In 2010, Portland, Maine-based app developer Chimani launched with one goal: to provide a paper-free, information-rich app for visitors to Maine’s Acadia National Park. Now, six years later, it has partnered with Subaru to roll out free apps for 59 National Parks around the country.
“We began developing the national park apps in 2010 to address the need for better access to park information, while also understanding the cellular connectivity issue most parks face,” said Kerry Gallivan, CEO and Co-Founder of Chimani, Inc. “Each of our national park apps includes curated, original content covering hiking trails and unique points of interest, park facilities, and more; along with GPS-enabled maps that work without a cell or Wi-Fi connection.”
The partnership with Subaru gets those apps in a lot more hands, and provides Subaru with an opportunity to get its brand in front of both customers and potential customers who enjoy an active lifestyle in the parks.
We talked with Kerry to learn more about the partnership. “One of the reason why the partnership with Subaru works so well is because our existing app users and current Subaru customers are so closely aligned,” he told us. “I like to think that the same All-Wheel Drive and reliability which has attracted so many outdoor-type Subaru customers are the same elements which attract Chimani customers – mobile apps that are specifically designed to work in the outdoors with no connectivity.”
Paper maps have long been the way most people explore America’s National Parks. The Chimani app allows visitors to find their way around the way a paper map does, but also gives visitors what a paper map could never do. Guided audio tours, tide charts, historical information and GPS enabled maps are all part of the program.
The idea for the Chimani apps came out of a trip to Goreham Mountain in Acadia National Park in 2008. Kerry was about to embark on a seven mile hike and wanted some data on where he was going, what route he should take, the amount of rain he could expect, and the steepness on the western side of Cadillac Mountain. He had his iPhone, but with the limited cellular coverage in the park, and a lack of apps that could help, he started formulating a plan to develop his own.
The Subaru connection makes total sense, thanks to Subaru’s support of the National Park Service Centennial. One of Subaru’s environmental commitments is to share its zero landfill expertise to help the national parks find ways to reduce waste and educate consumers on how they can help.
Waste is a huge, and growing problem in the National Parks. According to Our National Parks, Denali National Park in Alaska spends about $75,000 a year on trash removal. South Florida’s Everglades National Park spends about $80,000 annually to haul 250,000 pounds of trash. Only accessible by boat or seaplane, Michigan’s Isle Royale National Park still has to spend $15,000 a year to remove the trash visitors haul in.
“We have included a special section in the national park apps which describes the waste problem in our National Parks and offer tips on how visitors can reduce their waste impact during their next trip,” says Kerry, aligning with Subaru’s commitment.
“As we enter the one hundredth year of the national parks, Subaru remains as committed as ever to help park visitors make the most of their trips to our national treasures, while also educating them on the need to keep them clean and beautiful for the next generation,” said Alan Bethke, senior vice president of marketing at Subaru of America. “Chimani is a terrific partner that offers Subaru the opportunity to do both through their new national park apps.”
Each of the 59 national park apps and the flagship National Parks app by Chimani, which includes an overview of all 411 national parks, are available for free download in the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon Appstore.