Shawnee National Forest Mobile Tour

Shawnee National Forest Mobile Tour

Have you ever taken the audio tour at an art museum? Remember how cool and cultured you feel after learning the history and background of the exhibits? Imagine being able to do that outdoors – learning about nature’s masterpieces! That’s the idea behind a new mobile interpretive tour being launched by three national forests – the Shawnee (Illinois), Wayne (Ohio), and Arapaho-Roosevelt (Colorado). With a click of a button, visitors will see information about specific sites throughout the Forests.

The mobile tour combines the traditional method of interpretive signage with the new technology of mobile devices. Each tour stop is marked by a small sign containing a unique phone number, QR code and simple directions. If you use the QR code option, you’ll receive access to audio, videos, multimedia slideshows and other mobile content.

The first tour to launch was the Shawnee National Forest and it is now fully operational! Visitors can learn about and explore 30 sites throughout the Forest including Garden of the GodsLake Glendale, Rim Rock and La Rue Pine Hills.

A local nonprofit organization was inspired to create a companion tour featuring information on other public lands, restaurants and area attractions. Both are designed to give visitors valuable information on all the area has to offer.

The Forest is very excited to pilot this mobile interpretive tour. Forest Supervisor Allen Nicholas stated, “There is so much to see and experience through the many sites of the Forest, and we hope the public will enjoy the tour as much as we have in creating it.”

Response to the tour has been positive. In fact, it was selected for a 2014 Beacon Award from the American Recreation Coalition. The Forest will use feedback from visitors to continuously improve this program.