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Cell Towers Among the Park Bears

Fri Sep 19, 2008 - 11:00 AM EDT - By Jay Gross

If you're roaming around in Yellowstone National Park, you might have noticed that cell phone coverage is spotty, at best. That could improve, but only near tourist areas. Otherwise, it's just you and the grizzlies.

National Park Service officials have released a draft plan for developing wireless services within Yellowstone, including location of some controversial cell towers at tourists' favorite spots, like Old Faithful, the geyser that burps every hour and a half or so–check it out for yourself with this live video webcam. Note: Click on pic at right to enlarge.

The new plan tries to balance civilization and nature by providing cell phone and wireless Internet services where there are hotels and stores in Yellowstone’s developed areas, while limiting towers in the rest of the 3,500-square-mile natural wonder. That means excluding cell towers from the back country, park road corridors and less developed areas. Now really, even while wearing your tourist hat, do you want to look at beautiful nature or cell phone towers? Appreciate the solitude or text someone about your hair? Okay, never mind.

The impact assessment plan, which has been in development for five years, calls for moving a cell tower located near Old Faithful to a less visible site at a water treatment plant. Its placement within sight of the geyser about 10 years ago started a debate over cellular towers in the park. If only the things weren’t so unsightly.

There's more on this from the Associated Press at this link. I got the nice picture from the Park Service’s static webcam.

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