Thursday, April 15, 2004

Headed for the mountains?

Montana Standard | A call in the wilderness: Cell phones are showing up in national parks, places people go to get away
When Sean Morrissey scaled California's 14,491-foot Mount Whitney for the first time a few years ago, he couldn't wait to take in the view. A woman who made the climb at the same time couldn't wait to dial her cell phone.

"This one woman was making call after call," said Morrissey, who is from Los Gatos, Calif. "It seemed very out of place. It seemed out of place to go through all that effort to make an outbound call."

Cell phones have long been virtually unavoidable on city streets and in shopping malls. But they now are showing up in some of the very places people go to get away from it all: national parks.

For park managers, this is a challenge. Officials with the National Park Service say they want to meet the needs of visitors and provide for their safety. But they also must protect the park and the visitor experience. And there is no set policy on how to strike this balance.
As luck would have it, I am headed for the mountains this weekend. As further luck would have it, I already know my cell phone doesn't work where I'm going. Isn't that just too bad?

LATER: Shows what I know. Apparently T-Mobile built a tower since I was there last.

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