Does Mount Rainier's Paradise need cell service? | KUOW News and Information

Does Mount Rainier's Paradise need cell service?

Dec 28, 2016

Along with the sound of birds and falling water, you might hear ringing cell phones during a future hike on Mount Rainier.

The National Park Service is considering applications to install a cell transmitter at the Paradise visitor center.

Some nature lovers strongly oppose the idea.

They complain it brings civilization into the wild.

They don't want to hear people talking on their phones or see them surfing on their iPads. 

But George Dunn of International Mountain Guides sees cell phones as another safety tool.

“I’ve seen a number of instances where tragedy would have been averted if someone could get a call out on their phone,” Dunn said. “That’s more often as not the hiker that’s having chest pains or the day hiker that gets up on the snowfield and suddenly is caught by bad weather and lost and ill-equipped.”

Dunn and his company use satellite phones, walkie-talkies and other safety gear when taking climbers and hikers on the mountain.

So far, about 500 people have commented to the National Park Service on the issue.

Park officials are putting together a report, using information from those comments.

They'll give you another chance to comment before a final decision is made.

Correction, 11 a.m., 12/29/2016: The proposal for cell service at Mount Rainier National Park's Paradise area includes antennas mounted in the Jackson Visitor Center. No cell towers are proposed.