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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum :: Listening Point - General Discussion :: BWCA-wide cell service is coming in late 2023! Nooooo!!
 
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LesliesDad
08/30/2022 06:53AM
 
I would make a comment, but I don't have a data plan.
 
TreeBear
08/31/2022 01:48PM
 
eagle98mn: "TreeBear: "And safety is a nice thing. But similarly to PLBs, Sat Phones, and everything else, I worry about the subset of people willing to take greater risks because they feel an even greater safety net by being able to call for help. Obviously there have been plenty of very prepared people whose lives were saved by them. There's also plenty of people who took unnecessary risk because they thought help was only a moment away only to discover that calling for help and receiving it are different things. "



I’m going to turn this on it’s head a bit, but please know TreeBear that I get what you are saying and largely share your sentiments about preferring a disconnected wilderness. That said I think this is a net gain on the question of safety.



Example: I was at the Mondale site on Gaskin this past Saturday night with my two boys (9 and 6) and my brother. The winds howled pretty good through the night which led my sleepy brain to play “worst case scenario” for an hour or more. :) What if a tree fell on us and took out both adults? We didn’t have a PLB, spot, etc. The kids have been trained to stay with the tent until they see someone to call for help, food should be eaten slowly and stashed away from camp, etc. But in the dark of the night I found myself wishing I had a device that would let them summon help, however long it took.



Now I don’t think we were taking any great risks on a well traveled route through gaskin, but an emergency would still have left my kids at the mercy of their understanding of my wilderness training and they would be alone until help stumbled on them. I would much rather they can call for help with a device they are already familiar with at home. They would be more safe being able to grab my phone and flip airplane mode off to dial 911. In short, I think I’m taking more risks right now than I would with a phone, simply because I don’t carry a device that could call for help, but my phone could easily fill that gap.



TLDR I’m considering switching to T mobile when this is live rather than investing in a PLB/inreach/etc. to maximize safety when I take my kids."



And I totally get this sentiment. That's what makes these discussions SO tricky because sat-based cell service in the BWCA isn't inherently evil. There are plenty of things in this world that are capable of destroying this ecosystem and the experiences of the people who enjoy it for all time. This isn't one of them. On the surface, it might not change things for everyone and there is some good to be found in people's ability to call for help. That said, with each innovation in safety communication there is a level of give and take, and the majority of people would probably use them responsibly. Every means of communicating with the outside has the potential to be abused. Sat phones can save lives, they can also allow outfitted clients to 'tap out' of a trip they aren't enjoying rather than helping themselves (and then wasting rescuer and outfitter time as a result.) Same thing with one-way communication devices (though they are more structured.) Phones allow a step further where they can't just be abused for rescues, but also allow full connectivity. There very well could be a day in the not overly distant future (and it's already possible in part of the BWCA) where anyone can stream movies or post to social media or livestream from their campsites. How people experience this wilderness is not up to me. I will never be one to demand that other people set out following my rulebook (though I appreciate if they could follow the LNT one!) As much as I can appreciate the way these things can positively add to safety, three concerns still bug me. I get annoyed with the people who allow their phones/plb/sat phone to replace accountability (they don't have to fix their own, non-life threatening situation.) I fear for the people who allow their device to act as a replacement for self-competency (and thus end up in big trouble when said device fails.) And I mourn for the people who will be able to use their devices just like the rest of everyday life and miss the awareness to experience this incredibly special place. No two people are alike and obviously not everyone will use their newly-connected phones unwisely.

And, full disclosure, I carry an older Spot-3 one way device. If I am solo, it gives my relations the reassurance that I have an out for situations I can't fix myself. And on group trips, I teach my group members how to use it and keep a laminated key for what the buttons mean in the case with the device. I am aware of the merits of safety...and wary of the implications of being too connected.
 
TreeBear
08/29/2022 07:10AM
 
This continues to be a discussion, whether by boosted capabilities of towers, the building of more towers, or by sat-based services. This one stings even more because it is an intrusion not only into the BWCA but EVERY large wilderness area out west could be affected. And I get what people are saying. More service means more safety in rescues and you can choose not to use it. Here's my problem. I know all wilderness areas pretty much are a figment of our imaginations in some ways, but they are the closest we have. And I believe that a key element to wilderness experience is the ability to almost step into this primeval window in time where people no longer dominate the scene and life is simpler/quieter. As I guide of youth programs, I loved being able to give that to groups of kids....and I would cringe ever time a plane flew over or a satellite blinked through the starlit sky because they were rude reminders that, though this wilderness was the wildest things any of these kids have done, it's not entirely out of reach of normal life. I see cell service as a continued intrusion. Yes, I can turn my phone off, take theirs away, but I'll miss the awayness generated by actually not having the option. The cynic in me also goes to the argument we have always had on here about cell phones/spot gens/ Sat phones. The more connected people are = the safer they feel = the greater risks they take =the more trouble they get into. I'm a person who feels the wilderness has a capacity to meet all people where they are at to inspire, challenge, teach.... but I am worried that an increased ability to connect/live stream/post.... will only lead to more "national park mentality" which tends to mean more dumb decisions still to come. Sigh... more PMA's for me I guess...
 
eagle98mn
08/31/2022 01:01PM
 
TreeBear: "And safety is a nice thing. But similarly to PLBs, Sat Phones, and everything else, I worry about the subset of people willing to take greater risks because they feel an even greater safety net by being able to call for help. Obviously there have been plenty of very prepared people whose lives were saved by them. There's also plenty of people who took unnecessary risk because they thought help was only a moment away only to discover that calling for help and receiving it are different things. "


I’m going to turn this on it’s head a bit, but please know TreeBear that I get what you are saying and largely share your sentiments about preferring a disconnected wilderness. That said I think this is a net gain on the question of safety.


Example: I was at the Mondale site on Gaskin this past Saturday night with my two boys (9 and 6) and my brother. The winds howled pretty good through the night which led my sleepy brain to play “worst case scenario” for an hour or more. :) What if a tree fell on us and took out both adults? We didn’t have a PLB, spot, etc. The kids have been trained to stay with the tent until they see someone to call for help, food should be eaten slowly and stashed away from camp, etc. But in the dark of the night I found myself wishing I had a device that would let them summon help, however long it took.


