Yogi Bear is about to have his eye out for a pic-a-nic basket with an iPhone in it. Yellowstone National Park officials have just released a plan to provide cell phone coverage and wireless Internet for parts of the park, while minimizing cell towers from the more remote areas. The environmental impact has been found negligible in terms of flora and fauna, though visitors of the human variety may be affected a little more.
A first draft of the plan, which contained a cell tower next to the Old Faithful geyser has been changed, moving it more out of sight, and they're trying to balance all the pretty nature with protecting public safety and allowing the park staff to communicate. The program manager for the National Parks Conservation Associate says,
One of the things that it comes down to in an increasingly noisy and hectic world is that it's critical that Yellowstone continue to provide the solitude and peace and quiet that our first national park has to offer.
Of course the peace and quiet could be the first casualty. While they have plans to encourage courteous use of the electronic gadgets, the park averages 15,690 visitors a day during peak season. That's a lot of "can you hear me nows."
Does the park have to modernize for safety and convenience, or should some places stay cell-free?