A member of Clarkson University’s most recent graduating class has developed a new phone application to help both visitors and environmental organizations within the Adirondack Park.
Nicholas LaScala ‘20, who graduated last month with a bachelor’s degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, has developed DackMap, which collects data from a variety of sources, including users. The app creates a live, map-based guide to Adirondack Park for visitors and locals to help them explore recreational opportunities and local businesses.
“Besides the positive impacts on the user, we have found that by using location data we can create a heatmap to show or predict areas of high or low use in the Adirondack Park,” LaScala said. “So this app provides users with a very responsive interface to explore all there is to do in the Adirondacks and promotes businesses, but also helps environmental organizations make data-driven decisions to more efficiently manage the Adirondacks.”
LaScala’s inspiration for DackMap was born out of his lifelong passion for the Adirondacks, a place he grew up visiting frequently.
“I've been coming to my family's second home in Indian Lake since I was born and as I got more involved in the community I fell in love with Indian Lake as well as the greater Adirondack Park, and it was the main driver for why I came to Clarkson,” LaScala said. “I worked as a lifeguard at the town beach, became an Adirondack 46er at age 16, a NYS Certified Outdoor Guide for whitewater rafting, currently serve on the Indian Lake Revitalization Committee and am the secretary of the Indian Lake Chamber of Commerce.”
Through these experiences, LaScala said he became aware of some of the roadblocks preventing some Adirondack communities from reaching their full potential, while also realizing how the park struggles to accommodate a large tourist base.
“From what I've seen, these communities, with some exceptions, struggle with catering to tourists and all the components that go along with that, such as communication and marketing,” LaScala said. “While tourism is a necessity, some beautiful areas of the Adirondacks that I love and the organizations dedicated to protecting them are struggling to handle the large influx of tourists and it's resulting in a situation where the tourist attraction, the Adirondack Park, is actually being degraded.”
LaScala is working on DackMap with his brother, Luke, who is a junior at Georgia Tech and is handling the programming for the app. LaScala has had initial conversations with several organizations, such as the ADK Mountain Club, NYSDEC, & The Adirondack Council about how they can implement this data to better manage the Adirondacks.
DackMap officially launches on July 4. The app can be found for iPhones at https://apps.apple.com/us/app/dackmap/id1511992530?ls=1.