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Contact: Melissa Wilson, 406 888-7895
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Glacier National Park officials announce the availability of an environmental assessment (EA) that analyzes the effects of renewing a special use permit to operate a TV translator at Apgar Lookout in Glacier National Park, as requested by the Desert Mountain Television Association. The EA is now available for public review and comment; comments are due by Monday, February 13, 2006.
The EA analyzes two alternatives: a no action alternative which discontinues the special use permit and requires removal of the translator and antennas, and the preferred alternative. The preferred alternative would allow for the continued use of the translator and antennas as they are currently operating.
The association uses the translator to broadcast NBC affiliate KCFW from Kalispell to residents of Coram, Hungry Horse, West Glacier, Apgar, and Lake McDonald. This is the only channel that provides local news and weather to these residents, and includes the Emergency Alert System. In the recent past residents have relied on this station to provide news and emergency information regarding fires, evacuations, and avalanche closures of U.S. Highway 2. The translator is currently being operated under a temporary special use permit.
The translator was installed at this location in the early 1960s and consists of a small transmission box kept in the basement of the lookout, two receiving antennas mounted on the lookout, and three antennas mounted on two posts set several feet away from the lookout. The translator also requires periodic maintenance. The association would pay an annual rental fee and a fee for electricity to the National Park Service under the new special use permit.
Apgar Lookout is a historical structure and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. While the Lookout is not within proposed wilderness, it is surrounded by proposed wilderness. The EA evaluates the impacts to the historic lookout, wilderness values, public health and safety, environmental justice, views, and the visitor experience.
The original installation and issuance of the original permit were never analyzed for their impacts to park resources. Given the permit was expiring, the association submitted a request for permit renewal. Prior to making a determination, the NPS determined it would be necessary to conduct this environmental assessment (EA) to assess the impacts of continuing to permit this activity on park lands.
The EA is available through the park’s planning Web site: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/parkHome.cfm?parkId=61 and comments can also be made directly through this Web site. Or write to: Superintendent, Glacier National Park, Attn: Apgar TV translator EA, West Glacier, Montana 59936.