Wikivoyage talk:Park article status

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Making the "buy" section optional in park articles[edit]

Swept in from the pub

As someone who's been writing numerous park articles these days, I often question the need of a "buy" section in park articles. In most national parks that I've been to (about 130 ish), only about 22 of them have places where you can buy things, and 17 of those were in the US (including visitor centre shops), with the other five being in Australia. And it seems rather dull to me having to write, "There are no places where you can buy things, the nearest place is in xxxx". As someone who frequently visits parks, I'd usually expect that parks don't have any shops to buy things, and the nearest place you can buy things is usually in the closest town, unless there's a visitor centre, in which most parks don't. So, proposing to make the "buy" section optional for park articles. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 06:33, 29 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think it depends entirely on how famous a park is. If I went to a very famous park and had no idea what to do or buy there, I would be lost. Roovinn (talk) 07:05, 29 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If a park has no shopping facilities, it would make sense to omit the "buy" section. Roovinn (talk) 07:05, 29 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
New England National Park was a park article that I recently wrote. It's a guide article, but the fact that there's no buy nor eat listings prevent me from nominating it for star. (eat however, should be mentioned, but I don't really get the reason for buy) SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 07:08, 29 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it is worth making it clear to readers, either by writing "There are no shops", or "You can get provisions in the nearby town of *****". Ground Zero (talk) 07:19, 29 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sure, I think that will definitely make things a lot more clearer to readers. Roovinn (talk) 07:29, 29 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with GZ. It is too easy to leave out an optional section, so it not being there doesn't tell me anything, Then I have to check out for myself whether there are souvenirs anywhere, and whether I need to carry all provisions all the way or whether I could get some of them in that last town. For Finland, that "last town" on the map might be, as my Finnish text book put it, "a village the less clever wouldn't even notice is a village", which might indeed be worth telling. –LPfi (talk) 08:08, 29 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I support this suggestion. I think that if it's useful to say "There are no places where you can buy things; the nearest place is in xxxx", then that information belongs under ==Eat== (because people need to get food and water more often than they need to get souvenirs or sunscreen) or under ==Understand== (as a more general alternative; "This park is really remote with no restaurants, stores, or fuel stops, so you have to bring everything with you"). WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:43, 29 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In Vuntut National Park, which is fly-in only, the sections are combined like this:
Buy, eat and drink
There are no facilities in the park. Bring everything you will need with you.
I think this gets the message across. Since visitors will fly from somewhere, they will know to get provisions there. Ground Zero (talk) 17:21, 29 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It gets the message across, but it doesn't necessarily get the fuel on the plane. I think combining Buy, eat and drink in one section is OK (if appropriate for a specific park), but leaving out the buy is problematic. One can of course stuff all kinds of things in Understand, but it should already be quite long, with information on the park's significance and nature. –LPfi (talk) 19:20, 29 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We do have guide parks that have that though, such as Sturt National Park. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 20:41, 29 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I used "buy, eat[,] and drink" in Blue Spring State Park, for example. In parks this can work quite well, particularly if there is a visitor center or gift shop that sells food and souvenirs. --Comment by Selfie City (talk) (contributions) 20:55, 29 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think having the sections is necessary, even if they need to be combined. Informing readers that there are no facilities is just as important as telling them what does exist. If we just delete sections, it could look like an oversight, unnoticed vandalism, etc. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 11:43, 30 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I like the option of combined sections, too.
However, GZ, when I read "There are no facilities in the park", what I hear is "There are no toilets". From a look at the article, what I need to be told is more like "There are no buildings, no stores, no toilets, no water, and no people". WhatamIdoing (talk) 16:19, 30 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You can edit the article if you prefer that text. Ground Zero (talk) 16:26, 30 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is not just about that article. This might be a good time to again recall the tourists who wanted an exotic adventure in the wilderness, but were chocked when they understood there would be no water toilets (told by a wilderness guide). We might have to give very clear advice in the park template, how to tell "no facilities" in a way that readers really get it. I probably need to check all related articles I have contributed to. –LPfi (talk) 20:39, 30 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@WhatamIdoing: I suppose something what's written in New England National Park may sound better. This is all it has:

There are no shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs etc. in New England National Park, and the nearest are in Ebor, which is 19 km (12 mi) from the park via Point Lookout Rd and B78 Waterfall Way.

