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Want Cell Coverage in Paradise? Tell Mount Rainier What You Think

Posted by Rachel Wendling at Dec 01, 2016 11:24 AM |

Would you like to see year-round service at Mount Rainier National Park? Speak up now on the new Paradise-area cellular proposal.

In a recent press release, The National Park service has unveiled two right-of-way permit applications from telecommunications providers hoping to install and co-locate wireless communications facilities within Mount Rainier National Park. If accepted, the permits would allow cellular coverage throughout the popular Paradise area, within the National Historic Landmark District.

Mount Rainier National Park is considering two alternatives: the action alternative, and the no action alternative:

  • If the no action alternative is accepted, no right-of-way permit will be granted to the providers and cellular coverage will not be provided.
  • If the action alternative is accepted, it would allow two providers (Verizon and T-Mobile) to install telecommunications support in the attic of the Jackson Visitor Center with antennas mounted on the interior ends of the non-historic building. No cellular towers will be constructed. This would enable the providers customers with year-round service in a heavily visited area of the park.

Mount Rainier National Park wants to hear your take

As part of the Telecommunications Act of 1966, The National Park Service is required to consider all telecommunication permit proposals that it receives for its land. However, Mount Rainier National Park is hoping to hear from hikers and park visitors to aid them in their final decision.


It's there if you need it.

Having cell coverage in Paradise would add an enormous convenience for thousands of visitors without inconveniencing others who don't choose to use the service. In addition,the potential safety benefits are considerable, especially when park services are closed orataff is unavailable.

Posted by:

Schaferpho on Dec 02, 2016 04:53 PM

Nature should be left natural.

While cell phones may be convenient, and even, arguably, help with search and rescue, their proliferation on Mount Rainier will erode the outdoor experience. Visitors will make calls, stream music, text, etc. while they should be learning how to experience nature as it is intended-naturally.

Posted by:

grubedoo on Dec 02, 2016 10:06 PM

If it's there, you will use it and so will everybody else

If we've gone this long without it, why now? Because everybody has an iPhone now? Because we should be chatting on our phones in every trail? Folks can talk on their phones just about every other place, do we really need to in Paradise as well. Please inconvenience me! So I can experience nature unhindered by urges to call someone up. We already know folks can't live without their cell phones. If you tower it, they will do it, and Paradise will never be the same.

Posted by:

rocknevermelts on Dec 02, 2016 11:22 PM

Please No

Please do not disturb the natural integrity of the mountain. If people are really worried about getting lost while hiking, they can purchase a GPS. Please no cell service at Paradise!

Posted by:

jessiegirl85 on Dec 03, 2016 01:56 PM

Not a good idea

Why not make it 911 service only... I can't say I support full cell service there. I've heard that places like Yellowstone, which does have a good amount of cell coverage, now has problems with tourists converging en mass on spots because there's an app tells them where wildlife has been seen... A park in Indonesia has gone as far as to ban cell phones because animals and people were being injured and killed because of people madly rushing to spots where animal sighting were reported.

OK - Paradise probably isn't exactly the most remote or wild spot in the park, but I still don't think cell service would add to the general experience. I also agree with the people who worry that the false security of the phone may encourage some people to bite off a bit more than they can chew. Go there to unplug and actually look around yourself rather than at the little screen...

Posted by:

ehiker on Dec 03, 2016 04:49 PM

911 Services only

Cell phone service should be for 911 service only. One cell phone tower in this area could be easily overused due to the location and quantity of people. An over flooded cell tower would defeat the purpose of trying to save lives. Police, Fire, and Medical rescue frequent this area. Being able to communicate to find the closest hospital with available surgeons would save precious time.

