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Re: Dumbing down of Yosemite visitors

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avatar Dumbing down of Yosemite visitors
September 30, 2007 12:02PM
Re: Dumbing down of Yosemite visitors
September 30, 2007 04:15PM
No. There's already a movie to watch at the Visitor's Center. This is probably something that there will be an extra charge for and in my opinion it is unnecessary. I think it's an insult to Yosemite to say that the park needs this. But it's "good" for the company that came up with the idea.

Re: Dumbing down of Yosemite visitors
October 01, 2007 11:03AM
While it might not be necessary, it's another avenue for visitors to receive information about the park.

I have experienced several audio tours at museums and such, and even a few at National Park Units and they have been amazing additions to what I would have otherwise learned about. One was at Carlsbad Caverns and one at Alcatraz. It was so cool to hear actual audio accounts of prisoners and guards and of cell doors opening and closing; It really served to "take me back in time."

I guess a case could be made that we should be doing our research in advance, then while at the park we should be interacting with our companions and other visitors, with rangers, and with nature, however, I think it would be fun and I'll be looking for that device the next time I'm there. I just might learn something.

Re: Dumbing down of Yosemite visitors
October 01, 2007 11:46AM
How exactly is using technology making someone dumb? How old are you?

I agree with Jennifer. Not everyone brings a guidebook to Yosemite, which are hardly exhaustive anyway. I would like to be able to use one of those. I find that the more I learn about a place, the more I appreciate it. So many people look at Yosemite without learning much - except what it looks like.

Grants are being made available for museums and parks for this particular technology. I don't think it's going anywhere.
Re: Dumbing down of Yosemite visitors
October 03, 2007 09:35AM
I think it's just another example of the general trend everywhere. There "needs" to be a high-tech solution to everything, even the simplest things. To add to that, people are used to being catered to on their own terms...to get things when "they" want them, not having to accommodate to anyone else's schedule, and to have things done for them, rather than do them themselves.

While I use some of these gadgets myself, I don't really think they're an answer to anything that matters. If I can't take the time, in my visit to Yosemite, to go on a ranger-led tour or something similar, then maybe I don't deserve to know what I'd have learned. Or maybe I should just study up ahead of time, or read and learn.

I can see this coming on the Half Dome trail. Visitors download a "tour" to their ipods, then plug them in and walk along the trail, listening to "Now you're coming to Vernal Falls bridge. Check your water and make sure you have at least....". Or they could just plug in along the way and reload info as they go; "you're now at the cables, with a height of .... These cables were installed by... in...., now open your backpack and get out your gloves. The red one goes on your left hand, the blue on the right...8^)

Unfortunately, this means that instead of a person doing the tour, giving human interaction and experiences (and giving them a job), some guy in an office in New York or Cleveland will most likely be the one getting paid to produce these virtual tours. And we'll have even more people walking around with headphones plugged in to their ears, instead of taking in their environment.

I do computer system design, assembly and troubleshooting, have a laptop, mp3 player (not ipod!!), GPS handheld, cell phone (a simple one), digital cameras, etc., and think they're useful, but overall I think all of this stuff is overrated. I'd rather have a ranger tell me about his/her experiences with bears than have a "bear" file on my mp3 player that I punch in when I see a bear, which instructs me what to do. A GPS is a nice addition to safety devices, but no substitute for knowing where you're going and using common sense. Cell phones are obvious...a good thing gone bad...people can't walk through a grocery store without one stuck to their ear, let alone pay attention to their driving.

My nephew, a while back, was sitting in our minivan after we'd gotten out, waiting for the sliding door to open...took him a while to figure out that it was one of those ancient manual things...8^) I suspect, to make up for the lack of exercise, he'll go to a gym to keep his muscles in tone, attended by a virtual personal trainer, someday. What a useful item those electronic doors are.

Anyway, to reply to the original question, no, I don't think we need this at all, but I do think it's inevitable. It would be nice if someday people start to figure out that they're going nowhere with all these "improvements". But I suspect some will figure it out, say "that's enough" and toss the excess (which frankly, is most of it). I doubt that I'll be downloading any of these virtual tours, definitely not if they're ipod-only, but at least it will be quiet around Yosemite, with everyone walking around listening to their headphones. What a great family experience, a family of six walking along with their individual sets of headphones plugged in, experiencing "togetherness", yet each in their own world. 8^)

Yosemite Photo Galleries: http://www.pbase.com/roberthouse/yo
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