Friday, December 4, 2020

Local trails map expands to include winter layer

App includes CBMR extremes, Nordic, fat bike and motorized vehicle trails

By Katherine Nettles

Winter trail users of all kinds in Gunnison County can now join the ranks of those who say “There’s an app for that.” A winter map layer was recently finalized on the CBGTrails, an app provided by the Gunnison Crested Butte Tourism Association (TA), which also sponsors TrailQuest. The CBGTrails interactive map previously featured only summer trails.

The map’s winter layer features USFS winter zones (e.g., Unrestricted Motorized Allowed, Motorized Restricted and Non-motorized), all of Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR), including the extremes and uphill routes, Nordic trails, alpine trails, fat bike trails (including the fat biking route at CBMR), and main winter trailheads. Users can download preloaded map areas as well as custom map areas to see their location and follow offline. The combined layers also allow users to toggle between summer and winter.

The USFS Gunnison Ranger District, Share the Slate, Crested Butte Nordic, the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA), Gunnison Trails, Gunnison Nordic, Crested Butte South Nordic and the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) all contributed to the map data. The app was developed by and is based on the Traildock platform, formerly called JuicyTrails. Traildock is an application platform based in Crested Butte with team members across Colorado, and specializes in mapping trails, making maps and creating apps.

Traildock CEO Derrick Nehrenberg credits the collaborative efforts of Frank and Brittany Konsella at Share the Slate, the TA and Sustainable Tourism and Outdoor Research (STOR), among others, to pay for the addition.

“They were motivated to help provide an authoritative winter map to help users know where to go and to reduce user conflicts,” said Nehrenberg. “[The Konsellas] were instrumental in rounding up all the collaborators.”

The Konsellas said the concept began about three years ago. “We decided we needed to have an app that was for educational purposes … to show what areas are designated for snowmobiles and what specific areas are for other activities,” says Brittany Konsella.

Frank Konsella gives the example that in the wintertime, a fence might be covered in snow, “so you might not know it has a sign for wilderness there,” he says.

“Some boundaries are slightly arbitrary. It can be unclear,” echoes Brittany.

In May 2017, when they released CBGTrails, they realized, “It made sense to put the summer and winter trails in the same place, if it can increase the use of the app and the knowledge base,” says Brittany.

The Konsellas approached the TA to create the winter recreation layer, and the TA gave permission but couldn’t offer funding at the time. “We did a lot of reaching out to local businesses and organizations,” says Brittany.” She estimates that approximately 25 businesses contributed in some way, as well as many individuals. “It’s a good example of Crested Butte crowd funding.”

The largest financial contributors aside from the STOR and the TA included the CBMBA, the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab, the Brick Oven, Talk of the Town, Signature Properties, Gunnison County SnoTrackers, Elk Mountain Lodge, High Altitude Property Management and Precise Painting.

After the initial funding, says Brittany, the TA saw the value in it and agreed to provide the remainder.

Nehrenberg said he has wanted to develop something like this since having moved to Crested Butte five years ago. Previously, he developed a CBMR extremes app as well, but it didn’t fully take off and was removed from the app store last winter.

“What I liked about this process was how the need arose organically from the community, and that the solution did, too—sort of an organic, grassroots effort,” said Nehrenberg. “To my knowledge, the multi-user winter map we all created together is the first of its kind.”

Users can find the app, which is free, on the Apple App Store or Google Play store by searching for “CBGTrails” (e.g., Crested Butte Gunnison Trails).

Apple approved the update on January 28 and the Android version went live January 26.

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