Posted by:

timeforfun on Dec 03, 2016 08:56 PM

Responded to the open call

I responded to Mount Rainier National Park's open call for comments. I'm in agreement with those who believe that this cell contract with T-Mobile and Verizon is not a good idea for a National Park that exists to promote the enjoyment of nature and teaches us to respect the integrity of the nature it has promised to protect. It's more than technology at play here it's our behavior. We respond to our mobile phones and the result is disconnection from our surroundings. This is antithetical to the primary goal of visiting a National Park, which is to connect with our surroundings - to connect with nature. It could even invite some to prepare less for their trip. They may think "I can always look that up later if I need the info." Even though the proposal is for the most heavily visited area of the park, it brings our technologically saturated world that much closer to disrupting what is special about the wilderness.

Posted by:

cptf on Dec 04, 2016 07:40 AM

Here's why I believe this is good for all of us

1. We won't see any antennas, they will be hidden in the Jackson Visitor Center's attic.
2. Increased communication in rescue situations saves lives, see IMG's opinion here:
3. We still have airplane mode and the off switch. I plan to use them and so will everybody else to save battery.
4. You can check weather forecasts on long trips (like backpacking Wonderland Trail), or check in with family every now and then.
5. People don't need an internet connection to play music on load speakers. They will do that regardless, if they want to.

While I agree that folks go outdoors to get away from the daily life, and I am an avid outdoorsman too, I believe we can all learn to respect other's outdoor experience by turning our phones off, like we do at the movies, why not?

Posted by:

Daniel Zilcsak on Dec 05, 2016 08:35 AM


I'm sure people will refrain from rude cell phone use in the park.... just like they don't use non-hands free cell phones in their cars, text, watch movies etc. in their cars because it's illegal....yup - I NEVER see that....

Posted by:

ehiker on Dec 06, 2016 10:08 AM

Tough call :) but no

I am constantly annoyed by people on the phone as I have lunch on what used to be a quiet patio or walk in parks and on urban trails. There are those who seem to be on their phone constantly talking loudly and blocking pathways. Do we really want that kind or experience at Mt Rainier?

Posted by:

Skookum on Dec 08, 2016 01:06 PM

Biodiversity and effects on the ecosystem

Having cell phone coverage in Paradise is being put forward largely with telecommunications and the human population in mind. It is likely that animal populations will be adversely affected to say nothing of the aesthetic dehumanizing effects of people walking off trail looking down at cell phone screens, streaming movies and music instead of appreciating the park for what is has been intended for. The National Park Service has generally opposed the kind of utilitarian philosophy espoused by the early forest service architects led by Gifford Pinchot, when the thought was the "Greatest good for the greatest number in the long run." The NPS has instead a mission of conservation and this mission was vital to the success of the Park Service as Stephen Mather the first director had to establish a niche for the park service to distinguish itself from the USFS. Studies on RF-EMF waves on mammal and amphibian life have not been taken into consideration when green lighting federal communications rules. The FCC is a partisan organization appointed by the executive branch and is not beholden to scientific evidence or thoughts. In a research review available here:
"Colony collapse disorder (CCD)
was observed in beehives exposed to 900 MHz
for 10 minutes, with sudden disappearance of
a hive’s inhabitants, leaving only queen, eggs,
and a few immature workers behind. With navigational
skills affected, worker bees stopped
coming to the hives after 10 days and egg production
in queen bees dropped drastically to
100 eggs/day compared to 350 eggs (Sharma and
Kumar, 2010). Radiation affects the pollinators,
honeybees, whose numbers have recently been
declining due to CCD by 60% at US West Coast
apiaries and 70% along the East Coast (Cane
and Tepedino, 2001)."
I mention the bees specifically because pollinators are key to the experience of Paradise. Imagine going to Rainier and seeing nothing but a field of mud leading up to Camp Muir. John Muir's famous love for mountain wildflowers can be read in his writings on Rainier,
"The forests reach to a height of a little over six thousand feet, and above the forests there is a zone of the loveliest flowers, fifty miles in circuit and nearly two miles wide, so closely planted and luxuriant that it seems as if Nature, glad to make an open space between woods so dense and ice so deep, were economizing the precious ground, and trying to see how many of her darlings she can get together in one mountain wreath.."
Technology cheapens the type of experience described by Muir and one can argue that wilderness can't truly exist where there is no threat of danger. Another inconoclast who was at one time in the employ of the park service, Ed Abbey, when conversing with his friend Doug Peacock, argued that true wilderness exists when there are conditions or animals that can kill you. If we put safety rails on every trail and protective padding on every tree so that no one can fall or get a splinter people will still manage to go out onto the trails wearing cotton tee-shirts in a snowstorm as is their right. Cell phone coverage can't prevent all tragedy and there will at some point be someone who falls into a crevasse answering a call. The notion that cell coverage can only help is a false dichotomy as cell phones are simply a tool they are not the only tool available.

