Thursday, July 20, 2006

NPS seeks to end roaming in Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park is currently considering improving the wireless communication services within the park. According to the official press release, Yellowstone will investigate "current and future wireless communications that require permanent infrastructure, including two-way radios, public health and safety monitoring and alert systems, and research related data transmission systems." Conspicuously absent on this list are cell phones. I will agree that there is a critical need for two way radio coverage for rangers conducting law enforcement and emergency services in the park. Yet I would hate to see the Park Service increase the cell phone coverage with in the park.

One of the problems is that cell phones require a virtual forest of metal towers to work. Cell towers in the city are barely noticeable, but cell towers in the pristine landscapes of our national parks are absolutely disgusting. They immediately jerk you out of the serenity created by the natural beauty of the wilderness.

The other problem is cell phone users. It appears that radio waves emanating from cell phones have a detrimental effect on the courtesy centers of the human brain. When a cell phone is held near the head for an extended period of time, it can render the brain's courtesy center useless. Frequent cell phone users have been know to use their phone in inappropriate place such as movie theaters and churches. If the cell phone network is increased in Yellowstone, then don't be surprised to have the calming sound of a waterfall interrupted by the annoying ringtone of some oblivious cell phone addict. When I travel to a national park, I am hoping to get away from these kinds of rude interruptions of modern society.

I was originally alerted to this project by the blog Yellowstone Park News. YPN's author mentions how difficult the National Park Service makes it to comment on this project.

YELLOWSTONE WIRELESS (Yellowstone Park News)

Of course you cannot comment by email, phone, or fax. You must take the time to visit in person, write a snail mail letter or wend your way through the PEPC site to discover the
other ways that the NPS has made it hard to comment.

Ranger Gord doesn't want you to get lost on an epic trip through the PEPC (which is government speak for Planning, Environment and Public Comment) website in search of the mysterious and elusive public comment form, so here are a few short cuts:

Yellowstone Wireless Communication Plan Links
Plan Homepage

Scoping Newsletter
Public Comment Form <

Personally, I am going to ask the NPS to leave the cell phone service out of their wireless communication upgrades. Besides, it probably won't be that long before satellite phone service is so affordable that there won't be a place on earth that annoying people can use their phones.

Comments must be submitted by August 31, 2006.

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