High-Tech Hiking

Connecticut Forest and Park Association is using QR codes on the trails.

You probably have seen funny looking black and white blocks called QR codes popping up in stores and restaurants. Now, you can find them  in the middle of the forest.

Marty Gosselin, from the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, said the way to hikers receive information is changing.

"As we move through different forms of digital media, it's really important to stay with the times and do what people are using most. Smart phones seem to be the way to go because everyone's got one," Gosselin said.

QR codes work by downloading a QR reader application on your smart phone and then holding your phone's camera up to the code.

The Forest and Park Association has put QR codes at four different trail heads, including the Mattabessett Trail in Middlefield, Seven Falls State Park and Brooks Road in Middletown, and the Shenipsit Trail at Risley Pond in Bolton.

Getting information about trails and maps to hikers is important, Eric Hammerling, the executive director of the Forest and Park Association, said.

"Even though we do all the appropriate things to keep them well-blazed, there are other trails that cut across them and there are places that people can get disoriented," Hammerling said.
Gosselin said the initial response from a test launch at Higby Mountain in Middletown was huge.

"Without publicizing it at all, within the first two weeks we had 150 hits," she said.

The Connecticut Forest and Park Association maintains 825 miles of blue blazed hiking trails across the state.

All the trails are open to the public and remember to bring a map, or in some cases now, remember to bring your smart phone.

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