Posted by: rmorrisey | March 2, 2007

Park Rangers Being Replaced by iPods?

I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about this topic.  I’m a self-confessed techno geek and rarely leave the house without my iPod, but should the iPod replace the Park Ranger?  But if this gets young people interested in national parks, maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all.

The following press release is from the NPS Digest:

Park Podcasts Put Roving Rangers In Your Pocket

Two new online video series premiere last month which will help visitors learn more about Yellowstone National Park.

The videos are designed to bring Yellowstone’s world renowned geysers, hot springs, wildlife, and scenery to people worldwide through the park’s official web site and via iTunes downloads, better known as “podcasts.” Park visitors can play these videos on their iPods as they tour the park, creating a uniquely customizable electronic tour guide that can be geared to the interest level and itinerary of each user.

The premiere includes 30 videos that span a range of topics.  Many more videos are currently in production.  Both the park web site and iTunes podcast pages will be updated on a regular basis.  Links to additional information for those who want to explore a topic in greater depth will provide opportunities for long-term engagement with the park, its resources, and the people who study this extraordinary place.

These videos will offer an opportunity for visitors to better plan a trip to Yellowstone National Park.  They will also help them extend their visits through long-term exploration of park features and issues; or to become engaged in the wonders of Yellowstone by a “virtual visit”, even if they are not fortunate enough to visit the real thing.

The video series Inside Yellowstone features electronic “roving rangers” who provide fast facts about Yellowstone’s world famous attractions, just as actual visitors to the park encounter rangers throughout their travels.  Visitors who bring the videos into the park on their iPods can use them as a completely customized electronic guide.  The park’s official web site contains a map with numbered labels that match the numbers of the videos on the iPod, making it easy to select the video that matches the corresponding park feature or location.  The videos in this series can be downloaded at

The companion series, Yellowstone InDepth, provides a more in-depth exploration of Yellowstone’s world renowned natural and cultural icons through the eyes of park rangers, scientists, historians, and visitors. Viewers can discover the explosive past and potential for a future eruption of Yellowstone’s super volcano, as well as exploring why the park’s lakes and rivers are in danger from outside threats.  These videos are available on the web at

The videos were produced by the staff at Yellowstone National Park with support provided by a generous grant from the Yellowstone Association.


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