As Cell Service Expands, National Parks Become Digital Battlegrounds

"WASHINGTON -- When John Muir helped establish the National Park Service, he argued that such parks were vital to help people unplug from the world. 'Break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods,' Muir was quoted as saying in 1915.

But these days at Yosemite National Park, hikers to Half Dome are likely to encounter people talking on cell phones as they climb to the top. Similar scenes are playing out at other national parks as the call of the outdoors increasingly comes with crisp 4G service. Not everyone is wild about that.

In Yosemite, Yellowstone, Mount Rainier and other iconic parks, environmentalists are pressing the National Park Service to slow or halt construction of new cellular towers within park boundaries. They say the NPS is quietly facilitating a digital transformation with little public input or regard to its mission statement — to preserve 'unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System.'"

Stuart Leavenworth reports for McClatchy December 27, 2017.

Source: McClatchy, 01/03/2018