I was very pleased to get a personal email from Frank Grigel, Social Science Specialist, Monitoring, with Parks Canada.
He was responding to my complaints about the Parks Canada Listens program.
Seems Parks Canada really is listening.
Here’s the gist of my email reply to Frank:
… I understand much better your Parks Listens surveys â€” after your explanation. Thank-you.
Next time be sure to explain it from the start. For example, I did not know how many surveys would be happening. How LONG they would take.
The questions seemed well constructed but certainly the process could be improved.
I would suggest an on-going feedback online instead. As you know, government organizations are infamous for spending money on a one shot research project. Then shelving the report. Sometimes this is â€œtheatreâ€. Politicians stalling to avoid actually making painful improvement.
I would suggest a more open, transparent, interactive process. It is better for Parks Canada to have a place where people can vent. (Every major corporation at this very moment is adding bloggers as they learn this lesson the hard way.)
The alternative is for Parks Canada to get the same feedback from independent sites.
I subscribe to these two blogs in the USA, for example:
National Parks Traveler
Certainly I would subscribe and contribute to a Parks Canada watchdog site. Even start one myself.
The internet, I believe, will force Parks Canada to be more responsive to taxpayers.
Regarding the surveys, people were frustrated not having more information. They wanted to be involved but could not easily find out how.
Look at your website: ParksListens.ca
No â€œaboutâ€ link. No â€œcontactâ€ link. All I can do is download a .pdf file.
All in all, it looks pretty intimidating. A â€œsecretâ€ contest of some kind.
I dislike everything about your site … except the name: Parks Listens
That is perfect.
Good luck with the project, though.
I really hope it results in positive change for Parks Canada.
If I believed things were getting better for our National Parks, I would encourage people to pay for an annual pass â€” rather than go to the States instead, as I do now.
I encourage Frank and anyone else to leave a comment below. This rant of mine then becomes a conversation: open, transparent, interactive, on-line.