California, Google Partner to Map Trails and Parks

A partnership with the California Department of Parks and Recreation means Google's latest addition to Maps and Street View includes more than 20 trails in 14 state parks.

by / October 8, 2014
California's Limekiln State Park as seen on Google Maps. Google Maps

Google’s Street View team must be running out of roads, because it has taken to California’s trails.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation teamed with Google Maps to create mapping and Street View-style exploration of more than 20 trails and 14 state parks. Visitors to the department’s website can tour the sites, or users can access the imagery directly through Google Maps.

"Years from now, when we look at the parks system, this is the time when we had the opportunity to make great change," acting parks director Lisa Mangat told the Los Angeles Times.

This new endeavor is part of an extensive makeover to draw new people and revenue following years of stagnation, internal turmoil and financial scandal, according to the Times.

Other changes include accepting additional forms of payment -- by year's end, officials plan to increase the number of parks nearly threefold where visitors can pay for parking or entrance with a credit card. Visitors to Huntington, Bolsa Chica, San Clemente and San Onofre state beaches can already pay via smartphone.

Officials told reporters the new imagery will both help visitors prepare for their hiking trips, and make nature more accessible to a younger generation of people.

Google Maps has, in recent years, branched out from roads, providing Street View imagery of locations like the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids of Giza, the Grand Canyon and Venice. Google has also taken to chronicling street art, and also archiving multiple versions of locations so users can compare past and present.