Yellowstone National Park has completed work on a plan which addresses the future of wireless communications in the park.
The Wireless Communication Services Plan Environmental Assessment (EA) was available for public review and comment. It addressed a wide range of wireless technologies, including cellular telephones and wireless internet service.
Under the preferred alternative, cell towers would be excluded from recommended wilderness, from along park road corridors, and from minor developed areas such as Norris and Madison.
The preferred alternative would restrict towers, antennas, and wireless service to a few developed areas, in order to protect park resources and limit the impact on park visitors. This would limit cell service to major park developments and would limit WiFi service to hotels and stores. Cell phone reception outside developed areas is not intended, and therefore would be variable and should not be expected.
In addition, the preferred alternative calls for moving the current cell tower at Old Faithful to reduce its visibility from the historic district and geyser basin, improving and consolidating communications facilities on Mt. Washburn, and adding cellular service to the Lake and Fishing Bridge area.
The environmental assessment also calls for Yellowstone to actively promote the courteous and respectful use of cell phones and WiFi devices.
Two public meeting were held to help the public learn more about the plan. The meetings were held in Bozeman, MT on October 1, 2008 and Idaho Falls, ID on October 2, 2008.
The environmental assessment can be found at the National Park Service's Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov
. The document is also available on CD or in hard copy by writing the Yellowstone Center for Resources, Wireless Communication Plan EA, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 82190.
The review and comment period was open for 45 days. The NPS has prepared a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the plan and is also available for review at http://parkplanning.nps.gov
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