Public Comment Sought on Proposed Telecommunications Infrastructure at Mount Washburn & Other Park Areas

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Date: January 30, 2017
Contact: Morgan Warthin, (307) 344-2015

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WY – Yellowstone National Park seeks comments from the public on a proposed project to construct an antenna mounting structure at the Mount Washburn Fire Lookout that would improve poor telecommunications services at the Old Faithful, Grant, Lake, and Canyon developed areas. At Canyon, this project would provide better cellular service in the developed area and limit spillover into the backcountry. 

The project would also improve safety for park workers and visitors; reduce the number of antennas attached to the exterior of the historic fire lookout; and increase the availability of cellular telecommunications that currently limits park operations, visitor safety, and visitor experience. 

The project would include the following components:

Mount Washburn

  • Relocate multiple antennas currently attached to the historic fire lookout building to the new mounting structure. 
  • Construct a new antenna support structure around the east, north, and west sides of the existing fire lookout. 
  • Build new underground vaults to conceal new point-to-point microwave antennas.
  • Replace the existing offsite diesel generator with a propane generator that would provide reliable and environmentally safe backup electrical power. 
  • Relocate old, buried electrical service with new electrical service. The new service would be buried in the existing Chittenden Road from the existing generator shed to the fire lookout.
  • Install a new tower and equipment room at the existing telecommunication site near the maintenance building. 
  • The new tower will support new cellular antennas and one point-to-point microwave antenna.
  • The new tower will be hidden from the public’s view. 
  • Install a new tower and equipment room at an existing telecommunications site near the Fishing Bridge Junction and the Lake developed area. 
  • The new tower will support one point-to-point microwave antenna
  • The new tower will be hidden from the public’s view.
  • Install one point-to-point microwave antenna on an existing tower at an existing telecommunication site.
During construction, efforts would be made to allow public access on the trail to the Mt. Washburn summit and the Mt. Washburn Fire Lookout. Portions of the Mt. Washburn trail near the south side of the summit could be closed temporarily when construction activities pose a hazard to the public. During these closures, the remaining portions of the trail would remain open. The fire lookout and public restrooms could be closed for extended periods of time during the construction. The trail accessing the lookout from the Chittenden parking area could be temporarily closed to the public to allow for construction equipment access and to secure the construction area.

Public comments will be collected until March 2, 2017, on the Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website. Drawings and three-dimensional images of the proposed project are posted on this site and provide more details.

This proposal is consistent with the 2008 Wireless Communications Services Plan. A Categorical Exclusion would be prepared for any changes requiring additional National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) compliance. Yellowstone is also consulting with the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office on the proposed design.

Last updated: October 13, 2017

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Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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