News Release

Yellowstone seeks additional public comments on proposal to provide Wi-Fi for park visitors and employees

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East Entrance sign

NPS/Jacob W. Frank

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News Release Date: May 27, 2020

Contact: Morgan Warthin, (307) 344-2015

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS, WY - The National Park Service (NPS) seeks additional comments from the public about the impacts a Wi-Fi proposal may have on Yellowstone National Park’s historic properties or other cultural resources. The proposal from AccessParks includes the installation of indoor Wi-Fi networks and associated equipment for park visitors and employees at select park lodging facilities and employee housing. 
 
On November 14, 2019, the park asked for public comment on affects to historic properties from a proposal by AccessParks. At the time of the original announcement, typical photo-simulations of a limited number of installations were included for public comment. On March 18, 2020, AccessParks released a proposal that showed significantly more photo-simulations of the proposed installations. The park is asking for additional comments because the public has not had the opportunity to view and comment on the additional photo-simulations.   

Proposed Project Details 
 
  • This proposal would replace, improve, and expand existing Wi-Fi service provided to Xanterra Travel Collection restaurant and lodging patrons and employees.  
  • The project would be funded by Xanterra Travel Collection. 
  • No new towers would be installed under this application.  
  • No antennas would be installed in, nor would service be provided in, backcountry areas, park roads, campgrounds, or picnic areas.  
  • The new wireless equipment would only be installed on existing structures in existing developed areas.
  • The Wi-Fi service area would be limited to the general footprint of each facility included in the proposal.  
  • This is not a 5G or cellular communications proposal. Voice communication over the internet would be available, as it is with all Wi-Fi services.
  • Commercial Wi-Fi use can be considered a utility and, like other utilities on NPS lands, will be authorized using the right-of-way permit process described in Reference Manual 53. The authority to permit telecommunication antenna sites is 54 U.S.C. § 100902 (b). The NPS will recover all costs associated with the application. No government funds will be expended whether the installation is approved or denied.
  • This proposal allows for the installation of up to 484 small (10 x 10 inch or 7-inch diameter) antennas installed in or on employee housing and visitor lodging facilities at Canyon Village, Grant Village, Lake Village, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Old Faithful. 
  • To link the local antennas to the internet service outside of the park, a network of 39 additional antennas would be required. The purpose of these antennas would be to deliver service directly to the developed areas and not to broadcast Wi-Fi signals. The antennas would include:
    • Twenty-seven antennas installed at various locations in the developed areas (Canyon Village, Grant Village, Lake Village, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Old Faithful). These antennas will be a combination of 29 x 7-inch and 27 x 9-inch units.
    • Three microwave antennas (one 2-foot-diameter and two 3-foot-diameter) would be mounted to the existing antenna support structure on Mount Washburn. Three additional microwave antennas (all 3-foot-diameter) would be installed in concealed vaults below the Mount Washburn fire lookout.
    • Three 6-foot-diameter microwave antennas would be installed on existing towers (one each at Old Faithful, Grant Village, and Fishing Bridge).
    • Three 2-foot-diameter microwave antennas would be installed on existing towers at Old Faithful (1) and Lake Village (2).
  • All exterior antennas would be located out of view wherever possible and, if visible, the installations would be painted to match the buildings on which they are installed. 
  • To have no adverse effect to historic properties or districts, most (more than 75%) of the antennas on National Register of Historic Places eligible structures would be located in attic spaces or under eaves. 
  • Photo-simulations and location details for all proposed antennas are available at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/ap
  • This proposal is consistent with the Yellowstone National Park Wireless Communications Services Plan
  • Wi-Fi services could eventually be installed in facilities at other developed areas such as Norris, Madison, and Bechler for administrative and employee use only. Under the park’s current wireless plan, the public would not be given access to the Wi-Fi service in these areas.  
  • A complete list of affected properties, the proposal, and associated materials are available at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/ap 
  • The proposed project is an undertaking as outlined under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) (36 CFR § 800). On March 20, 2020, the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office concurred with the park’s determination of no adverse effect. However, consultation will continue on this project given the public release of this proposal with more photo simulations.  
  • AccessParks is the Wi-Fi service provider that is requesting a permit to locate their equipment in Yellowstone National Park. 
Comments must be received by June 10, 2020. Comments may be submitted online at: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/ap, or by mail. Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or by any other means. 
 
Mail comments to: Compliance Office, Attention: AccessParks Broadband Proposal, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190.  
 
Public Comment Considerations 
 
  • Bulk comments in any format submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.
  • Before including your address, phone number, email, or other personal information, be aware that your entire comment – including your personally identifiable information – may be made public at any time. You may ask us to withhold your personally identifiable information from public review, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.  



Last updated: May 28, 2020

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Phone:

307-344-7381

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