We are thrilled to officially announce the launch of the Pocket Ranger® video channel!
While browsing our Pocket Ranger® apps, you may have noticed a link to Outdoor Videos or the Pocket Ranger® channel. If so, congratulations—you’ve found our channel! If you haven’t taken a look yet, be sure to check it out at video.pocketranger.com. With the Pocket Ranger® channel, our goal is to be the premier location for the highest quality videos covering topics and interests about the outdoors. The content is provided by a diverse pool of contributors from across the nation (California, Wisconsin, Florida, and South Carolina), and some videos are specially created just for the Pocket Ranger® channel.
Fireworks, delicious barbecue, and a healthy dose of American pride are the perfect ingredients for a successful Independence Day celebration. And what better way to show your nationalism than heading out into gorgeous nature and supporting a local state park? Here are just three parks that offer a fun way to spend the upcoming Fourth of July.
Nothing says Independence Day like an amazing fireworks show! [Image: http://sf.funcheap.com/4th-july-fireworks-show-san-pablo/]
Sunset Patriotic Paddle Parade
Paddle along the peaceful shores of Texas’ Martin Creek Lake State Park or their Sunset Patriotic Paddle Parade. Limited amounts of rentals are available, so arrive early or bring your own kayak. And don’t forget those decorations—make sure you and your boat arrive decked out in your red, white, and blue-est!
More info: 903-836-4336 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Refer to this photo as inspiration for your patriotic boat. [Image: http://houseboats.com/photo-galleries/american-spirit-patriotic-photos/]
Old Fashioned Independence Day Celebration
Nothing says love for your country’s history like taking a trip back in time at California’s Wilder Ranch State Park for their Old Fashioned Independence Day Celebration. Join in on the parade that travels through the complex to the front lawn where speeches, a flag raising, and patriotic music await. Dress in your early 1900s best and bring some musical instruments, then exchange your present-day bills for some neat 1900s tokens! Afterwards stick around for food or pack a picnic and relax at the park.
More info: 831-426-0505
Past participants in the Old Fashioned Independence Day Celebration. [Image: http://www.santacruzca.org/events/index.php?evtid=7793]
Independence Day Fishing Rodeo
Bring your kids over to Georgia’s Reed Bingham State Park where the Friends of Reed Bingham are hosting an Independence Day Fishing Rodeo. Prizes will be awarded, and anyone under 12 is urged to compete. There’s really no better way to celebrate America’s independence than going fishin’!
More info: 229-896-3551
Bring the whole family out for an exciting day of fishing! [Image: http://www.hukgear.com/blogs/news/20038915-tips-for-taking-kids-fishing]
Are you new to fishing and not sure if you will enjoy it but want to find out? Then the perfect opportunity awaits you. And best of all, it’s FREE!
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is hosting Free Fishing Weekend on June 27-28. There’s no fishing license required on those days for the fresh or marine waters of New York State, making it the opportune time for people of all ages to learn and enjoy the day. We especially encourage those with more experience to bring along the young people in your life to show them the value of patience, the anticipation of the bite and the exhilaration of the catch!
Before heading out for a weekend of free fishing, be sure to take the following steps to make the most out of your trip:
Also download our FREE photo/video sharing app, Trophy Case™, to share photos and videos of your big catch with fellow adventurers!
We look forward to seeing you on the last weekend of June! If you don’t live in New York or can’t come out to visit, contact the recreation areas near you since most states offer free fishing days throughout the year.
Any of our Pocket Ranger® apps can help you find adventure, but you’ll need a rugged rig to get you there. Named Motor Trend’s 2015 Truck of the Year®, we nominate Chevy Colorado Z71 – Trail Boss Edition as that perfect ride to get you from humble abode into the great outdoors.
Reach any trailhead with the Chevy Colorado Z71 – Trail Boss Edition. This midsize pick-up comfortably handles the toughest trails thanks to its rugged durability, powerfully efficient 3.6L V6 engine, and Z71 Off-Road Package. No matter the weather, the trail-ready Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac® all-terrain tires keep you moving in all conditions. Best of all that Z71 Off-Road Package guarantees a smooth ride.
