• Mt Reynolds

    Glacier

    National Park Montana

Web Enhancements Augment Visitor Experience

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Date: February 9, 2006
Contact: Melissa Wilson,, 406 888-7895

WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Officials at Glacier National Park report that two features have been added to Glacier’s web site: Podcasts and a newly launched cross country ski page. The public will play a valuable role in shaping the success and direction of these enhancements.

There are four test Podcast files currently available online. Podcasts are audio and video files that can be downloaded from a Web site and uploaded to an MP3 player with video capability such as an iPod. With this technology, users can now take part of the Glacier Web site with them, away from a computer. Visitors without these players can still access and view these files using their home computers. Glacier staff encourages feedback from users who can provide comments via a link on the Podcast test page. Based on visitor comments, the content and frequency of Podcasts will be determined.

Glacier’s new cross country ski page is the first page on Glacier’s site to utilize a new feature that allows people to share their own experiences and impressions of the ski routes. Using a map-based interface, website visitors can view maps and detailed information on the most popular ski routes in the park. Information from park staff and fellow visitors, as submitted, will be included. These public comments are achieved through a “submit” feature on the trail page. When the “submit trail report” button is clicked, it opens a new window where visitors can submit their trail comments for inclusion on the trail information page. Subsequent visitors will therefore benefit from these first-hand reports.

Based on a Glacier fire cache employee’s idea, the new ski page is a continuation of the collaboration between Park IT Administrator Tim Gilk, Interpretive Specialist Bill Hayden and Visual Information Specialist David Restivo. These enhancements will ensure visitors have timely and accurate park information.

Park Web Manager Bill Hayden stated, “The potential for both new features is enormous. With Podcasts, we have the potential to add a variety of materials in the future such as discussions with park scientists, naturalist programs, auto tours, and Going-to-the-Sun Road information. It’s possible that there is a whole segment of the public that might tune into our Podcasts.”

Concerning the ski comments feature, Hayden added, “There are lots of opportunities to use a similar public comment system on other projects in the future. Maybe a page on day hikes, or wildlife sightings, or a ‘What’s Blooming’ page will be next. I think we are just scratching the surface with the type of dialogue that this technology offers.”

The Podcasts test page is available online now at: http://www.nps.gov/glac/podcasts/podcasts.htm

The cross country ski page is available at: http://www.nps.gov/applications/glac/ski/xcski.htm

Did You Know?

Snow can fall at any time of the year in Glacier

Did you know that eight inches of snow fell during one night in Glacier's high country in August, 2005? The weather forced hundreds of backpackers out of the backcountry.