Now I don’t think we were taking any great risks on a well traveled route through gaskin, but an emergency would still have left my kids at the mercy of their understanding of my wilderness training and they would be alone until help stumbled on them. I would much rather they can call for help with a device they are already familiar with at home. They would be more safe being able to grab my phone and flip airplane mode off to dial 911. In short, I think I’m taking more risks right now than I would with a phone, simply because I don’t carry a device that could call for help, but my phone could easily fill that gap.


TLDR I’m considering switching to T mobile when this is live rather than investing in a PLB/inreach/etc. to maximize safety when I take my kids.
 
jhb8426
08/30/2022 12:44AM
 
Gadfly: "A good portion of our society thinks they know what is better for us than we do.
I support choice.


We have a government/society obsessed with."



Exactly...
 
mschi772
08/31/2022 07:13PM
 
HowardSprague: "mschi772: "I feel like people are blaming increased access instead of their own lack of willpower. Honestly, it is *easier* for me to cut myself off from my phone in my own backyard here in Racine, WI. All I need to do is leave my phone inside, silence it, or turn it off whereas using the BWCAW ….."

Sure, in some cases. I’ll admit on my solo last year I got a bar or two and tuned in to XM radio for awhile. But rather than will power to keep it off, what crosses my mind is the lack of arguing one gets if an employer or significant other tells you to keep in touch/check in while you’re gone when you can simply and honestly say “No can do - there’s no cell service where I’m going.” The beauty of that will be gone.
"



I get that, but that just means that setting professional and personal boundaries is a weakness we have and needs to be more normalized in our society. When I go somewhere where service exists, I am still 100% off-limits to work and off-limits to friends/family except for true emergencies. I am my own boss these days, so there's no push-back. I wasn't always my own boss, and I know that a lot of employers, especially these days, push back against lacking complete control over their employees and their lives. The only way I see to fix it, though, is to be firm and to stop giving-in to these kinds of demands from employers, thus setting boundaries becomes part of the solution to an even broader problem of employers overreaching into people's lives.
 
billconner
08/30/2022 06:03AM
 
martoonie: "Once the sat network is in place the Forest Service could make it a permitting requirement that you have a phone with you when you enter the wilderness and that it remains turned on while you are in the wilderness. For visitor safety and to monitor campsite usage. "


You forgot the :) .

 
ockycamper
11/21/2022 10:51AM
 
We don't bring phones to play games or talk. We bring them as part of a fish finder system, or lake maps.


Also, I would get better participation in our groups if the guys new that their families could contact them while up there.
 
djwillco
09/04/2022 06:11AM
 
I've had cell coverage on trips for several years now in places I didn't expect (Buck Lake, Cross Bay Lake, etc). As others have said, it really wasn't a bother if you leave it off. Just meant I could send check in messages without using the Zoleo. Also, for me the big thing is managing the expectations of others. I love Bdub trips for the "unreachable" isolation where I can let the weight of all regular responsibilities go completely. Hopefully, even if I have cell covereage, by leaving away messages/responses saying I am "completely out of reach" should allow me to disconnect in the same way by letting work contacts know they will not be hearing back from me, but I fear the mental battle of wanting to check messages. To me, that is one of the big sources of stress in the modern world - the expectations of others that you are reachable 24/7 and will quickly respond. We/I are often not good at setting and communicating boundaries around this. Bdub trips were a place where those expectations were eliminated for you bar none. I will miss that.
 
AceAceAce
09/20/2022 08:04PM
 
OldGuide2: "


... anything that will increase the safety margin is a plus. ... "



That right there.
Same reason I cary a Garmin InReach Mini.
 
MidwestMan
09/21/2022 11:25AM
 
I use my phone as little as possible (sometimes going days without even checking it). That said, I support this.
 
24kGold
10/10/2022 05:08PM
 
Hawbakers: "halvorsonchristopher: "How do I make sure my wife doesn't find out about this."



Hahahahaha! I wont tell her!"



She's a wife...I'm sure she already knows.


Terry
 
Gadfly
08/29/2022 09:06AM
 
Maiingan: "This will hurt no one and it will save lives everywhere, not just in the bwca.

PSA if you don't like it, don't bring your phone. If you "NEED" your phone for pictures or navigation turn on airplane mode.

If you don't want your kids on the phone, don't let them. They are your children, and it is your job to control and guide them. If they bought their own phone and pay their own bill, then they are no longer kids.

This thread sounds more like controlling what other people can do.

Personally, I despise the overuse of cell phones and social media. I am without my phone more often than not. But it is a personal choice. "

This is the correct answer.

I have spent many nights camping at some of the superior national forest campgrounds where I have had decent service and I can't recall a single instance of being annoyed by a neighboring camper on their phone.

As with trips I have been on where I had service, I will continue to use it for emergency situations and an occasional text to let my wife and kids know I'm alive on solo trips.

A good portion of our society thinks they know what is better for us than we do.
I support choice.

We have a government/society obsessed with.



 
Dukes
08/29/2022 09:53AM
 
Good thing I'm on the Verizon network ;)

 
Soledad
08/29/2022 10:04AM
 
Maybe they will drop the At&T tower?!


I really don't care if people have cell phone access in the BWCA as long as they don't have to add more towers.



 
Blatz
08/29/2022 11:32AM
 
Why would you not bring your smart phone? It saves weight and space. Inside your smart phone is a camera, gps that can be used with your map and compass, a back up compass, a back up flash light, something to listen to on rainy days or right before sleeping, can be paired with your emergency communications sat device for much easier communication. ect ect ect.
 
Frenchy19
08/29/2022 10:07AM
 
Sooner or later I believe we knew this would happen. I will probably bring my phone and use it to let my wife know I am okay at the end of each day like I now do on my inReach-and will save money in the process. And I would probably use the phone on occasion as a GPS unit if/when unsure of my location when on the water like I do now with my GPS unit (well, like I used to until I dropped it in Polly in early July!). I cannot control what others do and try not to let that which I cannot control get me too excited.
 
Basspro69
09/06/2022 07:07AM
 
boonie: "Basspro69: "Interesting topic "



You can call me to discuss it, but I won't answer. Leave a message stating your name and the reason for your call. The next time I find my phone and check it, I'll respond if interested. ;)



"
Lolololoololololl
 
MikeinMpls
08/29/2022 10:43AM
 
I agree with Frenchy- this was going to happen. I am all for choice, and I am unconcerned with others' use of phones as long as it doesn't intrude on me. Camping on the narrows between Little Gabbro and Gabbro in July, I could clearly hear the conversations of the campsite 150 yards to the west...certainly I will be able to hear their phone ring, and the ensuing conversation. If I don't, great! But sound travels far on water, and carries a long way in the evening after the wind dies down.


