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Calls from the wild

November 22, 2008

Re "Should you be able to call from the wild?" Nov. 17

Absent from your article describing the controversy surrounding the erection of cellphone towers in our national parks system was the most important reason for extending such service into wilderness and park areas: Its importance as an emergency communications network.

How many times have we heard stories of stranded, lost or injured people obtaining help in remote and sparsely populated areas by using their cellphones -- sometimes in spite of extremely poor signals in those areas? Someone being stalked -- by man or beast -- can use a cellphone to call for help. Park officials can use blanket text messaging to alert people to dangerous storm conditions, natural disasters or park evacuations.

If anyone feels that the cell towers are a blight on the landscape, they can be disguised to look like trees, as I have seen in the city. As to people babbling on their phones in the quiet places -- people will be people, with or without their cellphones.

S. Kenneth Kawano

Los Angeles

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