App Menu Changes

If you looked at our App in the last couple days, you might’ve noticed more changes… Along with a few new parks.

We’re preparing to add parks, park districts and trails in every state. To keep the menus short and easy to scroll through, we’ve added a new fork under the “Parks by State” menu, dividing by timezone. In the western states, this will make the menus very quick to navigate. On the east coast, the higher density of states may require an additional division… we’ll wait and see.

Posted in Features, Mobile Apps

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Feather River Rec & Park, and more…

Today we added the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area which is sponsored by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. Hidden in plain sight from Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Mountains offer easy access to surprisingly wild places. Experience the famous beaches of Malibu or explore more than 500 miles of trails. The park abounds with historical and cultural sites, from old movie ranches to Native American centers.

Click here to view the site or download the App.

We also added the Feather River Recreation & Park District, which encompasses an area of 730 square miles in South-eastern Butte County, California. Along with the greater Oroville area, other District communities include Palermo, Bangor, and Honcut in the valley, and the mountain areas of Berry Creek, Feather Falls, Forbestown, Pentz, and Concow.

Click here to view the site or download the App.

And, Olompali State Park, which overlooks the Petaluma River and San Pablo Bay from the east-facing slopes of 1,558 foot Mount Burdell. The name “olompali” comes from the Miwok language and may be translated as “southern village” or “southern people.” The Coast Miwok inhabited at least one site within the area of the present-day park continuously from as early as 6,000 BC, until the early 1850s.

Click here to view the site or download the App.

Posted in Client Adoption, Uncategorized

ParkWatchReport Founder takes on The Backbone Trail on Horseback…

With a team of five women, including ParkWatchReport founder Janet Peterson, rode the 67-mile Backbone National Recreation Trail in Southern California. The group, calling themselves “The Backbone Trail Cowgirls” for the occasion, was organized by 81 year-old Ruth Gerson, who first rode the trail almost exactly 25 years ago. She rode her 19 yr old Mustang, Crystal. The other participants were Jeanne Wallace, with her 21 yr old Quarter horse, Dill;  Tracey Potter with her 9 yr old Red Roan, Scooter; and Kimberly Gustafson with her 12 yr old Spotted Draft Quarter Cross, Chief.

There was some great coverage by local media, including NPR station KCLU, The Santa Monica Observer, The Topanga Messenger, The Ventura County Star, and The Thousand Oaks Acorn.

Here’s Janet’s story of the trip:

I can willingly admit THIS WAS TOUGH!  So tough that I pondered quitting several times but I could not stand the humiliation of being unable to do what another women, age 81, could do so… I sucked up the pain and kept going.

 The trail was like none I had ever seen before.  We were riding on rolling rocks at times,  laying on our horse’s neck frequently to get under tree limbs,  climbing a series of rock stairs that had a rise of 18-24” each, and sweating buckets  (us and our horses).  The upside to this experience was the feeling of personal accomplishment, comradery, trust in our horses and breathtaking views. 

Ruth prearranged multiple water stops  on most days.  At each stop  there was a 5 gal bucket of fresh cool water for each horse and iced-down water bottles for us.  After the drinks were distributed I put my shirt in the ice water and then put it back on.  Soak my 2 bandanas the same way.  It provided relief for a while but I still got a nasty sunburn on my shoulders, my lower lip is cracked and swollen but the rest of my body held up pretty well.

Our start was covered by the local radio stations who interviewed Ruth extensively, focused on her age (81), her 8 hip operations and that she did this same ride 25 years ago.  None of the other 4 riders, including me, would have had the opportunity to do this ride (and no one else is likely to)  if Ruth hadn’t decided she wanted to do it again.  You should Google “Ruth Gerson, Backbone Trail Ride”!  Her next project is a horse camp at Ronald Reagan’s ranch here in the Santa Monica Mountains where her plan will accommodate 100 horses.  She is a long term planner and like a lot of her previous accomplishments, the horse camp has been making its way through the red tape since 1976. 

The volunteer support was unbelievable.  In addition to the water stops, dinner was brought in from local restaurants on days 1, 2 and 5.  On day 3 Ruth set up a banquet for us and all the volunteers at her son’s restaurant (An interesting place: Calamigos Resort & Spa, was started as a youth camp by Ruth’s husband in the 1940’s).   On day 4 a local business woman opened her ranch up to us and served Shepards Pie, which she is famous for making. 

