New CV Trails App Makes Backcountry Trail Info Available Online… Or Off!

Getting out to enjoy the hiking trails of the Upper Columbia Valley in the East Kootenay just got that much easier.

Published earlier this fall, the new Columbia Trails mobile app is available to all backcountry enthusiasts with a mobile device.  Developed by Fairmont Hot Springs resident, Philip Boyer, the mobile app is a companion to the original comprehensive online application found at the website.

The mobile version allows users to plan their hike, bike, run or ski and store their data on their iPhone or Android device to be used even while they are out of range of coverage.  This includes GPS files that can be used on navigation apps such as Canada Topo Maps.

“It’s a full-fledged app that allows off-line access to more that 100 trails here in the Columbia Valley.” said Mr. Boyer.

While developed privately by Mr. Boyer, the app utilizes the same data as the website, which he also developed under the design guidance of fellow Valley software developer and backcountry enthusiast, Rob Orchiston, in 2014.  The effort was funded by the Greenways Trails Alliance.

“These apps and website are an extremely valuable resource for the Valley that compliments other resources such as Aaron Cameron and Matt Gunn’s Hikes Around Invermere (book) and other websites.  I often find myself referring to to find a new trail to hike or bike,” said Mr. Orchiston.  “this is a premier resource for visitors and locals alike.”

Incredibly user-friendly, once you’ve identified a trail of interest the full details are available:  trail description, trailhead access, heights, times, distances, elevation profile, GPS route file and photos.  A simple click and you’ve got a PDF of the trail with maps, photos and descriptions to download or print.

No need to fear random, unproven, or rogue trail information.  All of the the trails outlined in the app, as well as the website, are official, sanctioned trails and include those for hikers, mountain bikers, trail runners, Nordic skiers, horseback riders, wheelchair accessible and other non-motorized backcountry users.

“Trails are easily added by smartphone or computer.  Anyone can create an account and add their own trails”, said Mr. Orchiston.  However, in an effort to ensure quality and safety, only confirmed and sanctioned information will be approved.

Mr. Orchiston adds that the design allows organizations in other regions to license the technology from Greenways to set up and brand their own trail repositories and apps with little effort.

Mr. Boyer anticipates upgrading the app some time next year with more enhancements.

Backcountry users can find and download the Columbia Valley Trails app at the Apple App or Google Play stores.


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