Time to get serious about your Spring training! This new app by the The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation could help – Iowa By Trail iOS mobile app and website will be available for public download starting May 1, 2014. Iowa By Trail provides an interactive map that allows users to: geo locate their position and find the closest trail; find points of interest along the trail route, such as local restaurants, museums and natural resource information; communicate with friends and followers about their activity along the trail via social media integration; and keep track of distance, weather, news, and events.

App users will receive notifications as they travel along the trail about the natural areas they pass, giving them new insight and information related to conservation and the importance of Iowa’s natural spaces right as they experience them.

“When you’re on the trail, you inherently understand the connection between communities, natural resources, and the economy,” explains Hannah Inman, INHF communications director. “This app takes that one step farther. It allows for a business to communicate with a new visitor that’s passing through or for a town to showcase its unique treasures. It allows someone to stop to take a look at a stream and understand its connection to our drinking water. This is something that no one else in the country has at a statewide level. It showcases what makes Iowa special.”

The app will meet the need for quick and accurate trail information on the go, making it easier for all Iowans to get outdoors and connect with nature. Physical inactivity costs the state of Iowa about $5.3 billion through lost worker productivity, increased medical costs, and increased worker compensation.* Iowans are more inclined to exercise if they have access to a trail; Iowa By Trail will help direct them to that access and enhance the overall trail experience, keeping users coming back to trails they are familiar with and encouraging them to also discover new trails.

“It’s really an exciting blend of technology driving outdoor involvement in the communities across Iowa,” explains Matt Glynn, partner at West Des Moines-based Shift Interactive – the company responsible for creating the app. “We were thrilled to work hand-in-hand with INHF and to play a small part in the development and deployment of this incredibly useful tool.”

The app will also feature local restaurants and businesses, further connecting and reinforcing trails as a major revenue source for the state of Iowa. In 2011, Iowa’s trail system drew approximately 1.8 million visitors who spent $50,000 per day or approximately $17.8 million.* Trails also attract new people and businesses to Iowa and retain our current workforce.

This app was made possible through the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the Metropolitan Planning Authority, and several private citizens.

Funding is still needed for the Android version of Iowa By Trail. For more information please visit http://ift.tt/1ifQOTo or contact Hannah Inman, Communications Director at hinman@inhf.org

*Source, Economic Value of Outdoor Recreation Activities in Iowa study by Daniel Otto, Kristin Tylka, and Susan Erickson, 2011
App mockups2Iowa By Trail app symbol Iowa By Trail logo

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