Would that also make you assume there's no toilets, or would you only think that when writing "There are no facilities in the park". SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 21:57, 30 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In Finnish national parks there typically are no shops, cafés, restaurants, bars or pubs, but there still are cooking shelters, outhouse toilets, often cabins, even (self-service) sauna. So one needs to be explicit. When there are no "facilities", I'd recommend linking some article telling how to do it au naturel (such as Leave-no-trace camping or National parks in X). –LPfi (talk) 22:08, 30 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's the same in nearly 95% of Australia's 600 or so national parks, except sometimes there won't even be a place to stay (such as Malabar Headland National Park which is only a mere 1.7km2 park) SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 00:15, 31 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In my experience, which is primarily shaped by the California state park system, a park seems to get a road before anything else. Toilets are next on the priority list, and then potable water. I don't remember the last time I was in a park that could sell something but didn't have toilets and (free) drinking water. There are a few parks that don't have toilets, but they also don't sell things, either. So if you say "there are no shops, cafes, etc.", that doesn't tell me "no toilets, not even a pit toilet or a portable toilet standing on the edge of the parking lot". It just tells me that there are no shops. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:51, 1 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Interesting. In my experience based on the New South Wales national park system:
  • a rural national park for visitors doesn't even need to have a road, let alone a paved one. Campgrounds and walking trails are next, and wherever there's a campground, there's a toilet and some drinking water available. Lookouts and picnic areas are next. Even if there's all this, a visitor centre is the last thing, and there's only about ten parks in the state that I've seen sell souvenirs
  • in any metropolitan national park, all it needs to have is walking trails, and a toilet or two. Camping, picnic areas and places to eat are for the slightly bigger metropolitan parks.
  • rural national parks not designed for visitors don't usually have roads or anything to see and do, no campgrounds, nor toilets et cetera – nothing, it's just some federal funding to conserve that area
  • state parks come under the same category as "rural national park" in this case here SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 06:15, 1 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Criterion for informative articles[edit]

With the new status having been rolled out on two park articles, here is what I propose to add for informative articles:

Has most attractions with directions, information on fees and permits and accommodation, as well as a Get in section describing all of the typical ways to get there. If there are no accommodation or dining options, a pointer should be placed to indicate where the nearest accommodation or dining options can be found.

Other ideas appreciated. My judgment for this one is somewhat biased, because I'm judging on what I'm seeing in Banff National Park. --SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 11:23, 14 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't have a good wording, but currently usable → informative → guide goes
"the most prominent attraction or activity is identified with directions" →
"Has most attractions with directions" →
"information on multiple attractions and things to do"
In parks with many attractions, a park may have too few listings for informative while having enough for guide.
Fees and permissions aren't mentioned in the criteria for guide, which must be an oversight.
For accommodation and eateries, informative has the wording "If there are no accommodation or dining options, a pointer should be placed to indicate where the nearest accommodation or dining options can be found". The other levels below star don't mention eateries at all. Usable and guide have "information on [...] accommodation" and "multiple accommodation listings (if applicable)", respectively.
I wonder, has anybody done any research on what holds park back from getting guide status, and what the main differences are between barely usable and nearly guide status park articles? I think that would help in forming good criteria. For informative, one should require most of what differentiates good usable articles from barely usable ones, while not requiring what holds them back from guide status. One should probably use a sample including both barely usable articles and good usable articles from at least a few different countries.
LPfi (talk) 10:38, 27 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
According to the status name "informative", we should probably leave formatting issues alone. We could require the same "information on multiple attractions and things to do", "clear information on getting around (preferably including a map with point-of-interest markers)" and "multiple accommodation listings (if applicable)" as in guide.
I think saying something on Eat should be required for both informative and guide, but as that's changing also the guide criteria, it should perhaps be a different thread. I'm starting one below.
LPfi (talk) 10:48, 27 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Food and water[edit]

I notice content in Eat is required only for star articles. That's odd. I'd suppose that when visiting national parks you'd stay long enough to want at least one meal. If you should substitute substantial snacks for that meal, you'd like to know what is available already when packing.

Thus, I think for informative status we'd need:

Information on whether food and water are available in the park, with adequate directions.

For guide, we should at least have the same, perhaps adding some wording on eatery listings.

