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Hiawatha National Forest app provides visitor info

GLADSTONE — Hiawatha National Forest has partnered with OnCell to launch a mobile app for visitors. Visitors can use the OnCell app on their personal mobile devices to take self-guided tours of natural and heritage sites at several US Forest Service locations across the nation, including the Hiawatha. The Hiawatha’s first tour on the app is a Lighthouse Tour. The app also serves as acommunication tool by allowing agency staff to deliver the latest information and news to visitors.

“This new app brings Hiawatha National Forest’s lighthouses to you!” says said Sean O’Donnell, the Hiawatha’s Lighthouse Program Specialist and coordinator of the Forest’s lighthouse program.

The tour portion of the app features forest facts, historic and cultural information, unique imagery, and an introductory video. The app also features Google maps to help visitors discover points of interest and explore the forest.

After downloading the app, the Lighthouse Tour will be available and accessible as long as your device has power, no connectivity is required. There is also Forest contact information included on the tour as well as links to the Hiawatha National Forest webpage and social media outlets, though you will need connectivity to access those sites.

OnCell, which provides mobile tour space for destinations, helped Hiawatha National Forest launch the app with ranger and staff-curated content. The forest will continue to use the OnCell app builder to extend the experience with more points of interest and additional wayfinding information.

“We are the only national forest that owns and manages historical lighthouses. Unfortunately not all of them are open, or accessible, to the public.” says O’Donnell. “This technology will be a way for us to provide visitors with a mobile lighthouse tour that they can download for free on their smartphone or tablet and have access to 24/7.”

The app is one of many upcoming forest apps as part of a new mobile program created by the national office in Washington, D.C. It aims to give each forest the foundation to provide educational mobile tours.

Visitors can access the apps by downloading them from the App Store or Google Play. A web app can also be accessed on demand at [app URL].

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