OCEAN COUNTY, NJ – Parks in Ocean County have seen many more people hiking the trails and congregating outdoors during the coronavirus pandemic.
Many local residents visited Ocean County’s parks for the first time, while other groups came from as far away as Philadelphia and North Jersey in search of outdoor recreation, according to Mary Jane Bavais, director. Ocean County Parks and Recreation Assistant.
Although the trails are marked, novice hikers struggled to find their way back and got lost in the woods on several occasions.
âSome trails are a half-mile loop and then there are others that are more difficult,â Bavais said. “If you’re not used to it and you’re not used to where you are, people panic.”
A new trail tracking app released by Ocean County Parks and Recreation is designed to help visitors navigate the trails and increase their safety.
The trail tracker works like a GPS and can locate people in Ocean County’s 27 parks and conservation areas. The interactive app can also provide visitors with a map of the trail and their latitude and longitude coordinates.
The tracker is accessible via this link or by scanning the QR code below:
âWe’ve always had maps, but as we know people forget to take a map. They’ll come in and start walking, just walk past the trail maps and head to the trail,â Bavais said. “By pulling the QR code, they can easily find their way.”
Ocean County Parks and Recreation used a different tracking system in previous years, although it did not have longitude and latitude functions.
The latest app has been released in beta and the department is actively seeking feedback from park visitors. Feedback on the app and its user experience can be sent to [email protected].
âIt’s a better and easier to use system for the public,â Bavais said. âThis is really a matter of security. Our staff can find them in a flash, but that way they don’t have to make that 911 call. â
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