State parks unveil smartphone app

January 31, 2012 · 2 minute read

From a press release from the Department of Conservation and Recreation:

Virginia State Parks are now as close as your smartphone with the introduction of the new Virginia State Parks Pocket Ranger app. Developed collaboratively by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and ParksByNature, the new Pocket Ranger Mobile Tour Guide is available at no charge thanks to the Virginia Association for Parks and Imperial Multimedia.

“We’re very pleased to team up with ParksByNature, the VAFP and Imperial to bring this exciting new smartphone application to the public,” State Parks Director Joe Elton said in a press release. “This is a cutting-edge 21st century technology brought to the market by a dynamic 21st century public-private partnership.”

Virginia is the latest of 12 states to partner with ParksByNature in developing official state park mobile tour guides. In other states there is a basic guide and one with advanced GPS technology available at an additional charge. There is no charge for the advanced Virginia app. The partnership is also finalizing details on a sponsorship plan so that users are supporting Virginia State Parks each time they use the app. The mobile guide is available for Apple and some Android devices.


Bear Creek Lake State Park

The Official Virginia State Parks Pocket Ranger app offers educational and interpretive information. With the help of the app, users may locate the nearest park and gain access to in-depth information such as trail-touring videos, activities and descriptions designed to enhance their overall visit. In addition, the app includes advanced GPS mapping technology allowing park visitors to mark, record and share trail blazes, explorations and discoveries.

Hikers can use the app to personalize routes while hunters and fishermen will benefit from ability to mark their favorite spots. A cache map feature, which allows users to navigate the state parks without mobile reception, is also available. Park goers may use the photo waypoint feature to snap pictures and mark the coordinates of highlights from their visit—such as animals and natural features—and then share it with the click of a button.

As a safety feature an in-app alert is included that allows users to quickly send their GPS coordinates along with a message to a designated list of contacts in the event of an emergency.

To download the Virginia State Parks Pocket Ranger® app go to It can also be downloaded by visiting Apple iTunes or Android Market.

For information on all Virginia State Park offerings, including the new app, go to