One of the last act's Jon Jarvis took as director of the National Park Service's Pacific West office before moving to Washington as the agency's director was to approve the erection of a cellphone tower near Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park.
Located on Park Ridge near Grant Grove, the Verizon Wireless tower joins a cluster of other communications towers. Current structures on Park Ridge include: "two concrete block structures containing NPS and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) communications equipment with power generators; a 20-foot fire lookout tower; two 40-foot lattice towers with NPS and USFS telecommunications equipment; and a 30-foot tower on the NPS communications building supporting a passive reflector used for land-line service operated by Verizon California," according to a notice regarding the company's request that was posted in the Federal Register last spring.
"The selected alternative is the installation of the telecommunications facility, including an 80-foot-tall monopole tower with antennas, a prefabricated single-story building beside the tower for equipment storage, and a stand-by generator," the Park Service announced. "The tower will provide wireless communication and internet coverage along a portion of the Generals Highway and State Highway 180 in the vicinity of Grant Grove, Grant Grove Village and Wilsonia in Kings Canyon National Park, and to some remote areas within the park and the surrounding Sequoia National Forest. Cell phone coverage in the area will likely lead to improved communications for National Park Service operations, and may result in improved visitor and resident safety."
The fine print: The National Park Service is required by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to consider all applications for the installation of cellular equipment on NPS lands. The NPS is currently preparing the permit for the telecommunications facility. Once the permit is finalized, Verizon hopes to install the cellular tower in spring 2010.