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Fri Feb 1, 2013, 03:54 PM

 

PLANS TO WIRE ENTIRE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM

he National Park Service (NPS) appears deeply committed to an industry-sponsored initiative which would change the way many visitors experience national parks, according to documents posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Plans to significantly expand cellular and internet “connectivity” inside parks have advanced without public notice.

The National Park Hospitality Association (NPHA), which represents concessionaires who operate lodges, stores and other commercial outlets inside national parks, is leading the effort to dramatically hike visitor access to cell and internet signals inside parks – signals from the concessionaires, that is. NPHA laments that “in many of America's national parks, prized smartphones are little more than cameras because cell and data service, even at visitor centers and lodges and other developed sites, is poor – or worse.”

The organization has the ear of Park Service leadership, which is working with NPHA to –

Provide internet access “at all major, developed visitor areas in the national park system” and “basic cell phone service at all major visitor areas in national park units, as well as along most roads and at major sites such as trailheads;”

“Deliver timely, park-focused information within national parks through smart phones, tablets and computers…to deliver interpretation and other important information to park visitors;” and

In order be “financially sustainable,” NPHA wants “the opportunity to develop and operate these systems” in which they charge fees for services beyond free “landing pages.” NPHA envisions a capacity “which could reduce the need for handing out printed materials and even facilitate fee collection through electronic devices.”

“This is a disturbing stealth scheme to wire our national park system,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting the utter absence of any analysis of impacts or public input. “Experiencing the natural wonders of our national parks should not require a smartphone.”

NPS Deputy Director Peggy O’Dell has invited NPHA to nominate the first five parks to be wired, with the final “winners” selected sometime in January. NPS Director Jon Jarvis is reviewing an NPHA-drafted system-wide policy promoting connectivity and a joint “strategy session” is slated for February.

“This would be a giant step toward ‘Disney-fying’ park interpretation, replacing rangers with corporate icons as your guides,” Ruch added. “Solitude values of parks will go by the board, as lodges, tents, trailheads and other park locations become just another place to fiddle with electronic devices.”

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http://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/2013/01/31/plans-to-wire-entire-national-park-system/

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Arrow 23 replies Author Time Post
Reply PLANS TO WIRE ENTIRE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM (Original post)
HiPointDem Feb 2013 OP
RKP5637 Feb 2013 #1
SidDithers Feb 2013 #2
yawnmaster Feb 2013 #4
jberryhill Feb 2013 #17
yawnmaster Feb 2013 #20
jberryhill Feb 2013 #23
FarCenter Feb 2013 #11
joeybee12 Feb 2013 #13
FarCenter Feb 2013 #19
HappyMe Feb 2013 #3
mokawanis Feb 2013 #5
Kolesar Feb 2013 #8
Progressive dog Feb 2013 #6
Kolesar Feb 2013 #7
joeunderdog Feb 2013 #9
DevonRex Feb 2013 #10
joeybee12 Feb 2013 #14
Kolesar Feb 2013 #15
joeybee12 Feb 2013 #16
ChisolmTrailDem Feb 2013 #12
Apophis Feb 2013 #18
XemaSab Feb 2013 #22
yawnmaster Feb 2013 #21

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 03:58 PM

1. Then later will come the condos and high rises, you know, a way to raise park revenue. n/t

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:03 PM

2. This sounds like a good idea...

ability to access information is not a bad thing, Hannah.

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:07 PM

4. Not taking time out from one's information accessing activities, though, may be a bad...

thing.

The information will still be there once one finishes with the communication with nature.

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Response to yawnmaster (Reply #4)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 05:00 PM

17. A map is a good tool for communicating with nature


How many trees do you want to cut down to print maps?

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #17)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 12:06 AM

20. jeeze...why not stay home and download images of the park...

probably have some great shots you won't ever see live. Plus one saves on gas and reduces the wear and tear on the park.
probably some good videos of the parks too.

stay home and reduce the need for maps (trees) AND fossil fuels!

