Happy Canada Day! Today is the launch of WestKootenayHiking.ca!
When I moved to Nelson in April 2016, I started a personal hiking blog called “The Kooteneer” to capture trail reports and adventures on our West Kootenay hiking trails. Since then, I’ve written nearly 100 posts and had traffic to the blog steadily increasing to over 10,000 visitors.
Seeing the interest in a West Kootenay online hiking resource (and also how I was almost maxed out on my free wordpress.com space!), I began making plans in 2017 to expand The Kooteneer into something bigger that could go beyond one person’s adventures in the mountains and capture information for our entire hiking community. I wanted to create an online hiking guide that could be used and maintained by locals and had the most up-to-date info about hiking trails and access.
I’ve looked at many hiking sites for inspiration! One of my favourites is the Washington Trails Association!
Designing this kind of website takes quite a bit of time and energy and so I’m using a phased approach to slowly expand the scope and functionality of this site. See below!
Phase 1 – Complete
- Transfer kooteneer.wordpress.com to westkootenayhiking.com
- Set up basic site design and SEO, keep it mobile-friendly!
- Summer 2018: continue adding new hikes and collecting GPS data
Phase 2 – Fall 2018
- Reach out for feedback from local hiking community
- Introduce new “trail” templates to standardize trail information (stats, map, GPS, pictures, access road). Reformat a lot of old content!
- Add interactive maps and elevation profiles to each trail with GPS download
- Expand the “Resources” section
Phase 3 – Winter 2018-2019
- Set up ‘User Generated Posts’ for trip reports so that visitors can submit info.
- Set up functionality for users to rank trails.
- Improve post categorization and search functionality.
- Expand admin access to a small team of local editors to help add new trails, monitor user trip reports, maintain the site, and expand the Resources section.
- Establish revenue model to cover the costs of webhosting (grants, ads, merch) – profits to go back to local hiking clubs/conservation societies.
Hopefully the site will be ready to go for Summer 2019 hiking season! In the meantime, there is lots of information posted that I’ve collected over the past two years and I’ll keep adding content.
If you have any thoughts or feedback on this project, please contact me!
I’ll be reaching out to the local community periodically for feedback throughout this process (especially on designing trail templates and trip reports)!
This site is a passion project and I’m happy to dedicate the hours to building and developing westkootenayhiking.ca. If you’re an experienced web developer who would like to volunteer mentorship and feedback (and possibly some trouble-shooting!) throughout this process, please get in touch. 🙂
See Part 2: West Kootenay Hiking – Fall Updates
Great initiative! I tied to build the same site 10 + yrs ago. A resource desperately needed, glad to see you are on it!
Thanks Brad! If you had any learnings or tips from your experience, let me know! 🙂
Sounds like a great resource! I’m pretty new to the area but have experience developing interactive web maps and would love to volunteer my time to help you set one up if you’re interested. Please just email me directly if you want to chat about this 🙂
Awesome! I will be in touch. 🙂
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