The following editorial appeared Monday in the Chicago Tribune:
Oh give me a phone where the buffalo roam. Actually, don't.
The National Park Service is under mounting pressure to allow wireless coverage in the peaceful, unplugged spaces where the deer and antelope play. What a terrible idea. The great outdoors is supposed to be about twitter without the capital "T." How are you supposed to hear it if your cellphone is chirping?
Park managers in Yellowstone and Glacier national parks are considering requests from telecommunications companies to erect or upgrade towers, according to a Reuters report.
Tourists basically fall into two camps: the ones who can't relax in any setting where the reception registers fewer than three bars and the ones who want to confiscate those cellphones and pitch them in a lake.
Wi-Fi enhances the park experience, we're told. It's not just about uploading geyser photos directly to Facebook. Tourists can use their smartphones to identify plants and animals or to get directions to popular park features. And cellphones promote safety. Think of all the times you've read about lost hikers, saved by their GPS.
The problem is that some people don't appreciate the difference between a national park and a theme park. It's one thing to use your cellphone to warn your pals that the line at Space Mountain is two hours long. It's another thing entirely to tweet the coordinates of a baby moose.
People who can't live without their cellphones aren't just the wrong demographic for Yellowstone. They're the very demographic the rest of us go to Yellowstone to escape. Let's not encourage them. The call of the wild doesn't need a ring tone.