It started raining again, so of course the phone is out. We have cellphones, because that is how the world works now.

But we live in the Adirondack Park. That means we can’t get cell service. Conceivably this is because a tower is ugly, but a hundred thousand telephone poles and wires are part of the landscape.

There is a rock on the Stewart’s Pond where you can get a signal. There is a high spot on Parker Road. So all I need is the canoe or a short one-mile jog to get iffy cell service. Also, you can get a signal halfway up the Hadley fire tower on Hadley Mountain. That’s a seven-mile trip to the parking lot, and a 1.8 mile walk up the mountain.

If we want to call from the house, though, we have to use the landline.

During emergencies, we actually have had to put a sick animal in a truck and start driving toward the vet’s in Granville, more than 40 miles away, hoping we can make arrangements on the way once we get cell service, because the landline phone is down.

Sometimes, the landline is down just for the heck of it.

I know I’m ranting, but on special occasions, my buddy Randy calls me on his cellphone from remote locations in Kenya.

When I’m in the middle of the Everglades, my buddy Joey calls me via the cellphone from Miami.

When I’m in Whitehall, I always call the house in Hadley from my cellphone to report on my progress during the day.

It seems like anywhere I stop in Vermont, I can use the cellphone.

I know there is improved cell service on the Northway through the Adirondacks. That happened after a couple went off the road and could not call for help.

Sen. Betty Little raised a hue and cry to get the Adirondack Park service to acquiesce.

I am not opposed to the APA. I think the public-private park concept is great. I think simple zoning is great. I think certain understandable, rational, codified rules are great.

All good, as long as the rules and regulations are not arbitrary or absurd.

I had a friend who had a tractor accident something like six miles out in the woods. He had to drag himself out.

How he survived is beyond me. He arrived at the nearest house and knocked. They didn’t see him at first because he was prone on the porch. Luckily their telephone was working, because his cellphone wasn’t.

I guess we could all buy satellite phones if we worry about safety, but that’s a bit pricey and an absurd concession to state rules that claim they are preserving the “view shed,” while tourists drive down paved highways lined with utility poles and wires — utility poles and wires that sometime don’t work.

Yes, I’m ranting. But through all the hurricanes I went directly through as a youngster, including Donna, we did not once lose telephone service, which at the time was exclusively through landlines. That was five decades ago in unincorporated Dade County. The big attraction there were the tomato fields and avocado orchards.

New York state needs to end the practice of allowing Adirondack residents to endure less than third world conditions. Communication — cell service, widespread high-speed internet, and a reliable infrastructure are key to commerce, safety, a good education and, frankly, the pursuit of happiness in these times.

Can anybody hear me?

Forrest Hartley lives in Hadley, N.Y. You can leave him a message at new_americangothic@yahoo.com.


Load comments