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Response to yawnmaster (Reply #20)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 12:35 AM

23. I've hiked a variety of places

...and quite frankly find using GPS to be a lot less of a distraction than a map and a compass.

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:33 PM

11. It also allows people to call 911 in case of an emergency

Otherwise you need to get a GPS with emergency communications.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #11)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:49 PM

13. NO, most national parks already have enough "wiring" to allow for that...nt

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Response to joeybee12 (Reply #13)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 05:52 PM

19. If there is voice cellular service in the parks, why is adding more data bandwidth a big deal?

In fact, if they are upgrading the base stations to LTE, don't you get this as part of the package?

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:06 PM

3. What a horrible idea.



Just what we need.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:11 PM

5. What would Edward Abbey say?

Abbey would call bullshit on this, no doubt about it.

I visit national parks from time to time but in the last several years I've been avoiding them and doing my hikes in wilderness areas outside the parks, because they're so crowded. This new development is just one more negative I'd like to avoid.

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Response to mokawanis (Reply #5)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:23 PM

8. "The evil green eye of the CRT"

You spend your life there when you could be experiencing life, drinking beer and going through several wives. That was his impression of cubicle life thirty years ago.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:12 PM

6. Another place not safe from rude people with cell phones nt

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:19 PM

7. I skied past two girls who were walking the same trail in the park, noses in their iPhones

They looked so cute in their bright fiber filled parkas and fuzzy headbands covering their ears. I could see getting engrossed in the phone and losing track of the beautiful trail. I get engrossed with the internet and waste entire days chatting on message boards. Totally

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:23 PM

9. This is bad.

The places in the US that I tell people abroad that they must visit are the national parks. They are some of the most beautiful places in the world.

The parks have existed millions of years without cell phones, and they'll be fine without them. I use a cell like anyone else, but if we cater to people who have to have one, we are in big trouble. What's next, Micky D's?

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:30 PM

10. It's great. Do you have any idea how many people get LOST in national parks?

In dangerous conditions, no less, causing teams of rescuers to have to search for them and put themselves in danger, too. Perhaps you don't live near a national park in the mountains. I do. We have snow and wildfires more months than we don't. Oh, and let's not forget the ones who get stuck in close proximity to a mountain lion with her adorable little cubs. Sometimes a working cell phone can be a godsend.

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Response to DevonRex (Reply #10)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:50 PM

14. Since this is talking about developed areas of the park...wilderness areas

would not have the type of service you think this is going to provide.

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Response to joeybee12 (Reply #14)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:56 PM

15. Now that people like to absorb information electronically, they might learn about nature

As it is, the availability of interpretive exhibits really varies. I could see somebody glued to their tablet all evening and learning the kind of material that environmental organizations just yearn to give disperse. We will be recruiting advocates for nature.
I have spent countless days doing outreach at fairs for forest and energy issues.

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Response to Kolesar (Reply #15)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:59 PM

16. That reminds me of The ONion article about the invention of the tv...

And how people predicted that it would bring a new era of enlightenment for all the education it could bring right into your home.

People will be downloading porn, IMHO.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 04:45 PM

12. I'm on the fence. However, I will say that

I believe it should be like at the movies: ALL CELL PHONE AND PDA AUDIO & SOUNDS PROHIBITED!

The last thing I want to hear on the trail is that extremely sexually-satisfied Donald Duck ringtone.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2013, 05:12 PM

18. I like this as long as it won't disrupt the wildlife or the environment.

 

I hope Section 106 of the NHPA and all NEPA laws are followed.

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Response to Apophis (Reply #18)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 12:18 AM

22. Welcome to DU!

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 12:14 AM

21. Money would be better spent putting webcams all over the park, this way people can...

enjoy the park without having to drive there and do all that walking.
There is dirt there, too, at most parks.

Also, one can enjoy the park and not miss something important on TV!
It would be easier to respond to email, too, not having to walk around.

The cams can be in really nice places!

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