The Bureau of Land Management recently announced it will offer digital trail maps through the Avenza Maps digital app.
The maps will be available for selected BLM hiking, biking and OHV routes in eight states, including portions of Arizona’s Colorado River District and the La Posa Travel Management Area. The electronic maps are available for download on Apple and Android devices.
The digital maps, BLM officials said, are expected to become an invaluable tool in recreation activities.
“The maps are free and the app is free,” said Kerry Gaiz, BLM geographic information system specialist. “The other thing that’s pretty cool about the maps is that it works on the internal GPS chip in smartphones, so it’s not dependent on cell service, allowing users to know their location no matter where they are even if they don’t have any cell reception.”
The maps allow users to plot and record information on locations, import and export place markers, measure distance and area, and plot photos.
Of the 11 BLM maps for the Colorado River District currently available, the hiking and biking trails on the SARA Park map may turn out to be a hit, Gaiz said.
“This will be a popular one because we get a lot of people who come in from out of town, as well as locals, who want to go somewhere they can hike close by, and this is a perfect place for a map like this,” Gaiz added.
While BLM will continue to print paper maps, there is less cost and fewer steps in offering digital versions, said Caroline Kilbane, BLM outdoor recreation planner.
“With this they can go anywhere in the desert and they don’t have to worry about using three paper maps to cover the same area,” Kilbane said.
Jim Bowen, past president of the Havasu 4 Wheelers said he is excited about the possibilities the digital maps provide.
“They not only will help show you where you are, but they will also show you which trails are open and which ones are not,” Bowen said. “Paper maps are big and awkward and you still have to be able to read them to know where you are. The nice part of Avenza is you’ve got a blue dot following you on the map and showing you where you are. This is going to become a great tool for the four-wheel community to use.”
To download the Avenza Maps app, visit Apple Store or Google Play. To access BLM locations, search Havasu BLM in the store portion of the app and click on map marker that appears. To download, tap “free” to add the map to the library.