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Should Phone Company Be Allowed To Raise 80-Foot Tower Inside Glacier National Park?


CenturyLink, the phone company previously known as Qwest Communications, is seeking approval to erect a roughly 80-foot-tall telecommunications tower inside Glacier National Park at the park's St. Mary administrative area.

According to a park release, the tower would service the greater St. Mary area and is part of a larger statewide initiative through the Montana Public Service Commission to upgrade telecommunications facilities to small rural exchanges in Montana.

Glacier officials are seeking public comment on this proposal through February 3. CenturyLink is paying for the park to conduct an environmental assessment on the proposal.

The telecommunication capacity in the St. Mary area, both inside and outside the park, is currently inadequate to support resident, visitor, and government internet demands, according to a park release. The new tower is designed to upgrade the area’s telecommunication capacity to a modern standard and improve the reliability and speed of internet access.

The Park Service’s existing 50-foot radio tower in St. Mary would be removed and replaced with a new, approximately 80-foot tall microwave antenna and radio support structure. The new tower would be constructed of steel lattice supported on a concrete footing, and would include a 6-foot diameter microwave dish for CenturyLink and up to three National Park Service antennas.

The new structure would be located next to the existing park telecommunications building in the St. Mary administrative area, and the microwave feed wiring would be connected to the existing CenturyLink equipment building. The new structure would be designed to provide a direct line of sight to the CenturyLink Divide Mountain transfer station.

To date, two alternatives have been identified: 1) The no-action alternative, and 2) an action alternative that would remove the existing National Park Service radio tower and install a new tower.Comments and concerns on the proposed project should be submitted by Friday, February 3. Comments can be posted online at this site, or may be mailed to: Superintendent, Glacier National Park, Attn:  St. Mary Microwave Tower Proposal, P.O. Box 128, West Glacier, MT, 59936.

There will be another opportunity to comment on the project when the environmental assessment is completed.


absolutely not. I think "cell phone free zones" is a great idea and the federal and state parks could be the last valiant stand on that point. Besides, cell phone users already tax park rescue services to the max with their frivolous and/or irresponsible calls for help - in the parks that do have service. Ban SUV's while you're at it as a statement against gross consumption :-)!

I agree with you on the cell towers but could you define "gross consumption"?

Real simple -
Fine any employer $1000 per illegal per day when caught employing an illegal.  Poof. The problem would be solved.  Unfortunately, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats want to see it happen.

Sorry the "illegal per day" comment was supposed to be under the border story- "House GOP Expected to Resume....."

The tower has nothing to do with cell phones. No where in the article does it even say anything about cell phones. It is needed to improve the internet availability and speeds for the greater St. Mary area.

If your replacing an existing tower, i don't see the big deal

My suggestion would be to come up with a building code for National Parks that requires towers to blend in. Please check out the fake trees that are really cell towers on this link;

The new tower is to increase phone and Internet service into the park, not to increase cell phone service. This is for 911 calls and other support for the park.

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