“National Parks Traveler, an excellent website dedicated to everything and anything that has to do with America’s national parks”….Gadling.com, January 28, 2009
2014 George Wright Society Communications Award Winner
Founder, Editor-in-Chief: Kurt Repanshek
Special Projects Editor: Patrick Cone
Senior Editor: Scott Johnson
Podcast Producer: Aaron Deschane
National Parks Traveler is published by National Park Advocates, LLC, P.O. Box 980452, Park City, UT 84098
Since August 2005 National Parks Traveler has been the Internet’s only site dedicated to covering America’s National Park System and the National Park Service on a daily basis.
The Traveler is not a static site built around park statistics and trail descriptions and is not strictly a travelogue. Rather, it offers readers a unique multimedia blend of news, feature content, debate, and discussion all tied to America's national parks.
The Traveler has drawn attention around the Internet:
* The Traveler has been mentioned by the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Yahoo! Travel, the Daily Kos, smartmoney.com, and backpacker.com.
* The Wall Street Journal Online noted that the Traveler offers “plenty of news and opinion on political developments affecting parks, and a good regional balance of parks in the Western and Eastern U.S.
* finding Dulcinea, the “Librarian of the Internet,” pointed to the Traveler as “an ongoing blog of current events and issues in the national parks. ... National Parks Traveler often features stories written from an historical perspective in addition to discussion of the latest controversy.”
National Parks Traveler is not affiliated with the National Park Service. Our mission is clear: National Parks Traveler works to educate the general public about the National Park System, increase awareness and understanding of issues affecting the national parks and the National Park Service, and build a stronger advocacy for protection and sound stewardship of the parks.
The Traveler endorses and actively supports the National Park Service Organic Act of 1916 that mandated a high standard of protection for the parks, as well as the Redwoods Act of 1978 that reemphasized the Organic Act’s stewardship provisions and affirmed that they are to be applied on a system-wide basis.
Traveler seeks to work in ways that are consistent with the National Park Service’s fundamental purpose for managing the parks, which is “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
National Parks Traveler staff, using commonly accepted journalistic practices, each day sifts through developing news events, press releases, and information provided us for content that ends up on the Traveler. The articles that appear on the Traveler are intended to educate, inform, and entertain readers, as well as to stimulate discussion and debate about how the National Park System is managed.
Additionally, we accept guest columns that touch on any and all aspects of the national parks. As long as submissions are worded constructively they will be considered for publication on the Traveler. If a subject of an article feels they have been wronged or simply wishes to respond in a subsequent article as opposed to a comment, that request will be reviewed by the editorial staff.
Our intent is that all content on the Traveler is as accurate and as clear as possible. To that end, the staff reviews all comments from readers about the articles on this site, including suggestions for possible improvements and corrections. Changes that improve accuracy and/or clarity are made as promptly as possible.
Code of Conduct
The blogosphere is a pretty free-wheeling place. As a result, it has developed a persona, right or wrong, of playing fast and loose with facts, with running roughshod over some posters, with allowing anonymity to serve as a shield for attackers. Some bloggers have called for a code of conduct for the blogosphere, and we at the Traveler support that movement.
As I mentioned recently, we view the Traveler as more of a web magazine than a blog. But that doesn't lessen the need for a code of conduct, both to guide the Traveler's writers and to let those who desire to comment on our articles to know there are limits as to what is appropriate.
For those who might immediately jump to the conclusion that we're implementing a measure of censorship, that's not the case at all. Rather, just as there are accepted norms for what can be broadcast and printed in mainstream media, there are accepted norms for the interchange of ideas on the Traveler. All we expect from you is a measure of civility. Here's how Colin Rule, director of the Center for Internet and Society, addresses the expectation of civil discourse:
So is it true that civility and politeness should go out the window when confronted with deep and intense feelings? Well, not to sound too much like "Mr. Manners," but I think it's at that point that civility and politeness come to matter more. When emotions get the better of someone, and that person uses language intended to incite and shock rather than reason, it creates an easy target for the other side; the most likely response becomes a similar provocative statement, and then the exchange becomes focused on the excesses of each statement rather than the issues at hand.
Beyond an expectation of civility there are times when, quite frankly, just as radio and television moderators feel a need to redirect their guests back to the subject at hand, it might be appropriate for us to steer the flurry of comments back to the topic at hand. And we won't hesitate to do that, as we have a very well specified mission statement that guides this patch of cyberspace.
With that said, here are some general guidelines that will guide the code of conduct for the Traveler (with the understanding that they could continue to evolve):
* The authors of posts take responsibility for their words.
* Abusive comments and personal attacks will not be tolerated and will be deleted.
* Those behind abusive comments and personal attacks will be contacted privately and asked to be more constructive in their comments. If the comments and attacks persist, the author will be blocked from the site.
* Don't say anything online that you wouldn't say in person.
* If a subject of a post feels they have been wronged or simply wishes to respond in a post as opposed to a comment, that will be allowed.
In general, we at the Traveler have been pretty tolerant of comments. That's been evidenced most recently by some made this past weekend that were allowed to stand. We do not want to sanitize this forum, nor do we want to create the impression that it tilts one way or the other politically or philosophically. Yet there is a line, one that should not be crossed, in the common decency of civil discourse. If all you can do is throw stones and slurs, take it elsewhere.
Anonymous comments will continue to be allowed because there obviously are times when whistleblowers want to shield their identity, when the topic is political dissent, and when the individual doesn't want his/her comments attached to the organization they work for. That said, we encourage those who do not fall under those situations to be up front with who they are and not rely on what's been termed "drive by anonymity" to attack someone.
Regardless of how you decide to identify yourself, you are expected to adhere to the points above.