The inevitable cellphone debate is coming to a wilderness near you
Jun 8, 2017 at 10:32 am #3472291Lester MooreBPL Member
@satoriLocale: Olympic Peninsula, WA
So technology has created anxiety by advertising that it alleviates it.
The technology is neutral – what we choose to do with it, how and why we do it, and our perceptions of it is what creates the anxiety. Anyone choosing to use communications tech in the backcountry needs to have a very clear understanding about what each type of communication means (or what lack of communication means) with the folks back home receiving the communication. And if you use wilderness tech, you need to understand its limitations and that it’s no replacement for backcountry skills. With technology comes responsibility for using it wisely, safely and appropriately.
As many above have noted, tech is coming. We each get to choose if we use it in the hills or not, and if we do, then use it discreetly to preserve the wilderness environment for others.Jun 8, 2017 at 11:01 am #3472297David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Jeffrey: “So technology has created anxiety by advertising that it alleviates it.”
First-gen SPOT transmitters were exceptionally good at this. SPOTty performance meant the folks back home got no news at times.
Lester: Yes to setting expectations and understanding with others. Bad news = bad news. Good news = good news. No news is simply no news. No news isn’t bad news. But, IME, there are some people who can’t get there. So they are not on the distribution list.Jun 8, 2017 at 11:29 am #3472299Art …BPL Member
if it didn’t exist in the 70’s
it should be banned from all wilderness forever !Jun 8, 2017 at 12:10 pm #3472306AnonymousInactive
If people feel compelled to “stay connected” for whatever reason, why not advise them to buy a satellite phone to meet their needs? There is no need, IMO, to clutter up what is left of our truly wild places with cell towers. There is cell phone service via cell towers in at least 30 NPs, according to this Christian Science Monitor article picked up by USA Today. And that article is dated 2004. I find it most disheartening, but as Paul posted above, the argument has been lost. The techno-barbarians have breached the gates and what little space remains for solitude and contemplation will soon become part of the that world Bill Gates so famously declared to be entering the “Age of Continuous Partial Attention”. For troglodytes like me, the loss of the last refuge from a world where technology is spinning out of control is a sad, sad prospect.Jun 8, 2017 at 12:48 pm #3472316
I am definitively on board with no phones in the wilderness and people needing to prepare and be ready to deal with navigation and difficulties that are part of being in the mountains. I am also glad to see so many on board with personal responsibility here ;)
I am assuming these are places where we don’t need to sign up, sign in or win a lottery to enter. Because queueing up and signing in to experience wilderness seem at odds imo.
“If it did not exist in the 70s….”
Can we apply that to other areas in society as well? at least a few of them? ;)Jun 8, 2017 at 1:21 pm #3472323
This thread reminds me of this one
Connectivity was discussed there as well.
There is a difference between adocating and approving of something and seeing it as something inevitable so how do we deal with it.
For the record I am against bikes, horses and cell phones in the wilderness.Jun 8, 2017 at 1:27 pm #3472324Lester MooreBPL Member
@satoriLocale: Olympic Peninsula, WA
Here’s the obvious solution: government issued licenses to use any public lands more than 30 minutes from a navigable road. To be awarded a license, you must to take a test (after a long wait period) and demonstrate that you are qualified to used the backcountry to a government-appointed Wildlands Licensing Officer (WLO). Required skills include: safety and hygiene, navigation, wilderness first aid, outdoor gear and clothing fashion assessment, self-reliance, self-rescue, LNT, how to dig a hole using tent stakes, wilderness etiquette and proper use of satellite communication devices (which are required by all users). Recertification required every three years.Jun 8, 2017 at 2:42 pm #3472330
^^^^ I hope you are joking. Let’s not have any more DMV like experiences in our lives please.
ps. Looks like you were joking, phew! But I bet your “idea” sounds great to some.Jun 8, 2017 at 4:26 pm #3472343Valerie EBPL Member
@wildtownerLocale: Grand Canyon State
Part of this debate is rooted in culture and expectations. Yes, technology is neutral, but we users are not. In our society we have come to expect constant and uninterrupted connectivity, which means that hikers expect to be able to “call for help” everywhere, and their families expect to hear from them throughout their hike, and to know that help is an easy phone call away!
We just returned from trekking in the Peruvian Andes. No one seemed to have satellite phones (or SPOTs/InReaches), and if you got yourself into trouble, you were expected to make it out to medical care on your own (the Peruvian government will not send a helicopter for you). [Think “Touching the Void”, where he had to ride a donkey to get treatment.] Below is a photo of our “ambulance”…his name is Tipi (not Walter, though, LOL) and he is much prettier, but much slower, than a helicopter. (Fortunately, we didn’t need his services, but it was safer to have him there, just in case.) In that region, no one expects to hear from their families who are in the backcountry, and cell phone service in the smaller villages is spotty because the high mountains play havoc with the signals. Probably, in a few years, this attitude will have changed…and “progress” will triumph.Jun 8, 2017 at 9:29 pm #3472398Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
I agonize over this issue every time I go out.
The purity of an analog and disconnected wilderness experience is off the charts incredible in the context of the type of society we live in most of the time. It’s so, so good to just experience the wilderness like this.
But having the option to call home, a doctor, my exit ride pickup, or SAR has been invaluable on some occasions (with a sat phone previously, but a cell phone would be GREAT! and less expensive).
I like the option but at the core of what I personally want, I prefer the pure, disconnected experience.
Regardless, I sure has heck don’t want to see a cell tower out there. That’s just wrong. I think I’m ok with cell satellites.
I am NOT ok with people playing their speakers. Ugh. It’s really disruptive to the experience.
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