National Park App Maker Back With Better, Free Offer

national parkLast year, in celebration of National Park Week, Chimani Apps gave away their suite of National Park apps. Normally, the apps sell for between $4.99-$9.99 each with an average rating of 4 1/2 stars, but the company gave away one million downloads. Now, Chimani is back with five new national park apps that feature an augmented reality viewer, crowd-sourced maps and a social sharing tool enabled with Near Field Communications (NFC) technology. Better yet, they are all free.

“Chimani users are now able to actively contribute to the national park community and help build better geo-spatial data for each of the parks,” said Kerry Gallivan CEO/Co-Founder in a NationalParksOnline article.

The company is releasing a new app on each of the five days of National Park Week. New parks added are Grand Teton National Park, Glacier National Park, Olympic National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and Bryce Canyon National Park. These, and all other Chimani apps, will be available for free starting Monday, April 22.

The apps have constantly updated maps, event schedules, points of interest, hiking details, as well as sunset and sunrise times for scenic overlooks. Users can access tide schedules along the coast, review lodging options and more on the apps, all designed to work without a cellphone signal.

We like that Chimani does not just throw their apps out there and hope for the best. Their users actively contribute to the national park community by helping build better geo-spatial data for each of the parks.

“A great example of this is Openstreetmaps.org’s user Tomthepom who spent the winter meticulously editing the park data within Grand Canyon. Thanks to Tom, the data found within the Chimani maps is the most detailed and up-to-date available anywhere – digital or print,” said Gallivan.

The Chimani apps are available for the iPhone, iPad, Amazon Kindle and Android devices. They can be downloaded directly from Apple’s iTunes App Store, Google Play and Amazon AppStore.


[Photo credit – Flickr user Dark_muse]

Go On Safari In Yellowstone And Grand Teton National Park

Spot bears on a North American safariThe thought of going on safari generally conjures up mental images of driving across the African savannah dressed in khaki and wearing a pith helmet while spotting elephants and lions. But did you know that it is possible to get a true safari experience in North America, without having to endure a very long trans-Atlantic flight?

Luxury travel company The Clear Creek Group is now offering the Wolf and Bear Expedition, which promises to take adventurous travelers into Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in search of the two legendary predators. The three-day trip pairs visitors with a wildlife biologist who then guides them into the the famous Lamar and Hayden Valleys, which are often referred to as “the Serengeti of North America.” Those two destinations feature an incredible amount of wildlife, including bison, moose, elk and more, set against a dramatic backdrop of sprawling and beautiful landscapes.

The Wolf and Bear Expedition begins and ends in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but while on safari, travelers will stay in the wonderfully quirky Montana town of Cooke City. Accommodations are included as part of the package, as are side visits to Old Faithful, the spectacular Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs.

Of course, the real highlight of the trip is the wildlife, which will take center stage thanks to the expert guides on these trips. They’ll know how to locate the predators in the wild and they’ll give travelers an opportunity to observe them in their natural settings.

Having visited Lamar Valley myself, I can tell you that it truly is a magical setting. I’ve seen the wildlife there and it is quite the experience. While I was there, I spotted a large moose, a pack of wolves and numerous elk and bison. Sadly, I didn’t get the chance to see a bear, although on this excursion it sounds like that is more likely to happen.

The four-night itinerary for the Wolf and Bear Expedition is packed top-to-bottom with activities for a very busy few days. Prices start at $3675 with bookings available in May, June, September and October.

[Photo Credit: Clear Creek Group]

Canon Offers Free Photography Workshops In US National Parks

Yellowstone Park, site of a national park photography workshop from CanonCamera manufacturer Canon has once again teamed up with the American Park Network to offer free photography and videography workshops in U.S. national parks. These workshops, which include video for the first time, will be available in a variety of locations and offer park visitors a chance to learn new skills, or hone existing ones, in some of the most photogenic environments on the planet.

The Photography in the Parks program has already been wrapped up in the Grand Canyon, Zion and Yosemite National Parks this year, but new opportunities begin in other parks as early as today. For example, workshops in Yellowstone run from July 21-31 and are held three times daily. Anyone wishing to participate can join in the fun at 8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Old Faithful Lodge. Participants are encouraged to arrive 15-30 minutes early. Other upcoming workshops will be held in Grand Teton National Park (August 1-2), Rocky Mountain National Park (August 5-11) and Acadia National Park (August 18-29).

Instructors will be on hand to provide tips on how to get the most out of your digital camera or camcorder. They’ll also have a variety of Canon products available to test as well, including their wonderful EOS DSLR cameras, EF lenses, PowerShot point and shoot and Vixia camcorders. Those expert photographers will demonstrate fun and creative ways to capture the exact photo you’re trying to achieve.

For more information check out the Photography in the Parks website and start making your plans to sit in on one of these classes soon. This is a great opportunity to get a free workshop that could improve your travel photography skills.

Photo Of The Day: Grand Teton

grand teton

Grand Teton National Park, captured here by Flickr user oilfighter, is breathlessly beautiful. A major destination in American mountaineering – and a deeply beautiful destination for less adventurous travelers – Grand Teton is surely on the short list of top U.S. National Parks.

Photographer oilfighter has developed a happy habit of snapping nature at particularly majestic moments. Check out his archive on Flickr to see evidence of his special talent.

Upload your best photographs to the Gadling Group Pool on Flickr, and be sure to enable downloading. We pick our favorite images from the pool to be future Photos of the Day.

New Mapquest Website Allows Visitors To Explore National Parks

Yellowstone National ParkA new website, powered by MapQuest, is giving travelers a unique way to plan their next visit to America’s National Parks. The site, which has launched in beta form, features detailed profiles on all 58 National Parks in the system and provides visitors with information on their history, available activities and much more.

As you would expect, the site offers readers the ability to locate national parks close to home simply by using a map of the U.S. It also lists each of the parks by state, as well as alphabetically, making it extremely easy to find the specific destination you’re looking for. Clicking on the name of any park on the list will open its corresponding guide which includes a general overview of the park itself as well as information about wildlife in the region, insights on what to expect while visiting and useful tips on what to do while you’re there. You’ll find those tips are highly specific to the individual parks, offering suggestions for fishing, hiking and climbing in Grand Teton for example, while also providing options for paddling and scuba diving in Isle Royale.

MapQuest has included plenty of great images to help give readers a good sense of the landscapes they’ll experience while visiting the parks and there are a number of excellent videos as well. For example, the video below serves as an introduction to Yellowstone and includes commentary and insights from several of the park rangers. These videos are a great way to learn more about the parks they feature and are likely to inspire visits to those places too.

This new site is an excellent resource for planning a visit to any national park in the system. If your summer travel plans include a stop in Yosemite, The Great Smokey Mountains or any other national park, do yourself a favor and bookmark MapQuest National Parks now.