Put your excited pants on, outdoor enthusiasts of the great north! Northern Michigan finally has an app for seeking out the best trails, beaches, areas for bird-watching, and other outdoor experiences. Experience 231 is a free app that was developed because of a need; a need to find all of the great things Northern Michigan has to offer with the ease of accessing it all in one place. John Gessner, Communications Coordinator for the Grand Traverse Conservation District, described Experience 231 as “an insider’s pocket guide to the region’s best outdoor recreation experience.” (After a statement like that, I recommend downloading the app while you finish reading all about it below.)
Tree Sturman, Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Conservation District, moved to the Grand Traverse region and obviously had the desire to explore its beauty that he had heard so much about. Unfortunately, there was not a convenient online source to hunt down all of these areas. After a bit of exasperation, Sturman decided to take matters into his own hands. The Conservation District brought in the Leelanau Conservancy, The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, TART Trails, Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, Grand Traverse County Parks and Rec, and Charter Township of Garfield in order to discuss this project. These groups all decided that Experience 231 was something that was necessary and funding was provided to launch the app. Not only are these groups a key component in funding the app, but all have great experience in the natural areas that they oversee and manage.
So what exactly is Experience 231? When you first open the app, you have the opportunity to click on five different icons; beach, bike, birding, hike, or paddle. Once you select your adventure of choice, you can choose the duration of time you want to be doing this activity. Options include 1/2 hour, 1 hour, 2 hours, half day, and full day. Then the app will ask if you desire to bring your dog (aw shucks). Based on what you select, the app generates a list of places that fit your criteria. There will be a very thorough description (with pictures!) of each possible selection along with a map and level of difficulty. This is just the summer version of the app, as the seasons change, so will the app. Cooler months will bring different activities such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. It is safe to say that Experience 231 has really thought of it all here.
This one of a kind app is always seeking ways to improve itself, in fact, there is already an update coming our way at the end of August. This update will improve the user interface and have a more streamlined process. Stay connected with Experience 231 on Facebook and their website to learn all about the exciting things in store for us.
Do you love Experience 231 and all of Northern Michigan’s beautiful parks and outdoor areas? You can donate! Many organizations contribute to making this area as spectacular as it is and would love your support.