Backcountry Cell Towers

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Re: Backcountry Cell Towers

Post by freestone » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:12 am

I hope they do a better job on the camouflage, maybe some of the towers should resemble the dead and dying pines conifers as well.


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Re: Backcountry Cell Towers

Post by dave54 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:13 pm

I believe they are not allowed in designated Wilderness, so that is a moot point.

Multiple use lands, no problem.

From the comments on that article, most responders are not aware of the difference.
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el marinero
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Re: Backcountry Cell Towers

Post by el marinero » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:40 pm

Tom_H wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:44 pm
rlown wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:48 am
Yes in the front country. No in the back country. Next they'll want cellphone recharging stations as well.
Front country is easy as they already have underground services there. Back country, they do not.
Spot on answer. They will only put them where they can make money. In Yosemite Valley and along major Yellowstone routes, there is enough demand. In the backcountry, there isn't enough demand to justify the cost of the equipment. SpaceX's Starlink constellation will drive down the cost of simply taking a sat phone with you wherever you go on Earth. Cell phones will likely be able to switch between cell towers and satellites as needed.
Completely agree that this is not really an issue in the backcountry. The cell companies will only put towers where there are lots of people. Cell towers cost money, and every carrier makes the financial and marketing calculation where to put them. Verizon and ATT brag about their coverage, while Sprint and T-Mobile don’t even provide coverage in busy Yosemite Valley.

I do think more and more hikers will carry some sort of satelllite communications link as the social media generation goes outside.

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Re: Backcountry Cell Towers

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:53 pm

I do not think the physical towers are the main issue; rather, the coverage range that goes into the wilderness. It is not a physical impact, but still a wilderness impact. If you are not able to get a cell signal, you experience the wilderness as I suspect John Muir would have intended. If you can daily call out to civilization, then you have a different (not saying necessarily worse) experience. In the long run, satellite communication will drive this more than cell towers. We as individual backpackers can make the decision to be totally "off the grid", or only on the grid for emergency purposes which I still contend that knowing you can call for help will also deliver a different (not necessarily bad) wilderness experience. Or you may choose not to break the tie to civilization at all, regularly calling home and having long conversations, blogging daily. This last choice to me really wrecks the solitude aspect of the wilderness experience. Last year when I got to the top of Forrester Pass, there were a dozen people jabbering away on their cell phones, which quite annoyed me. But in general, someone blogging at night in their tent has no impact on my experience. Those who choose to connect need to establish some courtesy guidelines so they do not impact other's wilderness experience (digital LNT). We all will have to decide just how we will utilize (or not) technology as it rapidly changes.

Personally, I really cherish my "old school" idea of wilderness experience, with only minimal technology (yes I do like my lightweight gear). Not using a GPS is my personal choice. Not carrying a cell phone is my personal choice. I an still on the fence about PLB's.

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