Public Comment Period Extended On Cell Phone Tower Proposal At Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park officials have extended for 30 days the public comment period on a proposal to erect a 100-foot-tall cell tower to serve the Lake and Fishing Bridge areas of the park.

According to park officials, the Lake/Fishing Bridge area is the only location in the park where construction of a new cell tower was permitted under the park’s Wireless Communications Services Plan Environmental Assessment.

Initially, the comment period on the proposal was to run through November 16. Park officials on Monday announced, without explanation, the decision to extend the period through December 17.

The proposed gray steel lattice tower and accompanying ground facilities would be erected at an existing utility site, next to existing telephone and electric lines. However, the tower as proposed would rise 30 feet above the surrounding tree tops.

Yellowstone guidelines "state that towers taller than 20 feet above the surrounding tree height require a detailed explanation of why a shorter installation is not feasible," park documents note, adding that, "The extra ten feet of height in this case avoids the need to construct additional towers in the area in the future. Designing the tower with an extra ten feet will promote site-sharing by multiple users, consistent with the 2008 Wireless Plan EA."

Information relating to the proposal, including documentation regarding compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, as well as an electronic form to submit comments on the internet can be found online.

Written comments may be submitted through the web site, in person or by mail to Compliance Office, Attention: Lake Cell Tower Proposal, National Park Service, and P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190.

Comments will be reviewed by the NPS prior to approving a right-of-way permit for the facility. If the right-of-way permit is approved, construction would begin in early 2013.

Comments

I care little about the height differential - 20-30' isn't that much of a variance. I just dont see why they don't specify a "look like a tree appearance, whn it has been done elsewhere.

Here in Tucson, the towers are disguised to look like saguaros. They blend into the landscape and most people don't even know they are there.

Rick

While I am NOT advocating the commercialization of any National Park, people seem to have forgotten "The first is that Yellowstone was envisioned as a public park, for public use and enjoyment. This was not a place to be locked up, isolated, and held from the people." There is a difference between a Preserve, Recreation Area, and a Park. Each has a different purpose.

I see comments on the FB site saying to "keep it natural" or "left as it is". Really? Should we remove all the roads, bridges, lodges, sidewalks, stores, and bathrooms? My daughters have been "brought up" in the National Park system since they were three and have become conservationists BECAUSE they had access to see first hand how the animals live and spectacular natural wonders. I think there is a place for those AND a cell tower (depending on its use).

I, like I suspect most of you, don't want to see miles of powerlines, cell towers, and other manmade objects everywhere I look. If the goal of the tower is to make emergency communications available or easier, then yes I am for it to. If the goal is to build a larger infrastructure so that we can pipe in high speed speed internet to the entire park--I would oppose it.

Finally, I actually READ the notice and it is being placed on EXISTING infrastructure, next to EXISTING power lines and EXISTING roads. "This will benefit the environment by avoiding future disturbances and impacts from additional tower construction. Allowing co-location with other utility providers is also consistent with the 1996 Telecommunications Act.

The NPS evaluated the potential visual impacts of a 100-foot tower at the site using weather balloons and later with a crane. These efforts demonstrated that a 100-foot tower would not be visible from the nearby Lake Hotel, Fishing Bridge and Lake Lodge historic districts."

Summing it up--using existing facilities and infrastructure, because if its location, it reduces the number of towers and decreases park impacts, and is not visible from most of the major historic districts--I say why not?