By Ruffin Prevost
JACKSON, WYO. — While some outdoors enthusiasts may plead with fellow travelers to leave the gadgets at home, smartphone and tablet users visiting Grand Teton National Park now have a couple of helpful and free new resources aimed at enriching their trip.
The TravelStorysGPS mobile app and DiscoverGrandTeton.com website, both funded in part by the Grand Teton National Park Foundation, allow visitors to learn more about Grand Teton history, geology, plants, animals, people and more.
TravelStorysGPS for the Apple iPhone and iPad is a location-based mobile app that allows travelers to see and hear stories and information about Grand Teton National Park as they travel through distinct and specific areas in the park.
“Each stretch of highway, each parcel of land, has a unique story,” said Story Clark, a conservation finance specialist who developed the app.
“We hope that, using new mobile phone app technology, TravelStorysGPS app tours will brings these stories to life along the roads of Jackson Hole, and, close to my heart, share the stories of the generous, and often dramatic, acts of land conservation in our valley,” said Clark, whose Conservation Consulting is based in Wilson, Wyo.
As travelers on the Teton Park Road move between Moose and Jackson Lake Lodge, they can hear and view specific information tied to their current location.
The app includes sections on: geography, wildlife, geology, and other natural features; history and community; entertaining stories and games for kids; and personal stories about public access to the land.
Users can view additional information on the TravelStorysGPS website and contribute their own photos and stories.
The app also offers stories about Wyoming State Highway 22 between the town of Jackson, Wyo. and the Idaho state line, a feature funded by the Jackson Hole Land Trust.
Grand Teton Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott said the app meets a National Park Service goal to “reach new audiences and develop a conversation through mobile technology and other user-friendly social media.”
“We applaud these conservation organizations for their innovative app that serves up a mix of park facts with personal stories and shares the fascinating story of Grand Teton National Park and its enduring impact on people’s lives,” Scott said.
The app is free, but users who want to help fund expanding its capabilities or support other work by the Grand Teton National Park Foundation will be able to make a donation within the app and have it charged to their next mobile phone bill.
“As an organization that works to support the park, we are very excited to test this new way to reach out to visitors and teach them about this magnificent place as they drive through,” said Foundation President Leslie A. Mattson.
In addition to the TravelStorysGPS app, the Foundation also funded and launched last year DiscoverGrandTeton.org, a graphically rich website that supplements and expands on information presented on the National Park Service website for Grand Teton.
DiscoverGrandTeton.org offers trip planning and educational information that includes wildlife, geology, park history and Junior Ranger programs. It features videos, webcams, games and electronic field trips as a way to enhance interpretive opportunities for visitors and connect with a tech-savvy audience.
About half of all DiscoverGrandTeton.org visitors are referred from the main National Park Service web site, while almost a third find it through search engines, said Elisabeth Rohrbach, a development and communications officer with the Foundation.
The TravelStorysGPS app is available in Apple’s iTunes app store and is free, as is the DiscoverGrandTEton.org website.
Contact Ruffin Prevost at 307-213-9818 or [email protected].