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The wilderness doesn't need cell phones

Fishing crew readies for a flight into the Quetico
Fishing crew readies for a flight into the Quetico
Brad Putney, True North Photography 2009

No matter what anyone tells you, taking your cell phone, especially your smart phone into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is sacrilege. There is no room in the wilderness for texting, tweeting, or updating your Face Book status from the highest rock on island. Leave the iPhone or the Blackberry at the outfitters or locked in the car and revel in the silence that paddling a canoe will provide.

Yes, I can hear all the soccer mom’s and VIP dad’s screaming that they can’t afford to give up their phone for a week in the woods. Ok, I can empathize with group leaders that would like to pack their phone for emergencies. In that case turn off the phone, pack it away in a Pelican case, and don’t touch it unless you are truly confronted with a real emergency.

If you have a meeting that you really can’t miss then either reschedule the conference or the trip. The other people in your group don’t want to continue to stop and make concessions for your phone calls. And they really don’t want their peace and quiet interrupted because you are just too important to cut the tether to the office.

Take yourself into the wilderness to revel in the solitude and the serenity that gliding down a glass smooth lake creates. Writers, painters, and photographers share their experiences in the woods because of the peace it creates and the tranquility that exists. Turn off your cell phone for a week and have real conversations with your fellow paddlers. The BWCAW existed long before the invention of the cell phone, and we all knew the lakes and rivers were there before receiving a tweet or text from you.