|Harrison Ford Voices
JACKSON, WY: Who
knows how things can go wrong better than Indiana Jones?
So, it was natural that in 2023 Friends of Bridger Teton
National Forest would ask actor Harrison Ford, who has
property in the region, to record fire safety messages
to broadcast on
their three Information Radio Stations
just installed in the Jackson Hole area.
Jackson radio station KHOL tells the story best,
offering actual sound bites from Ford’s recordings to
this link to hear the radio story from local station
KHOL and snips of the broadcast.
Scott Kosiba, Executive
Director of Friends of Bridger-Teton National Forest
told The Source, "We are thrilled to deploy
Information Stations to better communicate messages
related to wildfire risk and other critical responsible
recreation information to the public. As the nonprofit
partner to one of the largest National Forests in the
US, these stations provide an invaluable tool to keep
our forest users safe.”
|Photo Courtesy of
Journalist Hanna Merzbach & KHOL Radio
|A life-long proponent of outdoor safety and
conservation, Harrison Ford graciously agreed to voice
the broadcast messages, themed “Know before You Go.”
Indy usually did.
* * *
Heading for the Hills
Visitors flock to Ohio's Hocking Hills State
Park, causing overload concerns.
Naturalist Pat Quackenbush and Friend
A Ranger-Led Hike in the Hocking Hills
Photos Courtesy of Hocking Hills State Park
LOGAN, OH: On fall weekends, thousands of Ohioans drive
to places where their smartphones and devices are not
designed to work. They take a network of two-lane roads
to beautiful locales that feature fine fall foliage
nestled in steep terrain, which sets the scene – but
also blocks cell signals.
One such venue is Hocking Hills State Park near Logan,
Ohio. A premier destination, the Park has multiple
public-use areas offering camping, fishing, hiking,
cottages, dining, a visitor center and even a swimming
pool. With construction of the visitor center in 2018, the
Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources could at last reach
out to people approaching the Park via information radio
technology to keep them apprised of
parking and traffic issues, before they get
On key autumn weekends, the Park’s well known Old Man’s
Cave area fills early, causing long lines
on area roads. Prior to 2018, there had been no means of
reaching inbound visitors to let them know when
parking lots are full, so they can divert to one of
the other recreation areas nearby until congestion at
Old Man’s Cave eases. Prior to purchase of the Park's
Information Station, to test the
info-radio-communication idea, it had utilized a
EventCAST System to meet, intending to
make the service permanent in the near future.
* * *
Flying Fowl a Frequent Favorite
Snow Geese at Middle Creek Wildlife Management
KLEINFELTERSVILLE, PA: February is the best time of the year to
seek out rural Pennsylvania, if you want to experience
more geese and swans than you can shake your figurative
stick at. After the groundhog has signaled that spring
is on the horizon, waterfowl begin migrating
north. Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area is one
of the fowls' favorite “rest areas.” Where is Middle Creek?
In the middle of nowhere. And that is just how the
visiting birds and birdwatchers like it.
"We have 135,000 snow geese here [in February] and with
that, hundreds to thousands of visitors daily," states
Lauren Fenstermacher, Middle Creek’s Visitor Center
Manager. "This is a large migration of snow geese and
tundra swans. And when the waterfowl increases, so does
visitation.” In 2018, the 6,000-acre wildlife area logged more
snow geese that winter than any in recorded history – in
excess of 200,000, which doesn’t include tundra swans
and Canada geese that also show up. Then there are the
250,000 human guests that the Center also logs annually. That’s a
lot of activity.
"Our rules and regulations can be confusing, if you are
not a 'frequent flyer' here," advises Fenstermacher,
"and they are all here to see the wildlife." That is why
the Pennsylvania Game Commission installed a
Information Radio Station at the wildlife management
area in the off-season to help ease the communication
The informative "audio tour" broadcast on AM 1620 is
heard up and down their entire wildlife viewing road so
that when visitors leave the Center, they can listen
continuously as they tour. This allows Center staff
to focus on answering visitors’ questions rather than
repeating the same general information for them so
often. The 11-minute audio tour broadcast does that
– 24 hours a day – 365 days a year.
Three goals for broadcasts: the first is basic
education on how to experience Middle Creek –
information visitors need such as directions, visitor
center functions and hours, seasonal road closures and
important things not to do while visiting the sensitive
environmental area. These functional facts are repeated
three times during the production due to their
importance. Interwoven as feature segments are wildlife
info and viewing tips for the current season along with
special segments describing the history and development
of the facility.
Four different announcers are employed to add variety
and maintain interest; and the station's
TR.6000 HQ5.0 Transmitter delivers
broadcast quality, wide-band audio.
Listen to the broadcast.
Lauren Fenstermacher intones that after the service went
on the air, the visitor center received "many
positive and enthusiastic responses, changing how people
visit Middle Creek."
Photo by Bill Baker
Information Station Shuts Down the Shut-Down
AZ: In 2018, amidst rumours of a
government shutdown, Canyon
National Park used an Information Radio Station
on 1610 AM, along with a changeable message sign
(pictured above), to advise patrons of the
Park’s actual status.
As it turned out, only certain
services were unavailable. The Park itself was
not closed – a fact that many potential visitors
had been uncertain of.
The Park still relies upon this special
EventCAST Station during
high visitation months to encourage guests to
park in the Town of Tusayan and take a
shuttlebus into the Park, making Park operations more
efficient and minimizing pollution from
* * *
Erik Olson Standing beside BLM Antenna
Photo Courtesy of BLM
|BLM's Red Rock
Canyon National Conservancy Area
|At the Red
Rock Canyon National Conservancy Area west of
Las Vegas, NV, the Bureau of Land Management in
RadioSAFE Emergency Radio System to inform
visitors of rapidly changing conditions that can
affect their safety.
Red Rock Canyon is a
bowl-shaped area with a 5-mile loop road that
can quickly become impassible due to a
fast-burning fires or a weather-related events.
any given day, thousands of visitors might be
driving, hiking, biking or rock climbing in that
vulnerable canyon area.
|* * *
Rainier, First National Park to Add Networked
Information Radio Stations
One of the Park's Main Entrances
Photo by Bill Baker
ASHFORD, WA: It’s not news when a national park
boasts multiple Information Radio Stations (TIS) that
deliver special messages to visitors in multiple
locations. It is news, however, when the broadcast
messages on the radio stations are seamlessly managed
across a network as was begun in September 2013.
Mount Rainer National Park, located in western
Washington State, at that time, installed
such a system, which was intended to inform and advise
visitors at five locations – including the Park’s three
The system was designed to leverage the network backbone already in
place among various national park facilities. The
National Park Service began to utilize
“Uploader” software, at that time, just released by Information Station
Specialists to manage audio-file distribution to the
radio stations from a
library at park headquarters.
"Uploader" allowed a program-loop of multiple files to be
sent to each of the five stations in one action, saving
staff considerable time.
Costs were lowered and audio quality was increased due to
the elimination of telephone lines used to manage
existing park radio stations.
Three of the five networked locations (Ashford,
Nisqually and Paradise) had Information Radio
Stations. Two new networked stations at that time were planned for
Ohanapecosh and White River.
Mount Rainier National Park was an early adopter of
Information Station technology, in the 1980s.
* * *
from More Parks
* * *