Officials at Sequoia National Park in California have approved a plan for Verizon to build a new 138-foot cellular tower, USA Today reports, to improve the currently “very limited” service throughout the park.
Officials explained that it’s more about bringing more safety to the rugged terrain than enabling visitors to post that #BearSelfie:
“Many visitors and park staff will view the service as a welcome benefit for purposes of accessibility, coordination, communication, and safety,” Ginger Bradshaw, the park’s environmental protection specialist, told USA Today.
The service will also enable park officials to communicate with one another and with visitors about park conditions, and offer real-time information on weather, traffic, and more.
“Cellular service will also assist the park in providing educational and interpretive materials to park visitors, information about events and activities, maps and other services, which could enhance the visitor experience and help protect park resources,” Bradshaw said.
The plan for the tower was available for a public review and comment period last year. 42 comments were received, of which 17 expressed concerns about cellphone coverage.
“While some visitors may view cell phone service as an unwelcome intrusion, the National Parks Service is committed to a public education program to promote considerate use of cell phones in shared public facilities and spaces,” Bradshaw told USA Today.
The tower will be up and operational west of Wuksachi Village sometime in 2020, according to officials.