Welcome! Thank you so much for taking the time to submit your hike sighting(s). Your contribution is very helpful in allowing us to understand the dispersion and movement of the bears and other animals in the Northampton area. 

For those who have spotted a bear, you can directly report a bear sighting here: Bear Sighting Report Form.

If you are simply hiking, it would be very beneficial to our research to record your hike path and any sightings you might find along the way such as animal (can be any animal does not need to be bear) sightings themselves, scat, tracks, hair, tree or ground markings, or any other sign that an animal was presence. You can do this very easily with the Trails Outdoor GPS Logbook app. 

Here is the below instructions page in PDF format  Citizen Spotters Hikers .


  1. Download Trails Outdoor GPS Logbook app
    1. Search “Trails outdoor” in app store and it should pop up
  2. Open the app and go into the settings 
    1. Under ‘location recording’, make sure Auto Mode is on
    2. Under ‘units’ change distance to kilometers
  3. You will need to allow the app access to your phone’s location and activity (we find that setting it to “Always” works best) 
    1. The app may ask you for access to multiple things, you will only have to do this once!!
  4. Back at the app’s home screen, when you want to start your hike simply press the start button, set the type of exercise to hiking, and begin hiking!!
  5. If you encounter a sighting of either the animal or its presence, you can add a waypoint/marker at the very location you found it
    1. Give the app a second to make sure it accurately pinpoints your location 
    2. Then simply swipe the bottom bar up and select “Add waypoint” (you may need to swipe right to unlock the screen)
    3. Label your waypoint with the type of animal you believe it to be (if you do not know simply call it unknown) and what it is (scat, animal, tracks/prints, etc) 
      1. Examples: deer tracks, bear hair, coyote scat, unknown tree markings
    4. If you add a photo, it would be super helpful if you had a ruler or even a coin to place next to the sighting so that we can get an idea of its size
    5. Then click save and you have recording the sighting!!
  6. Once you have finished your hike simply press the stop button on the bottom right and in the Track Title section, title your hike with your name, where you hiked if the trail has a name, and the date
    1. Example Dan MacDonald, The Notch, June 12 
  7. Then save hike 
  8. To send your hike to us (even if you did not spot anything, it is helpful to send us all hikes since it is valuable to know both where things are and where they are not)
    1. Tap on the hike you wish to send in and the share option in the upper right hand corner
    2. Tap on “GPX File” then “Export Track”

Hike Submission:

From here there are a few ways to send your hike to us:

  • You can email it to us at citscima@amherst.edu. If you have photos as well and find that the file won’t send, send the photos and GPX separately (Just repeat Step 8 twice, once with photos only and once with GPX which you can do by deleting one or the other from the email itself.)
  • Make the subject (name, location, and date of the hike)
  • Or if you took pictures on your hike, you can select the option to share it as a ZIP archive and then email that to citscima@amherst.edu
  • Also if you have a google account you can upload the zip/GPX file to your Google Drive then share that with us by tapping the “Not shared” button on the bottom, then send that email to citscima@amherst.edu, making us an editor to the file.

Your participation is extremely valuable in helping collect data about the animals in the area as well as contribute to our understanding of citizen science. Thank you so much once again!

 If you would like to contribute further, complete this volunteer interest form and we will be in contact with you shortly. 

If you have any questions or comments on the project and your contribution, you can contact us at citscima@amherst.edu!!

Thank you again!