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Michigan Parks Mobilize

by Lisa Diggs

Michigan residents love our sports and the outdoors, and now there’s a free smart-phone app that will help us easily navigate Michigan’s most scenic and lively parks and recreation areas.

The Michigan Recreation and Park Association (MRPA) partnered with Royal Oak-based Mousetrap Mobile to unveil SMART Parks; a free custom mobile app and text alert service. SMART Parks allows park and recreation departments to reach residents on-the-go with updates via text alert, while the mobile app displays park website and event information in an easy to navigate mobile format.

“We are excited to have developed this program with MRPA,” said Gregory Nasto, president of Mousetrap Group, LLC. “Providing this technology and communication system to Michigan communities will improve administrative efficiencies as well as enhance community services and user experiences. Plus, the program is supported through local business and corporate sponsorship, which generates new revenue that is shared with each participating park system.”

Rather than draining revenue from local communities, this unique concept allows parks and recreation departments to better serve the public, whiles simultaneously creating a new revenue stream.

The customizable mobile apps, which can be accessed through local park and recreation websites on any mobile device or downloaded through iTunes and the Android Market, provides park and recreation information for each community that has signed-up with MRPA as a “SMART Park.” Howell, Port Huron, Oakland County, Grand Blanc, Oxford, Frankenmuth, the Southeastern Livingston County Recreation Authority (SELCRA) and the Michigan Amateur Softball Association (MASA) are among the communities that have created apps that are live and available for download.

According to Howell Sports Director, Sarah Rowe, “Howell Area Parks & Recreation Authority utilizes Mousetrap Mobile to oversee the management of our mobile website to ensure that our patrons can conveniently access recreation in their community.”

Rowe says that the text messaging function in particular has been very well received, especially among young parents.

Using the app, mobile users can choose which notifications they’d like to receive—from pool and beach closings to trail conditions and recreation game delays. Information is displayed clearly with descriptions and includes links to additional information, the community’s social media sites, and more.

“Easy access to parks and recreation provides people with great places to be active and healthy,” said Ann Conklin, chief operating officer at MRPA. That’s why we created SMART Parks; to provide local recreation departments with mobile friendly ways to promote their programs, parks and facilities, while connecting residents and visitors to pertinent information.”

For more information about SMART Parks, visit MRPA online. For sponsorship opportunities related to the program, contact Gregory Nasto at 248-547-2800 or    

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