BOSTON, Massachusetts — First-of-its-kind free online community and paid subscription service offer only comprehensive, continually-updated guide to over 500 trails in the White Mountains
The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) today launched AMC White Mountain Guide Online, a web-based community and subscription service based on the recently published 100th anniversary edition AMC White Mountain Guide, the oldest continuously published hiking trail guide in North America.
The first-of-its-kind AMC White Mountain Guide Online is unique among web-based trail guides. Continually-updated, expert trail descriptions and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) rendered trail maps of more than 500 trails in the White Mountains give users the most current trail information available. This also marks the first time that expert content is available in combination with user-generated trip reports, photos, and trail conditions provided through an online community. As an interactive guide, users can not only choose pre-defined itineraries, but also build their own customized routes by selecting individual trail segments and objectives, such as a summit or waterfall, from the map. Users can also simply select a trailhead and a summit and let the online guide select the shortest route.
As part of AMC’s commitment to outdoor safety, stewardship and conservation, the AMC White Mountain Guide Online provides not only trail descriptions, mileage, elevation change, and “book time,” but also information on designated Wilderness areas, alpine zones, trail maintaining clubs, and current safety warnings for individual trails. Detailed trip itineraries also provide essential information such as gear and clothing lists, Leave No Trace principles, and the hikeSafe Hiker Responsibility Code.
The AMC White Mountain Guide Online covers virtually every hiking trail in the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) and nearby state parks in New Hampshire and Maine, including the Appalachian Trail, from the New Hampshire ??вЂњ Vermont border to just east of the Maine ??вЂњ New Hampshire border.
Features and Functionality
Available now at www.outdoors.org/WMGOnline, the AMC White Mountain Guide Online paid subscription service features the expert content of the AMC White Mountain Guide, along with advanced search and route building capabilities.
AMC White Mountain Guide Online subscribers can:
- Build customized routes by directly interacting with the map to zoom in on a specific area and create an itinerary by selecting trail segments. Users can also select a starting point and various objectives or destinations using a form with pre-defined options. The service provides a running summary of the route, including trail descriptions and conditions, and also automatically totals the mileage, elevation gain, and “book time” to easily track the progression of the trip. Integration with Google?вЂћ? Earth allows users to visualize their route over satellite imagery of local terrain.
- Create detailed trip itineraries that include maps with custom information noting latitude and longitude, trail segments within alpine zones and designated Wilderness Areas, nearby overnight facilities, essential gear, safety information and backcountry-use guidelines such as camping restrictions, Wilderness Area and Alpine Zone regulations, hikeSafe Hiker Responsibility Code, and Leave No Trace principles to minimize backcountry impact. Users can print out itineraries to bring on their trip or share with a friend.
- Search for trails and view maps through simple or advanced keyword searches by trail name, maintainer, feature, length, and elevation change. Results are highlighted on the interactive map, along with a detailed trail or feature description. It is also easy to customize the look of the map by selecting or deselecting map legend options such as contour lines or rescaling the map for an overview of the entire trip itinerary.
- Select a suggested hike by region and start or end point to explore pre-defined routes and itineraries of varying difficulty levels.
- Stay current with detailed trip itineraries that include safety warnings and other alerts continually posted by the AMC, land management agencies, and maintaining clubs, with supplemental updates provided by users in the online community area. Online maps will be updated for major changes in trail routing or land management boundaries.
Additionally, the AMC White Mountain Guide Online offers a free community area that allows users to share photos from recent trips, view and report on trail conditions, explore online maps, volunteer for trail projects, and maintain a record of personal progress completing the White Mountain Four Thousand Footer Club peak-bagging list. Community users will be able to browse maps and perform simple searches for natural and physical features at no charge, and can upgrade to the paid subscription service at any time to access more advanced features.
“Like other travel publishers, AMC has seen the shift to online travel planning. Increasingly, hikers are turning to a variety of both free and paid online resources for trip planning advice, along with printed books and maps,” said Kevin Breunig, AMC Director of Communications. “Our ability to continually update trail descriptions and maps as conditions change is an important step forward that differentiates AMC White Mountain Guide Online from other online sources. We believe the online format complements the traditional guidebook and maps, which invite more leisurely browsing for trip ideas, offer additional information on history and geology, and provide large-scale maps essential to backcountry travel.”
Expert content from this year’s 28th edition AMC White Mountain Guide, which represents a 100-year tradition of guidebook publishing, and GIS-rendered maps are the backbone of the AMC White Mountain Guide Online. The credibility of the guide is drawn from a legacy of editors who actively hike many miles of trails, noting changes in trailhead and parking locations, trail conditions, land ownership boundaries, and forest regulations. Additionally, AMC works in close partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to ensure the accuracy of the guide. AMC has also developed its own updated trails data using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, providing the most accurate maps possible.
Availability and Requirements
The AMC White Mountain Guide Online is currently available at www.outdoors.org/WMGOnline. The cost for an annual subscription with unlimited access is $12 per year for AMC members. The subscription is $15 per year for non-members. A free trial offers an opportunity to try out the service before subscribing.
The White Mountain Guide Online supports web browsers for Microsoft?В® Internet Explorer 6.x and 7.x and Mozilla Firefox.
Starting September 1, AMC will offer free maps and trail descriptions for its top 10 fall foliage hike picks in the White Mountains through the AMC White Mountain Guide Online. Users will be able to view and download trip itineraries for these recommended hikes, including locator maps, trailhead directions, and detailed trail descriptions with advice on what gear to bring, along with additional safety and stewardship information.
Additionally, in October AMC will release an illustrated historical retrospective of the AMC White Mountain Guide.
For further information about the AMC White Mountain Guide, including its 100-year history, visit www.outdoors.org/publications/books/wmg/index.cfm.