Old Faithful cell tower is
Old Faithful in Yellowstone
National Park is an international treasure. As the snowmobile issue
illustrates, Yellowstone is increasingly under assault by the Bush
administration’s policies of sacrificing environmental values to
Old Faithful is the latest
The Park Service allowed Western
Wireless Corporation to erect a 100-foot cell tower above Old Faithful.
It was originally proposed at half that height, but, through a process
environmentalists don’t understand and the Park Service can’t explain,
an eyesore has sprouted above the famous geyser.
This occurred without putting a
public notice of construction into the Federal Register, a government
publication that discloses government activities. Park spokesperson
Cheryl Matthews says this oversight is under review and that "We’ve
taken corrective action to assure that doesn’t happen again in the
This is known as closing the barn
door after the horse has escaped.
The same public servant also
expressed the contradictory positions that the tower proposal received a
full and public environmental review, even though it was not circulated
to the general public and was only provided to a few people, mainly
This is known as doublespeak.
Public Employees for Environmental
Responsibility (PEER) contends that the tower violated the federal
Telecommunications Act, National Historic Preservation Act and the
Organic Act, which directs the Park Service to conserve park scenery.
While park officials contend that the cell tower is needed for
"emergency situations," the clandestine manner in which it was
constructed calls this lame explanation into question.
This is called smoke and mirrors.
Frank Buono, a former long-time
Park Service manager and PEER board member, said that "Yellowstone has
plenty of other options; safety does not require that we trash Old
This is a transparent issue of
commerce, not safety.
The tower was built by and serves
commercial interests. Most of us use cell phones, appreciate their
convenience, and put up with appropriately placed if unsightly towers.
However, Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park is not an appropriate
place for one.
Theodore Roosevelt thought the
National Parks were the most beautiful places on earth, and he said, "…
our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children
and their children’s children forever, with their majestic beauty all
We agree. This Old Faithful tower
is an unfaithful blight. It should be removed.
As for safety, anyone who has been
to Yellowstone in summer, particularly the area around Old Faithful, can
ponder the Park Service’s sincerity about safety as they see driver
after driver using their cell phones while navigating the narrow twists
and turns of the park’s old roads.