Got gear? Whether you’re a hiker, kayaker, hunter or angler, with the Chevy Colorado Z71 – Trail Boss Edition there are storage options galore for all of your outdoor gear. GearOn™ moveable cargo tie-down rings and GearOn™ cargo divider in the bed give you many ways to secure your gear. Inside the cab, the large center console provides easy storage options for your gadgets and a nonskid space for charging devices. Armed with rear vision camera, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and OnStar Advisor, this truck pulls its weight when it comes to you and your family’s safety. Composed of high strength materials and reinforced safety cage, the Chevy Colorado Z71 series frame actually minimizes damage in the event of a collision.
Take the internet into the wilderness with you! Turn your Chevy Colorado Z71 into a hot spot with 4G LTE high-speed Wi-Fi connection powered by OnStar. Forgot to download a Pocket Ranger® app before you left the house? Download apps, surf the web, and stream video and music with the cab’s powerful connection that can serve up to seven devices. Four USB ports found in the cabin’s console add to ease of use. The truck’s cabin is also equipped with a top-notch Bose® sound system. Queue up the perfect soundtrack for those nights spent star-gazing from the truck bed.
Driving along New Hampshire’s Kancamagus Highway is a favorite during peak fall foliage season. [Image: www.motorhomeroadtrip.com]
Download the Pocket Ranger® Official Guide for New Hampshire State Parks and cruise the scenic Kancamagus Highway. While most will be stuck looking at the White Mountains from the hardtop of “the Kanc,” with your Chevy Colorado Z71 – Trail Boss Edition, you can access numerous trailheads. We recommend hiking Mount Chocorua, a steep climb with commanding views of the Presidential Mountains. Don’t want to leave your Chevy behind? Put the Chevy Colorado Z71 to the test by summiting Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast!
Or get lost in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness of Washington. Less than 50 miles from Seattle, you can rely on your Chevy Colorado Z71 – Trail Boss Edition to easily transition you from hip, urban sprawl to austere, alpine wilderness. The Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area is home to the glacier-carved North Cascades and part of the legendary Pacific Crest Trail. Some of the best rock-climbing opportunities in the country can be found at Cashmere Crags. Or load up the kayak or canoe and spend the day on one of the 700 mountain lakes and ponds within the area. Download the Pocket Ranger® Official Guide for Washington State Parks for advanced GPS mapping capabilities that will help you navigate your adventure.
As one of the most iconic cities in the world, New York City has its perks: a breathtaking skyline, an incredible diversity of culture, arts and fashion, and best of all, the ability to eat anything at any time (regardless of how wise it is to do so). It is a city we at ParksByNature Network know and love because we engage with it every day (our offices are based in Manhattan). But living in an urban jungle also has its disadvantages, especially for those who enjoy nature and the outdoors.
So, can urban residents also be outdoor enthusiasts? Fuggedaboutit! (Translation: Of course!)
OutdoorFest is a 10-day festival that brings the outdoors to New York City through hiking, biking, fishing, climbing, and other sports and activities. Not only will you have the opportunity to have fun and get active, you will also solidify your personal connection with the natural world.
Whether you’re a New Yorker or a visitor, come join the festivities from May 29 to June 7! There are plenty of activities for people of all ages and abilities.
How do you keep the wilderness wild when millions of outdoor enthusiasts visit state and national parks each year? The Center for Outdoor Ethics created a solution to this problem with their national educational program, Leave No Trace. The Leave No Trace program promotes and inspires good ethical practice when in the backcountry. By following these guidelines, you ensure a gratifying and lasting outdoor experience for all.
1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
Like any trip, planning before you arrive at your destination is key.
Acquaint yourself with park regulations. You can easily access this information through any of our free Pocket Ranger® apps.
Be prepared for extreme weather and emergencies. Pack a first aid kit and a survival kit that includes a flashlight with extra batteries, whistle, multi-tool pocket knife, maps, lighter, fire starters, and iodine tablets.
Respect the physical limits of your hiking group by planning a trip that’s compatible with the group’s skill level.
Careful meal planning and packaging is so important when out in the backcountry. Pack only the food you need to minimize waste while you’re out on the trail.