I don't think I'm wrong for not wanting to hear a phone ring. In the end, there is nothing I can do about this except to rely on the courtesy of other groups to act respectfully. The last two years have not given me much hope...


Mike
 
Blatz
08/29/2022 11:41AM
 
MikeinMpls: "I agree with Frenchy- this was going to happen. I am all for choice, and I am unconcerned with others' use of phones as long as it doesn't intrude on me. Camping on the narrows between Little Gabbro and Gabbro in July, I could clearly hear the conversations of the campsite 150 yards to the west...certainly I will be able to hear their phone ring, and the ensuing conversation. If I don't, great! But sound travels far on water, and carries a long way in the evening after the wind dies down.



I don't think I'm wrong for not wanting to hear a phone ring. In the end, there is nothing I can do about this except to rely on the courtesy of other groups to act respectfully. The last two years have not given me much hope...



Mike"
A conversation between 2 people in person or 2 people on the phone is still just a conversation. I do get the phone ringing thing. hopefully the vibrate mode will be the preferred method of use.
 
butthead
09/06/2022 11:04AM
 
Support or condemn and say what you will. Has anyone been to the BWCA when there were no satellites?


That's a trick question. Communication satellites have been in use before there was a BWCA the Quetico and when most of the responders to this thread were born.


butthead
 
bfurlow
08/29/2022 11:50AM
 
I heard some folks on the radio talking about this the other day. It will be an 'eyes on the sky' situation - if you can see the sky clearly, you will be have access. For the next several years it is going to be almost exclusively text capability. Once cellular service does become available, it will be limited, and rolled out over an extended period of time.
 
ockycamper
08/29/2022 12:04PM
 
CanoeingWithKids: "I see both sides. Yes, you can choose not to bring/turn on/answer the phone, but I really appreciate that my kids don't have the choice when we are out there. The hold is strong on them, and BWCA camping is one of the few things they look forward to that isn't on a screen.


We really have a chance to talk, play cards, work together, etc. in ways that never happen when they can be on a device instead, so I will be sad if that ends. I may consider never telling them so they hopefully won't check. "



Wouldn't it be easier to just tell them to leave the cell phones at home or in the car?
 
eagle98mn
11/27/2022 08:39AM
 
scramble4a5: "Having gotten an IPhone barely moist and ruining it in the BWCA, I will still take my Garmin Mini In Reach. It at least is water resistant."


Which iPhone got ruined? Since the 7, they have offered varying levels of water resistance. I’m just curious if yours was on this list? iPhone Water Resistance
 
Minnesotian
09/08/2022 11:31AM
 
OldGuide2: "Yes and yes. My first trip into the BWCA was before there were any satellites or an official BWCA in 1957... ...As a final aside, the BWCA never was and never has been a wilderness. People have been abusing technology there long before the days when cell phones were in everyone's ear. I can remember trips where someone's portable radio intruded on the silence. Having said all this, the BWCA is still the world's greatest canoe country and a place I love more than any other, but technology is changing things from the use of GPS to fish locators. "


Thanks much for your perspective. I enjoy these insights to the place from someone who has seen it evolve, but yet, stay the same in many ways.
 
OldGuide2
09/08/2022 10:26AM
 
Yes and yes. My first trip into the BWCA was before there were any satellites or an official BWCA in 1957. I can remember when Somers first started giving some of their trips sat phones. Those of us who were taking out trips for other camps were envious for obvious safety reasons.

In the 1960s as the area was changing over to the BWCA the other canoe counselor at our camp had a kid go into a seizure on a trip. Fortunately he stabilized and they were able to make an emergency run to get him out. I had a kid pour boiling water on his leg, suffering severe burns. Had another one put a knife through his hand trying to open a can causing a very nasty wound. We were in Canada at the time at least a day away from any help and that was a spur on the railroad. Luckily I was able to treat the injuries, but in both cases they could have gone bad.

Was once out with my wife on Knife and ran into a scout trip that had lost a whole canoe full of kids. The leader was wearing wing tip shoes, which tells you everything. Luckily it was near Dorothy's where i knew Bernie Carlson's son Jay was up there to bring Dorothy some supplies in a motorboat. Dorothy plied the safe kids with root beer while Jay roamed the shores of Knife with a spotlight looking for the missing canoe, which had the tent pack. Fortunately they found them where they had pulled on shore on the Canadian side.

When my parents lived on Moose my father (a retired surgeon) towed in one trip where someone had suffered a kidney stone and was in severe pain. I have lost count of how many smoldering camp fires I have put out. I could go on for pages about other incidents I know when things got interesting.

Even though no one talks about it much, people die and are injured in the Boundary Waters and anything that will increase the safety margin is a plus.

As a final aside, the BWCA never was and never has been a wilderness. People have been abusing technology there long before the days when cell phones were in everyone's ear. I can remember trips where someone's portable radio intruded on the silence. Having said all this, the BWCA is still the world's greatest canoe country and a place I love more than any other, but technology is changing things from the use of GPS to fish locators.
 
Grandma L
09/19/2022 10:50AM
 
mschi772: "I feel like people are blaming increased access instead of their own lack of willpower. Honestly, it is *easier* for me to cut myself off from my phone in my own backyard here in Racine, WI. All I need to do is leave my phone inside, silence it, or turn it off whereas using the BWCAW to cut myself off involves planning, hours of driving, gallons of gasoline, packing, rest stops.... Sure, willpower requires learning and practicing, but this skill and self-control are only becoming more and more important as we progress and provide additional benefits in life. It's never too early to start learning and practicing, nor is it ever too late either."
+1 Yup, don't blame the phone or the service - blame the user! make your choice, use your willpower!
 
jhb8426
08/27/2022 01:07AM
 
Reuters tweet comment does not really delineate the coverage area. If it includes the BWCA, you have the choice of not using it. Also, one needs to take whatever Musk says with 2-3 grains of salt.
 
