Monday, August 23, 2010

Can Someone Text the Park Ranger to Bring Us a Pack Of Smokes?

But apparently if you have a GPS, ignore this sign,
let the kids dangle off the side and taunt bears.
Park Rangers will be by directly to save you.

So, get this: people are bringing more and more tech in to National Parks.  Like smartphones and GPS devices.  And what are some people doing with these devices? They're doing lots of stupid sh*t like texting park rangers to bring them hot chocolate, or video taping animals close up, giving commentary about how this animal might charge at them, and then videotaping that very thing.  Or using the SPOT device that can send out emergency signals via satellite:
Last fall, two men with teenage sons pressed the help button on a device they were carrying as they hiked the challenging backcountry of Grand Canyon National Park. Search and rescue sent a helicopter, but the men declined to board, saying they had activated the device because they were short on water.
The group’s leader had hiked the Grand Canyon once before, but the other man had little backpacking experience. Rangers reported that the leader told them that without the device, “we would have never attempted this hike.”
The group activated the device again the next evening. Darkness prevented a park helicopter from flying in, but the Arizona Department of Public Safety sent in a helicopter whose crew could use night vision equipment.
The hikers were found and again refused rescue. They said they had been afraid of dehydration because the local water “tasted salty.” They were provided with water.
Helicopter trips into the park can cost as much as $3,400 an hour, said Maureen Oltrogge, a spokeswoman for Grand Canyon National Park.    - From the New York Times
Technology clearly doesn't make us smarter.  It makes folks a whole lot dumber and makes the park rangers and emergency officials' jobs a whole lot harder.

Read the full NY Times article here.

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