Try to visit the outdoors in small groups. This is especially applicable to backpacking trips. If you are a larger group heading into the wilderness, break off into smaller groups to reduce impact on the environment. Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use on the trail.
Refrain from marking your trail with paint, cairns or flagging, and instead use a map, compass or your Pocket Ranger® app. In addition to a compass feature, the Pocket Ranger® apps offer users advanced GPS features that can even be used offline!
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
Trampling down an area’s vegetation can result in some undesirable results, such as barren areas and soil erosion. Help preserve the environment by following these tips:
In wilderness areas of high use, stick to established trails and campsites. Established campsites can come in a few different forms, such as raised wooden platforms, rock, gravel, dry grasses and snow. Walk single-file on trails and try to stick to the center of these trails. This prevents the trail from further eroding the surrounding landscape.
However, when camping and hiking through pristine or fragile environments, the opposite is true. Avoid making established trails or campsites by dispersing your impact on the environment. Do not camp or travel in places where impacts are just beginning to show.
Whether in high use or low use areas, always make sure to camp at least 200 feet from lakes and streams. This protects the waterbody and riparian areas (the land near a waterbody) from damage and contamination.
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
This principle could be the golden rule of the backcountry: Whatever you pack in, you must pack out! This includes all trash, leftover food, toilet paper (both used and unused), and hygiene products.
Before leaving a campsite or rest area, check around for any trash or spilled food you may have missed.
Solid human waste should be deposited in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep. These catholes must be at least 200 feet from water, campsite and trails. After use, cover and disguise catholes.
Always clean up after yourself! [Image: bartramcanoetrail.blogspot.com/2013/10/people-fish-camp-trash.html]
Got dishes? Need a shower? To clean either yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lake, and use only small amounts of biodegradable soap. When finished cleaning or bathing, do not dump this dirty water back into the stream or lake! Doing so would contaminate the natural water source. Instead, strain and then scatter the water at least 200 feet (or 80 to 100 strides) from its source.
4. Leave What You Find
Look, but don’t touch! Preserve the past by leaving natural and historic structures and artifacts as they are. This ensures that other visitors to the area will have the same sense of discovery.
Leave rocks, plants, feathers and other natural objects just as you find them.
Don’t transport non-native species with you! Non-native species frequently become invasive. These invasive species can critically damage the ecosystem.
A good campsite is found, not made. Do not dig trenches or build structures, such as lean-tos, tables or chairs.
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
While many believe that a roaring campfire is essential to a great camping trip, fire is not always permitted in backcountry area. Before lighting a fire, always check with park regulations.
If fires are allowed, use only established fire rings, fire pans or mound fires. Keep your campfire small and manageable.
Hold off on the huge logs! The Center for Outdoor Ethics recommends using sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
Can you spot the campfire faux pas in this photo? [Image: lnt.org/blog/campfire-challenge]
Burn all the wood and coals in your campfire to ash and put out the fire completely. Then scatter the cool ashes.
As for cooking outdoors, use a lightweight camp stove. A lightweight camp stove (rather than a bulky camp stove) will also be a blessing for your back!
6. Respect Wildlife
It’s certainly exhilarating to come across wildlife when outdoors. For everyone’s safety and enjoyment, follow these guidelines for wildlife sightings:
Always observe wildlife from a distance. Never approach or follow wildlife.
Never feed wildlife! Feeding wildlife can make wild animals dependent on humans, creating opportunities for potentially dangerous encounters.
Don’t let your favorite breakfast cereal become theirs. [Image: forum.wakarusa.com/showthread.php?11815-ARTICLE-Black-Bears-Tear-Into-Tents-at-Wakarusa]
Protect wildlife and your food by storing food rations and securely.
If you bring pets with you, make sure you have control of them at all times. In many places, leashes are required.
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
While you may head into the backcountry to be alone in the great outdoors, chances are you may come across a few other outdoor enthusiasts.
Respect other visitors to the area. Be courteous and yield to other hikers on the trail.
Take breaks and camp away from the trails and other visitors. Avoid making loud noises or speaking in loud voices when in the backcountry. Keeping your voice low not only helps others enjoy their time in the wilderness, but also increases your chances of seeing wildlife.
