Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Can you hear me now?

The National Park Service recently released new policy guidelines that would increase cell phone coverage in its 388 parks and monuments, as well as let in Segways.

The plan has caught a lot of flak from senators on both sides of the aisle, but really, what difference does it make? Yellowstone already has several cell towers, and with the amount of huge RVs on the road, is a Segway really that big of a deal?

More troubling are provisions to ease restrictions on noise and air pollution.

Sen. Ken Salazar told the press, ''Frankly, we don't understand what the true motivation was," suggesting he thinks small exceptions for the Segway might be a Trojan horse for more sensitive issues like letting snowmobiles and ATVs into some parks.

The cell phone crowd, or course, is tickled. I found a press release from June gushing about how more coverage would make the backcountry safer. Maybe so, but I can't help thinking something will be lost. - Dave

1 comment:

RockyMtnRay said...

First, great Blog you've got going. You guys are definitely the most interesting people at the Gazette. I'm bookmarking this for a daily check.

But back to the topic...As a dedicated back country hiker, I really have no problem with cellphones (or enhanced cellular coverage) in the National Parks. Since I almost hike solo, I'd feel safer if there was better cellular coverage in the backcountry even if that meant having a few more cellular towers around. The cell companies have gotten mighty good at disguising them as trees.

The chatty tourons are going to be chatty anyway...any hike that unfortunately has to include the "herd path" to Alberta Falls in RMNP is proof of that. I have a 2 & 2 rule about the tourons...once you get 2000 feet above and/or 2 miles from a trailhead, the ill-mannered tourons pretty much disappear...and the few people I do encounter are almost always respectful of the wilderness silence...regardless of whether or not they could use their cellphones

Now as for letting ATVs (aka ORVs) into the NP backcountry...that must be fought tooth and nail. It's not just the noise pollution but the fact that 4-wheel ATVs just destroy the landscape. Even my neighbor who rides a trail motorcycle hate them for what they do to the trails.