Pokémon GO for Rail-Trails 101: Tips for Trail Users and Managers

Posted 08/10/16 by Ryan Cree in Trail Use, Health and Wellness

Image courtesy Virginia State Parks | CC by 2.0

Pokémon GO is sweeping the nation—and getting people outdoors. It’s proving to be a fun way to be active and explore your community.

For those who play the game, it’s a fantastic way to get out and enjoy your local trail! Many trails, such as the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor and the Vestal Rail Trail, are home to PokéStops or gyms, and often they wind their way through diverse Pokémon habitats—grasslands, forests, water’s-edge, etc.—helping to spot and snag a variety of the wild critters. And a trail is the perfect place to hatch those kilometer-intensive eggs.

For trail managers and organizations, the game offers a lot of opportunity to get visitors out to your specific trail and even reach out to new trail users. The National Park Servicetrail groups and others are using the game to their advantage by reaching out to encourage safe play while exploring.

Tips for Trail Managers

Image by Ryan Cree

  1. Reach out on your social networks to encourage Pokémon GO players to visit your trail.
  2. When welcoming players to your trail, it’s always a good idea to gently remind them to be aware of their surroundings and respectful of others while playing.
  3. Pick a safe, off-trail spot to set up shop with brochures or other information at popular PokéStops or gyms along your trail. It’s a great way to connect with users and generate local support for your trail.
  4. Set lures at iconic places along your trail, such as bridges or historical markers, and engage with visitors. You can earn lures or even purchase them within the app at a nominal cost. (Make sure you set lures in safe, off-trail places and in open spaces in case you attract large crowds.)
  5. Post photos of Pokémon quests near recognizable landmarks along your trail—and encourage others to do so as well. It will help encourage more participation and help build community pride.

Tips for Trail Users

  1. Head over to TrailLink.com to find a trail near you. For varied Pokémon potential, pick trails that offer diverse “habitats” for different types of critters. Make sure the trail is long enough to hatch those eggs you’ve collected!
  2. How and where you walk matters. The game measures distance by checking in on your location every once in a while. That means walking in a straight line for a while to hatch an egg or using incense (like on a trail, for instance) will calculate a longer distance than, say, walking around the block—and attract more critters more quickly.
  3. Discover and learn about your trail when visiting PokéStops, which are most often placed at points of interest along the way.
  4. When you post photos of your quest, be sure to mention or tag the trail you’re on.
  5. Always remember to be a trail hero while you’re out on the trail: Be aware of your surroundings, and when visiting a PokéStop or capturing a Pokémon, stand aside to let other trail users by.

If you happen to see a trail manager or representative on your adventure, be sure to stop, say "hi," and maybe even throw some support their way! After all, they're the ones who make the trails possible.

    Tell Us About Your Adventures

    Has your quest for Pokémon taken you to your local trail? Are you a trail manager who has been able to capture this latest gaming craze to support your trail? Tell us about your experiences!

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