Hang Up and Hike
Cell towers and phones are invading national parks
The swish of a breeze through the trees. The twittering of birds. The burbling of a brook. The … opening notes of “U Can’t Touch This”? Get used to it: Bleeping (and by that we mean fricking) cell phones are becoming more common in national parks, in part because cell companies are pushing to build towers there. For instance, you may recently have had your view of the majestic Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone enhanced by the looming cell tower nearby. A proposal to build three towers along a scenic road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park was recently withdrawn by a wireless company after Sen. Lamar Alexander and Rep. John Duncan Jr., Tennessee Republicans both, called it “one of the worst ideas we have heard,” but phone companies are still pushing. A National Park Service inventory lists at least 30 national parks sporting cell towers — and the inventory isn’t finished. Park managers lamely point to security as a justification for the towers, leading enviros to wonder how it is that millions of park visitors over the decades have survived in the wilds without wireless access.