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National parks seek more Internet

The Associated Press

ESTES PARK – The National Park Service has partnered with a trade association to expand Internet service in national parks.

Proponents say the plan isn’t to wire every nook and cranny within the 59 national parks that cover nearly 52 million acres across the U.S. Instead, the emphasis by the National Park Hospitality Association is on boosting cellphone and Internet coverage at park entrances, lodges, visitor centers and major traffic corridors.

According to the Boulder Daily Camera, Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the crown jewels of the national park system, is not on the list of up to a dozen parks on the list for the experiment, but other Colorado national parks, including Mesa Verde, may yet be included.

“We’re not wiring the backcountry. We know people are going to be worried about solitude in the parks,” said National Park Service spokesman Jeffrey Olson. “This is a pilot project, and we are aware of some criticisms already.

“We don’t have a start date yet, but it could be this summer if things move along,” Olson said. “We would, of course, welcome public input. We’re guessing that there will be interest from the public, and we will have formal input processes.”

The 10,000-member environmental group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility said one of the values of using public lands is solitude.

Executive Director Jeff Ruch said some people want to get away from it all, and they don’t want to be disturbed by the incessant chirping of cellphones.

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