mschi772
08/27/2022 10:59AM
 
I feel like people are blaming increased access instead of their own lack of willpower. Honestly, it is *easier* for me to cut myself off from my phone in my own backyard here in Racine, WI. All I need to do is leave my phone inside, silence it, or turn it off whereas using the BWCAW to cut myself off involves planning, hours of driving, gallons of gasoline, packing, rest stops.... Sure, willpower requires learning and practicing, but this skill and self-control are only becoming more and more important as we progress and provide additional benefits in life. It's never too early to start learning and practicing, nor is it ever too late either.
 
schweady
08/27/2022 12:32PM
 
mschi772: "I feel like people are blaming increased access instead of their own lack of willpower."
True. Combine that with a chest-beating attitude re going more primitive than anyone else, and you have some predictable posts. We bring an iReach, but more often than not, our evening check-in texts to folks back home can be accomplished far more easily by using the iPhone that is in a waterproof Pelican box buried in the pack. And, the occasional quality panorama sunset photo it affords at the same time can be pretty priceless. I have yet to feel that it degrades our experience, but you have to willfully not allow it to do so.

 
plander
08/27/2022 11:13AM
 
mschi772: "I feel like people are blaming increased access instead of their own lack of willpower. Honestly, it is *easier* for me to cut myself off from my phone in my own backyard here in Racine, WI. All I need to do is leave my phone inside, silence it, or turn it off whereas using the BWCAW to cut myself off involves planning, hours of driving, gallons of gasoline, packing, rest stops.... Sure, willpower requires learning and practicing, but this skill and self-control are only becoming more and more important as we progress and provide additional benefits in life. It's never too early to start learning and practicing, nor is it ever too late either."


+1... We are all creatures of habit. And better it be by satellite than the add of another cell tower.
 
HowardSprague
08/31/2022 06:25PM
 
mschi772: "I feel like people are blaming increased access instead of their own lack of willpower. Honestly, it is *easier* for me to cut myself off from my phone in my own backyard here in Racine, WI. All I need to do is leave my phone inside, silence it, or turn it off whereas using the BWCAW ….."

Sure, in some cases. I’ll admit on my solo last year I got a bar or two and tuned in to XM radio for awhile. But rather than will power to keep it off, what crosses my mind is the lack of arguing one gets if an employer or significant other tells you to keep in touch/check in while you’re gone when you can simply and honestly say “No can do - there’s no cell service where I’m going.” The beauty of that will be gone.

 
HowardSprague
08/31/2022 11:27PM
 
Well-stated with regard to employers!
 
Sparkeh
09/01/2022 04:24AM
 
Safety Sallys galore here.
 
ockycamper
09/01/2022 08:54AM
 
Sparkeh: "Safety Sallys galore here. "


The difference is that if cell phone coverage comes to the BWCA each paddler has the freedom to make his/her choice on what they choose to do with their tech. Just as we always did with PLB's, Spots, Sat PHones and GPS.


Restricting any kind of tech for the sake of a "pure" wilderness experience pretty much says since "I" don't have the self control to turn my cell phone off or leave it in the car, you must not have it either.


A controlling Karen
 
OldGuide2
01/08/2024 11:21AM
 
ockycamper: "OldGuide2: "Decades ago heard a group on Carp with a boombox blaring away. You can't legislate away bad behavior, even in a so-called wilderness. "



I wouldn't equate bringing a Starlink with bad behavior. Our groups bring several PLB's, Garm INreach and a Sat phone. Really no difference.



Honestly if being able to have access to cell service enabled more of our men to come, I am all for it."



Actually my point was not to condemn cell phones. My position on that was stated clearly above. The point I was trying to make, but obviously did not do well, is that one of the things I like about the BWCA is that there is room for all types of people as witness the many debates on this forum: hammock vs tent, bent shaft vs straight, canoe, tent, or tarp brand x vs y. That tolerance means sometimes we run into folks doing things we don't like, but that are within BWCA rules. Like it or not, cell service for the BWCA area is a given. For the Forest Service to ban cell phones would put them in an untenable position when the first camper who can't phone for help suffers an accident. And how would you enforce such a ban? Search everybody and their gear?

 
Basspro69
09/01/2022 11:14AM
 
MikeinMpls: "I agree with Frenchy- this was going to happen. I am all for choice, and I am unconcerned with others' use of phones as long as it doesn't intrude on me. Camping on the narrows between Little Gabbro and Gabbro in July, I could clearly hear the conversations of the campsite 150 yards to the west...certainly I will be able to hear their phone ring, and the ensuing conversation. If I don't, great! But sound travels far on water, and carries a long way in the evening after the wind dies down.



I don't think I'm wrong for not wanting to hear a phone ring. In the end, there is nothing I can do about this except to rely on the courtesy of other groups to act respectfully. The last two years have not given me much hope...



Mike"
+1
 
wxce1260
01/06/2024 06:35PM
 
This has now happened. Starlink Sattelite was launched on January 3, 2024. Field Testing is underway prior to activating. According to Forbes Magazine
"Once activated, the service will connect with ordinary, unmodified phones without the need for extra equipment so long as they are 4G LTE-compatible, a standard T-Mobile said covered the “vast majority of smartphones” already on its network back in 2022. Starlink said it plans to roll out a text messaging service using the technology later this year and broader voice, data and IoT—the network of connected devices called the internet of things—services in 2025."


Here is the link to the T-Mobile press release Spacex/TMobile satellite launched January 3, 2024
 
Sparkeh
01/08/2024 05:36AM
 
I'm all for frequency free wilderness zones.
 
LukeMacGillie37
12/02/2022 05:42AM
 
What really grinds my gears is these waterproof boxes and bags that allow people to bring books into the wilderness! Books are a distraction from the wilderness...... :-)



 
Maiingan
12/02/2022 06:51AM
 
eagle98mn: "scramble4a5: "Having gotten an IPhone barely moist and ruining it in the BWCA, I will still take my Garmin Mini In Reach. It at least is water resistant."
Which iPhone got ruined? Since the 7, they have offered varying levels of water resistance. I’m just curious if yours was on this list? iPhone Water Resistance "

Maybe the slaves locked up in the iPhone factory are sabotaging them??
 
martoonie
04/12/2024 05:11PM
 
Sounds like a good thing to me. Everyone will be able to order food, beverages, ice, ecetra, from a resupply service that enters on a day use permit. Similar to deliveries to the houseboats in Voyaguers National Park. I'd pay for that. Forgot something? No problem. Less stuff to portage. A money making opportunity for local digitally connected young people.
 
