ALGER COUNTY — The Hiawatha National Forest has partnered with a company called, OnCell, which helped allow the Forest service to launch a mobile app for visitors to enrich their experience in the U.P.
Anyone can use the OnCell app on their mobile devices to jump into self-guided tours at several US Forest Service locations across the United States, including the Hiawatha National Forest that is up in the U.P.
“Basically what it is, it’s an application that allows us, Hiawatha National Forest, in this case to create a tour that allows us to highlight unique aspects of the forest,” explained Sean O’Donnell, Hiawatha National Forest Service. “For example we are the only national forest in the U.S. that owns and manages historical lighthouses.”
The tour portion of the app also features facts about the forest, historical and cultural information as well as many other features. It is a great utility for anyone wanting to learn more and to see what is so special about the Hiawatha National Forest.
“We want people to know why coming to Hiawatha National Forest is so special,” said O’Donnell. “Why these lighthouses are so special. We are the only national forest again that in all of the U.S. that manages historical lighthouses. A lot of folks even within the area don’t know about that. They are not aware of the rear range light that sits behind us a few hundred feet.”
The app also serves as a communication tool by allowing agency staff to deliver the latest information and news to anyone using the app. The app even utilizes Google maps as well so that it can help visitors discover points of interest and explore more of the national forests.
“So we are using the app as a way to highlight unique assets in the forest, the lighthouses, the fact that we are the only national service that touches three of the Great Lakes. They can have access to some of that information 24/7.”
After downloading the app, the Lighthouse Tour will be available and accessible as long as your device has power, no internet service is required.
“They are able to access these tours without any cell service,” explained, O’Donnell. “Many cases with the lighthouse and the Fall Color Tour for example don’t even need the GPS functionality. All they actually require power on their device.”
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