Should Phone Company Be Allowed To Raise 80-Foot Tower Inside Glacier National Park?
CenturyLink, the phone company previously known as Qwest Communications, is seeking approval to erect a roughly 80-foot-tall telecommunications tower inside Glacier National Park at the park's St. Mary administrative area.
According to a park release, the tower would service the greater St. Mary area and is part of a larger statewide initiative through the Montana Public Service Commission to upgrade telecommunications facilities to small rural exchanges in Montana.
Glacier officials are seeking public comment on this proposal through February 3. CenturyLink is paying for the park to conduct an environmental assessment on the proposal.
The telecommunication capacity in the St. Mary area, both inside and outside the park, is currently inadequate to support resident, visitor, and government internet demands, according to a park release. The new tower is designed to upgrade the area’s telecommunication capacity to a modern standard and improve the reliability and speed of internet access.
The Park Service’s existing 50-foot radio tower in St. Mary would be removed and replaced with a new, approximately 80-foot tall microwave antenna and radio support structure. The new tower would be constructed of steel lattice supported on a concrete footing, and would include a 6-foot diameter microwave dish for CenturyLink and up to three National Park Service antennas.
The new structure would be located next to the existing park telecommunications building in the St. Mary administrative area, and the microwave feed wiring would be connected to the existing CenturyLink equipment building. The new structure would be designed to provide a direct line of sight to the CenturyLink Divide Mountain transfer station.
To date, two alternatives have been identified: 1) The no-action alternative, and 2) an action alternative that would remove the existing National Park Service radio tower and install a new tower.Comments and concerns on the proposed project should be submitted by Friday, February 3. Comments can be posted online at this site, or may be mailed to: Superintendent, Glacier National Park, Attn: St. Mary Microwave Tower Proposal, P.O. Box 128, West Glacier, MT, 59936.
There will be another opportunity to comment on the project when the environmental assessment is completed.