Protecting Hong Kong’s Country Parks with TrailWatch Nature Watchers All New TrailWatch App Launched

Hong Kong, 27 November, 2015 : The use of Hong Kong country parks has been the subject of intense public debates in recent months. A recent survey on Hong Kong country parks shows that up to 78% of respondents have visited the country park at least once in the past 12 months, and for close to half of them, hiking is among one of the leading activities.

TrailWatch (www.trailwatch.hk) is Hong Kong’s first mobile app which combines hiking with nature conservation, providing amazing user experience. The all new user-friendly version of the app, allows users to record their hikes using TrailWatch’s GPS real-time tracker function and to report eco-vandalism instantly on their mobile phones. Everyone can now do their part to protect Hong Kong’s natural beauty.

TrailWatch Nature Watchers Training Program

TrailWatch held its first Nature Watchers volunteer training this summer (2015). The program brings people of different backgrounds and hiking experiences to learn about Hong Kong’s ecology and town planning guidelines, as well as field trips to study eco-vandalism. The volunteers will meet on a regular basis to patrol country parks and report cases of eco-vandalism. TrailWatch plans to continue playing an active part in nature conservation by recruiting more volunteers in the coming future.
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Chan Ka Wing, a graphic designer, avid hiker and ecotourism guide is one of the Nature Watchers, “I’m so happy to be one of the volunteers,” Ka Wing says, “I gained so much more knowledge about nature preservation and Hong Kong’s ecology with this program. I now hike four to six times a month, and want to do my part in protecting nature. I’ve recently joined TrailWatch, and I look forward to learning more about conservation in the coming future.”

Toby Mak, avid hiker, secondary school teacher and volunteer started a hiking club at his school six years ago. “I hold at least four hiking trips with my students every year,” Mak says, “Now I can share the knowledge I picked up from the volunteer program and emphasize the importance of conservation to my students. When I spotted a suspect case of eco-vandalism, I reported it with TrailWatch right away!”

The next TrailWatch Nature Watchers volunteer training – held in association with World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong (WWF) – will be accepting new applicants in the first quarter of 2016. Details will be made available soon on www.trailwatch.hk and TrailWatch Facebook Page.

All New Version of TrailWatch

TrailWatch recently went through a major update to provide a more convenient experience for its users. TrailWatch spokesperson Harriet Cheng says, “We hope that this update will attract more users to use TrailWatch. TrailWatch allows hikers discover hiking routes, record their hikes and, most importantly, give Hong Kongers a chance to do their part in protecting our city’s country parks!”

The key features of the updated TrailWatch app include:

Hiking route:

  • Search featured and nearby routes to start tracking, modifying and bookmarking for future hikes.
  • Filter route searches according to sceneries, season, historical sites and natural attractions. The app also now offers beginner and family routes, giving everyone a chance to enjoy the fun of hiking.
  • Planning your hike is easier than ever; routes are generated automatically after setting the start and end points with a few simple taps on the map. You can adjust the via points and add points of interest with ease.
  • With the GPS real-time tracker, you will know exactly where you are so you can focus more on the scenery and worry less about getting lost.
  • Share your favorite routes with fellow hikers and learn about their favorite routes as well.

Incident reporting

  • Use TrailWatch to report any suspected case of eco-vandalism. The case reported can be uploaded to TrailWatch immediately with GPS positioning and photos for future investigations.
  • Users can follow up on recently reported incidents and learn about the latest updates for each case.

Open Map

  • With rising awareness for nature conservation and the appreciation for leading a healthy life, many Hong Kongers are also planning hikes as part of their overseas trips. TrailWatch uses Open Cycle Map and Map Quest, allowing users to use TrailWatch overseas and find trails that cannot be found on Google Maps.