Friday, January 22, 2010

Big Brother in the backcountry: Follow-up

This is a follow-up to a blog posting I did earlier in the week with regards to Yellowstone National Park recently adopting a comprehensive plan that could open the door to the use of web cams in the backcountry.

The posting was picked up by Michael Silence who publishes a blog on the Knox News site. Here's what Michael had to say in his first posting on this subject:

This raises a number of troubling questions. The plan would not allow public access to view what the cameras are seeing. How can that be legal? They would be paid for with public dollars, put on public lands that are also funded by public dollars, and administered by public employees. That's like saying video from revenue-light cameras is not public.

The following day (yesterday), Mr. Silence posted a follow-up on the subject:

Naturally, we thought we'd check with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to see if it were considering the move.

Morgan Simmons, our master reporter on all things Smokies and outdoors, checked and filed this e-mail: I checked with the Smokies regarding the Yellowstone National Park's proposal to upgrade webcams in developed areas and possibly install them in the backcountry. The Smokies is not considering anything like that (and were unaware of the story). The park currently has two webcams, one at Look Rock, other at Purchase Knob. Both monitor air quality/visibility.

It doesn't surprise me that there aren't any plans to install backcountry webcams in the Smokies, however, I was a little surprised that the park didn't know anything about the Yellowstone plan.

Of course this doesn't mean that the concept doesn't catch on at some point.

(Thanks to Mr. Silence for digging into this a little more!)

Jeff Detailed information on trails in the Smoky Mountains; includes trail descriptions, key features, pictures, video, maps, elevation profiles, news, hiking gear store, and more.

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