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Please, keep the wilderness wild

Flush toilets and hot showers are extra amenities I really appreciate when I head out for a weekend of camping, but even those aren't a must. Now there's talk of providing Wi-Fi. Please.

Flush toilets and hot showers are extra amenities I really appreciate when I head out for a weekend of camping, but even those aren't a must.

Now there's talk of providing Wi-Fi. Please.

Much of my life has become dependent on the Internet: accessing, gleaning and sharing news, then repackaging it and turning it into something useful and/or enjoyable for our local readers to consume - more and more of them turning to our online version of the paper to get their local news fix and enjoy community tidbits.

But give your head a shake, people. Stop pushing for Wi-Fi at campgrounds around B.C. The entire premise of going camping is to escape from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives. Who really needs to be so plugged in that they can't afford to disconnect for a few days of peace, tranquility and freedom from cyberspace.

Admittedly, I might be more receptive to the concept of wireless access if I pull into the more urban sites at Derby Reach or Brae Island in Fort Langley, which, because of the proximity to civilization, probably already offer such services.

But when I escape into the wilderness and am lounging in my campsite at more remote locations such as Golden Ears or Rolley Lake Provincial Parks, I want to be hearing the crackling of the campfire and the perking of the camp stove coffee, not the dings and beeps confirming the latest downloads, uploads, emails, tweets and (Facebook) pokes.

Sure, I understand the need for telephone access in case of emergencies when camping.

But a pay phone has sufficed for years.

I don't ever want to be awakened again to a Twisted Sister We're Not Gonna Take It ring tone, just because the guy two campsites away forgot to set his cellphone to vibrate as a courtesy to others anxious to enjoy the outdoors without the intrusion of electronic leashes.

By now, it's obvious electronics and camping don't go together in my books. I'd rather relax with a good book (and I'm not talking a Kindle variety), or a battery-operated transistor radio playing some soft tunes (maybe even an iPod) is the extent of it for me.

For that reason, I am elated to hear that B.C. parks - for the most part - will remain off the grid when it comes to offering wireless Internet access around the campfire.

A recent B.C. Parks satisfaction survey showed strong opposition to going wireless in the wilderness. And at least for now, the park operators seem game to comply.


Only a quarter of those surveyed were in favour of Wi-Fi at campgrounds; most share my views and are anxious to leave the city and all its "conveniences" (at least, most) behind.

An even stronger opposing voice was heard from users at the nearby Golden Ears Provincial Park last year.

Out of the 67 people canvassed, a resounding 49 per cent went as far as to say wireless Internet was "unacceptable or undesirable."

But be forewarned, it's probably not too far off.

Here comes one of those generational rants: I can't attend a family dinner without half the clan at the table phoning, texting, or tweeting someone during the meal.

So, I know the day is fast approaching when these technological devices rule our world completely - and campgrounds will offer little refuge.

For sure, such a move would make me an "unhappy camper," figu-ratively and literally. But wait . maybe I should rethink this.

If I voted in favour of such a move, would that mean I could disappear into the backwoods for days on end and pretend I'm working by sending out a few emails every once in a while?

Hmm? While that sounds somewhat tantalizing, it's not for me.

Roxanne Hooper is the assistant editor of the Langley Advance and Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Times, sister papers of The Record.