The New York Times
published a rather entertaining piece a few days ago on folks who wander into national parks woefully unprepared and expect their fancy gadgets and gizmos to save them. Some of the anecdotes are great, like the group of men who hiked the Grand Canyon and tapped the emergency signal on their SPOT device
three separate times, causing full-on helicopter responses to such travails as water which "tasted salty." What's unsettling about the article, however, is that it seems to blame the abundance, availability, and advanced capabilities of technology (much of it with life saving potential in real emergencies) for these problems, as seen in the headline: "Technology Leads More Park Visitors Into Trouble." Even more troubling are the anecdotes of camera use (getting too close to a buffalo, getting gored by a buffalo, stepping off a cliff), as if cameras were some sort of newfangled scourge upon an unsuspecting parkgoing populace. Luckily, two-way satellite emergency signals are entering the mainstream, which should cut down on some of the false alarms in the future, but we're not going to expect idiots to soon forget how to misapply technology, annoy park rangers, and get themselves hurt in the beautiful wilds.