Yellowstone Park was the West's private playground. You could get a room at Old Faithful Lodge just by showing up, and more bears than tourists clustered around the geysers.

But now the park is America's hot spot - in more ways than one. Last summer's devastating fires put Yellowstone in the news. And conservationists don't feel that's all bad.Six lectures have been slated over the next few weeks to help promote an awareness about the park, open dialogue about its future, and present a few plans for preservation.

The lectures will be at 7:30 p.m. at the East High School Auditorium (840 South 1300 East).

There is a $2.50 charge for individual lectures. Admission for the entire series is $12.

- JAN. 9: THE CULTURE:

"The Yellowstone Ecosystem: Searching for an Ethic of Place.

Charles F. Wilkinson, a professor of law at the University of Colorado at Boulder and chair of the Northern Lights Institute will offer his overview of the land and our responsibilities.

- JAN. 16: THE COALITION:

"The Greater Yellowstone Coalition: Seeing the Landscape Whole."

Ed Lewis, Executive Director of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.

- JAN. 23: THE FIRES:

"The Burning of Yellowstone National Park: A Blaze of Controversy."

John Varley, Chief of Research, Yellowstone Park.

- JAN. 30: THE WOLVES:

"The Gray Wolf: The Missing Link in the Yellowstone Ecosystem."

Renee Askins, Director of The Wolf Fund.

- FEB. 3: THE BEARS:

"Peacock's War" - a film about former Viet Nam medic, Doug Peacock and his relationship to the bears in Montana's Glacier National Park.

- FEB. 6: THE FUTURE:

"The Newmark Warning: Island Biogeography and American National Parks."

David Quammen, Guggenheim Fellow, 1987 National Magazine Award for Essay. He is the author of "The Flight of the Iguana."