Rangers have been a pretty big part of my life these past several years. They seem to pop up everywhere in life – in books, in parks, in environmental law class, in SUVs on California highways, and now… on iPhones.
Since coming to 1% for the Planet, I’ve been quite prideful of my Junior Ranger status, and it’s been most rewarding to watch as my affinity for park rangers and my work here at 1% for the Planet overlap again and again. Just after a few months in house, I connected with a with a staff person at Rocky Mountain Nature Association by way of sharing our Junior Ranger experiences. We took to signing our correspondences to one another, “from one Junior Ranger to another.” Less than a month later, I found out one of our members, American Park Network, was responsible for the publication of the renowned Oh, Ranger! book that I’d read while gallivanting the grandeur of Yosemite valley. Who knew!? Mark, of American Park Network, made my day when he found his way to our 1% booth at Outdoor Retailer this January, and there we exchanged Ranger stories.
And now, now, American Park Network offers a wonderful new smart phone application, Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder™. This notification came to my inbox and without a breath I downloaded the app. Being familiar with the geography in Vermont, I hadn’t put it to use until a couple weeks later when I found myself in Oregon, driving in no particular direction, in search of a campsite before sunset. With darkness looming and growing tired of the relentless logging roads, I recalled the Oh, Ranger! app and put it to use. This app changed everything.
The horizon before us was no longer filled with tractor trailer trucks and endless highway, but it now glimmered with abundant waterfalls, hot springs, ski areas, campsites and even, not too far off, Crater Lake (the app informed us that we’d clearly taken a route due south further than we’d realized)! I couldn’t think of a more useful application for someone such as myself who all too often goes off the map, has a horrendous sense of direction, and enjoys spontaneous adventure – all in the company of a best friend with many of the same attributes. While one part of camping and adventuring is going off the charts and turning off the phone and computer, I will fend for the smartphone in this instance and say that if you’re out and about on a drive and want to find a fun stop, a nearby park to explore, or just spice things up with some adventure, definitely bust out the Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder™ app. It’ll make your day – possibly even your trip – as it puts to use modern technology to get back to the natural environment that we’re all working hard to conserve. While the app inherently supports all parks by raising awareness about them, the 1% donation given on behalf of this app from American Park Network supports nonprofit partners Tread Lightly! and The Student Conservation Association (SCA).
Once you scout out a park with your new Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder™ app, be sure to go and get certified as a Junior Ranger – no matter how old you are