Why go to a national park if you can experience one via an Internet podcast?

Park officials across the country are hopeful the podcasts themselves will make people want to visit their parks. But if a trip just isn't possible, podcasts are seen as the next best thing.

"While nothing can replace a personal experience in a national park, we think our podcasts will enhance people's trips or give them the opportunity to learn about a park that they can't visit," National Park Service director Mary A. Bomar said in a recent statement.

Canyonlands National Park's podcast about "potholes" on its Web site is already gaining national attention, at least from an 8-year-old visitor who is quoted in an NPS statement as saying, "It was so interesting to learn that tiny creatures are living in a bunch of dirt."

The podcasts are available through nps.gov or through iTunes.