There has been an increasing need within the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station and the National Forests of North Carolina to provide a user-friendly, web-based tool that enables forest visitors to plan trail trips and educate users about forest cover type and forest health-related issues. NEMAC was able to meet this need for expertise and resources by developing a web application and interactive mapping system called the Forest Trail Explorer.
This collaborative and unique partnership between the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station, the National Forests of North Carolina, and NEMAC was formed to meet web technology requirements and deliver information in a user-friendly, intuitive manner.
Interactive Pertinent Information
This online application and website hosts trail information such as difficulty, length, and interactive elevation profiles for each trail. Photos, an interactive map, a weather widget, and videos featuring fly-overs for each trail system are also available. This project is mobile-friendly and can be viewed on tablets and smart phones.
Education and Ecosystem Awareness
An additional section of the website—Learn about Nature—provides more detailed information on ecosystems, forestry and forest products, topography and geology, water and air, weather and climate, recreation, and risks, hazards and stressors. The content is derived from the Western North Carolina Vitality Index (www.wncvitalityindex.org). Resources from the Forest Inventory and Analysis program are also located in this section.