The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
5 Points

Should cell phones be allowed in national parks (like Yellowstone)?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/1/2015 Category: Places-Travel
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,548 times Debate No: 69257
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




Round 1 - acceptance
Round 2 - arguments
Round 3 - rebuttals
Round 4 - conclusion

Good luck to my oppenent, whoever that may be!


I assume that I will be on the side of "no cell phones in Nat. Parks". If so, I accept the challenge and look forward to this debate.
Debate Round No. 1


First off, I would like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate.

My first point for cell phones SHOULD be allowed in national parks like Yellowstone National Park is, as said, "Nothing is better than a stroll through one of our national parks on a cool summer day, but park visitors need to always be well prepared for any unexpected occurrences." What if you get lost or hurt? If you are all alone and something unpredicted or dangerous happens, you need a cell phone to call for help.

Secondly, Scott Gedmen (head of the media relations of Yosemite National Park in CA) said that, "Many national parks are trying to camouflage the towers so they don"t take away from the scenery. Here in Yosemite we [park officials] try to find other places for the towers, such as buildings, in order to keep them out of public views because it is important for the visual landscape to be seen." So cell phones not only help you in the case of an emergency, they also don't ruin the nature and beauty of the parks.

Lastly, where people would put their cell phones before heading out in the park poses as a problem. Sure the park could build lockers, but the lockers would need combinations or keys, which could be forgotten or lost. There are other, electronic methods for the lockers, but just building all those lockers would cost a lot of money, so imagine how much money it would cost to build the electronic locking system--that could break down. You might say that people could leave their cell phones in the car, but in some parks, you bring the car into the park, where if the cell phones are not allowed, you'll need a holding place.

Good luck, Con!



I would like to thank my opponent for posting this challenge!

I would also like to make an observation before continuing. A ban on cell phones doesn't necessarily mean that cell phones would not be able to be on one's person while in the park, but rather that the use of the cell phone be restricted. For example, if a cell phone is banned within a school environment, that may simply mean that it cannot be used during school hours, but can still be off and in a student's backpack. Merriam-Webster defines a ban as, "to forbid people from using (something) : to say that something cannot be used or done." Nowhere, in this definition does it say that a ban means that they wouldn't be able to still carry their phones.

Now, onto my contentions.

First contention: Cell phones and all other technological devices demoralize the intention of national parks. Let's look at the purpose of national parks. Stated by, "The fundamental purpose of the parks is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired..." The purpose of these parks is to preserve these land areas as to make them as timeless as possible in a sense. Moreover, these parks are in place so that people could view the beauty of parks in 2015 the same way that they were viewed in 1872 (the time of the creation of the National Park System Organic Act). By allowing objects that interfere with this preservation of the land such as cell phones, the intention of the NPSOA is demoralized. These parks try to limit this demoralization as much as possible. "Yellowstone National Park officials, in an effort to limit electronic intrusions in the park, are banning cellphone towers in campgrounds and recommended wilderness (areas)." Visitor safety can still be achieved by other options, so in would be wrong to assume that cell phones are the only way that visitor safety could be ensured.

Second contention: Cell phones are a vehicle for excessive disruption and allow for a select few to interfere with some tourist's ability to have an enjoyable experience. These cell phones can lead to many wrongdoings by people who abuse the use of these cell phones. Not all uses of cell phones are bad. However, those who misuse them should not be able to interfer with other's experience. We need to value the convience of the many more than the conveniece of the few. The many being those who have no need for the phones, and the few being those who "need" to have them.

Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for your arguments.

I would like to say something before continuing to my rebuttals: banning means not being allowed to use something, but still being allowed to have it on you, so if people aren't allowed to use their cell phones inside national parks, I think many people would just leave their phone in a holding place, if there was one--see my above arguments--or in their car--if they weren't driving around the park in it, instead of having it on them with the temptation to use them inside the park.

"Cell phones and all other technological devices demoralize the intention of national parks" - True, if national parks were built to preserve nature, then cell phones and other "technological devices" would "demoralize the intention of national parks." However, I would like to point out that the percentage of people that go to a park built for seeing beautiful wilderness ignore the tranquil sights and merely play "Angry Birds" or some other kind of app on their phone is very, very small. What's the harm to the park if you just have the phone ON you in a case of emergency?

"Cell phones are a vehicle for excessive disruption and allow for a select few to interfere with some tourist's ability to have an enjoyable experience" - Very true that if misused, a cell phone in a national park can be, in short, a vacation crisis. However, I'd rather see "some tourist's" vacation minorly disrupted than dozens of people at the park terrified because someone found someone else terribly injured on the ground who had been lying there for hours because they couldn't use a cell phone to call for help.



My opponent agreed with my statement that banning does not mean that a person wouldn't be able to use the item, but still have it on their person. The argument that parks would have to create lockers to put everyone's phones is illogical and regardless, the feasibilty of enforcing the ban should not be taken into consideration since the resolution merely asks the question "should" not "could".

