Managers and employees at some of the 43 units of Utah State Parks are exploring a new venue for connecting with the public: social media.
Utah State Parks has long had a Facebook page, but it was limited to one “super” page that represented all of the parks and was managed out of the Salt Lake City office, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
At a meeting in November some state parks staffers said they wanted to create Facebook pages for each park and be in charge of content.
One of the mandates pushed by Utah State Parks Director Fred Hayes since he was named to the position a year ago was giving parks more control of their own destiny. Because the requests seem to fit that mandate, permission was given and 16 parks have created Facebook pages. One, Snow Canyon State Park, is allowing a friends of the park group to manage a page. Even the Off-Highway Vehicle Program of Utah State Parks created a page.
“One of my initiatives as director is to give more local control to the parks. Social media is one inexpensive marketing tool managers can use to grow their parks locally,” Hayes said.
Some parks, like Antelope Island, Dead Horse Point and Wasatch Mountain, dove into the social media world while others are dipping their toes in slowly to see how the water feels.
“Facebook pages are totally voluntary. We want park staff to see this as an opportunity to promote their parks, programs, and events,” said Hollie Brown, who recently took on the title of digital media coordinator for Utah State Parks. “The social media concept is new for a lot of our park managers, but we are excited about the opportunities.”