The mountain that everybody hikes is now a place where everybody can learn thanks to the Forest Society’s New Hampshire Forest Explorer for smartphones. Created in 2017 to promote visitor education and recreation experiences at Forest Society reservations, including Alton’s Mount Major and Portmouth’s Creek Farm, Forest Explorer is your one stop shop for deepening your understanding of the world around you.
Forest Explorer makes it easy to gain access to enhanced trail and informative maps right from the trailhead. Simply load the Forest Explorer webpage using the browser on your phone and then enter your email address to get started. Before embarking on a hike of 1,785-foot Mount Major, users can choose from four unique trail experiences, all of which track your location as you hike and allow you to share your trip on social media. Here’s a primer on what you’ll find in the Mount Major Forest Explorer.
- Seeking is Fun - Families with kids or even those who are kids at heart will enjoy the Mount Major digital scavenger hunt. Participants try to find points of interest along the trail while hiking and using the Forest Explorer digital map. Make it a friendly competition to see who can find the next point first.
- Are We There Yet? - Try the “Just the Maps” experience to track your progress during your hike of Mount Major. Hikers can identify where they are on the trail and how far they have to go to reach the summit. What better way to stay motivated? Pro tip: Make sure to refresh the “Just the Maps” webpage to see your current location.
- Wonder No More - Why did a steel cable end up in a tree? Who built the stone hut on the summit? Why do some pine trees cluster branches on one side of their trunks? Try the “History, Forests, and Wildlife” experience, to discover the answer to these questions and to learn about many other fascinating points of cultural and environmental history along the trail. Highlights include many overlooked sites in addition to many prominent landmarks that spark people’s curiosity. Pro tip: There are no signs or markers to signify the points of interest along the trail. Try clicking on the next waypoint to read the description and see a photo. That way you can keep your eye out for the next feature to learn more about it.
- Take it Up a Notch - Reading about different trail experiences will help you pick the best route for your interests. Maybe you want to avoid peak crowds and try a quick hike after work. Choose the “Sweat, Share, and Compare” experience to discover the quickest and most heart-thumping route up Boulder Trail. The points of interest in this experience include good places to take a water break, where to get your sprint on, and places to enhance your exercise with a few fun facts and features you’ll want to share with friends.
- Keep Track - Whether you’re trying to complete the Forest Society’s Forest Reservation Challenge or looking to recommend a trail to a friend, Forest Explorer users can log in anytime to see past activities.
This blog post originally appeared in the Summer 2018 edition of Forest Notes: New Hampshire's Conservation Magazine. Join today to start receiving our quarterly, award-winning magazine that will keep you up-to-date on the latest land conservation news and special stories of people and place in New Hampshire.