"It's a real drag at Artists Point," one Yellowstone National Park tour operator told the Associated Press. "While people are trying to enjoy themselves, somebody's on their phone waving their hands and gesturing and walking around in a circle."
Until recently, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, huge swaths of public lands were inaccessible to the owners of cell phone towers and so most of America's wildlands were not covered by mobile signals. Despite management plans that stipulated mobile phone coverage would not intrude into backcountry areas of America's national parks, signal spillover from developed areas is spoiling the tranquility of the wilderness, and in fact, the National Park System has no official count on how many cell towers have been permitted to intrude on public lands.
The Public Lands Telecommunication Act, which is House legislation introduced last week by California Rep. Jared Huffman, seeks to further increase cell phone coverage in national parks and public lands.
If it becomes law, the U.S. departments of Interior and Agriculture, which control most public land in the United States, would be permitted to collect rental fees on cell phone towers.
The more Congress starves the administrations of these lands of proper budget allowances, the more they'll be tempted to rent land to towers--which the law would permit in much greater numbers--and the louder the sounds of nature will be disrupted with the jangle of ringtones and the chatter of FaceTime.