Sparkeh
11/21/2022 06:26AM
 
Most of you are old timers and do not understand the issue younger generations are having with technology addictions. Society is getting dumber. People cannot find there way through their own town without gps nowadays. Its nice to have a anti tech islands like wilderness areas.
 
HowardSprague
12/02/2022 11:20PM
 
LukeMacGillie37: "What really grinds my gears is these waterproof boxes and bags that allow people to bring books into the wilderness! Books are a distraction from the wilderness...... :-) "
Heck yeah! I was camped one night and could hear another party across the way turning pages well into the night.
 
Maiingan
11/06/2022 07:13PM
 
CatchMe: "I thought there was talk about a tower on the Gunflint 6 months or a year ago. Did that happen, and is there cell service in parts of the BW around there?"
The new tower on Gunflint was put into service last spring. The lady that was rescued on Dawkins was only a few miles from that tower. Her brother called 911 from his cell phone.
 
ockycamper
08/29/2022 02:14PM
 
I find this whole discussion odd. No one has a problem with PLB's, Sat phones, Spot or Garmin IN REach tech. . . .but don't want to allow cell phones. We will bring fish finders and GPS devices.


Its just tech. I use my cell phone in BWCA as a camera and for GPS maps of the lakes I am on. Much better screen then GPS only devices.


If cellular was active, would I leave it on all day. No. I would, however check messages at the end of the day to see if there was anything that needed immediate attention.


Given I have two parents in their 90's, a wife, 3 kids and 7 grandkids as well as being a men's group leader at church, not being totally "off grid" is important to me. That's why I bring a sat phone.
 
Dukes
08/29/2022 03:54PM
 
I can see why people would frown upon this. No cell coverage in the BWCA is attractive to me because it adds to the challenge, but I want to resist the urge to be some elitist that turns up their nose at those who don't enjoy this paradise the same way I do. The BWCA is different things to different people. I can't control the cell phone coverage so no point in getting upset about that, but I can control whether or not I bring in my phone which I already do for the clock and the camera. If and when coverage is available I'll leave the phone and use a watch and digital camera. I don't know if I could resist the temptation to turn off airplane mode.
 
TreeBear
08/29/2022 02:35PM
 
I get everyone's points. There's a part of me that's sad about this and I don't have the exact words for why. I think my immediate thoughts go to the implications of wilderness. I love being able, for kids in particular, to have a place that not only will you not use phones, but you can't. It's part of that successful stepping away. And I get it, self regulate and whatever. And safety is a nice thing. But similarly to PLBs, Sat Phones, and everything else, I worry about the subset of people willing to take greater risks because they feel an even greater safety net by being able to call for help. Obviously there have been plenty of very prepared people whose lives were saved by them. There's also plenty of people who took unnecessary risk because they thought help was only a moment away only to discover that calling for help and receiving it are different things.


I think for me, the sadness comes from what this place means to me. To me, the Boundary Waters are special because people can go to a place still simplified and apart from the modern world in a way. Every fight for it since the beginning of time has been to preserve that apartness. And I can still turn my phone off and enjoy that for myself, but the sadness I feel is in knowing that the other groups I pass may not get to enjoy it that way. We talk about each of these progressions as inevitable, but I mourn for a day that wilderness, like so many other things in our society, becomes entirely subjective. That you are only as disconnected as you want to be and every amenity is pretty much available in a wilderness area. That the loon calls and summer breezes are missed by a new generation who can get alerts on their phone ANYWHERE. And I get it, personal choice. And I get the people who are worried that it will impact their experience. But I feel a greater grievance that this step is another towards wild spaces becoming more and more just as wild as we imagine them to be and less and less the wildness that they actually are.
 
martoonie
08/29/2022 05:45PM
 
Once the sat network is in place the Forest Service could make it a permitting requirement that you have a phone with you when you enter the wilderness and that it remains turned on while you are in the wilderness. For visitor safety and to monitor campsite usage.
 
mschi772
08/29/2022 06:55PM
 
martoonie: "Once the sat network is in place the Forest Service could make it a permitting requirement that you have a phone with you when you enter the wilderness and that it remains turned on while you are in the wilderness. For visitor safety and to monitor campsite usage. "


Name one other scenario where an authority straight-up requires someone to have their phone with them and on at all times and for the owner to agree to be monitored by said authority for the purposes of safety, usage, or similar goals.
 
Spartan2
09/02/2022 02:18PM
 
I never thought I would say this, but I am glad that I did my canoe-tripping in a different era, and that now I have moved on to other ways to enjoy the canoe country. The kind of canoe trip we enjoyed doesn't exist anymore.


Life changes. We all change, too. It is up to us to adapt to the changes, and learn to do things differently, because we cannot turn back the clock. If we could, I would be 22 again. :-)



 
CatchMe
09/07/2022 12:38PM
 
Just returned from a trip on the western side of the BW. I had a couple bars on Loon Lake and Lake Agnes. It still looked and felt like the wilderness, even though I was able to send and receive a few texts to family and let them know my status.
 
TreeBear
09/07/2022 11:51AM
 
butthead: "Support or condemn and say what you will. Has anyone been to the BWCA when there were no satellites?



That's a trick question. Communication satellites have been in use before there was a BWCA the Quetico and when most of the responders to this thread were born.



butthead"



That is an intriguing way to look at it. Most of the discussion has been about the cell service aspect, not the satellites themselves. That said, though the BWCA doesn't date to pre-satellites, there were significantly fewer then. Just 10 years ago there were somewhere in the range of 1000 satellites in orbit. Now there are close to five times that and last year saw 1000 new ones launched for the first time. The more tech demands it, the more sats will be in orbit. Now one could argue that it's the lesser of two evils since the alternate would be lots of towers. I think this discussion is bigger than just the BWCA, but I know it drives me crazy to see all the blinking, moving lights while trying to watch stars.
 
Maiingan
08/28/2022 08:03AM
 
This will hurt no one and it will save lives everywhere, not just in the bwca.


PSA if you don't like it don't bring your phone. If you "NEED" your phone for pictures or navigation turn on airplane mode.


If you don't want your kids on the phone ...don't let them. They are your children, and it is your job to control and guide them. If they bought their own phone and pay their own bill, then they are no longer kids.


This thread sounds more like controlling what other people can do.


Personally, I despise the overuse of cell phones and social media. I am without my phone more often than not. But it is a personal choice.
 
