Image: Stehekin, Wash.
Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce
Stehekin, Wash., is about 100 miles northeast of Seattle, and the community is reachable only by boat, float plane or a several-day hike.
updated 7/23/2009 3:32:56 PM ET 2009-07-23T19:32:56

One of the most remote communities in the lower 48 states is finally set to get phone service.

The National Park Service is allowing a small telephone company to use public land to bring service to Stehekin, about 100 miles northeast of Seattle in the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area.

Stehekin has about 80 year-round residents and is reachable only by boat, float plane or a several-day hike through the wilderness.

The phone company, WeavTel, has been pursuing a chance to install telephone service there for years, despite opposition from some residents who don't want it. A few residents own satellite phones.

The Park Service announced Thursday it is issuing a permit to let WeavTel install and operate a wireless system. If the system is ineffective, the agency will issue a permit to allow the burial of fiber optic cable on public lands.

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