Badlands Twitter controversy shines light on national parks, climate change


Twitter, the preferred social media tool of Donald Trump that helped propel him to the presidency, is also boosting the popularity of national parks.

Say what?

The Badlands National Park Service’s Twitter account “went rogue” Tuesday and posted climate change facts after reports that the Trump administration is cracking down on social media posts and other information sharing by government entities.

The tweets are gone from the Badlands Twitter account — BuzzFeed reports they were from a former employee and the account was “compromised” — but not before they went viral and not before the Internet Archive saved them. They include:

“Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years. #climate.”

The unidentified tweeter got plenty of kudos:

Another National Park Service Twitter account has seen its follower numbers soar, possibly because of this tweet, which is still up and obviously has gotten some love.

The San Francisco national park at one point Tuesday had about 12,000 followers. Today, it has more than 33,000 followers.

“Our guidance is to continue engagement as normal, with the exception of social media posts on the Secretary of the Interior’s policy priorities, which will be outlined upon confirmation,” Nathan Hale Sargent, public affairs specialist for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, told SiliconBeat in an email Wednesday.

As for Badlands National Park, its latest social media posts are a day old. But its staff is getting an outpouring of support, including from those who call them heroes. Here’s a look at comments on its Facebook page.



Out of all this was born a new Twitter account called AltUSNatParkService. Its Twitter bio reads: “The Unofficial “Resistance” team of U.S. National Park Service. Not taxpayer subsidised! Come for rugged scenery, fossil beds, 89 million acres of landscape.” Below is the tweet pinned at the top of its account.

Photo at top: In 2008, wide red and brown stripes point to the passage of time in the Badlands National Park of South Dakota, created by rising mountains, erosion, and an extinct inland sea that once stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska. (Allen Holder/Kansas City Star/MCT)