Grandma L
08/28/2022 09:58AM
 
It is simple and always has been. If you don't want to use a cell phone, don't turn it on. Again, to each her own.
 
Pinetree
08/28/2022 01:16AM
 
Mocha: "Time people to invest in pocket digital cameras again. No need to take the phone. The cameras have a date and clock."


I agree, but like Canon, they pretty much dropped their compact digital line and others have followed. I know today I bought a used one on Amazon. My only choice.
 
CatchMe
08/29/2022 12:13PM
 
I thought there was talk about a tower on the Gunflint 6 months or a year ago. Did that happen, and is there cell service in parts of the BW around there?
 
boonie
08/29/2022 02:10PM
 
Basspro69: "Interesting topic "


You can call me to discuss it, but I won't answer. Leave a message stating your name and the reason for your call. The next time I find my phone and check it, I'll respond if interested. ;)



 
halvorsonchristopher
09/02/2022 10:02PM
 
How do I make sure my wife doesn't find out about this?
 
nctry
12/03/2022 07:45PM
 
I think this debate was done when the inReaches and sat phones became readily available. What’s the difference? The guy complaining the most one day will be thankful when they run across a phone-carrying paddler while dealing with a life threatening situation.

Kind of like when PFD’s became a thing. Oh my... we might actually survive should we fall in. What next, cell phones?
 
Heyfritty
08/29/2022 04:49PM
 
TreeBear: "I get everyone's points. There's a part of me that's sad about this and I don't have the exact words for why. I think my immediate thoughts go to the implications of wilderness. I love being able, for kids in particular, to have a place that not only will you not use phones, but you can't. It's part of that successful stepping away. And I get it, self regulate and whatever. And safety is a nice thing. But similarly to PLBs, Sat Phones, and everything else, I worry about the subset of people willing to take greater risks because they feel an even greater safety net by being able to call for help. Obviously there have been plenty of very prepared people whose lives were saved by them. There's also plenty of people who took unnecessary risk because they thought help was only a moment away only to discover that calling for help and receiving it are different things.



I think for me, the sadness comes from what this place means to me. To me, the Boundary Waters are special because people can go to a place still simplified and apart from the modern world in a way. Every fight for it since the beginning of time has been to preserve that apartness. And I can still turn my phone off and enjoy that for myself, but the sadness I feel is in knowing that the other groups I pass may not get to enjoy it that way. We talk about each of these progressions as inevitable, but I mourn for a day that wilderness, like so many other things in our society, becomes entirely subjective. That you are only as disconnected as you want to be and every amenity is pretty much available in a wilderness area. That the loon calls and summer breezes are missed by a new generation who can get alerts on their phone ANYWHERE. And I get it, personal choice. And I get the people who are worried that it will impact their experience. But I feel a greater grievance that this step is another towards wild spaces becoming more and more just as wild as we imagine them to be and less and less the wildness that they actually are."



Very well said!!
 
egknuti
08/29/2022 04:59PM
 
I’ve already noticed increased coverage, especially off the Echo Trail. It really it home when I was portaging into a lake and a group of teenagers with an adult guide were heading out and one kid had his cell phone in a waterproof case around his neck blasting music. That was a new one for me.

 
OneMatch
08/29/2022 05:07PM
 
CatchMe: "I thought there was talk about a tower on the Gunflint 6 months or a year ago. Did that happen, and is there cell service in parts of the BW around there?"


Yes, I was surprised to see that I actually had 2 bars of service camping on Tuscarora this last July.


Brought the phone for the camera. But I have to say that even with a new battery and in airplane mode that the battery life still was a restriction compared to my old digital camera. I was always budgeting my photo opportunities because of the battery restriction on my cell phone. I didn't want to bring any more weight in the form of a solar or charging device.
 
boonie
08/26/2022 04:18PM
 
Just make sure you know where the OFF button is . . . :)
 
airmorse
10/29/2022 07:15AM
 
Basspro69: "Can I order pizza and have a drone drop it off ?"


And an Ice cold 6 pack of beer. In plastic of course.
 
scramble4a5
11/26/2022 06:39PM
 
Scout64: "Iphone is planning on introducing Emergency SOS via Satellite in November. It is designed to allow iPhone 14 models to connect directly to a satellite, allowing users to send text messages to emergency services when outside the range of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage. When it launches in the United States and Canada, Apple says the service will be free for the first two years, which suggests that Apple might be planning to charge for the service at some point in the future. I am good with that."


Having gotten an IPhone barely moist and ruining it in the BWCA, I will still take my Garmin Mini In Reach. It at least is water resistant.
 
scramble4a5
11/26/2022 06:30PM
 
Frenchy19: "Sooner or later I believe we knew this would happen. I will probably bring my phone and use it to let my wife know I am okay at the end of each day like I now do on my inReach-and will save money in the process. And I would probably use the phone on occasion as a GPS unit if/when unsure of my location when on the water like I do now with my GPS unit (well, like I used to until I dropped it in Polly in early July!). I cannot control what others do and try not to let that which I cannot control get me too excited."


I have an in Reach Mini 2 and use it to text my wife through my cell phone while in the BWCA. Most conversations are two-three messages and that's it. I have the Garmin Explorer app on my phone. My question is: If there is cell service will the app still work negating the need for the actual Garmin device? I think you still need the Garmin device due to it's battery life and as an emergency locator. Thoughts anyone?
 
MikeinMpls
11/22/2022 04:53PM
 
Maiingan: "The tower at Gunflint Lake has the ARMER system, WTIP and radio equipment from several other government entities, including the United States Forest Service, Border Patrol and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.



AT&T also uses this tower, as of now I don't think Verizon uses this tower. I have gotten Verizon service in the area from Canada.



I think 911 from any carrier will work from any cell tower."



Very good to know. Thank you!


Mike
 
Gadfly
11/22/2022 12:38PM
 
Sparkeh: "Most of you are old timers and do not understand the issue younger generations are having with technology addictions. Society is getting dumber. People cannot find there way through their own town without gps nowadays. Its nice to have a anti tech islands like wilderness areas. "


The answer is simple. Leave the phone at home. Let those who want to be able to call in the case of an emergency do so. Should we ban everything that someone might possibly become addicted to? Not the world I want to live in...
 
ockycamper
11/22/2022 12:54PM
 
I have stage 3 cancer. Without a cell phone or Sat phone, there is no way my wife or family is going to let me return to BWCA without a working cell phone or Sat Phone.

