Happy National Park Week!
By Laura Laney | Cynerge Consulting
While the National Park System (NPS) and the National Forest Service (NFS) are different entities, they share common borders among their combined 277 million acres. With the NPS focusing on the conservation, preservation, and protection of habitats and ecosystems, the primary concerns of the NFS are the research, protection, and management of renewable resources, like water and timber, for future generations.
Of the 424 individual sites in the National Parks, three of those are considered National Lakeshores, two of which are in Michigan, including the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and of course, the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. While Sleeping Bear Dunes is breathtaking in its own right, Pictured Rocks is filled with stunning vistas, dazzling waterfalls and geologic marvels.
Located in the Upper Peninsula on Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks was established in 1966 and encompasses 73,236 acres of cliffs, waterfalls, beaches, sand dunes, lakes, streams, and forests. Named for their vibrant colors, the best way to view the towering sandstone cliffs is by kayak. Paddling under and through ancient rock formations, cascading waterfalls, floating above old shipwrecks and trekking through the forest, is a once in a lifetime “choose your own adventure” experience.
The most famous of these natural geologic formations, caused by the constant beating of Lake Superior’s waves, are the iconic arches of Lovers Leap and Grand Portal Point. While kayaking under Grand Portal, the largest arch, is no longer accessible due to rock collapses in 1900 and 1999, kayaking under the thousands of tons of the rock that makes up Lovers Leap is still possible. The giant crack running through the arch, tends to create a sense of urgency within those paddling beneath. A local Legend says the arch received its tragic moniker after a young Native American girl jumped to her death from the top of the arch upon seeing her love had not returned from war.
Together, the National Park System and the National Forest Service employ hundreds of thousands of people and billions of dollars are collected annually from tourists whose funds contribute to the continuous effort to preserve our most valuable natural resources. To help protect these lands in perpetuity, the National Park System and National Forest Service are turning to tech companies, like Cynerge Consulting.
Ranging from tracking equipment and personnel to resource management, Cynerge develops custom intuitive, aesthetic, and secure software for the NFS usable in the office and in the field. By using geospatial mapping to fight fires, building public-facing websites to help manage permits, and updating archaic systems and out-dated technology, Cynerge is building portable apps accessible anywhere on mobile devices, helping to save trees and lives.
A trip to any of America’s 63 National Parks will convey a remarkable sense of awe, wonder, and beauty. For Pictured Rocks, the sheer scale and magnitude of the rock and the incessant pounding of the waves shaping and forming it over millennia instill a feeling of transience in travelers. Even these towering behemoths lack permanence, bringing a sense of peace and understanding of the need to preserve these natural wonders for future generations. Now, by harnessing the latest advances in software development, companies like Cynerge Consulting are bringing the power of tech into the fight.
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