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Proposed rate changes for campgrounds and backcountry permits
My understanding, and I used to be quite the phone geek, is that texts have nothing to do with voice channel. A cell phone making a call uses three channels
-signaling: how you find a base station to connect to ("register") so it can alert you to incoming calls and how you send the message that you want to place a call, and the number
-voice channel in: only used during a call
-voice channel out: ditto

The original "text" - i.e. SMS - are sent during idle periods on a signalling channel (which is a specific frequency, or a time division multiplexed slot on a frequency) and it was damned clever from the telco's point of view - we can send these messages basically for free, but maybe charge for them.

If you can place a voice call, you should be able to send a text.

But non-text (e.g. send a photo) or group chat messages are a different animal. In that case you need to be able to run a data connection over the signalling channel (or some other channel). The contents are uploaded and stored, and the recipients get a URL, from which they fetch the contents.

BUT, your phone software may be screwed up as sometimes my phone seems to be laboring to send a text.... but it's already been received by the recipient (I see the "spinning wheel" while they get the message). Or sometimes your phone sends N copies of a photo as it is not understanding that it has been received. And stuff like that.

So reserving a permit will require a data connection as it will almost certainly be a web page. Which means that, as others have said, I would not be able to make one in most parts of Death Valley most of the time.

Sounds like a disaster, and the "don't want to make others stand in line" is BS in the modern way where businesses seem to want to avoid humans to serve customers (touch screens and QR codes at restaurants, charging to speak to a human to make a plane or car reservation, etc).

I'm back!! After three wonderful weeks of hiking in Washington and being way to busy with me feet on the ground to read the forum, I'm back here.
Backpaking and roadside back country camping will still be free, just not in the more popular areas which are Echo Canyon Road, Hole in the Wall Road, Greenwater Valley Road, Cottonwood Canyon Road and Marble Canyon Road.

The backpacking permit for those areas is not per night but per trip. Still many places for backpacking and roadside back country camping to be had free.
I seem to recall that the origin of the backcountry camping permits thing was due to people really not respecting the park and leaving behind trash etc. The usual "this is why we can't have nice things." Wonder if people were doing more of the same in Greenwater Valley, or if NPS just wanted to have more control over the camping there.
Last time I rolled through Greenwater Valley it was a literal shitshow around the area where the dirt road connects with the paved road that heads up to Dantes View. Lots of amateur hour camping that I would assume is related to folks wanting to get up to Dantes for sunrise / sunset photos.

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