I’m writing this from the lobby of Old Faithful Lodge on a typical morning in Yellowstone National Park: the sun is playing hide and seek with us, the clouds are intermittently spitting out rain showers, and families are planning out their days, deciding whether to stick close to Old Faithful or venture forth into new, unexplored areas. (On our agenda today: a hike back to Lone Star Geyser and a visit to Grant Village, followed by dinner at the Old Faithful Inn. Nothing too terribly ambitious.) A crowd is gathering to watch the 9:30 a.m. eruption of Old Faithful Geyser. To top things off there’s a gorgeous rainbow over Old Faithful Inn, adding a touch of color and grace to the day.
This is the quintessential Yellowstone experience, one that’s been played out for decades and generations. Yellowstone National Park is a place where memories are created, where families gather and old acquaintances are renewed.
Sharing and chronicling these memories is what the new version of Yellowstone Insider is all about. If you’ve been a loyal reader, chances are good you’ve been following our regular news coverage of what’s happening in and around the Park. That commitment to news won’t change, and the new design gives you easier access to news stories both old and new. There is a separate news feed on the site featuring the latest stories, while the front page will prominently feature what we consider the big news of the day, as well as in-depth examinations of the issues of the day. Yellowstone is America, and the debates in American society are frequently played out in the Park, whether it be wildlife management or gun control. To know Yellowstone is to know America, and we’ll continue to cover the many hot-topic issues of the day.
Also new at Yellowstone Insider: the commitment to legacy. We’re implementing a whole new set of tools for building and sharing those memories and legacies.
For example, Yellowstone visitors will be encouraged to upload their pictures of the Park, and readers will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite photos. The top two vote recipients at the end of the summer season will receive a free Flip Mino video recorder. Voting will end on Labor Day.
In addition, the site is more tightly intertwined with leading social-networking tools. Thousands of Yellowstone enthusiasts already follow Yellowstone Insider via newsletter, Twitter, and RSS, and with Yellowstone Insider 3.0 there’s a tighter interaction with Facebook, the leading social-networking site. We’re adding comments to the site so you can share your thoughts and feelings on anything we post. Anyone can post comments to Facebook and Yellowstone Insider simultaneously using their Facebook account. In addition, postings from Yellowstone Insider will appear to fans of the site in their News Feed. We want to hear from you, whether it’s via email, Twitter responses or comments on stories. What we hear from readers will determine what we cover on the site
Other enhancements planned for future release include an iPhone client, more customizable maps, interactive itinerary planners and video uploads.
The Internet is a wonderful place to share memories and create legacies. True, it’s not quite the same as watching a kid mesmerized by Sawmill Geyser or spotting a grizzly in the Hayden Valley. But as a way to keep those memories alive and sharing them with others, we feel Yellowstone Insider is a great start. We hope you agree.