Honestly, I believe we would have a lot more people willing to go to the BWCA if they had the ability to stay in touch with home. I also have three kids and eight grandkids. If I left the cell phone and sat phone at home simply to be "unplugged" and something serious happened to one of them, I would never forgive myself.

Having access to technology is not the problem. Addiction to games and texting is.

One last thought for those who are totally against cell phones and tech in the BWCA - do you bring fish finders?
 
MikeinMpls
11/22/2022 01:09PM
 
Interesting...I was on the Gunflint Trail this weekend. I had the cell phone tower in sight. Not one bar. No service for me and my Verizon carrier Iphone.


Mike
 
Maiingan
11/22/2022 03:53PM
 
The tower at Gunflint Lake has the ARMER system, WTIP and radio equipment from several other government entities, including the United States Forest Service, Border Patrol and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.


AT&T also uses this tower, as of now I don't think Verizon uses this tower. I have gotten Verizon service in the area from Canada.


I think 911 from any carrier will work from any cell tower.
 
gsfisher13
12/11/2022 09:36PM
 
Like all technology it can be a good thing and a bad thing. Your choice.
Good: more rescues and lives saved by those that need help.
Bad: more people becoming overconfident and not planning properly going into a WILDERNESS and needing rescue.
Your choice to turn it off whether you're in a wilderness or your own house. Not always a bad thing to disconnect from the "grid" from time to time.
 
ogarza
09/07/2022 10:56PM
 
This is a double or triple win... I already take my cell for gps/maps/navigation and now I can skip the hassle and cost of getting a sat phone for emergencies or carry a small radio to check the weather.
 
ForestDuff
04/12/2024 08:42PM
 
Someone........not me of course........should start a "Live......from here in the Boundary Water's, right here, right now!" pic thread.
*snicker*
 
Heyfritty
04/12/2024 11:05AM
 
Cell phone use/misuse.
Gift article from the New York Times about the rescue of a lost hiker in the Adirondack Mountains


I checked with NYT and they said that sharing gift articles this way is fine.

Fritty

Lost hiker
 
nctry
08/26/2022 04:35PM
 
boonie: "Just make sure you know where the OFF button is . :)"
+1
 
HowardSprague
08/26/2022 05:45PM
 
boonie: "Just make sure you know where the OFF button is . . . :)"


amen!!

 
timatkn
08/26/2022 09:46PM
 
The best part of cell phones is choice…I can choose to put it in silent mode…I can choose to not answer a phone or text…I can choose to put my phone in airplane mode…or I can choose to use it in an emergency if needed.


I get it with the ever expanding cell services the innocence of getting away from it is getting harder to find. We just have to be better about setting our own personal boundaries on trips.


T
 
Basspro69
08/28/2022 10:15PM
 
Interesting topic
 
Northwoodsman
08/30/2022 10:11AM
 
There could be 100% coverage and I still wouldn't bring my cell phone. I go to the BWCA to escape from work (or I did before I retired) and this one of the few valid areas that I could go where I wasn't expected to be able to be reached by phone "in case of an emergency" which was usually a conference call that could have easily waited or been held without me. I was in sales, I wasn't a surgeon.
 
Heyfritty
08/26/2022 02:42PM
 
In the news today, SpaceX and T-mobile are partnering on a service that will allow T-mobile customers access to SpaceX satellites that already provide cell service around the globe.

By the end of 2023, as I understand it, text service will be first. I’m not a fan, but this seemed inevitable given the speed of technical innovation.

With most sources I still have difficulty providing links from my phone (no computer), so I posted a screenshot of the Reuters tweet. A quick google search and you can read the story.

Fritty

.
 
Heyfritty
11/20/2022 04:01PM
 
I just read the other day that the system is up and running now.
 
Mocha
08/26/2022 06:43PM
 
Time people to invest in pocket digital cameras again. No need to take the phone. The cameras have a date and clock.
 
prettypaddle
08/26/2022 08:07PM
 
Mocha: "Time people to invest in pocket digital cameras again. No need to take the phone. The cameras have a date and clock."


Nah, just turn it to airplane mode.


Would this negate the need for sat phones or PLBs? I've never used either so don't know what functions they offer vs a phone with a reliable signal.
 
CanoeingWithKids
08/27/2022 08:02AM
 
I see both sides. Yes, you can choose not to bring/turn on/answer the phone, but I really appreciate that my kids don't have the choice when we are out there. The hold is strong on them, and BWCA camping is one of the few things they look forward to that isn't on a screen.

We really have a chance to talk, play cards, work together, etc. in ways that never happen when they can be on a device instead, so I will be sad if that ends. I may consider never telling them so they hopefully won't check.
 
eagle98mn
09/07/2022 03:42PM
 
Heyfritty: "Today Apple showcased their new iPhone 14. It has a feature that may serve a similar purpose as some other satellite communication devices many of us carry, like the inReach or ZOLEO(as I understand them). Fritty "


That is fantastic! Thanks for sharing. I’m already in the market to upgrade this fall, and this seals it for me since I kind of wanted a satellite communication device but was loathe to add another device. Thanks for sharing!
 
Heyfritty
09/07/2022 02:36PM
 
TreeBear: "butthead: "Support or condemn and say what you will. Has anyone been to the BWCA when there were no satellites?




That's a trick question. Communication satellites have been in use before there was a BWCA the Quetico and when most of the responders to this thread were born.




butthead"




That is an intriguing way to look at it. Most of the discussion has been about the cell service aspect, not the satellites themselves. That said, though the BWCA doesn't date to pre-satellites, there were significantly fewer then. Just 10 years ago there were somewhere in the range of 1000 satellites in orbit. Now there are close to five times that and last year saw 1000 new ones launched for the first time. The more tech demands it, the more sats will be in orbit. Now one could argue that it's the lesser of two evils since the alternate would be lots of towers. I think this discussion is bigger than just the BWCA, but I know it drives me crazy to see all the blinking, moving lights while trying to watch stars."



Today Apple showcased their new iPhone 14. It has a feature that may serve a similar purpose as some other satellite communication devices many of us carry, like the inReach or ZOLEO(as I understand them). But there are caveats.


It appears that it is more limited, in that you have to point your phone at a “slice” of the sky and will send “canned” emergency messages. It also enables use of an app to pinpoint your location. As I understand it, it will contact emergency services through a center with Apple trained responders.