Secondly, my opponent argues that the percentage of people that play a game on their phones is very limited and that people only go to enjoy the sights. However, the percentage of children, the party most likely to be on these phones, that have phones is increasing rapidly as technology becomes more readily available. Webmd reports that in the past five years, the usage of electronic devices by children 8-18 has increased from 1 hour and 17 minutes to 7 hours and 38 minutes per day. The mere changing of setting from in a home to in a park is not going to affect these children's use of cell phones, hence a ban is needed. And, as I believe I have stated before, these national parks could fine alternate ways to attend to these emergencies.

Finally, my opponent agreed that cell phones could possibly be a distraction, but argued that it should be allowed in case of emergency. However, there are ALTERNATE SOLUTIONS. And, if we allow continue to allow cell phones in these parks, we are just keeping that window of possiblity that they will become a greater problem. By voting for Pro, there would inevitably be the chance that cell phones become an even bigger problem than they are today.

Debate Round No. 3


Wow. Nice refutations. I'm going to point a couple things out about your refutations, then say a couple last words, and then I click "submit" and the next argument you post is the end of this debate--good luck, by the way!

For your first refutation, notice how I already stated that if "banned" means no using it, but you can still have it on you, what's the point? Then it's just a useless item that could got lost or broken. Most people would want to just leave it somewhere safe until their visit to the park is over.

For your second argument, as the friend of many people with children, I can safely say that that is one of the reasons a fraction of people go to the parks for--to get their children out into the wilderness and off of their phone/iPad/computer/tablet/iPod/other electronic device, so they would probably lay down some rules about the electronic devices for their children. As for the "alternate ways to attend to these
emergencies"--like what?

I'm sorry to say your last point confuses me. Could you please clarify in your next argument what it means?

Best of luck to my opponent! Thank you for taking this debate up with me!



Thanks for this debate!

First off, you said that the phones would need to be stored somewhere, because there is a chance of them getting lost or broken in the park. You say that most people would want to leave them somewhere safe, but don't have a source which polled people to back up this claim, so we can't assume that this statement is the truth. However, we know for a fact that it would put a tremendous strain on national parks to enforce this type of banning, such as things like them not wanting responsibility of the guests' phones and cost of storage. Regardless, you still haven't refuted my statement which said, "the feasibilty of enforcing the ban should not be taken into consideration since the resolution merely asks the question 'should' not 'could'". As I would like to state again, the resolution is not asking us whether or not these national parks have the current resources to enforce a quite strict ban on phones but rather if they should pursue such a ban.

Secondly, you make a claim that is again not backed by any statistical evidence but instead uses anecdotal evidence to back up this statement. Anecdotal evidence is simply not enough to prove this point to be true. That said, you agree that parents would "probably lay down... rules about the electronic devices for their children." Therefore, it seems to me that my opponent agrees that some rules need to be laid down to monitor cell phone use in national parks. In other words, he/she is in effect AGREEING with my side of the debate with this statement. National parks, as I quoted in my first round, state that they are trying to limit electronic interruption in their parks, by scaling back on use of cellular towers because they take away from the overall experience of tourists.

Finally, we need to look at this from a cost-benefit analysis. We need to take into consideration the harms and benefits of the introduction of a cell phone in national parks. Costs from introducing this ban would be possible situations in which emergencies will not be taken care of. Benefits being overall experience being preserved, natural feeling of the land to be preserved, and the removal of the chance that the electronic aspect of life could possibly diminish and demoralize the purpose of these land areas. I would like to note that cell phones would not work in most of the places that these emergencies that would even be happening, so this argument shouldn't be regarded. In the places with reliable service, there is often emergency rangers patrolling regularly. As to alternate plans, one possible one would be setting up designated beacons to contact the nearest park rangers. You may be thinking, "this goes against your arguments that man made objects intrude on the feel of these parks", however we need to look at this from an overall perspective. Would you it rather be the demoralizing done by the millions of people with their phones, or the slight damage done by a select number of beacons?

For these three reasons, I urge for a Con vote. Thanks!
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Dumbo 1 year ago
Garrotw0012 - One thing that could go wrong is you could trip and seriously injure yourself and need to call for help. You could get lost and need to call for help. Or, you receive an important message and need to be somewhere immediately--your daughter could be having a baby, or your spouse could need to go to the hospital. I'm confused--how does this debate not make any sense?
Posted by Garrettw0012 1 year ago
I don't see why you shouldn't have cell phones, there's nothing that could go wrong.
Posted by Garrettw0012 1 year ago
What is your reasoning? Honestly I don't see any reason for this debate, it just doesn't make any sense
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by FaustianJustice 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Solutions made, Pro conceeded to Con's arguments in part, and conceeded in part to the solutions made. No reasonable refutes made. Match to Con.