Friday, July 17, 2020

Brothers create DackMap app for real-time recreation updates

In the outdoor-rec world, apps can be quite an asset when planning trips. Powder Project shows backcountry ski trails in the area skiers currently are or will be going to. Mountain Project provides an immense and detailed amount of knowledge of climbing routes all over the world.

DackMap is a new app created by Nicholas and Luke LaScala, two brothers native to the Adirondack region. It’s free to download and use and available in the Apple store.

“It’s a live-based map that helps tourists and locals experience different businesses and find opportunities to recreate in a sustainable way,” said Nicholas LaScala.

Nicholas LaScala studied innovation entrepreneurship at Clarkson University, a program that serves as a business degree that also touches upon multiple aspects of the business world. A former marketing intern at the Adirondack Council and outdoor whitewater rafting guide in the Adirondacks, Nicholas puts together the social media and promotion side of the app, as well as coming up with the color scheme and the icons. 

Luke Lascala studies computer science at Georgia Institute of Technology. He runs the programming and technical side of the app. Although they split responsibilities Nicholas LaScala says they both provide input and feedback for one another when making changes to the app.

“We all rely on the Adirondack park being here,” said Nicolas LaScala. “That is my driver for building this app.”

User-driven experience

DackMap was built based on user experience. People can interact with the app and with each other, comment on people’s activity, add reviews of restaurants and even track their 46er progress. 

“I’ve always wanted to make an app or someway where I can help Adirondack business owners attract tourists and also give environmental organizations like the ADK Mountain Club and the Adirondack Council the data and tools they need to help accommodate all the tourists and keep all the natural resources of the Adirondacks healthy because that is the tourist attraction,” said Nicholas LaScala.

The LaScala brothers take that data input by users and share it with organizations like the Adirondack Council. These organizations can see what areas are hotspots for tourists, where trailwork is needed and possibly add updates on weather reports.

Preventing overuse

 “DackMap is potentially a game changer for people visiting and recreating across the Adirondack park, if it can live up to its potential as an online app with real time information where you can go where the wilderness resource capacity hasn’t been met,” said Willie Janeway, executive director of the Adirondack Council.

This can prevent visitors from hogging a resource like Cascade Mountain. If users see that the Cascade parking area is full but another area has space, they can go there instead. This could be a part of solving the overuse problem in the Adirondacks that are negatively impacting visitor safety, experience and the wilderness of the Adirondacks. 

“We need a comprehensive approach to overuse. We need robust education, leave no trace information and DackMap is an important potential piece of that information education, so that visitors can prepare before they come here,” said Janeway.

 Janeway said that there is no one thing by itself that can address the overuse threat to the future of the Adirondacks. The New York State park system does that now. Visitors driving to a beach on Long island can look up online and see how full the parking lot is. The Adirondack region doesn’t have that world class education and infrastructure yet. 

“Since it is new, a lot of that data is less than perfect. It is going to improve over time as people put more data in it.” said Janeway, “It will get more and more accurate and powerful.”

“Working together we can make the Adirondack park easier for more people to use. There are 8 million people within a day’s drive and by making it easier to use responsibly we can better protect this treasure so future generations can enjoy it too, so DackMap is an important part of that,” Janeway added. 

LaScala hopes to reach people in all outdoor recreation communities, from snowmobilers to hikers to conservationists. 

“For this idea to work we need to have mass adoption of this idea and obviously we need to have a good product for that.” said Nicholas LaScala. “The more people who are using it, the better we can make it for everybody. I think it is something that everybody in the park can get behind.” 


Related Stories

20 Responses

  1. ADKresident says:

    Looks good! Hope they make it compatible with Android. I’d like to download it.

  2. Vanessa says:

    I gave it a spin! Most of it is very fun – I like the graphics and it is easy to use. Tried pinning a few things, and the form to pin locations doesn’t refresh 100%, so I am not really clear on if my suggestions were saved. (There is a notification but the text is cut off).

    For the pinning function, would be great if a user could choose what they’re pinning in terms of location type, such as restaurant, trailhead, store, etc. I think the “general store” tag is a bit…well, touristy? I know that’s the point! Maybe also a tag for “real” grocery stores, so folks know where to buy provisions versus a place that is tourism oriented.


    Overall though, great start! I hope it catches on and gets enough use to be helpful to the groups who are working on conservation.

  3. Pat B says:

    If you want mass data input, making it available on android will reach the goals much faster.

  4. Lillian Hayes says:

    No native I have ever talked to called the Adirondacks the Dacks. Personally, I detest it…l

    • Suzanne says:


    • ADKresident says:

      Maybe not, but the 2 natives understand the importance of a simple. easy to recall marketing name..

      • Boreas says:

        Kinda like Redskins? Perhaps smart marketing should include sensitivity? I doubt there was any intent to irk residents, but now that the developers know it does, perhaps consider a rename?

        App name aside, I need to wait for the Droid version to evaluate. Seems like a great app!

        • JohnL says:

          Oh lordy, lordy. Sensitivity issues with a stupid little nickname? For a geographical location no less. Help me PLEASE!!!!!!

          • Balian the Cat says:


            I am not sure the Redskins analogy helped your cause here. I understand the whole barkeater connection, but while saying “the Daks” or the “Gunks” or “I’m from the 315” may sound stupid to some of us…keeping an even hand on the keel as we navigate these things is okay too.

        • Good Camp Owner says:

          Thanks Kevin…..I hope your wife Karen chimes in also.

  5. Also Android user! Keep us posted!

  6. ADKresident says:

    Seriously, Boreas? All that? Get a grip.
    Must suck to be so easily offended.

    • Boreas says:

      I wasn’t the only one, now was I? I wasn’t offended as much by the name as I was your intentional lack of understanding in your post.

      • ADKresident says:

        Like I said…it must suck being so easily offended. It’s the name of an App, for God’s sake. Get a grip on your emotions.

      • JohnL says:

        I didn’t think he was showing a lack of understanding. It appears he (and me also) understood completely that you were being totally irrational by being ‘offended’ by that horrible name. I have a simple solution. Who(m)ever is offended, just don’t download the program to your phone,

  7. Pat B says:

    Regarding the naming debate, lets’s face it there are not many short, recognizable nicknames you can build from the word “Adirondacks”. Could there have been copyright infringement concerns when naming the business and app? Was using the full name “Adirondack” too cumbersome in print, advertising, etc.? Were other names/domains already taken? Also, as I understand it, some one will register a bunch of great domain names and then charge a fortune to anyone who wants to purchase one for use. Personally, I usually use “north country” in conversation and “ADKs” in quick posts or correspondence.

  8. Charlie S says:

    Lillian Hayes says: “I have ever talked to called the Adirondacks the Dacks. Personally, I detest it…”

    What’s in a name anyway? It is agreed that some names just don’t fit, or are immature or outright silly, but……………… My grandfather, Robert G. Stehlin, was calling the Adirondacks “the Dacks” as far back as the 1930’s. I know this from his letters and journals. I haven’t had a problem with “the Dacks” meself.

  9. Roger Richardson says:

    Any plan to release this on Android?

  10. Dil says:

    Any plans for Android? It can reach a much larger audience if you port it over.

  11. Barbara Van Kerkhove says:

    When will an Android version be available?

Wait! Before you go:

Catch up on all your Adirondack
news, delivered weekly to your inbox