Along the way, a neighbor who lived near our camp site brought us fresh peaches from her tree,  the local vet brought ice cream on night 2 and electrolytes (for the horses) on night 5.   When we arrived at the finish line at Will Rogers State Park, there were flowers for Ruth and interviews with Channel 5 News KTLA.  We were invited on to the polo field where the ride was explained to spectators and we got a lot of applause.  

Sunny was a champ!  We had limited conditioning time and his breed is not related to mountain goats.  The fact that he went through day 4, had climbed a total of (approx.) 3,000 treacherous  feet under difficult circumstances  and fully recovered every night is an awesome accomplishment.  I pulled him for day 5 because I could see 2 saddle sores beginning to develop.  He had lost weight ( all the  horses had) and that had changed the fit of my saddle considerably.  I thought it was better to pull him than risk making adjustments that may or may not have worked.  Jeanne Wallace, one of the riders (age 74ish) had told me early on that if Sunny had problems her spare horse was in condition and I could ride him.  “Dill” stepped in and did an awesome job on the absolute worse days of our ride.   On day 5 I kept thinking how glad I was that Sunny was safely back at Ruth’s ranch and not risking life and limb on this section of the trail. At the end of day 5 I discover that our route for day 5 is not recommended for horses and I can see why.  At one point the plan was to trailer around this spot.  I have no idea  when that part of the plan got changed.  Kimberly took photos and video of the entire ride including day 5.  She is making a CD for each of us and I will have that to share. 

A few photos and the stats for each day are posted at smmtc.com (Santa Monica Mountains Trail Council) with more to come.

This has been “Janet’s Big Adventure” and I am glad that it’s done, grateful for the opportunity and thankful that every person and every horse is now home safe and sound.

jp

Of course we’ve added the Backbone Trail to our website and app, so you can explore it yourself!

Posted in In the News

Recent updates and new parks on PWR

Today we added the Backbone Trail. This is a National Recreation Trail through the Santa Monica Mountains in Southern California. It runs through many state parks and has beautiful vistas of the mountains and Pacific.

In addition, we’ve added several State Parks (Millerton Lake SRA, Lake Oroville SRA, China Camp SP, San Pasqual Battlefield SHP, and Colonel Allensworth SHP) and re-arranged the mobile menus to accommodate all the new stuff.

Our menus will change again, soon, because we’re adding parks and trail systems across the US. To make it easy to find your parks, we’re going to have a few search options on the first screen:

Explore by State: “Parks & Trails (by State) > Your State (like “Alaska”) > Type of Park or Trail > Your Park”.
Search By Name: As you type in a part of a park’s name suggestions will appear
Parks Near Me: Find all the Parks in our system within 100 miles.
Favorites: A short list of parks you’ve marked as your favorites.

These will be rolled out, one by one.

Posted in Client Adoption, Features, Mobile Apps

Adventure Sports Journal’s Article on ParkWatchReport

Adventure Sport Journal’s June edition included an article on ParkWatchReport.

Check it out: “ParkWatchReport Allows Outdoor Enthusiasts to Report Concerns Directly to Land Managers”

 

Posted in In the News

Latest Updates to PWR – New Report Form

This morning we made a major update to ParkWatchReport to introduce our new, simple, super-fast form.

Filling out forms on a web browser on a computer is pretty easy. There’s a keyboard, plenty of room on the screen, it’s easy to mouse around… but that same form wasn’t so hot for mobile.

Also, over time, we noticed most of the fields on our old form weren’t being used.

So, we streamlined it.

You’ll be amazed how quick it is… even if you’re out on a mountaintop with 2 bars and only a little battery left. There’s less to read, less to type, and it’s even easy to file multiple reports.

And if you’ve got photos to upload, and you’re afraid they won’t go through, just tap the “Send Later” button. You’ll receive an email with a link, which will take you to an upload screen. You can wait until you have a stronger signal, plugged into a charger, or even until you’re back home (up to 3 days, but the sooner the better).

There’s also a way to log in on the Mobile App. This will make it easier to file reports, and we’ll be working on features that take advantage of that, in the coming weeks.

