Snowmobilers no longer have to wonder about the status of Vilas County’s 700 miles of trails — they can now check their smartphones.

The Map It Vilas County trails app, originally released in 2014, has been updated to include push notifications for trail openings and to let riders know when a big snowstorm is coming, so they can plan a visit — a key improvement, as Vilas County depends heavily on the snowmobiling community in the winter.

“Since its launch, we’ve been continuing to update different parts of the app in hopes of making it more and more valuable to the most number of people,” said Cindy Burzinski, director of Vilas County Tourism & Publicity. 

“We started with silent sports trails, then added snowmobile, off-road motorcycling and ATV/UTV trails. We added technology to allow it to work even without a cell signal, and now, riders can know, in real time, when conditions are ideal for a visit.”

The free app is available for Apple and Android devices and covers more than 60 multi-use trails. It can be used by snowmobilers, four-wheel riders, hikers, bikers, hunters, paddlers, birdwatchers, horseback riders, snowshoers and cross-country skiers. 

Users can find the perfect trail based on filters like activity, community, length, accessibility, pet-friendliness and more.

The concept for the app originated from a growing realization that in order to continue its success as a vacation destination, Vilas County needed to adapt to the needs and wants of younger millennial travelers. That meant doing away with paper maps that can be cumbersome to fold, can easily get wet, or even blow away in the winter wind, and going mobile.

“We know that younger travelers are more connected than ever,” said Burzinski. “We chose to take this opportunity to develop an app to accommodate the changing desires of visitors. Our communities are as classic feeling as ever, but with small touches like this, we’re able to incorporate that need for connectivity.”

The effort is resonating with travelers too, evidenced by the more than 15,500 downloads since the app’s inception.

To learn more about Vilas County, visit vilas.org.