Dead Horse Point using social media to connect with visitors
by Steve Kadel
Staff Writer
Jan 17, 2013 | 675 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print


Now it’s possible to visit Dead Horse Point State Park every day – without leaving home.

Dead Horse and 15 other state parks in Utah have joined the digital age with their own Facebook pages. While Utah State Parks has long had a Facebook presence, it covered all 43 park units and was operated out of the Salt Lake City office.

That changed recently when staff members from several parks asked for their own pages. The request was in line with the philosophy of Utah State Parks Director Fred Hayes, who has championed more autonomy for each park since taking the position a year ago.

Crystal Carpenter, assistant manager at Dead Horse, was one of those pushing for the change, although she credits others as well.

“It wasn’t just me,” she said. “There were many naturalists and curators hoping to have a page for their parks.”

Carpenter, naturalist Jordan Perez and park manager Megan Blackwelder update Dead Horse’s page daily. On Wednesday, the page featured an introdution to the park’s new gift shop manager, a photo of a bird common to the park and a photo of wildlife tracks. Readers are often asked to comment on photos or other park postings.

It’s all a way to engage the public and create more interest in visiting the park in person, Carpenter said.

“It’s such a great medium to connect with people because there are so many people on Facebook,” she said. “Everybody’s on it.”

To reach the Dead Horse page, go to www.facebook.com and enter Dead Horse Point State Park. The page will pop up, featuring many photos and lots of information.

“We use it to advertise activities in the park, any kind of closures, and if we’re looking for volunteers for trail maintenance,” Carpenter said.

Information about park geology and wildlife, new items in the gift shop, and even podcasts about the park are also featured.

“It’s been so wonderful,” Carpenter said. “Both of our neighbors [Canyonlands and Arches national parks] are on it. It’s been fun to interact with them.”

The page reportedly has had hits from people in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey in addition to various U.S. states.

While the step into a Facebook page is welcomed at Dead Horse, Carpenter said that will be the extent of social media involvement at this point. Twitter isn’t on the horizon.

“That’s a bigger commitment than Facebook,” she said. “We haven’t braved that realm yet.”


Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.