I hate to even type the title of this blog. I think allowing cell phone activity in the BWCA would be a terrible thing for our wilderness. I can just imagine portaging into Ram Lake and hearing the sound of someone’s cell phone ringing. Or camping on Seagull Lake and listening to a text notification come into someone’s phone from a nearby campsite. People posting selfies and keeping their snap streaks alive while in the Boundary Waters would not be good.
I can only imagine the added hit to the USFS budget if people could use their cell phones. Someone twists their ankle and says they can’t walk out of the BWCA so the USFS sends a float plane in to “rescue” them. Since there is no way to charge the user for the cost of the rescue it would come out of the local USFS budget. I’m sure there would be rescue calls on windy days when people just have to get out of the wilderness. As an outfitter I can only imagine what we might get calls about.
It sounds like the USFS is going to put a 180-foot tower up on Lima Mountain. It would have a visual impact of a 7-mile radius and it would be visible from within the Boundary Waters along with a number of lakes along the Gunflint Trail. When I get more details I’ll write another post.
The tower would be put up for radio communications but cell phone providers could rent space on the tower and the County would profit from the fees. Another tower is planned for next to Seagull Lake and I’m guessing many more will be needed if the goal is to have radio contact everywhere in Cook County. That could mean cell service almost all over the Boundary Waters which in my opinion is not a good thing at all.