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QR codes along Kisatchie trail allow hikers to identify plants and animals with a smartphone

Quick reference codes help identify dozens of species
Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 4:29 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - There’s a fun new feature on the portion of the Kincaid Loop Lakeshore Trail, just before you get to the Kincaid Lake Recreation Area. “I figure this would be an easy way to empower people with knowledge just by sticking signs out and identifying plants for them,” says wildlife technician Cody Austell.

A 1.75-mile portion of the trail is now equipped with 45 unique quick reference codes, the trees with the codes also marked with green ribbons so they’re easy to find. Using the QR codes is easy. All you have to do is open the camera app on your phone or Google Lens, hold it up to the QR code until you see a link appear, and click on the link. The link will take you to a webpage that tells you all about what you’re looking at. “You’ll see the largest poison Sumac I’ve ever seen. Poison ivy. There are leaf cutter ants that are on the trail that are identified,” says Austell.

The QR codes are also marked with green ribbons so they're easy to spot along the trail.
The QR codes are also marked with green ribbons so they're easy to spot along the trail.(KALB)

The QR codes are a great, socially-distant activity for anyone interested in taking their own field trip to learn about the plants and animals that can be found in Kisatchie National Forest. “Really anybody who wants to learn and get outside you know with the COVID right now and social distance has the ability to go out and see plants that are identified and might actually be in their backyard,” adds Austell.

To find the portion of the trail with the QR codes, park near the old pay station on the road that leads to the Kincaid Lake Recreation Area. You’ll see a sign about bald eagles at the start of the trailhead. The bald eagle sign also has a QR code, and scanning that will bring up a link to the live feed of the eagle’s nest cam.

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