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Contact: Amy Vanderbilt, 406 888-5838
Contact: Wade Muehlhof, 406 888-7895
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – A century ago, just getting to Glacier National Park was an adventure. Much of what then took park visitors days or weeks to reach on foot, horseback, carriage or train, is now just a mouse click away. There is no substitute for experiencing the park firsthand, but with the ever increasing popularity of social networking media, thousands of visitors are having a virtual experience that can be very rewarding. With more than 430 million Facebook users to-date, Glacier‘s staff are actively finding new visitors “where they are at, and where they expect us to be,” said Park Superintendent Chas Cartwright.
All of the following social media outlets currently provide a taste of the Glacier National Park experience for anyone with computer access:
- On YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/glaciernps), people are viewing everything from park safety films, video of recent park activities, and historic films.
- More than 12,000 people are fans of the park on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/GlacierNationalPark), where they can share their Glacier experiences with others and weigh in on important topics impacting the park.
- On Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/glaciernps), digital images from the park are available to the public free-of-charge.
- Information junkies get park news, Going-to-the-Sun Road Rehabilitation Project updates, and current weather conditions on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/glaciernps).
- Park employees share their perspectives and experiences in a number of park Blogs (http://www.nps.gov/glac/parknews/blogs.htm).
- There are two RSS News Feeds:
- one for park news releases (http://www.nps.gov/feeds/getNewsRSS.htm?id=glac)
- one contains information on website updates, park events, and other park facts (http://ns.www.nps.gov.edgesuite.net/featurecontent/glac/RSS/rss.xml)
In addition, the park’s website continues to grow and add more interactive features. E-tours and E-hikes are the next best thing to being there. Online visitors can enjoy a leisurely day hike, a vigorous backpacking trip, or a journey back to the 1920's and 30's when the Going-to-the-Sun Road was built. The park’s podcasts, panoramas, and live webcams offer even more opportunities to experience the park from the comfort of a coffee house or living room. “I am very proud of the park staff. They are at the forefront in developing both state-of-the-art Internet features and social media connections,” said Cartwright. He further noted, “As the park enters its second century, it is increasingly important that the NPS connect with park audiences and users, both face-to-face and virtually.”
Cartwright noted that Glacier National Park’s staff recently underwent an in-depth planning process before joining the social networking trend. The park now has detailed rules of engagement for participating as a federal agency and decisions trees as guidance for how to handle comments and questions. This project required additional resources, and through the generous actions and donations of its partner, The Glacier National Park Fund, the park staff is better able to engage the public and reach out to new audiences.
Cartwright added, “While the National Park Service invites everyone to connect with Glacier National Park in person, the park staff is very proud of its efforts to bring the rugged backcountry splendor, spectacular geologic and glacial features, and amazing wildlife to a computer screen near you. As we reflect on the park’s unique history during the celebration of Glacier’s centennial, we are also looking to the future and making every effort to use all the tools available to broaden the experience to as many people as possible.”
For more information, and important links, to Glacier National Park’s social networking opportunities, please visit the park website at: http://www.nps.gov/glac/parknews/socialnetworking.htm.
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