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Groups decry Yellowstone cell phone plans

Groups decry Yellowstone cell phone plans
Yellowstone National Park (UPI Photo/A.J. Sisco) | License Photo

JACKSON, Wyo., Nov. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. park officials, trying to find a happy medium, say they want the national park system to include telecommunications as part of their planning.

A proposal by Yellowstone National Park that expanded cell phone towers and installed wireless Internet in its hotels -- were televisions are banned -- has drawn the ire of environmentalists, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

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"There are some people who feel lost without an electronic connection and there are other people who feel that cell phones shouldn't be in parks at all, said Lee Dickinson, who coordinates cellular permits for the National Park Service.

In September Yellowstone officials issued a plan that proposed expanding cell phone use in developed areas and installing wireless Internet service in the park's hotels. Cell phone service would be excluded from the park's backcountry and off most of its roads, the Times reported.

Environmental groups said they think cell phone service in the oldest national park in the United States should be limited.

"When people come to Yellowstone, it's one of the most special times in their lives," said Tim Stevens of the National Parks Conservation Association. "One of the things that makes it that is the ability to hear the splash of a geyser ... and not having that sound drowned out by somebody having a conversation with their family back in New Jersey."

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