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Reader Participation Day: What Would You Like To See On National Park Websites?


What information do you think should be on the homepage of every national park website?

Some of the first websites folks head to to research national park matters are, of course, those run by the National Park Service. What suggestions would you make to the agency to improve its sites?

Is there any specific information you think should be on the homepage of each park's site?

The look and feel of each website is the same, well almost the same.  Some are missing information that I'd like to see on every website, preferably in a clear accessible corner, not three levels deep.

For instance:

When did the unit become part of the NPS system? Some parks proudly proclaim it - the Smokies 1934. For others, it's very difficult even when talking to rangers and volunteers at the site. There's always an official day, even if the unit had a convoluted history.
* Who is the current superintendent of the park? I like to put a face and a name to the park.
* Where is the park located? Just an idea of the state (s) and which corner. This might not be important for large, iconic parks, but for small units it would be helpful to see quickly if your road trip passes close to the park.

What suggestions would you pass on to the Park Service's webmeisters?


For lodging, we always look for the 360-degree photos.  These are a great way to tell if we can fit our family of five in one room or two.  Plus, it gives us an idea of the relative upkeep of the room since these types of photos are fairly new, thus preventing the lodge from showing grand-opening pictures from 30-years ago.

I would appreciate access to better maps of the park units.  The maps available are difficult to find, lack detail and could be much improved.  perhaps tie it to Google Maps or another package for use in trip planning....  examples I've recently searched and found lacking include Arches, Colorado National Monument, Natural Bridges and Rocky Mountain.... thanks for the opportunity to comment.

Downloadable .gpx files of trails and features.

I would also like help in trip planning - like what other parks are close to THIS park.  Most of my trips start out with a flight to a given area and I like to spend at least a week in an area visiting various park units and sometimes find it takes more 'clicks' than it should to determine which other units are close-by and would be appropriate to visit on the same trip.  ANOTHER thing that I'd like to see is:  If you have 4 hours, do this ...., If you have 1 day, do this ......, etc.  I generally have more than 4 hours but I like to see the progression of recommendations from a 4 hour stay to a multiple day stay.  I completely get that this is not necessarily appropriate for the smaller parks but not even every larger park has this on the website.

I would really like to see at least an outline of the state with the park starred. Also, we have not been to a park that had  public transit in operation and would like to better understand how that operates, like how often it runs, (every 15, or 30 minutes, etc.)and if there is room for  daypacks, etc. I personally would like quieter areas not listed, suggesting to ask a ranger or the visitor center, so not everybody goes to a quieter place. I also like the idea of area "attractions" so I will not miss something nearby that I would of enjoyed. I realize that the "star roads" i.e. "Going to the Sun", has information about road constuction, and sometimes others are called white knuckle driving, but as I have never encountered such roads, I would really like to be able to better understand what I am getting into, when it says "no guards rails", for me, that sounds pretty intimadating.
Thanks for giving us this space to say our opinions!

I'm with Mike G.  Better maps would be appreciated.

+1 for making .gpx files available.
Also I would like to see update ALL of the NPS campgrounds with photos of each site. 

Definitely agree on the maps issue.  The maps app was changed last year [I think] ... and it is really bad now!

The NPS websites are invaluable to planning our hiking vacations.  I rely on them so much, and everything on the sites is really appreciated.  More photos maybe?  Allow travelers to upload 1 or 2?  I'm a photo-phreak!

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