Working Near the Wild

More Americans telecommute from homes near abundant outdoor recreation. Would you?

The proliferation of smart phones, broadband wireless access, and spreading cellphone coverage seem like anathema to the wild places of the world. But as much as you might want to bash the yammering hiker up the trail over the head with his Crackberry (don't), this ubiquitous tech also gives us the chance to live and work closer to wilderness.

The NY Times points to the growth of hedge-fund brokers, risk management consultants, and other assorted highly-paid employees who've relocated to Crested Butte, where newly implemented fiber optic cables and other tech upgrades have paved the way for high-powered telecommuting. The mountain town reflects a nationwide trend where well-monied types usually bound to offices in London, New York, or Chicago are able to ditch the desk for afternoons spent hounding for pow or bounding up a trail in between conference calls.

(Benn Dunn) skis in the backcountry above Crested Butte several weekday mornings, climbing mountains to find untracked snow and taking calls and e-mail, sometimes surreptitiously, on a BlackBerry from offices back East. “They don’t always need to know where I am,” he said.

Of course, for some people, blending work and our outdoor getaways might not be such a good thing—the wilderness is where we go to get away from hectic schedules and pressing emails. Ringing phones are the last thing we want to hear in a quiet stand of quaking aspen trees.

That said, if you live and work near wildernesses, your ability to get out more is much increased. How 'bout it Daily Dirters? Do any of you telecommute from remote mountain/beach towns? How many wish you could? Or would you rather keep toil and trail separate. Tell us in the comments section below.

—Ted Alvarez

Working away in Crested Butte (NY Times)