Better communication needed
Emergency responders have a tough enough job when called upon to rescue somebody in the BWCA. We believe every effort should be made to fix the lack of communication available for rescues within the wilderness boundaries.
The rescue on Tuesday is a perfect example of how volunteers were hamstrung by a system that doesn’t work up north. There was one radio hanging from a tree and another duct taped to a canoe paddle, both efforts to try to get a radio signal.
We believe part of the problem lies in the fear of those in control of the statewide radio system to stand up to the environmental bullies who believe a red light on a tower will ruin their wilderness experience.
Taller towers mean a farther reach and a better communication system. There is also a need for more towers surrounding the BWCA, even if the cost is higher than other parts of the state due to the remoteness of the area.
Why should those of us who live here and those who come here to camp and fish be treated like second class citizens? Not to mention what we are putting our emergency responders through by not giving them a clear channel when they’re rescuing someone.
It will likely take political fortitude and additional dollars to build a radio tower system that will actually work in the BWCA. Let’s see if our county and state leaders can find each of those to resolve this problem.
There will continue to be calls for emergency services in the BWCA. Already this summer four times the rescue squad has been called upon to help someone in need.
Is there a risk when you take a trip in the BWCA? Definitely. But if we’re going to send our friends and neighbors in to rescue someone, we expect that they better be able to have communication that doesn’t need duct table and a canoe paddle to function correctly.