Come To The Slocan Valley, Where Your Cell Phone Won't Work

from the sounds-of-silence dept

As the move towards the hyperconnected lifestyle — in which people are never out of touch, whether from work or friends and family — continues, the backlash against it rises. A group of citizens in a rural Canadian valley have asked a telco there not to build a planned cell tower, but not for the usual reasons. It’s not unusual for communities to object to towers on aesthetic grounds, or because of health concerns, but people in this community don’t want the tower as a tourist attraction. They hope to sell their area to visitors based on its lack of cell coverage, promising them a visit uninterrupted by “the incessant sound of ringtones, immediately followed by someone’s shouted conversation.” While this approach might be a bit extreme, since it denies the area’s residents and visitors the benefits mobile phones can provide, as well as cutting down on the annoyances, it’s not particularly surprising. As people get more and more fed up with many mobile users’ manners, this sort of blunt-force way of dealing with things could become more popular.

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Comments on “Come To The Slocan Valley, Where Your Cell Phone Won't Work”

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Hidden Force says:

Re: more harm...

“I would not vacation anywhere that I could not stay intouch…”

Psst! That’s why this guy named Alexander Gra… something, I can’t remember his name, but he invented a contraption that allows people to talk to each other by means of an electromechanical device that carries sound over wires.

I’ve even heard that there are boxes into which one deposits coins, which in turn allows the user to use one of these electromechanical contrivances to communicate with people in distant lands.

It’s amazing the inventions that people think up these days!

Mystified says:

Re: more harm...

You can always stay in touch by landline – the hotel desk will take a message and give it to you when you return. If you need to be SO in touch that you MUST have a cellphone – then GET A LIFE!

btw – more harm THAN good (not then)
& – … have a lot (note the space) of other choices THAN their town (again, not then) But at least you used the correct their instead of there or they’re.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: more harm...

> I would not vacation anywhere that
> I could not stay intouch

You *can* stay “in touch”, just not using a cell phone. This town still has landlines, it’s just blessedly free from the incessant ringing and annoying conversations in places like restaurants and movie theaters and city parks.

You want to call home and check on the family? No problem. Just do it from your hotel room phone where no one else has to be bothered by it.

Sounds like heaven to me.

Strofcon says:

Re: Re: Re:

The idea is that you can’t force other people to turn off THEIR annoying ringtones, and stop THEM from having ludicrously loud conversations. Of course a person can turn off their own cell phone, but they are so pervasive that it’s nearly impossible to get away from them, short of a solution such as this town’s.

name says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

well the only time i get annoyed by SOMEONE ELSE’S phone is when im in a theater. any other time I JUST MOVE THE FUCK ON and dont listen to it. again, quite simple. who the hell finds a phone ringing OUTSIDE annoying to the point where you try to find a town that basically out-laws cells phones? ridiculous.

and if all else fails just punch them in the FACE. ive done it and it worked just fine, thanks for asking.

Strofcon says:

Re: Re: Summer Camp

“The needs of the many outweigh the irritations of the few…”

Since when is a cell phone a “need?” Since when do we “need” everyone to have one?

If you “need” to be in touch with ANYONE at all hours of the day, then you should never leave that person’s side. Dependency is a terrible thing when taken to an extreme like it has been.

MrPaladin says:

Re: Re: Re: Summer Camp

“You know, this bigoted idea of “majority right” is why we still need laws to protect minorities.”

Who is being hurt???
Protecting minoritys… People who go Tsk because some idiot forgot to turn off a cellphone…

you wanna make change in the right way… Start telling your friends not to be jerks… eventually noones a jerk…

I don’t see how taking down a cellphone tower is gonna stop an irrate ninny from not being irrate at something else next…

Comming to think of it.. the noise of cars annoys the heck out of me… lets not allow cars in town either… people can stil lget around… and think of the people who would love to come to our carless town!!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Summer Camp

you wanna make change in the right way… Start telling your friends not to be jerks… eventually noones a jerk…

You really think everyone in the world is my personal friend and I could eliminate all jerks if only I wanted to? Then you, my friend, are what is known as an “idiot”.

Comming to think of it..

I somehow doubt that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Summer Camp

“Who is being hurt???”

Oh, so you’re one of those who gives the middle finger to everyone else in the movie theater while you yak away, huh? If you really can’t understand how that “hurts” someone else’s right to be let alone, then I’m surprised you haven’t been the one getting “hurt” yet by someone trying to “teach” you.

Or maybe you have and that’s why you’re whining here where it’s nice and safe.

MrPaladin... says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Summer Camp

hey chump, that was not me… if you want my input on it here it is…

yes, people who use cell phones is movie theatres and other close public places is annoying to those around…

So your solution is to stop all cell phone use altogether because some fool has no social consideration…

That my friend, is moronic…

Back to the point, this town is doing this in the hopes of boosting its tourism… and I say again, it wont ammount to a hill of beans… they can have al lthe dead zone they want, but unless they do something else nothing will come of this dink town…

Joel Melcosky says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Summer Camp

There is more than one town involved. The Slocan Valley encompasses a fairly remote area in BC inhabited mainly by ‘granola types’. I completely understand why they don’t want their sleepy little community to be disturbed by the incessant, mosquito like ringing of cell phones. For God’s sake, what did we do before cellular communication? We survived, we used landlines…….. Reffering to the community in question as a ‘dink town’ only show to me that you are a dink!

Joel Melcosky says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Summer Camp

Nowhere does the story state that they want to ‘boost their tourism’ by avoiding cell coverage. It simply states that they will sell this destination as a cell free zone. Guess what? They haven’t had cell coverage up to and including right now, has this hurt tourism in the area? Are people going to completely bypass the Slocan Valley because, “OMG, I cant, like, text my friendz!!111!!” It seems highly unlikely (and somewhat impossible as there are only so many highways running through this area.
There are a lot of areas in Manitoba that have no cell coverage, particularly in the north. Life goes on…… Personally, I think the Slocan Valley area is better off without the likes of Mr. Paladin.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Summer Camp

US law is not global law. It’s cool that there is a country that was intended to protect the rights of the few from the many (intentions people, not necessarily reality) but people REALLY need to stop thinking that the US is the only country in the world and that its views are universally shared.

Its one of the reasons Bush is just about the worst president we ever had. He treats his neighbors like shit.

You're All Serious? says:

C'mon guys

Self control? Turn them off? This isn’t about the individual who can’t disconnect themselves. It’s talking about a community here. That means more than one person. It’s a group of people who value peace and quiet and aren’t very fond of all the twits that think they need to yell into their mouth-piece so that their twit friend in the coffee shop down the road can hear each and every pointless word they’re saying. It’s a choice made by a community of 600 people. Hardly world changing, so take a breath and focus your energies elsewhere.

name says:

Re: C'mon guys

they are trying to make it seem appealing for vacationers, thats the point. and i quite frankly find it hard to believe that you cant find peace and quite from cell phones anywhere else in the world, with or without cell phone towers. uhh, if the people “yaking away” on the phones annoy you so much then just dont pay attention. perhaps thats where we need to focus our energy. IGNORE THE IDIOTS, sorta like im going to do with whoever reply to this post 🙂 .

have a great day ladies

Lela says:

Freaking Luddites

As much as I hate cell phones, I can’t imagine living without it, and I presume that no cell towers would also mean that my T-Mobile wi-fi device wouldn’t work either. Fuggadaboutit. I’m not going anywhere for ten seconds where I can’t check my email, and if that makes me a slave, baby, snap on the chains…

insomniac says:

Huh sorry boss I didn’t mean to cost the company 1.5 million dollars during downtime but my town has no cell service and why pay for a lan line and have two phones ? Sorry won’t fly for me I need my cell on 24×7. But as for annoying ring tones that a whole different discussion. Annoying dance beats, screaming voices such as “hey, answer the f’n phone!” Why cant people just be polite and use vibrate in public places anyway.

Overcast says:

Yeah, I agree – it’s good to get away from the ‘tether’ every now and then.

As for..

Huh sorry boss I didn’t mean to cost the company 1.5 million dollars during downtime but my town has no cell service and why pay for a lan line and have two phones ? Sorry won’t fly for me I need my cell on 24×7

Maybe it should be ‘Sorry Boss, that you didn’t plan for employee vacation and lost a million bucks’.

MrPaladin says:

the point..

the point is they are supposedly doing this to help their tourism…

and it wont work… there are many many other places to vacation where cell phone signals are nil…

IRT those who quoted me… Get with the times… the advantages of cell phones over wired phones are many and varied… and by the ‘needs of the many’ take a look at how many people are wireless over wired these days and what the trend is looking like…

Lela says:

Ringtones should die

I could happily live in a world without ringtones; as a matter of fact, I’d like to bitch slap the idiot who invented customized ringtones. How hard is it to set the ringer to vibrate and save the rest of us from having to become a part of your pitiful existence? Middle-aged fat men with beer bellies, answering to the call of the theme song from Rocky.

Bill says:

No Cell Phone Towers!

I feel sorry for people who have to be wired 24/7/12. From what I over hear in open conversations at work, even in the men’s bathroom is not very interesting and of little content. For the guys who talk to your girlfriend while sitting on the pot – how disgusting!

I’ll vacation there anytime. Oh my cell phone is on only when I need it. I purchased 1,000 minutes and have managed to use only 23 minutes.


Charles Griswold (user link) says:

Freakin' Awesome!

Not having to hear other people’s ringtones and shouting into cell phones? Great! I think I’ll go vacation there. Heck, I think I’ll move there.*

And BTW, if you don’t want to vacation there because your cell phone won’t work, then don’t. No one is forcing you.

* Well, no, not really. It’s in Canada and I wouldn’t be able to take my guns. :-/

SP says:

Good for them!

If I lived in this town I’d be all for banning the cell tower. I tend to agree with the majority here… If you really need to “keep in touch” 24/7 when you’re supposed to be ON VACATION, you REALLY need to get a damn life. We survived JUST FINE 30 years ago with no cell phones and there’s no reason why they should have EVER become so damn “important.” When I go on vacation I sure as hell do NOT want to be annoyed by hearing 30 stupid, loud ringtones going off and then listening to a bunch of jabbering idiots talking about shit that is so STUPID…IT CAN WAIT UNTIL YOU GET INSIDE AND CAN USE A LANDLINE PHONE. NOTHING is “so important” that you MUST talk about it NOW on that damn cell phone that is surgically attached to your fucking ear. It drives me crazy… Do you people realize how retarded you look wearing that damn bluetooth headset that’s ON YOUR EAR 24/7?!?! You idiots probably sleep with the damn things, don’t you? Cause you just NEVER KNEW when that “important” phone call will strike!!!! GET A GOD DAMNED LIFE. The whole point of a VACATION is to GET AWAY from things for a well. This means…LEAVE THE CELL PHONE AT HOME OR TURN THE DAMN THING…OFF! Call the “loved ones” back home once every other night…not once every 20 minutes…

Lela says:

Re: Good for them!

I agree that way too many people yammer on their phones about stupid pointless carp that I don’t want to hear about, but it isn’t for you to decide that people on vacation should call home once every other night.

There will be a homicide, and it will be over a cell phone, if it hasn’t happened yet, it will one day soon. Some redneck, God bless him, is going to turn around in the booth at Denny’s and plant a bullet right into the back of the head of some yuppie who wouldn’t lower his voice.

Hulser says:

Re: Good for them!

If you really need to “keep in touch” 24/7 when you’re supposed to be ON VACATION, you REALLY need to get a damn life.

I have a life, thank you very much and it happens to include talking to people on my cell phone. I’m no fan of people that suffer from Loud Talker Syndrome, but who are you to tell others how they should or should not spend their vacation? Maybe to you a vacation is to get away from it all, but here’s a news flash: not everyone thinks like you.

We survived JUST FINE 30 years ago with no cell phones and there’s no reason why they should have EVER become so damn “important.”

What is this obsession with people equating the use of a cell phone with an overblown sense of self importance? Yes, I have a cell phone. But so do millions of other people. It’s been years if not decades since owning a cell phone has been any kind of status symbol.

And who’s talking about just surviving anyway? I may be able to “survive” by living in a cave and hunting animals, but — here’s another news flash for you — people don’t like to just survive. And what’s wrong with that?

It don’t think having a cell phone makes me more important than anyone else. I don’t think a cell phone gives me the right to be rude in public. I don’t “need” a cell phone to survive. I just have a cell phone that I use to talk to my friends, family, and co-workers. It’s as simple as that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Good for them!

“…who are you to tell others how they should or should not spend their vacation?”

And likewise, you? If these folks want to do this in their town then that should be up to them.

“Maybe to you a vacation is to get away from it all, but here’s a news flash: not everyone thinks like you.”

Or you. I suggest that you pick somewhere else for your vacation.

Hulser says:

Re: Re: Re: Good for them!

And likewise, you? If these folks want to do this in their town then that should be up to them.

Maybe you should read my post again. Nowhere did I voice any criticism of the town for not wanting to have a cell tower. I think they should have the right to decide, as a community, whether they want a cell phone in their area. And if someone wants to go there on vacation to get away, fine.

HG,WT says:

Re: Denial of service good for Tourism

“But can anyone link me to a thread where any denial of services has resulted in the growth or promotion of tourism…”

They’re trying something different to differentiate themselves from their competitors. It’s called “innovation”. That’s a theme around here, not that a telco shill would understand such things.

MrPaladin says:

Re: Re: Denial of service good for Tourism

“They’re trying something different to differentiate themselves from their competitors. It’s called “innovation”. That’s a theme around here, not that a telco shill would understand such things.”

in·no·va·tion /ˌɪnəˈveɪʃən/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[in-uh-vey-shuhn] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun 1. something new or different introduced: numerous innovations in the high-school curriculum.
2. the act of innovating; introduction of new things or methods.

Frankly I don’t care if they have cell phone towers or not… but the lack of towers will not help their tourism…
Its not innovation to be a backwater town… Theres several area’s within 30 miles of here that have 0 cell phone signal, I do not see droves of irrate cell phone hating folk comming over to spend vacations…

you know why the website is not popular? because theres no market… You don’t need a town to have no cellphone policy for you to vacation away from cellphones…

Heres your innovation… Offer a free cell phone to anyone who vacations in your town! I bet you you’ll get more tourists visiting… they’ll even have a digital camera to record their experience in your town and self promote it… and I bet theres money to be made in your town selling accessories for the free cellphones.. and processing pictures…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Denial of service good for Tourism

“Frankly I don’t care if they have cell phone towers or not…”

I don’t believe that’s quite true. I think the telcos, and hence their shills, would actually be quite concerned if this idea were to spread.

“Theres several area’s within 30 miles of here that have 0 cell phone signal, I do not see droves of irrate cell phone hating folk comming over to spend vacations…”

It takes a little more than a lack of cell phones to make for a vacation area.

“Heres your innovation… Offer a free cell phone to anyone who vacations in your town!”

Perfect example of typical telco “innovation”: just more of the same. Telcos have been giving away what they call “free” (big lie) phones ever since they got in the cell business. That’s not really innovative, but if you really think so, then you “innovate” your way and let these townspeople innovate their way.

MrPaladin says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Denial of service good for Tourism

Haha yer I’m a telco ‘shrill’ WTF is that anyway…

I’m just your regular joe… with a regular job…

I could pull 100 innovations out of my arse better then this one for improving that dink towns tourisim… I chose to use the example of a cell phone give away to show how retarded the ‘innovation’ tact that was taken by a previous poster…

Why is it that the Anon. cowards feel the need to label people when they have no idea who they are…

MrPaladin says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Denial of service good for

Fine I looked it up…
shill /ʃɪl/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[shil] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation Slang.
–noun 1. a person who poses as a customer in order to decoy others into participating, as at a gambling house, auction, confidence game, etc.
2. a person who publicizes or praises something or someone for reasons of self-interest, personal profit, or friendship or loyalty.
–verb (used without object) 3. to work as a shill: He shills for a large casino.
–verb (used with object) 4. to advertise or promote (a product) as or in the manner of a huckster; hustle: He was hired to shill a new TV show.

The only self intrest I have in this town is the undeniable fact I’ll never visit there…

meanwhile here are two words for you… sir…
a·non·y·mous /əˈnɒnəməs/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[uh-non-uh-muhs] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation
–adjective 1. without any name acknowledged, as that of author, contributor, or the like: an anonymous letter to the editor; an anonymous donation.
2. of unknown name; whose name is withheld: an anonymous author.
3. lacking individuality, unique character, or distinction: an endless row of drab, anonymous houses.

cow·ard /ˈkaʊərd/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[kou-erd] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun 1. a person who lacks courage in facing danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc.; a timid or easily intimidated person.
–adjective 2. lacking courage; very fearful or timid.
3. proceeding from or expressive of fear or timidity: a coward cry.

freak3dot says:

At least they “asked a telco there not to build a planned cell tower…” Some people get irritated and just blow things up after they are built.

It may be worth a vacation up there just to use the payphone or phone behind the counter to have a loud conversation and see the irked people. No, I wouldn’t want that bad karma.

One time I was in the same room with someone who had one of those first incomming minute free plans… Every 45 seconds or so, “call me back” That was annoying. Of course, this person didn’t put the phone on silent either.

p.s. WI-FI has nothing to do with cell phone towers.


Brodie says:

My home town makes tech news for being backwards!

I grew up in the Slocan Valley, and supported many users there.

It really is that backwards. Most computers are still not online and are essentially electric typewriters.

And I love it that when I’m away from the phone, I’m AWAY FROM THE PHONE!

Of course, now I’m in Vancouver. But it’s still nice to go there to get away from the constant interruption that is always-on connections.

Hulser says:

Re: Re:

OMG, I couldn’t agree more. Is the second or two you save by using a walkie-talkie instead of a cell phone really worth annoying everyone within earshot of you?

When talking on a cell phone, people have this weird tendency to raise their voice to near shouting levels. But at least most cell phone users can keep it down and you only ever hear half the conversation. But the walkie-talkies are twice as bad because the volume is turned up so high you get both sides of the conversation. Here’s an idea: maybe if you turned the volume down, you wouldn’t have to hold the walkie-talkie two feet from your head.

Brodie says:

Wireless VOIP

I’ve been working on wireless solutions for the Slocan for a few years now. I already have quite a bit of equipment and there is a long-distance WISP who services the region.

If people do plan on travelling here, I’ve been considering deploying WIFI and VOIP services in the area.

Pleas email if you’d be interested in voice communications here without cell phones. I’ll even give you recommendations on acccommodations and other sites and activities.


Anonymous Coward says:

prison bars or a ball and chain

Is there anyone else like me who when first issued a blackberry by their boss said -“Cool! Free internet, email, and tech toys.” Then 6 months later see it as their office cube attached to their waist? I absolutely hate it, avoid it, cannot stand it sitting there vibrating as email after email comes in about what went on during the day or needs to be done the next. Sure I turn it off but that means that all the people who didnt and answered the 9pm email are ahead of the game.

I could easily see myself visiting this place for vacation!

Enrico Suarve says:

The 'Nays' have it

Personally I can see where they are coming from – there is way more to life than being available on the phone 24×7 and just having it turned off can be relaxing (on quiet nights at home my lady and I even unplug the land line)

People should be able to choose to live in an area with no such annoyance if that is their desire and good luck to them – perhaps this is the way forward for holidays and a new selling point. It gets around all the arguments between families as mum or dad ignores the family yet again to speak to their boss etc etc

I did a quick straw poll using the comments to see how it would play out

NOTE – I had to ignore anonymous cowards for obvious reasons and assumed that people arguing with a person who had made their feelings known one way or the other meant they disagreed with that person in the context of the posting, and some people may have posted under two names so its not the most accurate poll ever…. (sorry if I put you in the wrong camp by the way)

But although the mobile phone lovers make a lot of noise they are outnumbered easily on this post by people who would rather see them turned off on holiday

For the mast being built: 8
Against the mast being built: 25 (plus me = 26)

For the mast being built names

Against the mast being built names
Hidden Force
Nasty Old Geezer
My name here
El Marko
Joel Melcosky
smart guy
Bryon Ware
You’re All Serious
Not Bill
Charles Griswold
Smart Guy

ThoughtCrime says:

collective consciousness

Communication has become so impersonal. What happened to expressing your concerns to the moments of time you are currently conscious? that you talk into a plastic box with microwave frequencies. Let’s put tracking devices (RFID) in the phones, and backdoor NSA spying into the IPODS for constant surveillance of your orwellian existance, and have you think that’s Awesome.

BullJustin (user link) says:

Swiss towns bans automobiles

Some towns in Switzerland banned motor vehicles a long time ago. To get there you have to take a trolley (usually) or hike or use a horse if you have one. These places are tourism hotspots because even though technology makes our lives easier, people still want to get away from it and go back to a simpler time and place. This could actually work for them, and I say good for them. If someone doesn’t like the idea of no cell phones then they can go somewhere else. There will be enough people that will want to come to a “no signal” place.

phil says:

No Cell phones in the slocan valley

I live in this valley and the real issue is quality of life for the residents that live in the valley…not tourism.

cell phones and constant access to WORK has changed how we relate with the world and one another…in some good ways and also in some not so good ways. the people of this community value quality of life as it pertains to nature and natures rythmns.

It is difficult for people who do not live close to nature to imagine what life is like without a cell phone – maybe they should ask their parents what life was like…probably not as frightening or inconvenient as some fear.

We all thought the computer would give give us more free time, and we’ve never been more busy and without free time.The cell phone has affected us similarily.

Cell phones affect more than those who use them. They affect the fabric of the community. I would wager if you came here for 2 weeks – once you got over the detox of not using your cell phone- you would have received something positive that you could never get through being the most connected person with the outside world. You would receive a greater connection with yourself and the natural world.

Terry Smith says:

no cell phones

We’re moving to the Slocan Valley within two years and I’m hoping there’s cell service by then.

I am absolutely stunned that there was enough community support to stall this.

The answer is simple: If you don’t want a cell phone, don’t buy one. If you have a cell phone and don’t want to answer it, don’t.

I pay for my land line and my cell phone, it’s for my convenience only and I answer it when it’s convenient.

I want my teenager to be mobile when we move there so he won’t feel trapped or isolated, that said, I want to be able to keep in touch with him and I want him to be able to reach me if he goes off into the ditch in bad weather. The ability to make a phone call could save a life or needless worry.

Egad. We each choose how technology affects our lives. I tell my kids, “You have your own brain for a reason. Use it.”

Ridiculous. As a tourist, it’s a temporary inconvenience that would neither lure or inhibit my visiting the valley. As a resident, it’s downright annoying and makes South Slocan all the more attractive.

Darren says:

Cell phones in Slocan Valley

Kudos to Slocan! Gee, whatever did we do when I was growing up without cell phones? It was terrible! Knocking on doors, meeting people, and asking if we could use their phone. Going to a store. Finding a pay phone. Sheesh.

We don’t need em. Wanting every electronic convenience known to man is becoming unnatural. Kudos to the people of SLocan.

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