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COTREX app, National Take a Hike Day, FreshAir Friday/OptOutside 

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Back in August of 2017, I wrote about Colorado Parks and Wildlife's Colorado Trail Explorer (COTREX) website, and quoted a CPW spokesperson as saying that an actual smartphone app was in the works. Last week, CPW announced the release of the COTREX app, available for free for both Apple and Android devices. I downloaded the app and have been working with it over the last week, finding it's a huge improvement over the website.

The app is laden with features, including detailed maps and trail information. Users can track their hikes or bike rides, take part in challenges, submit trail information or corrections and, something of particular significance, download maps to their devices for use outside of cell phone range, or when in airplane mode.

One of the issues I noted when I wrote about the website was the inaccurate or missing information regarding some trails. The app, on the other hand, seems to be more precise. According to Nick Dellaca, the State Trails Program Manager for CPW, the app is updated regularly by information provided by land mangers. User information like trail updates are verified by the appropriate land managers before being incorporated, which differentiates COTREX from many other trails apps that may use unverified information.

While I don't believe COTREX, or any app should be used as your exclusive source of information, this one is a worthy and valuable resource. Give it a shot!

In other news, Saturday, November 17th is National Take a Hike Day, an excellent reason to hit a trail near you. And if you need another reason to get outside, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will be waiving entry fees to everyone on the day after Thanksgiving, once again. "Fresh Air Friday" or "OptOutside" has become a day for people to chose to enjoy outdoor recreation instead of the Black Friday holiday shopping madness. Locally, both Cheyenne Mountain State Park and Mueller State Park will be hosting Fresh Air Friday events.

Happy Trails!

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for more than 26 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: info@hikingbob.com.

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