Cell Phones in National Parks

The National Park Service is trying to bring cell service to all National Parks by 2018. There hasn't been a lot of information released yet, but you can read about it here: http://federalnewsradio.com/mobility/2015/12/national-park-service-bringing-online-outside/

 Trevor took this picture of me taking a picture in Teddy Roosevelt National Park in July of this year.

Trevor took this picture of me taking a picture in Teddy Roosevelt National Park in July of this year.

 

There are a couple of things to consider:

1. Safety - Cell phone access has the potential to make things safer for when people run into trouble.

2. Serenity - There is nothing more annoying than hearing a person talk on a cell phone when you are hiking. This plan could ruin that serenity in some parks. 

To me that is the balance. How do you keep these places both serene and safe for others to enjoy. I trend more towards serenity, but in this year we saw a couple die in White Sands National Monument. Maybe if they had cell phone service they could have been saved.

In multiple parks I have used Periscope and Meerkat to live video stream the experience to involve others in our travels. It's an incredibly powerful way to bring the parks to the people.

I have thought about this idea less at it relates to cell phone service and more as it relates to wi-fi. It is frustrating when you are trying to share your adventure with others and you have to wait several days to get photos out to others. That being said, I do not want ubiquitous wi-fi in every park. I want a wi-fi hot spot at trail heads. You finish your hike, link up to the wi-fi and have the opportunity to share photos and videos. 

What do you think? Cell phones? Wi-fi? None of the above?