Not only insects are affected by cell phone towers a Spanish study found that amphibians living near cell phone towers had a 90 percent fatality rate. Birds navigation, health and development are all damaged by cell phone towers as are bats which are reliant on being able to distinguish electromagnetic fields. The threatened Cascade Fox would be less likely to frequent Paradise as well since mammals have been shown to avoid areas with increased radiation. Either choice is wrong and based upon faulty science politicized for the benefit of corporations and at the expense of the visitor and taxpayer who is the owner of the national parks in the first place. Cell phone coverage is available throughout the park especially on the Sunrise side where you can get signal from Crystal Mountain. Using a radio repeater which the parks are familiar with and are already in use at Mount Rainier do not emit anywhere close to the amount of radiation of cellular towers and 911 calls can still go out using these tools.

Posted by:

Smooth Operator on Jan 20, 2017 12:54 PM

Vedika on Want Cell Coverage in Paradise? Tell Mount Rainier What You Think

Comments: Please, please, allow one place in Washington that is natural and free from the buzz of technology. Mt Rainier is the only place in Washington where people are not constantly distracted by their addiction to hi tech devices. Where people actually see each other and make eye contact, not buried in their phones. I have loved it profoundly for that reason. It's like an island of natural rhythm, where the plants and animals and people, can live free of high frequency agitation, with the simplicity of what life used to be like. Frankly, I'm heartbroken that this natural god given, singular peace will be taken from us. I am less drawn to Mt Rainier now. Now there is nowhere.
Please rethink this. There are other ways to keep people safe.

-Vedika Dietrich

Posted by:

Vedika on Jun 05, 2017 02:15 PM

Posted by:

Beppers on Jun 15, 2017 12:48 PM

mtnsun on Want Cell Coverage in Paradise? Tell Mount Rainier What You Think

It would be very disappointing if cell service was extended to the Paradise area. In addition to hiking in amazing surroundings, the reason I stay at the Paradise Inn a few times a year is specifically to get away from technology. To focus on the awe of the mountain, and take a break from the internet, television and the tether of a cell phone. Trading it instead for a crackling fire, a book, my own thoughts, and the feeling of being away from it all, while still being relatively close to the city. Adding people chatting on a cell phone, the ringing of cell phones, or even the idea that the phones are available, takes away greatly from the charm of the place that has lasted so many years. Getting away from technology is healing. We have done without cell phones all this time. Let’s preserve the charm for a while longer.

Posted by:

mtnsun on Jul 19, 2017 12:43 PM

axwebst on Want Cell Coverage in Paradise? Tell Mount Rainier What You Think

Having Cell coverage is long over due. Have a family member who hikes the mountain and being able to reach them in case of an emergency is needed. Please approve adding this service right away.

Posted by:

axwebst on Aug 14, 2017 10:32 AM

Cairn on Want Cell Coverage in Paradise? Tell Mount Rainier What You Think

Don't understand all the hoopla, if you want to find cell coverage at Mt. Rainier or most places in the wilderness you can download the Cairn app and it will show you crowdsourced cell coverage spots from others on really nice offline topo maps.

Posted by:

Cairn on Sep 24, 2017 02:15 PM