Is it appropriate to carry radios and cell phones in the wilderness?
I know that many outdoorsfolk would think it gauche, but I carried a
cell phone on my last two backpacking trips, and it had a good deal to do
with my feeling comfortable enough to be out for more than a dayhike. I
called my child at night and felt that I could summon help in a true emergency.
Worked for me, and bothered no one else.
Would we consider playing rock music or accepting cell calls while in
church, mosque, or synagogue? Like a house of worship, wilderness is that
special place where we can be at peace with the universe and at one with
God. Let's leave our pagers, TVs, cell phones, and boom boxes at home.
Roger J. Wendell
I always take my shortwave radio when camping. I can hear great stations
from around the world when I'm away from the electrical interference in
the city and have a few hundred feet available to string out my antenna
North Hollywood, California
Is there such a thing as wilderness if you are still in contact with
the rest of the world? I think that some people are missing the true experience.
Is it appropriate? Only the elitist naturalists would ever ask this question!
Safety--warnings on weather and calling for help in case of accidents--is
always appropriate except to elitists!
There are those who will argue that they are necessary and will amble
off to the beautiful places on this planet with device in hand. They have
forgotten that a fundamental reason we seek out wilderness is to reconnect
with nature and the wondrous parts of ourselves that these devices have
so brusquely cut us off from.
Is it appropriate to carry an extruded aluminum hiking staff with a plastic
handle and a rubber tip? Is it appropriate to carry any products with contents
developed by DuPont? Should you wear shoes? Obviously, people take the tools
they need to accomplish their purpose in going into the wilderness. The
trick is to minimize the impact before going as well as while there. A better
question might be: is it appropriate for the modern human, with products
from corporations of questionable ethics, to go into the wilderness at all?
Hewitt, New Jersey
Cell phones and radios do not affect rivers, soil, trees, squirrels,
and moose any more than any conversation between two humans in the wilderness.
Yelling for your dog or cursing out your mountain bike invade a much larger
space. Unless conversations between people in the wild are regulated, then
conversations in which one person is outside of the wilderness should not
be. But please be discreet. Whether using your phone or thinking of calling
to a friend across the lake, minimize your presence.
Kirk L. Nichols
Salt Lake City, Utah
Last summer a dear friend's heart failed while he was camping. His group
had no cell phone to call for immediate help. One hour and fifteen minutes
later, a Med Evac helicopter arrived. Even though CPR was performed, he
died. Take the technology with you, but use it only for emergencies.
San Francisco, California
If I saw someone carrying a cell phone in the wilderness I'd say, Go
home! Take a vacation in some flashy resort. You're not suited for the wilderness.
San Diego, California
Compared to the all-terrain vehicle and snowmobile, the radio and cell
phone are harmless toys that can save lives. There is plenty of room for
abuse, but I believe the vast majority of people are "out there"
to blend in, not to disrupt.
Sayville, New York
Be self-reliant. Leave your radio, cell phone, and camera at home. The
pictures in your head don't disappear.