Use local tourist maps for D&D

Just took a trip with my girlfriend to Cottage Grove, OR. They have a tourist booklet that has various maps which are pretty useful. Mainly I liked the trail map which gave the major ones with destinations like waterfalls, a mining ghost town, lakes, covered bridges, campgrounds, etc. It left out virtually all other information like most street names and businesses. It was perfect for D&D and I’m totally going to swipe it.

So, go out and use these maps! But there are problems. I can’t find the Cottage Grove map online anywhere! Not even on their Chamber of Commerce site, which is about 3 years out of date. The blog that they set up for the booklet’s advertising campaign doesn’t have the map. The USDA forest service has maps but they sell them and don’t let you download them, though they have free maps that are mostly for elevation purposes. It’s a huge disappointment. I think other locations may have the same problem. You might actually have to just pick these things up when you come across them. Hotels and small businesses often have displays of pamphlets for local attractions, and these might have good trail maps.

Mainly, look around for small towns near national and state parks. This is because the local geography will be interesting enough and there is enough tourism that the town might have put out a tourist map. The park may also have a map, but it may not be offered online.

Check out this Mt. Rainier National Park site, and click the mappy thing on the lower left side of the page. It’s not a Google Maps style thing, it’s their map. The map is clean and useful, though it could be better, and the scale is too large to include small trails and features.

The point is, Google Maps may be a good resource especially for elevation and visible terrain, but it isn’t good at showing creeks, trails, waterfalls, and campsites. Hopefully someday they will add that feature but it will take a LOT of work on their part!

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