Doing some urban hiking? There's an app for that. Last week Seattle Parks and Recreation launched a new mobile app called Seattle Trails, meant to make finding and maintaining local trails a breeze.
First and foremost, it's a trail finder. Users can see all 100-plus miles of Seattle park pedestrian routes on a map, color coded by the average steepness in that park: red is steep, yellow is moderate, and green is flat. Tap on any park to zoom in close for a map of the trails in the park. See a red thruway? No, that doesn't mean gridlock traffic—it means a workout. The colors note slope of each individual trail section. Each entry also includes driving directions to the park.
Seattle Trails also connects walkers to the Parks department with volunteer signups and a reporting tool to flag hazardous trail conditions; reports go directly to the trail managers for repair. The app's geo-fence only allows people to report issues from within the park (to deter any pranksters) and a photo feature gives repair team visual evidence of the fallen log or midtrail pothole.
The app began at the 2016 AT&T and Seattle IT Department Hackathon, where Seattle Parks and Recreation Trails coordinator Chukundi Salisbury passed out over 100 pamphlets detailing the department's needs. He hopes that the app can raise awareness for the city's trail systems and improve maintenance efficiency.
"The more people I interact with through the app, the more real-time intel I get about the park," Salisbury says. "Hopefully it can help shore the numbers behind [trail usage] so we can we get the support to really maintain these trails the way they should be."
The Seattle Trails app is free and available for download at the Apple Store, and an Android version of the app in the works along with additional features such as individual histories of each park, calendar events, and a social media aspect.