Wuksachi Village Cell Tower
The National Park Service (NPS) has approved the plan and corresponding environmental assessment (EA) for the issuance of a right-of-way permit to Verizon Wireless to construct, operate, and maintain a wireless telecommunications facility providing cellular service near the Wuksachi Village within Sequoia National Park. On February 13, 2019, a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was signed by the NPS Pacific West Regional Director, Stan Austin. The FONSI and EA constitute the record of the environmental impact analysis and decision-making process for this project.
Cellular coverage in Sequoia National Park is very limited. The wireless telecommunications facility would provide year-round cellular coverage in the vicinity of the Wuksachi Village and surrounding areas, including Wuksachi Way and portions of the Generals Highway.
The EA was available for a 32-day public review and comment period from October 24, 2018, through November 26, 2018. A total of 42 comments were received during public review of the EA. Public comments received during the review of the EA revealed that those opposed to the proposal were primarily concerned about visitors' experience of solitude, self-reliance, natural soundscapes, and the ability to disconnect from technology, particularly in wilderness. Comments in support cited benefits to visitor health, safety, and convenience resulting from enhanced communication. Potential effects on visitor experience and other resources were identified and evaluated in the EA.
Sequoia National Park's position is that improved cellular service will provide opportunities to more easily and quickly communicate park conditions to visitors, including realtime information on parking, traffic, weather, and hazardous conditions. Cellular service will also assist the park in providing educational and interpretive materials to park visitors, information about events and activities, maps, and other services, which could enhance the visitor experience and help protect park resources. Many visitors and park staff will view the service as a welcome benefit for purposes of accessibility, coordination, communication, and safety. While other visitors may view cell phone service as an unwelcome intrusion, the NPS is committed to a public education program to promote considerate use of cell phones in shared public facilities and spaces.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are currently working with the permittee to design the tower and prepare a right-of-way permit. Construction will likely begin in 2020.
Nancy Hendricks, 559-565-3102