Yellowstone National Park has more cell coverage, and not everyone is happy about it

October 10, 2016, 5:18 p.m.
Yellowstone National Park
Photo: Kris Wiktor/Shutterstock

The ability to upload your travel photos to Instagram may be easier within Yellowstone National Park. Recent signal coverage maps show "spill over" cellphone signals for two of the five cellphone towers in Yellowstone, providing coverage in the park's interior.

"Yellowstone technology chief Bret De Young acknowledged the occurrence of 'spillover' cellphone signals into backcountry areas, but suggested the coverage maps – released by the park to Ruch’s group under a public records request – exaggerated the quality of coverage in parts of the park," reports the Associated Press.

The maps were obtained by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), an advocacy group solidly against the increase in cell coverage in a park where people go to escape the pull of modern technology.

In an effort to meet the needs of both those who want to disconnect and those who want service, the park is upgrading to modern antennas that can direct signals toward the more developed areas of the park, while limiting unintentional coverage to the backcountry.

But groups like PEER are skeptical, and some Yellowstone frequenters are dismayed at the ability to be on the phone while in the park.

"It's a real drag at Artists Point," Ken Sinay, who operates the Yellowstone Safari tour company, 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."

New legislation was introduced to in the U.S. House of Representatives in late September that would allow for more cellphone coverage on public lands nationwide.