It is supposed to be available starting in November in the US and Canada, and will be free for at least 2 years. Below are 2 screenshots from Apple’s press release explaining the new feature.




I know that the press release is Apple’s view of the feature’s performance, but it was the most detailed description of the emergency feature that I could find. Most articles weren’t focused on that.

Fritty
 
Mesaba
10/14/2022 07:01AM
 
I'm not telling my kids! :)


~M
 
Scout64
11/23/2022 11:54AM
 
iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models can use Emergency SOS via satellite to text emergency services when you're out of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage. You can also use the Find My app to share your location with people via satellite. Not sure of the cost, but that would be nice instead of renting a sat phone or spot device.
 
Basspro69
10/27/2022 11:47PM
 
Can I order pizza and have a drone drop it off ?
 
Hawbakers
09/10/2022 06:30AM
 
halvorsonchristopher: "How do I make sure my wife doesn't find out about this."


Hahahahaha! I wont tell her!
 
Scout64
10/14/2022 10:44AM
 
Iphone is planning on introducing Emergency SOS via Satellite in November. It is designed to allow iPhone 14 models to connect directly to a satellite, allowing users to send text messages to emergency services when outside the range of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage. When it launches in the United States and Canada, Apple says the service will be free for the first two years, which suggests that Apple might be planning to charge for the service at some point in the future. I am good with that.
 
ockycamper
01/07/2024 04:26PM
 
OldGuide2: "Decades ago heard a group on Carp with a boombox blaring away. You can't legislate away bad behavior, even in a so-called wilderness. "


I wouldn't equate bringing a Starlink with bad behavior. Our groups bring several PLB's, Garm INreach and a Sat phone. Really no difference.


Honestly if being able to have access to cell service enabled more of our men to come, I am all for it.
 
carbon1
10/14/2022 07:04AM
 
Grandma L: "mschi772: "I feel like people are blaming increased access instead of their own lack of willpower. Honestly, it is *easier* for me to cut myself off from my phone in my own backyard here in Racine, WI. All I need to do is leave my phone inside, silence it, or turn it off whereas using the BWCAW to cut myself off involves planning, hours of driving, gallons of gasoline, packing, rest stops.... Sure, willpower requires learning and practicing, but this skill and self-control are only becoming more and more important as we progress and provide additional benefits in life. It's never too early to start learning and practicing, nor is it ever too late either."
+1 Yup, don't blame the phone or the service - blame the user! make your choice, use your willpower!"



For sure it is not the device.
 
OldGuide2
01/07/2024 03:22PM
 

 
OldGuide2
01/07/2024 03:26PM
 

 
tumblehome
10/15/2022 05:04PM
 
martoonie: "Once the sat network is in place the Forest Service could make it a permitting requirement that you have a phone with you when you enter the wilderness and that it remains turned on while you are in the wilderness. For visitor safety and to monitor campsite usage. "


That is never going to happen.
Tom
 
OldGuide2
01/07/2024 03:15PM
 
A few things I have learned from this thread. People seem more and more inclined to legislate their ideas of proper behavior in the BWCA. But wanting legislation to prevent them from doing what they can themselves (if you don't want a phone leave it) or disciplining their kids (if you can't keep your kids off their phones how do you control them at a campsite or on a portage) seems a bit of a stretch. Now admittedly this comes from an old curmudgeon who barely uses a cell even at home and despises store clerks and restaurant patrons babbling away loudly, so feel free to ignore it.
 
carbon1
10/15/2022 06:09AM
 
Scout64: "Iphone is planning on introducing Emergency SOS via Satellite in November. It is designed to allow iPhone 14 models to connect directly to a satellite, allowing users to send text messages to emergency services when outside the range of cellular and Wi-Fi coverage. When it launches in the United States and Canada, Apple says the service will be free for the first two years, which suggests that Apple might be planning to charge for the service at some point in the future. I am good with that."


Will put a dent in the paid for service for sure.
 
bobbernumber3
08/27/2022 04:01PM
 
I leave my phone in the truck at the outfitters.
 
scottiebaldwin
01/08/2024 12:07AM
 
TreeBear: "I get everyone's points. There's a part of me that's sad about this and I don't have the exact words for why. I think my immediate thoughts go to the implications of wilderness. I love being able, for kids in particular, to have a place that not only will you not use phones, but you can't. It's part of that successful stepping away. And I get it, self regulate and whatever. And safety is a nice thing. But similarly to PLBs, Sat Phones, and everything else, I worry about the subset of people willing to take greater risks because they feel an even greater safety net by being able to call for help. Obviously there have been plenty of very prepared people whose lives were saved by them. There's also plenty of people who took unnecessary risk because they thought help was only a moment away only to discover that calling for help and receiving it are different things.



I think for me, the sadness comes from what this place means to me. To me, the Boundary Waters are special because people can go to a place still simplified and apart from the modern world in a way. Every fight for it since the beginning of time has been to preserve that apartness. And I can still turn my phone off and enjoy that for myself, but the sadness I feel is in knowing that the other groups I pass may not get to enjoy it that way. We talk about each of these progressions as inevitable, but I mourn for a day that wilderness, like so many other things in our society, becomes entirely subjective. That you are only as disconnected as you want to be and every amenity is pretty much available in a wilderness area. That the loon calls and summer breezes are missed by a new generation who can get alerts on their phone ANYWHERE. And I get it, personal choice. And I get the people who are worried that it will impact their experience. But I feel a greater grievance that this step is another towards wild spaces becoming more and more just as wild as we imagine them to be and less and less the wildness that they actually are."



Hear, hear!
 
x2jmorris
10/08/2022 02:45PM
 
Hmm this is interesting. I guess it will just replace all the satellite and dot things people recommend. I have sometimes gave those devices some thought but always felt it wasn't worth the investment to me. I already bring my phone as the camera so now I guess I just have a way to communicate in the event of an emergency. I will still leave it in airplane mode at all other times though. Just have to resist the temptation now I guess.
 
mooseplums
11/06/2022 05:18PM
 
CatchMe: "I thought there was talk about a tower on the Gunflint 6 months or a year ago. Did that happen, and is there cell service in parts of the BW around there?"


I had service on Gunflint Lake and was told at the outfitters that I would have service on South Lake.
I left my phone in the car.