BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4)– Colorado Parks and Wildlife is using technology to not only attract, but engage visitors. Partnering with Agents of Discovery, a mobile gaming app, they’ve now created a number of augmented reality adventures in 10 state parks.
Michelle Seubert is the park manager at Barr Lake State Park, where the app is currently available.
“Really what we are doing we are using technology and getting people outdoors because everybody already has a phone so why don’t we let them use it.”
Seubert says it was prompted in part by the declining number of people choosing to get outside.
According to new data released from Boulder-based Outdoor Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Outdoor Industry Association, a little under half of the U.S. population doesn’t participate in outdoor recreation at all.
“It’s alarming,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, Outdoor Foundation Executive Director.
The research highlights some alarming trends when it comes to the number of outdoor outings Americans are taking, according to the study children went on 15% fewer outings than they did in 2012.
While some argue against bringing technology into nature, Seubert says this is different.
“This one is more you’re learning so it’s not talking on the phone it’s not getting interrupted you’re still out in nature you’re just using technology for the good,” she said.
Each park has a different challenge, and visitors use the app to answer questions and learn about the area they’re in.
Annie Nagamatsu and her three girls hit the trails in Barr Lake State Park on Friday with the app in hand.
“I think if it gets them interacting with nature, then I think it’s a good thing,” she said.
Nagamatsu says they’re not a very tech-friendly household but says as someone who homeschools her children, she can see it being a useful tool.
“If parents maybe don’t feel like they have the knowledge I feel like the app could help them start conversations in nature and then learn something new maybe as well,” she said.
For her family it was a day full of discovery they hope to repeat very soon.
To get started simply download the Agents of Discovery app and visit any of the state parks listed below.
State parks with augmented reality trail missions: