Pilot program lets you be your own 'Agent of Discovery'!
Devin Sola and Sayre Creighton of Washington State Park's Northwest Region office are all set for an adventure with the Agents of Discovery app! Special thanks to John Keates, Washington State Parks assistant Northwest Region manager, for writing this blog.
June 14, 2021
Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to discover the secrets of a ghost town and a well-known Washington state park…
Did you know the Washington State Parks system includes a ghost town? It’s true! The Franklin Ghost Town is located near Black Diamond. And it’s one of two Washington State Parks properties featured in a pilot program that gives you a new way to explore state parks through the Agents of Discovery mobile app.
The more well-known park — Saint Edward State Park in Kenmore — is also part of the Agents of Discovery pilot.
Just what is Agents of Discovery?
Agents of Discovery, a free educational mobile gaming app, uses augmented reality to motivate kids of all ages to actively explore and learn more about the outdoors.
State Parks staff have designed two missions (or games) — one for the Franklin Ghost Town and one for Saint Edward State Park.
Within each mission are 10 challenges that are activated through GPS when you visit certain areas in the park. Some of these challenges will be hidden at first, but they will pop up on the mission screen as you walk around the park and get close enough to the location of each marker. When they appear, tap on the marker to begin the challenge. You will be asked to solve a problem or answer a question. For each completed challenge, you'll receive points, up to a total of three, if you complete the challenge successfully on the first try.
The Franklin Townsite Mission
The Franklin Townsite was once the site of a bustling coal mining community in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The town had a railroad, general store and housing for the coal workers. Today, you can find an old cemetery and remnants from the coal mining industry.
The Franklin Mission contains 10 challenges, including:
- A visit to the Franklin Cemetery
- Wildlife that live in the area
- History of the 1894 mining disaster
- How coal carts were pulled out of the mines
- Life as a miner
- The Franklin baseball team
- Trees growing in the area
- The Franklin Hotel
- A short history of the Franklin Townsite
Photo: The old Franklin Hotel.
The Saint Edward State Park Mission
Before Saint Edward became a state park, it was Catholic seminary, which was blessed by the pope after the seminary building was completed in 1931. Saint Edward was the first fully accredited seminary in the United States. Saint Edward closed in 1976 due to declining enrollment, and State Parks acquired the building and site in 1977.
The Saint Edward Mission also has 10 challenges, including:
- A short history of Saint Edward State Park
- A visit to the Grotto
- The Native Plant Learning Garden
- Activities available at Saint Edward
- The relationship between trees and salmon
- The Orchard
Photo: Saint Edward Seminary
- Download the Agents of Discovery app from the App Store or Google Play.
- On the Agents of Discovery app title screen, select "Login" and create a profile.
- Select "Missions" to choose a Mission to play.
- Search for the "Franklin Township" or "Saint Edward State Park" missions.
- Tap the "cloud" icon on the Mission to download it to your device.
- Go to the park and tap on the Mission to start playing!
PRO TIP! : Be sure to download the Mission for the Franklin Ghost Town before you set out. Cell /WiFi service are not available at this location. Once you’ve downloaded a mission, you don’t need to have a connection.
Photo: Follow your phone! The Agents of Discovery app will lead you on great state parks adventures!
But wait ... there's more!
Puget Sound Campaign
From July 1 – Aug. 31, national parks, cities, other organizations and Washington State Parks will be joining forces to build a network of fun activities as part of the Puget Sound Campaign. Learn more.
Future of Agents of Discovery?
This year, our staff will review our Agents of Discovery pilot program to determine if there’s enough public interest to bring in more parks.
For more information, contact John Keates, (306) 755-9231, State Parks Northwest Region assistant manager.
Learn more about the Agents of Discovery app.
Let us know if you signed up to be an agent of discovery! Tell us about it here.