Call of the Wireless | Canoeroots Magazine | Rapid Media
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There's no app for this. Photo: Kristian Olauson

Is the problem with wilderness WiFi you?

 This article by Kevin Callan about camping and wilderness WiFi was first published in the Summer/Fall 2014 issue of Canoeroots magazine. 

 

Should campers be able to get online from the comfort of the fire pit? I recently spent three days debating this question on national radio and television. The media frenzy was stirred up by Parks Canada announcing a plan to provide Wi-Fi at as many as 150 national parks and landmarks over the next three years. The digital world and natural world were colliding. It was only when Rob Ford did something stupid again that the media moved on and my life returned to normal.

Even after the dust settled, I couldn’t get the Wi-Fi issue out of my head. I’m fascinated by the strong reactions it stirred. Again and again, I heard campers and paddlers say that this was the beginning of the end; this would be remembered as the moment when true wilderness values were lost forever.

Parks Canada’s decision isn’t without precedent. A 2013 pilot project in the United States saw a handful of national parks offer up Wi-Fi services. The project received outcry from backcountry users and some environmental groups, but the hotspots were a hit with campers.

With Parks Canada losing customers at an alarming rate, Wi-Fi just makes good business sense. The number one complaint from visitors over the last few years was not being able to get online...

 


Screen_Shot_2014-07-23_at_3.38.09_PM.pngGet the full article in the digital edition of Canoeroots and Family Camping, Summer/Fall 2014 on our free iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch App or Android App or read it on your desktop here.

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