Your personal park ranger

Your friendly local park ranger (courtesy lyrabellacqua on flickr's Creative Commons)Startup entrepreneur Lee Little visited Yellowstone National Park about six years ago and was frustrated.

He knew that he was missing interesting stuff, and wished that he could ask questions, but park rangers couldn’t be everywhere to help him out.

Until now.

Techie guy Lee founded Bar Z Adventures and put together the GPS Ranger, a hand-held device that uses GPS and multimedia to give users an awesome self-guided tour of a few of our U.S. national parks and zoos.

Since I just finished a Perceptive Travel blog post about lovely Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico, I was in a bullish-for-parks mood when I spied Lori Hawkins’ article about Bar Z in my local Austin American-Statesman Business section.

Lori writes:

“Death Valley, which receives 850,000 visitors annually, launched the service in September….[visitors] fix [the Ranger] to the dashboard of their car and use [it] to navigate the 3,000-square-mile park. When drivers approach a landmark, the device, triggered by the GPS system, offers video commentary by a park ranger as well as vintage photos and audio and video clips.”

The GPS Ranger (and a similiar product called Zoo Ranger) are now available for a US$19.95 rental fee at the following parks and zoos:

  • Death Valley National Park in California/Nevada
  • Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah
  • Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Georgia
  • San Francisco Zoo in California
  • Dallas Zoo in Texas

I’m for anything that can help improve the park experience, because the more we appreciate our wild and historic places, the more we’ll pay attention to their care, upkeep and funding.

Technorati tags: travel, family travel, national parks, GPS Ranger, Zoo Ranger, Bar Z Adventures