Have you ever wanted to try out a new trail in a different city or have a family picnic in a new park? If so, the Piedmont Discovery App is for you.
The app, a joint venture between High Point, Greensboro and Guilford County Parks and Recreation departments, launched in 2019 but got bigger this year with Jamestown, Gibsonville, Oak Ridge, Pleasant Garden, Stokesdale and Summerfield joining the group. All parks, trails and recreation opportunities in these municipalities are included in the app. This is a soft opening, with the big kickoff for the app coming in January.
The big news, however, is a year-long scavenger hunt in the parks and trails, with local merchants providing “outdoorsy” prizes as an encouragement to download the app and participate in the scavenger hunt. Each month three-four different parks will be featured along with a new prize package worth up to $2,000. The prizes include rounds of golf, fall leaf tour, clothing, attractions, etc. See the Piedmont Discovery Facebook page for details on each month’s prize package. Some of the businesses participating are All-A-Flutter Butterfly Farm, Great Outdoor Provision Co, Kersey Valley, Blue Duck, Greensboro Science Center, North Carolina Zoo, Triad United Rowing, Fleet Feet, Greensboro Coliseum, Carolina Theatre, Wet’ n Wild Emerald Pointe, REi co-op and Jamestown Park.
Featured parks can be found on the app. Each town picked their park’s scavenger hunt location. Some of the parks featured in October is also featured in November, due to technical difficulties with the app.
On the Piedmont Discovery App, users can search for parks or trails nearest to them, find directions and connect with local parks department websites for more details about each location. The app also lets users explore trails based on their difficulty and terrain. Options on the app are name, amenities and near me.
“People love the great outdoors. They enjoy our parks but don’t pay attention to things like who owns this park,” said Amanda Lehmert, senior communications specialist, communications and marketing for the City of Greensboro. “They learn by discovering new things from their friends. The typical way is to look through a list of parks. The idea is we can give them what they want, type of trail or a particular amenity.
“The app lets you search by thousands of amenities. Say you wanted to find a horseshoe pit. You can look up and find every single park that has a horseshoe pit. It will also show what locations are nearest you. It also has specific information. You can look for a mountain biking trail and it will pull up all mountain biking trails. And it gives all types of trail ratings.”
Lehmert added that users can learn things they didn’t know about, like water trails, including kayaking areas.
“There are all kinds of really cool things in this app.”
Almost 200 parks are owned by municipalities in the county, from large-acreage parks down to a small neighborhood park like Wrenn Miller in Jamestown. The app includes nature preserves, but does not include parks owned by a homeowners association or within a development. No golf courses are included, just the surrounding park area.
“You are looking for a sign that says ‘Found It,’ not the prize itself,” said Anna Hawryluk, Jamestown planner. “You have to go into a park to find it, but it’s not really hidden. It’s out in plain sight.
“One of the best things, I think, is amenities, because not every park can have everything,” Hawryluk said of the app, noting amenities like tent or RV camping, urban orchards, historic structures, skate parks, etc. are listed.
“If a park in Guilford County has it, it’s listed here. It’s not a scavenger hunt [to find an item]. It’s more of a ‘find this park.’”
The app provides economic benefits to municipalities, introducing users to shopping dining and other recreational opportunities in places they may not have visited before. Anyone can play. It is not limited to Guilford County or specific municipality residents. People from out of state have already participated.
“I truly believe the app will increase the visibility of Jamestown’s parks and amenities we have to offer. It also will increase local business traffic. It’s a win-win for our town,” said Lawrence Straughn, Jamestown councilmember and the town’s representative to the Guilford County Parks & Recreation Commission.
“From the day that the app was introduced to us on the County Parks & Recreation Commission, I knew it was going to be a hit. I asked them at that point to please include Jamestown in its searches,” he added. “The app’s flexibility in searching is a testament to the developers in Greensboro, High Point and Guilford County. They have all worked hard at getting the information into the system. I’m thankful they included Jamestown.”
Introduction of the app has not been smooth, however, with several glitches, including not working on all phones. Technicians are working on that problem.
“We’re interested in getting people exploring their community,” Lehmert said. “We have so many natural assets to offer. Go out there with your friend or your kids or by yourself. We’re excited to be introducing people to parts of their community they don’t travel a lot.
“This game is for everybody.”
Download in the App Store or Google Play or on www.piedmontdiscoveryapp.com.