Our current poll is "Should national parks have extensive cellular service?" This article at RV Daily Report adds a bit more information.
According to the article, the proposal is by 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."
PEER, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, says that concessionaires "envision a capacity 'which could reduce the need for handing out printed materials and even facilitate fee collection through electronic devices.'" Of course, NPHA would charge fees for this.
Effectively, this would decrease the need for rangers - and a trained, live body who could provide information and interpretation about the park. And, in effect, ultimately "Disney-fying" our national parks.
I've placed our poll below, in case you want to vote. Or, please leave a comment. We love access to our phones for all kinds of reasons. Should we be going down a path where we lose the human element?
For me, the walks and talks by rangers and knowledgeable people in our ranger stations is one of the special things about our parks. Having worked as an interpretive ranger in Alaska, I know the trainnig the rangers get - and supervision - so what they share is accurate. When you look at information from commercial sources or commercially trained people, the stress on accuracy isn't always there. I would not like to see this happen, though I do think cell service is good for RVers and other visitors at visitor centers and along roads in a park. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak