Gros Morne sets standard for Wi-Fi access

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Cory Hurley
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Gros Morne National Park is a pioneer for what Parks Canada wants to establish with wireless Internet access hotspots at its parks across the country.

Parks Canada is proceeding with its plan to install wireless access hotspots at its parks over the next few years. The agency is requesting tenders from contractors to install Internet access points at about 150 locations over a three-year period.

“Things will probably stay very similar to what they already are,” said Francois Duclos, manager of visitor experience planning.

“The Gros Morne park was one of the first to implement this service, now a couple of years ago.”

The hotspots at Gros Morne National Park are akin to what can be expected at other parks, said Duclos.

He said there will be no attempt to rid the parks of their solitude as refuges from the connected world. The hotspots will be mostly established at existing facilities‚ like the ones within Gros Morne, including at the Discovery Centre in Woody Point, the Visitor Centre in Rocky Harbour, Lobster Cove Head in Rocky Harbour and three of its five campgrounds — Shallow Bay, Trout River and Green Point.

The outdoor experience, part of which is being separated from technology, is important to protect, said Duclos. However, the camper of today is different than in the past, and Parks Canada must adapt its service to reflect that. It’s a balancing act, he said.

The additional Wi-Fi access is meant to cater to different users, including on-the-go trip planners — those who want to immediately share their experiences through social media and with family, friends and co-workers. Duclos said they hope to install hotspots at 15-20 parks and sites, with a total of 25-50 hotspots this year.

The Western Star

Organizations: Parks Canada, Discovery Centre, Visitor Centre

Geographic location: Rocky Harbour, Gros Morne National Park, Woody Point Trout River Western Star

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