We’re working on improving PWR all the time… so if you have an idea, a concern or a question, contact us! We’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Features, Mobile Apps

Check out “Hiking for Her”, a blog for women in the woods…

Diane Spicer is the author of the blog www.Hiking-For-Her.com which contains a plethora of information specifically for the outdoorsy adventurous woman.  If you are new or not so new to the hiking scene and curious about staying safe, how gear performs, where to go, and you want advice from a woman who has been there and done that, Hiking-For-Her should be your first choice. 

Diane has been doing research on all things hiking for her own knowledge and so she can pass it on to others.  Let Diane’s experience guide you in your decision making.  The gear that is available and all claiming to be the best can be overwhelming.  Whether it’s a day hike or a multiple day backpacking trip you will most likely be clothed.  Women have unique needs when it comes to clothing.  She has learned the hard way that just because something claims to be designed especially for female hikers doesn’t mean it performs for female hikers.  You can save yourself from the same fate by reading her gear reviews. 

From my experience hiking and working as a carpenter there is nothing that can make or break your day more than what is on your feet.  Diane provides a thorough guide to hiking boot selection.  You will be extremely glad you read and followed her detailed advice.  Especially if you have already tried on your own and found out just how painful a badly fitting pair of boots are half way into a ten mile hike. 

Maybe your idea of a perfect hike is when there is nobody around for miles or maybe you would love to have someone join you.  Hiking-For-Her can help you either way.  Solo hiking can be a daunting activity for some but Diane’s tips for solo hiking will take away the guess work in terms of what is needed for a safe and successful solo hike.  Diane can help you find a pal to hike with by using a simple process called Hike With Me.  Men or women can use Hike With Me to find a suitable hiking partner no matter what their motivation is or what their goals are. 

Are you not finding the answer to your question?  No problem just use the contact link to send your question to Diane and she will answer it as soon as she can.  Diane also has a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/hikingforher/, a newsletter at http://www.hiking-for-her.com/happytrailsnewsletter.html, and an author page on Amazon at http://www.hiking-for-her.com/happytrailsnewsletter.html.

Posted in Outdoor Info

New! All California State Parks on the Menu…

A few months back, we got the go-ahead to allow any of California’s state parks to pilot ParkWatchReport. We had started with Auburn SRA and Folsom Lake SRA, and when Tamalpais SP joined up, the news filtered to the top decision-makers and we got approved. We recently started working with Chino Hills State Park and now we’ve added a single menu item with links to put all state parks on our map.

We’re now working to get more on board to create internal maps of features, places, and trails within each park. If you’re a fan of ParkWatchReport, contact your favorite park and ask them to join!

Posted in Client Adoption, Mobile Apps

DNS glitch at Digital Ocean

PWR was down for awhile today (about 3 hours) due to a DNS problem at Digital Ocean. They were on it fast and resolved the problem as quickly as possible, and have implemented a solution that should prevent the same kind of failure in the future… although it is the Internet. These things happen.

Posted in Bug or Feature?

Squashing Bugs

Of course, you don’t see bugs until you go to demo the software! Thanks to our intrepid marketing staff, we found some new ones and squashed them yesterday.

  1. People who typed in a full URL like http://oc.parkwatchreport.com were incorrectly getting redirected to https://oc.parkwatchreport.comparkwatchreport.com! This was a server configuration problem that seemed to come from some recent updates. The whole point was to just redirect people from http to https for security. It’s all fixed, now.
  2. We noticed some descriptive text was no longer true: In the area that described how to use the map interface on the home page we referred to the ‘right column’ which is now the slide-out window with the compass icon. Some other wording was also unclear. It should now be much improved. We also noticed instructions on the Report that said you could post a report anonymously. But we require an email address, which isn’t really anonymous.
  3. We added some sponsors for Orange County. Be sure to thank them!

Note that a new, simpler report is in the works, which will make it easier and faster to fill out while you’re out in the wilds with a low cell signal, numb fingers, and a rabid porcupine is stalking you. We originally just ported the web form to mobile, but mobile devices really deserve their own interface design! After a year of receiving Reports from mobile devices, we now know some fields just never get used, some drive people nuts, some should be filled automagically, and some take too long to load.

Be assured we’re working on it, thanks for your patience and feedback!

Posted in Uncategorized
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