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DLNR Launches New Outdoors App Geared For Hawai´i Hikers, Hunters

July 5, 2021, 8:19 AM HST
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A new and free application that provides official information on hiking trails and hunting areas across all Hawaiian Islands is now online.

The DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) is the latest state agency to adopt the OuterSpatial platform to provide current and official information about trails and other outdoor recreation spots, and hunting seasons, rules, areas, and check-ins/checkouts. 

Video courtesy of DLNR.

DOFAW Wildlife Biologist Jason Omick said the genesis of the app was to have a more proficient way to collect hunter harvest data.

“We found a lot of people wanted to be able to check-in electronically,” he said. “With this mobile app, they can do that and more.” 

“Users can download their trail or route prior to taking off and even if your phone drops cell service, the app will continue to provide your location via the phone’s GPS,” Omick continued. “This will give people a sense of security when they’re in the field. Even when you are offline, you will be able to navigate State Forest Reserves and trails in the Na Ala Hele Trails and Access system with confidence.”

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Last week, on east O‘ahu’s Kuliʻouʻou Trail, a team from DOFAW demonstrated the OuterSpatial app and some of its functions. Omick stopped along the trail and showed some of the features.

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“Our Hawai‘i home screen has weather advisories, COVID updates, special trails, masterpiece trails, and places to go for epic views. You can just touch on any area, read about it, and find different hunting areas and checks tations, natural area reserves, and even state parks.”

The application is ever expandable and Omick expects to provide additional information and updates based on user needs. One potential tool is that hikers can “check in” to a trail when hiking, which could be used to provide information in the event that a hiker goes missing.

The app has social media integration and users can take and share photos and report trail hazards and problems to DOFAW or other state agencies. 

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Nicholas Vargas, a DOFAW wildlife biologist, is a hunter. He said he is excited about the utility of the OuterSpatial App.

“Being able to actually monitor how far you go on a trail and the amount of game you take is a cool thing,” Vargas said. “You can look back and see how you progress through your hunting career.” 

For land and resource managers, the application is expected to provide metrics that will better inform management decisions, such as when to open and close trails.  

“We’ll be monitoring each trail and area, making sure they’re open when they’re supposed to be and closed when they’re supposed to be,” Omick added. “So rather than going to unofficial websites that may not have current and up-to-date information, OuterSpatial will have information on all our assets that are open to the public. It is the official DLNR outdoor recreation app, and we encourage everyone who enjoys being out on the trails, in the forest, or in the parks to download it for free.” 

DOFAW managers say the app’s applications extend far beyond its current tool set, and that the plan is to make it more robust over time. App development cost an estimated $140,000 and there is a $10,000 annual charge from OuterSpatial.

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