From Trail Maps to Trail Apps – Connecting with Visitors via Mobile Devices

Millions of trail users are actively using mobile devices every day, but most public agencies and nonprofit partners are not leveraging this important communication channel.

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Event Details

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January 23, 2020

10:00 AM to 11:30 AM (Pacific Time) {more time zones}

11:00 AM to 12:30 PM (Mountain Time)
12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (Central Time)
01:00 PM to 02:30 PM (Eastern Time)


FREE for members
FREE for nonmembers

Learning Credit Cost: FREE


Closed Captioning is available for this webinar.
Learning Credits
are available for this webinar.


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Webinar Outline

Most organizations actively communicate with their visitors through traditional channels such as newsletters, websites, and social media, but most are missing out on increasing visitor engagement and safety where most visitors already are, mobile devices! Modern, agency driven mobile apps allow organizations to leverage this important new communication channel while also empowering trails users to safely enjoy their public lands by taking advantage of offline maps and wayfinding.

People are increasingly recognizing the health, quality of life, environmental, and economic benefits that recreation offer. As a result, now more than ever it’s important to connect people to the outdoors.

Millions of trail users actively using mobile devices every day, but most public agencies and non-profit partners are not leveraging this important communication channel. Specifically, we’ll talk about how the importance of mobile devices for trail users, review some of the popular outdoor mobile apps and their key features that visitors are using, how those apps fail at delivering long term value to trail managing agencies and then the different approaches and associated benefits/challenges for organizations to consider as they consider publishing their content to a mobile device.

We’ll review the key components and benefits of a new mobile app platform, OuterSpatial, which is leading a cost-effective approach that gives stewards of our open spaces — including government agencies and nonprofits — control over what information is presented and how it’s presented and opening up an engagement channel with visitors. We’ll discuss the importance of this stewardship-first approach and how empowering the stewards of our land to publish quality content to visitors can create an experience that’s more welcoming to recreationalists. The session will feature Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation and their partners as they discuss their popular new Trails LA County mobile app, including the benefits and challenges they’ve experienced. We’ll also review a number of state and local park and trail organizations actively leveraging a mobile app in California, Oregon, Alaska, Massachusetts and other areas throughout the country.

Learning Objectives:

  • Gain a better understanding of the associated challenges of building, deploying, maintaining and marketing a mobile app and why building your own custom app is likely not going to create a return on your investment.
  • Learn real-world cost-effective strategies for publishing recreation information to their visitors via mobile devices.
  • Learn about the benefits of publishing your data and deepening your engagement with visitors via mobile devices.
  • Gain a better understanding of the level of effort and process for publishing authoritative and accurate recreation content to a mobile app for visitors to plan trips to their parks and trails and engage while in your park.
  • We’ll share simple tools we use to plan, track, and assess marketing efforts and payoff.


Webinar Partners


Ryan Branciforte, Co-Founder and CEO, OuterSpatial

Ryan Branciforte is the co-founder and CEO of OuterSpatial, a platform that empowers organizations to connect people to the outdoors. During his 20+ year career working in the public, nonprofit and private sector, Ryan has always had a deep passion for using technology to do good conservation work and get people outside.


Zachary T. Likins, Trail Planner, Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department

Zachary T. Likins is a Trail Planner with Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation. He has over 7 years of professional experience in a variety of progressively responsible planning roles, including expertise in long-range planning, design review, project management and land acquisition.


Michelle O'Connor, Trails Planning Section Head, Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department

Michelle O’Connor oversees Trails Planning for the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation Planning & Development Agency. She has more than 13 years of public sector experience with a focus on park planning and project management. Michelle has played a key role in advancing the work of the Trails Planning team over the past several years, and during her career in Planning she has served as the Project Manager for variety of interesting and complex projects such as the Puente Hills Landfill Park Master Plan, the North Las Vegas Citywide Trails & Bikeways Master Plan, the Kiel Ranch Historic Park Comprehensive Preservation and Development Plan, and the Culver City Zoning Code Update.


Closed Captioning

We are offering closed captioning for our webinars, thanks to a partnership with VZP Digital. If you are in need of this service, please email us prior to the webinar. An unedited transcript will be sent to all attendees following the webinar.

Learning Credits and CEUs

American Trails is proud to be a certified provider of the following learning credits and continuing education opportunities:

  • American Institute of Certified Planners Continuing Maintenance (AICP CM)
  • Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES PDH) (most HSW approved)
  • National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) CEU equivalency petition
  • CEU/PDH equivalency petition for other accepting organizations

Learning credits are free for attendees for American Trails webinars and the International Trails Symposium, as well as for other conferences, webinars, and workshops we offer credits for. Learn more here.


While we may individually agree (or disagree) in whole or in part with any or all of the participants, the views expressed in these webinars are not necessarily representative of the views of American Trails as an organization or its board and staff. Unless specific situations are noted by presenters, nothing in American Trails webinars should be considered to be interpreted as a standard.

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