Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 30, 2014

Mobile app for Iowa parks unveiled

Jun 18, 2013

DES MOINES — Iowans can connect with outdoor recreation using a new mobile state park application, as well as a statewide data base to locate outdoor recreation activities.

A mobile application for state parks developed through the Iowa Parks Foundation was unveiled Monday at Governor Branstad’s weekly press conference. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources also has developed a program, Healthy and Happy Outdoors that allows Iowans to find more than 30 types of outdoor activities at more than 1,600 state and county parks and recreation areas.

In addition to its state-of-the-art GPS technology, the Iowa State Parks & Recreation Guide provides other tools that make exploring the great outdoors a breeze. Visitors can decide which park to visit by using a comprehensive list of activities or by searching for a park within a particular region. The calendar of events is updated in real time and will inform app users of all the upcoming events for each park. Park rules and regulations are a click away, which is especially helpful to anglers and sportsmen. Planning an extended visit to Iowa’s rolling hills, glistening lakes or sprawling prairies is easy with a few quick clicks using the app to secure overnight reservations.

The Iowa State Parks & Recreation Guide is designed to provide information to guide and enhance the outdoor experience, and to provide added safety and enjoyment for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts at all of Iowa’s state parks and recreation areas. The app is a way for park goers to map it, discover and explore Iowa’s state parks and recreation areas.

Healthy & Happy Outdoors is an initiative to connect Iowans with outdoor resources as a way to reduce stress and improve their health.

Iowans can go online to www.iowadnr.gov/h2o to find outdoor recreational opportunities in all 99 counties and create an account to log what activities they have done. Those who sign up are automatically entered into prize drawings for outdoor gear.

The H2O website will continue to grow with tips, healthy links, additional activities and more. Iowans can help improve the map by inputting their favorite park into the system.

A 2009 report by Resources for the Future, a national environmental policy center, saidresearchers have found participation in outdoor recreation impacts two particular problems – stress and obesity.

Branstad said the state park application and H20 promote a healthier lifestyle for Iowans and meet the goal of making Iowa the healthiest state in nation.

The initiatives also play into the goal of improving Iowa’s economy and creating 200,000 new jobs.

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