Sequoia National Park Will Soon Have Cell Service
But not everyone is happy about it.
Park officials at Sequoia National Park have approved a plan to build a new 138-foot cellular tower, USA Today reported.
Once built, the cell tower will bring year-round cell service to the park. As local officials noted, cell service is currently “very limited” throughout the park. The tower would be west of Wuksachi Village and belong to Verizon Wireless.
The decision to add the cell tower isn’t just for visitors hoping to post selfies with the ancient trees. Instead, officials explained, it’s about bringing more safety to the rugged terrain: “Many visitors and park staff will view the service as a welcome benefit for purposes of accessibility, coordination, communication and safety,” Ginger Bradshaw, the park's environmental protection specialist, told USA Today. Bradshaw added that park officials will use the service to communicate with one another and with visitors about park conditions, and offer real-time information on weather, traffic, and more.
“Cellular service will also assist the park in providing educational and interpretive materials to park visitors, information about events and activities, maps and other services, which could enhance the visitor experience and help protect park resources,” Bradshaw said.
The plan for the tower was available for a public review and comment period last year. Of the 42 comments received, 17 expressed concerns about cellphone coverage, according to National Parks Traveler. One said the tower “reduces the contrast between wilderness and other lands, and negatively impacts wilderness character.”
“While some visitors may view cell phone service as an unwelcome intrusion, the National Parks Service is committed to a public education program to promote considerate use of cell phones in shared public facilities and spaces,” Bradshaw told USA Today.
The tower will be up and operational some time in 2020, according to officials.