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Contact: Kaitlyn Thomas, Public Affairs Specialist, 202-763-3440
Contact: Rachel Bennett, Deputy Chief of Planning, Environment and Projects, 928-637-8368Grand Canyon, AZ – On November 19, 2020, Michael T. Reynolds, National Park Service Regional Director of Regions 6, 7, and 8, and Ed Keable, Superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park, signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the implementation of the Grand Canyon National Park Telecommunications Plan outlined by the 2019 Telecommunications Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA).
The Telecommunications Plan, written in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act, was developed by the National Park Service to 1) comprehensively address current telecommunications deficiencies within developed areas of Grand Canyon National Park that inhibit NPS operations as well as the activities of visitors and park partners and 2) ensure that telecommunications infrastructure is designed and located in a manner that minimizes impacts to park resources.
Current available bandwidth capacity provides slow, sometimes non-existent, wireless service for those who live, work, and recreate within the park. Implementation of the Telecommunications Plan will provide a framework and guidance for the future construction and operation of telecommunications infrastructure—specifically, telecommunications towers, small-cell sites, and fiber optic communications cable—within already developed areas of the park. The proposal also includes the removal and/or potential relocation of some existing telecommunications infrastructure, including an existing tower.
Grand Canyon National Park will identify and develop procedures for processing telecommunications right-of-way (ROW) applications. The NPS will then review and consider ROW applications for the construction, installation, operation, and maintenance of up to five additional commercial telecommunications towers within the North Rim, South Rim, and Desert View developed areas of the park. These new towers will be permitted, sited, designed, constructed, installed, operated, and maintained in adherence to identified location, design, and general infrastructure guidelines such as height limitations and co-location requirements.
In December of 2019, the NPS prepared the Plan and EA to identify appropriate types and locations of telecommunications infrastructure and services within Grand Canyon National Park that, if installed, would correct deficiencies and provide sufficient and reliable wireless (including cellular voice and data) coverage, data network capacity/bandwidth, and two-way radio communications to meet the needs of visitors, the NPS, and park partners within developed areas of the park. Public comments from traditionally associated tribes, stakeholders, residents, and the general public were received during a 30-day public comment period and were used in preparation of the FONSI.
Grand Canyon National Park’s future improved telecommunications infrastructure will support an average of 6 million visitors per year; NPS operations; in-park partners, including non-profit organizations, concession companies, tribes, a public school and clinic, a utility company, and other local and federal law enforcement agencies; and residents on the North and South Rims.
The EA, FONSI and other reference documents can be found on the NPS Planning Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/GCTelecommunications.
Last updated: January 14, 2021