Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chime in on tower proposal


The excellent article on the proposed Galena cell tower in the Feb. 11 Express did omit exactly where the public should send their comments. Send e-mail comments to comments-intermtn-sawtooth@fs.fed.us or fax to (208) 737-3236.

Send mail to Galena Cell Tower Analysis, 2647 Kimberly Rd. E., Twin Falls, ID 83301. More specific information is available on the Sawtooth Forest's Web site, www.fs.fed.us/r4/sawtooth/projects.

Of utmost importance is that you must zero in on what the forest is specifically requesting. Supervisor Jane Kollmeyer wants to know your opinion on raising the "visual quality objective" (VQO) of Forest Road 70405—known as the "skiers' skin track." This dirt road goes right by the proposed 90--foot tower and associated building. The travelway (road) has a current VQO rating of "partial retention." I strongly recommend that you state that travelway 70405 (skier skin track) should unquestionably be given the higher visual protection of "full retention."

Forest visual management plans stipulate that if a travelway exceeds 500 visitors per year, it automatically triggers a higher visual sensitivity level. Annual skier traffic on the road is certainly several thousand, and possibly as high as 5,000 in a good snow year! All the relevant facts indicate "full retention" is mandated as the VQO.

The tower proponents will probably again attempt the smokescreen of "public safety." Please know that a permanent telephone call-in box is planned and will be installed at the Galena Summit Overlook as part of its pending reconstruction by the SNRA. It is proven that inattentive cell users operating a vehicle can be as dangerous as an impaired driver.

The proposed tower contradicts the enabling legislation of the SNRA—Public Law 92-400. Please send a short input well before March 11 and urge full Retention VQO on Galena Summit and amending the Forest Plan to that effect.

Scott Phillips

Hailey




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