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Old 12-30-2017, 09:26 PM   #1
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Article on cellphone service in national parks

As Cell Service Expands, National Parks Become Digital Battlegrounds

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Old 12-30-2017, 10:05 PM   #2
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Very interesting article, Mike. To think that most people go to our national parks to escape technology and embrace nature, is probably only wishful thinking. Looks like there is no stopping the towers now.......
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Old 12-30-2017, 10:44 PM   #3
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Having spent months at a time in Big Bend NP, one of the most isolated parks in the lower 48, I am leaning slightly in favor of better coverage. One reason, as mentioned in the article, is better communication in emergency situations. At the moment the only 100% reliable communication is satellite phones. The Park radio system is just not as widespread and robust as it needs to be and obviously it not in line for funding for improvements. Yes, there will be more tourists calling for help with sprained ankles, but at the moment there are services like Spot that already provide a call for help service that cost not much more than a cell plan. There are very real dangers that can catch even the most prepared and experienced, and there are inconveniences that the novices might perceive as requiring assistance. The solution will have to be education and perhaps a rescue charge. We already warn drivers that a breakdown in the back country will run a minimum of $1000, and likely more. Obviously there is going to be a lot more discussion about this, but putting up a technology wall at the park entrance is not likely to happen.

Another reason - visiting Big Bend requires a multi-day commitment. With the exception of us retired folks, how many people these days can exist without a connection for a week or more? (And I'm not one to judge since I take a ham radio and arrange for DSL at our trailer.)

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Old 12-31-2017, 07:18 AM   #4
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I too think for the most part it is a good idea. If you want a break from being connected, and I do like that at times, you just don't use it. If you would rather catch up on things happening outside where you are than read a book, you can do that. This spread of technology is a certainty, and rather than complain we just need to figure out how best to work with, or around, it.
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Old 12-31-2017, 08:19 AM   #5
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Speaking of cell service, Apple is offering new batteries due to one of their update errors
No wait: Apple offers $29 replacement batteries immediately - Dec. 30, 2017
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Old 12-31-2017, 09:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanmalk View Post
We already warn drivers that a breakdown in the back country will run a minimum of $1000, and likely more.
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Yikes! I didn't know that, but I'm not surprised. I'll certainly keep that in mind from now on. I love Big Bend, though, and I can't stay away.

As for cell service in national parks, I think it's a public safety issue, especially for the big, isolated parks like Big Bend, Great Basin, Olympic, etc. Not only would injured people be able to call for help, but also hikers and campers could receive text messages warning of sudden changes in weather, flash floods, etc. It could save lives.
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Old 12-31-2017, 09:51 AM   #7
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Half the time my cell phone doesn't work at my home or it only works if I stand outside facing a certain direction. Every year we go fishing in Canada and hunting in Northern Minnesota and do not have cell phone service . I have two choices stay home and hope my phone works or go fishing & hunting and know my phone won't work.
Lack of cell phone service is a slight inconvenience and not enough to worry about .IMHO.
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Old 12-31-2017, 10:15 AM   #8
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We've survived as a society without cell service for hundreds of years, and people have been camping, hiking, hunting, fishing etc for just as long.

Here in Texas the cellular coverage is basically 4G everywhere except for the more isolated areas of west Texas, like Big Bend.

It's nice to have cellular service in case of emergency, and there are plenty of stories of people being rescued because they had a cell phone. Having said that, the answer is not to ban cell towers in national parks and wilderness areas, but to turn your cell phone OFF. Works like a charm.

I think the effort to ban new cell phone coverage in these areas is not driven by environmental concerns if people are being honest. It's driven by the realization that society is addicted to their gadgets, and won't unplug voluntarily.
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Old 12-31-2017, 10:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
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we've survived as a society without cell service for hundreds of years, and people have been camping, hiking, hunting, fishing etc for just as long.

Here in texas the cellular coverage is basically 4g everywhere except for the more isolated areas of west texas, like big bend.

It's nice to have cellular service in case of emergency, and there are plenty of stories of people being rescued because they had a cell phone. Having said that, the answer is not to ban cell towers in national parks and wilderness areas, but to turn your cell phone off. Works like a charm.

I think the effort to ban new cell phone coverage in these areas is not driven by environmental concerns if people are being honest. It's driven by the realization that society is addicted to their gadgets, and won't unplug voluntarily.
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Old 12-31-2017, 11:13 AM   #10
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The last time I was in Big Bend, I stopped for a photo, and met a hiker transversing the park that had not been able to get cell coverage for the last few days. Because of weather, he was a couple of days behind schedule. He asked me to call his wife once I reached coverage & let her know he was OK. At noon that day she was suppose to call the park & have a search made for him if she hadn't heard from him.
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