For me it is odd that star status requires "all the main attractions, eateries, [...]", but says nothing about self-catering. For me it is important to know where I get water for cooking and drinking, and in a star article I'd suppose I'd get to know whether and where I am allowed to make campfires, for cooking or otherwise.

(I don't know whether sites where camping is allowed qualifies for "accommodations" – this seems to be an omission. Also Fees and permits aren't mentioned in guide or star.)

LPfi (talk) 11:01, 27 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree and it's strange. For city articles, a city article isn't even usable without eat information – that's absurd! Thanks for bringing it up. For the couple of guide articles, I've written, I try and ensure that either
a) if the park has dining options – list all of it
b) if the park doesn't, give a list of all the nearest places to eat and drink
c) if it is within 200 metres proximity, then list it in the park
I think for informatives, the criteria should just be that it should explain whether there are places to eat or not, and list one or two if there are and for guides, it should be what I mentioned above. SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 11:06, 27 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The nearest places need to be close enough to be useful. I wouldn't list them for Hiidenportti National Park, for which I see little use in listing any eateries. You won't go there to eat during your visit, and afterwards you'd probably go straight away to some city (20–50 km away, linked from Get in, and with many eatery listings). Whether there happens to be some B&B or fuel station with meals on the way is less interesting for most park visitors. —The preceding comment was added by LPfi (talkcontribs)
For some really remote parks e.g. Munga-Thirri–Simpson Desert National Park which is in the middle of nowhere (like literally), I agree that it's not exactly useful mentioning it. In other cases, such as Southwest National Park, which has a lodge which seems to be the only place providing dining options, does the wording in Southwest National Park#Eat seem confusing? --SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 12:03, 27 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What about Maydena, Melaleuca and Strathgordon? I think one should explicitly say they don't have any facilities. With 5 and 15 population respectively, it is quite understandable the latter have none, but those five could as well live off a tourist shop, and some places smaller than Maydena have shops, especially those that are good bases for exploring a national park – and such shops could well have a café with meals. —The preceding comment was added by LPfi (talkcontribs)
re SW National Park, Maydena is outside the park that could merit its own article, while the other two don't. I'll mention it in the article right in a sec. --SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 12:33, 27 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
[edit conflict] In Urho Kekkonen National Park#Eat I didn't list any eateries. The ones in Saariselkä, Kaskslauttanen (Kiilopää) and Tankavaara are reasonably close to the park border, and mentioned without link. Tunturikeskus Kiilopää is mentioned as visitor centre, and lunch mentioned in its description. As the park is so large, I think Eat should mostly be about eating in the park (especially as the two villages have articles; Vuotso should perhaps be a Nearby in Sodankylä, and facilities in Tulppio (in Savukoski) be checked). –LPfi (talk) 12:08, 27 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Make sense, as that is what park articles are about. The main reason why I thought it might be beneficial is that some people travel outside of parks just for a meal and then come back. --SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 12:33, 27 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes. But in Finland you usually cannot drive into the park, so you'd have to walk out for that meal and then walk back where you left. Not practical unless you are going to visit some other part of the park (or leave) after eating. We might have some wording like "if there are places that people would go to for meals during their visit ...", but this easily gets as long as the other criteria combined. An elegant wording needed. Put first, let's wait until we know what we want to say. –LPfi (talk) 12:50, 27 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
List "any eateries relevant for a visit in the park". For eateries that are in locations with their own articles, just point to that article, unless a few of them are clearly more relevant than others. –LPfi (talk) 12:55, 27 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is it that in Finland, motorised vehicles are prohibited? I remember seeing that in Norway four years ago and I heard it apparently includes motorised bikes too. Or is it just that the roads are covered up, or is it that there are no roads in national parks? SHB2000 (talk | contribs | meta.wikimedia) 13:05, 27 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are not expected to visit parks by driving from sight to sight over here, so no roads inside parks are maintained for visitor use. Most parks are in areas with few roads to begin with, existing roads seldom pass by attractions, and the roads are usually reserved for locals and park maintenance (and in Lapland often made for ATVs rather than cars). Driving is prohibited for the public, except when a road to elsewhere happens to pass through the park. Outside parks it is different; you are allowed to drive also on most private roads. I don't think that's much different from Norway. –LPfi (talk) 13:42, 27 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]