Iowa By Trail app receives $40,000 Wellmark Foundation challenge grant

trails-info-2The Iowa By Trail app, a project of Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF), has received a $40,000 challenge grant from The Wellmark Foundation for projects that promote community and individual health.

“We’re ecstatic to be partnering with Wellmark to help complete the first portion of our Iowa By Trail app project,” said Hannah Inman, INHF Communications Director. “Iowa By Trail is the first app of its kind in the nation allowing Iowans to explore 1,800 miles of multi-use trails around the state using their smartphone. It’s a platform to showcase and brand Iowa’s premier trail system, allowing people to more easily access and use Iowa’s extensive trail system as well as the communities along it. The app helps users find trails closest to them, discover interesting stops along the way—restaurants, state parks, restrooms—and keeps users updated on trail closures and events.”

Once INHF has matched the Wellmark funding, Iowa By Trail will be available to users with Android phones. An extensive version two is also in the plans, expanding the app to include water, mountain bike and hiking trails.

Iowa By Trail was initially released to Central Iowa iOS users on May 1 and to statewide audiences at the 2014 RAGBRAI Expo. The app allows users to geo-locate themselves to find the closest trails and provides information about points of interest along the way, like natural areas, local restaurants and trailside amenities. INHF partnered with Shift Interactive, a Des Moines-based tech company, to create the app.

“The Iowa By Trail app is an innovative way to use technology to encourage people to move naturally and get outdoors,” said Stephanie Perry, The Wellmark Foundation.  “This challenge grant award represents one of fifteen competitively awarded grants to create pilot efforts or expand health initiatives throughout Iowa and South Dakota focused on childhood obesity prevention and community-based wellness projects.”

INHF will begin a fundraising initiative Oct. 1 to match the Wellmark challenge grant $1 for $1 and has until December 15 to raise the $40,000. For more information, visit http://www.iowabytrail.com/android.

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