Access Parks - Broadband Internet for Park Residents and Employees
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 new document with photo simulations is available in the Document List section of this website. You can reach the document list through the navigation bar to the left of this text. 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 16 U.S.C. 5. 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 29x7-inch and 27x9-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 2-foot-diameter microwave antennas would be installed on existing towers at Old Faithful (1) and Lake Village (2). Three 6-foot-diameter microwave antennas would be installed on existing towers (one each at Old Faithful, Grant Village, and Fishing Bridge).
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 in the Document List section of this website. You can reach the document list through the navigation bar to the left of this text.
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 in the Document List.
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. The consultation letters and attachments to them are available in the Document List section of this website. You can reach the document list through the navigation bar to the left of this text.
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. If you have any comments on effects to historic properties, please submit them through this NPS ParkPlanning website by clicking the "Open for Comment" link at the left of this page.
Comments may also be submitted by mailing a letter to Compliance Office, Attention: AccessParks Broadband Proposal, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190. Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or by any other means.
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.
ORIGINAL INFORMATION 11/14/2019:
AccessParks (AP) has submitted an application for a Right of Way (ROW) permit to the National Park Service (NPS) proposing the installation of wireless radios, microwave point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, and indoor Wi-Fi installations throughout Xanterra managed properties in Yellowstone National Park (YNP). We anticipate that the installation will be expanded in the future to offer the same service to the NPS and other concessioners.
In order to supply high-speed internet to park visitors and employees throughout YNP, AP has proposed to install a large-scale wireless communication system covering Canyon Village, Grant Village, Lake, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Old Faithful. Equipment needs for this project include five microwave antenna locations, twelve wireless backhaul antennas ranging between three and six feet in diameter, and up to four hundred and eighty (480) transceivers of 11 inch diameter or less installed on receiving structures.
In addition to the areas above, infrastructure would also be placed on the newly installed antenna mounting structure surrounding the Mount Washburn Fire Lookout. Typical installation photosimulations of AccessParks equipment and a list of properties to be affected are included on this project announcement.
Buildings currently proposed for installations have all been evaluated for their National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) eligibility, or are age ineligible for inclusion on the National Register. Consultation with the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) is ongoing.
Four hundred thirteen (413) of the impacted buildings have been identified as either eligible for inclusion on the NRHP, as contributors to historic districts, or as National Historic Landmarks. The Historic Properties identified include Canyon Lodge, Lake Hotel, The Lake Hamilton Store, 78 Lake Hotel Guest Cabins, 64 Lake Lodge Guest Cabins, Seagull Dormitory, Mammoth Hotel, 97 Mammoth Guest Cabins, the Mammoth Dining Hall, Lodgepole Dormitory, Juniper Dormitory, Spruce Dormitory, Old Faithful Inn, Old Faithful Lodge, 161 Old Faithful Guest Cabins, Laurel Dormitory, and Columbine Dormitory.
Seventy one (71) impacted buildings have been deemed ineligible for inclusion on the NRHP. Of these, 31 are ineligible based on age, 31 are located in historic districts but have been determined to be non-contributing structures, and 9 have been determined ineligible on their own.
In an effort to reduce or eliminate impacts to the historic fabric of Historic Properties, AccessParks' proposed infrastructure will take the historic nature of properties that they will be installed on into account. On historic properties, AccessParks will use existing penetrations into buildings, and will disguise the new installations either through locating them inside of attic spaces, or place them on roof areas that are outside of casual viewshed.
The release of this project on NPS ParkPlanning prior to a press release was due to an internal error. The public comment period for this project will last from 11/14/2019 until 11/29/2019. All comments submitted since October 28 will be evaluated along with comments from the later comment period.
If you have any comments on effects to historic properties, please submit them through this NPS ParkPlanning website by clicking the "Open for Comment" link at the left of this page.
Morgan Warthin, (307) 344-2015