If you encounter pack stock in the backcountry, step to the downhill side of the trail.
Get the whole family outdoors at the upcoming 5th Annual National Kids to the Parks Day! On May 16th, America’s state parks partner with the National Park Trust to host this nationwide day of outdoor play. Just a week before the official start of summer, this is a perfect day to explore and discover favorite local, state and national parks and public lands. From scavenger hunts to bird-watching, these state parks are hosting great Kids to Parks Day events:
Nature Hikes & Scavenger Hunts
Specifically designed with the whole family in mind, the James River State Park’s Scavenger Hunt has 20 items participants have to track down. Winners will get a ride on the park’s Tye Overlook wagon for free that evening! Or learn about Leave No Trace Principles and hunt out all things that shouldn’t be on the trail on Shenandoah State Park’s “Unnatural Hike.”
Join the Lake Bistineau State Park’s Nature Hike for a memorable wilderness experience in the park’s upland mixed hardwood forest, open waters, and stands of cypress and tupelo trees. Stay the night in one of this Louisiana state park’s cabins or campsites, so you can get out on the lake in a canoe or kayak the next day!
At Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site in New York, walk the towpath trails on a nature walk, and learn more about native species of birds, animals, plants and flowers. We recommend packing a lunch; there’s nothing better than having a picnic by the Aqueduct Boat Launch or the Yankee Hill Lock!
Bird-watching & Gardening
Go birding at the beautiful lagoons and shoreline of Louisiana’s Grand Isle State Park. Resident bird species include a variety of songbirds and shorebirds, such as shearwaters, pelicans, herons, and cormorants. At Leesylvania State Park in Virginia, check out the Osprey Observation. Rangers will be on hand to answer all your questions about these magnificent birds of prey.
The Bristol Bird Club of Virginia will lead a special family birding session at Natural Tunnel State Park. From old growth forest to grassy area, discover all kinds of birds that live in the park’s four different habitats. Or spend the afternoon in the park’s community garden! Alongside the Scott County Master Gardeners, learn more about gardening while weeding and planting.
In Missouri, get down in the dirt at Mudpie Magic at Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park! Make mudpies, dig in the dirt, explore rotten logs, and catch crawdads. There are many natural water park features at this state park, so take a dive into the river to rinse off! Or test your birding skills and so much more at Trail of Tears State Park. Join the Birder ID hike and scavenger hunt, and stick around for the “Eggstravaganza” egg hunt and egg quiz challenge at 7:30PM.
Learn the fascinating art of letterboxing at Shenandoah River State Park’s Letterboxing Workshop! Originating in England, letterboxing involves puzzle-solving and is a bit like geocaching. At this workshop, make your own rubber stamp and then go on a hike to discover your first letterbox.
Go fly at kite at Harry S. Truman State Park’s 3rd Annual Kid’s Kite Day! Park staff will show kids (and kids at heart!) how to assemble and decorate their very own kite. While the glue dries, settle down for a picnic or take some of the park’s example kites for a test flight.
Bluebirds are returning to Missouri on their great migration north. At Pomme De Terre State Park, learn how to build a bird house for Missouri’s state bird. All materials and tools will be provided at this event. Just bring your creativity!
5K & 10K Runs
Looking to keep a brisker pace on National Kids to Parks Day? Join families at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park’s Run Wild – “A Run for Wildlife!” Proceeds raised from the 10K, 5K, and Kids Run all benefit Nebraska’s wildlife. Both the 10K and 5K take runners through a scenic, naturally challenging trail. The 1-mile Kids Run is perfect for kids ages 12 and under, and parents can run alongside young children. Since none of the events are timed this year, everyone is a winner! Dressing like a wild animal for this event is strongly encouraged. Afterwards, celebrate the day with a picnic, face-painting, fishing, and touring the live animal exhibits.
Families that visit the state and national parks on Kids to the Parks Day are encouraged to submit photos of their adventures to Buddy@BuddyBison.org for possible inclusion in the National Park Trust’s commemorative map. Download your state’s free Pocket Ranger® app for more information about trails, campground reservations, and more!