British Columbia

Parks Canada considers cell service for national park

Parks Canada considers a plan to put up half a dozen cell towers in Kootenay National Park, but it still wants to maintain the wilderness experience for visitors.

Phone service primarily for safety of drivers along highway corridor

Kootenay National Park along Highway 93. (Courtesy of Parks Canada)

Mobile phones, along with the moose and mountains, will soon be part of the experience of a national park that straddles the B.C. and Alberta border.

Parks Canada is reviewing plans to install six cellular phone towers in Kootenay National Park along Highway 93, which slices through the Rocky Mountains and the heart of the park.

Caroline Marion, manager of townsites for Parks Canada, says the cell service is primarily for the safety of drivers along the highway corridor.

"We heard from our visitors and from other parks colleagues in the [United] States and throughout Canada most visitors want to maintain the wilderness experience so we will be working with Telus on the radius of coverage and just focus it on the highway area," said Marion.

She said the service will also be designed so phones don't ring in the back country.

"What we are going to do is work with Telus both to ensure the aesthetic impact is minimized and also to limit coverage within the wilderness areas," said Marion.

Banff National Park already has cell coverage along the TransCanada and the tiny town of Field in Yoho National Park also just received cell coverage.

Marion said Parks Canada is interested in having similar coverage in the other mountain parks.