Program, Trail Finder provides a free online resource with almost 300 walking, biking, hiking, mountain biking and skiing trails in Vermont and the Upper Valley of New Hampshire. Residents and visitors can get maps and directions, learn about the trails’ features, see photos and submit comments.
”This is the premier place to find detailed information on trails and recreation in Vermont and the Upper Valley of New Hampshire,” says Russell Hirschler, Upper Valley Trails Alliance Executive Director. “Whether you are looking for a place to walk in your own town or a day hike in a state park, Trail Finder is your number one resource.”
new and improved features include:
· Geolocation: Want to know exactly where you are while you’re out on the trail? Access our mobile friendly site on your smart phone and you will see your location. You can also download all trails and maps into your GPS unit or view them on any map service site such as Google Earth or the Vermont Natural Resources Atlas.
· See Nearby Trails: Want to expand your trail experience on the go or plan a bigger trip? Trail managers can include associated trails they want trail users to know are nearby, and when one of the nearby trails are clicked it will show on the map along with the initial trail that was searched.
· Website Speed: Reduced upload time! The maps and information will come to you much faster than the former Trail Finder version.
· Photographs: A photo slideshow will let you see what the trail is like before you head out. After your trail visit, posting photos of your trail experiences will inform future Trail Finder visitors.
· Improved Two-Way Communication: See a tree down blocking a trail? Have suggestions on improving your trail experience? Contact information will be easily available for each trail. If you are a trail manager, you can easily provide information on trail conditions, alerts and closures as well!
· Motorized Trails: The new Trail Finder also includes motorized trail uses like snowmobile, ATV, and off –road motorcycling trails. Currently, there are a limited number of these trail postings. UVTA and FPR are working to add more in the coming months.
· Public State Lands: All state lands managed by FPR that have recreational opportunities will be added to Trail Finder.
· Enhanced Search Capability: Want to search for a snowshoe trail in your neighboring town? How about pet friendly hikes, or where you can hike to a fire tower? All that and much, much more can be done. Trail Finder is searchable by criteria such as town, activity, or difficulty level…just click and go!
· Improved Functionality: Many of the trail systems have many different trail segments and multiple uses. In Trail Finder you can now click on any trail segment to highlight it and see its name, allowed uses, length, grade, and elevation.
What was the process?
The Center for Community GIS was selected to build the new site because of their proven track record. They understand the needs and wants of the trail community, and have successfully worked with many organizations. The Vermont Trail Finder was based on the award winning platform and design of the Maine Trail Finder. Over the past year information from the earlier version of Trail Finder was migrated to the new site as it was being built. Exhaustive site testing and quality control measures were taken to ensure success.
Vermont’s Trail Finder can be found at www.trailfinder.info. Now up and running, you are just a few clicks away from getting out on the trails.
If you are interested in learning more, or want to get your favorite trail on the map, contact Jessica Savage, Recreation Coordinator, VTFPR at Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org or John Taylor, Trail Programs Director, UVTA at email@example.com.