in Yellowstone National Park
Current Cellular Coverage:
are currently 9 cell sites serving Yellowstone Park, 6 of which are
within park boundaries. Service is supplied by AT&T,
Wireless and Verizon Wireless. This map was downloaded from the
National Park Service web site in 2007, updates and color added by
Wireless Services in the Park:
there is an application led by
Verizon Wireless to replace and add to the antenna structures at 3
existing cell site locations within the park. The structures
substantial and the final installations could be larger than
anticipated. The public comment period is closed and a
expected but the time frame is unknown.
2014, there have been several
applications for new cellular facilities, including relocating the site
near Old Faithful, but the only approval was to replace the
antennas on the Mount Washburn site in 2015.
changes previous to 2014:
A new communications tower and cellular coverage for Verizon Wireless
was approved in the Fishing
Bridge area of the park. This site is located in a Park Service
utility area and has been determined to not be visible from areas
normally occupied by park visitors. This site was originally approved
in the 2009 park communications plan.
Wireless received approval for cellular equipment to be
at the Verizon Wireless Fishing Bridge cell site mentioned above.
Coverage cannot extend beyond that provided by Verizon and shielded
to avoid coverage in Wilderness areas.
Wireless received permission to install 4G LTE equipment at Elk Plaza
near the Mammoth Visitor Area.
were other new or changed cellular installations within the park but
has not changed significantly from that shown on the Coverage Area map,
housings and physical facilities have not been expanded beyond
is not available in rustic settings, National Historic Landmarks, or
historic lodging. The NPS does not provide Wi-Fi for visitor use at
Concessioners may provide Wi-Fi to visitors for a fee.
Park Cellular Communications Plan (2009)
phone coverage will remain at Mammoth,
Canyon, Tower-Roosevelt, Old Faithful and Grant developed areas. New
cell phone coverage will be allowed at the Lake developed area; this
meets the Wireless Plan objective to improve operational effectiveness
of wireless communications in the park and safety for park visitors,
employees, residents, contractors and concessioners. Antennas for this
new cell coverage at Lake will be configured to minimize spillover
coverage into Yellowstone’s backcountry.
Sites will not
be located in recommended wilderness. All sites will be hidden from
view of developed areas, the Grand Loop Road, and area hiking trails.
The park will evaluate these and other sites to serve the Lake
developed area so they meet the guidelines and criteria adopted by this
FONSI (Finding Of No Significant Impact).
In response to
comments, this FONSI modifies the preferred alternative to reconsider
the design of a new antenna mounting structure at the summit of Mt.
Washburn to relocate existing antennas and microwave dishes from the
fire lookout structure. While the preferred alternative included
construction of a new structure to mount existing antennas already
located on the Mount Washburn fire lookout building, the Park will
consider all options to reduce visual intrusions on visitors and the
historic structure, while at the same time addressing the safety and
security aspects of the site’s proximity to a highly-used visitor
destination. The NPS commits to working towards a design of a new
structure that will be less obtrusive than what is shown
in the EA.
Implementation of this aspect of the plan will
happen immediately due to size and scope of the project. 3. The park
will consult with the Wyoming SHPO and utilize the best expertise
possible to try and reach an appropriate design for a Mt. Washburn
wireless communications facility. The design will consider standards
submitted by the Wyoming SHPO during Section 106 consultation. Mt.
Washburn will continue to serve as the primary communications hub for
the park, and will continue to have multiple antenna, dishes, and
electronics equipment at the site. A final design for a mountain top
facility will be available to the public prior to any substantial
changes being implemented.
Faithful cell tower will be relocated to an area near the Old Faithful
water treatment plant when it becomes feasible, to reduce the overall
visibility of the tower. This will not occur before the current
right-of-way (ROW) agreement with the cell phone provider expires in
2009. This relocation could result in a slight decrease in service near
the Old Faithful developed area along a few miles of the Grand Loop
and antennas associated with cell phone service atop Bunsen Peak will
be relocated to the current Elk Plaza. New infrastructure will be added
to the top of Bunsen Peak to increase the capacity of voice and data
transmission throughout the park. While this system has not yet been
designed, it will likely use powered microwave dishes to relay
additional bandwidth through an interim point to Mt. Washburn, and then
be redistributed to the developed areas of the park. Applications to
the FCC for additional radio frequency spectrum will likely have to be
completed and approved in order for this to occur. The existing
electric power line to the summit will remain in service for this
purpose, if and when it occurs.
proposals to install additional cell equipment will be reviewed by the
park Telecommunications Committee. Courtesy signing and protocols will
be developed and installed to help guide visitors in use of cell phones
and other portable communications technologies. In response to comments
Alternative C is further clarified; to reduce annoyances of cell phone
usage, courtesy signing and protocols will focus on increasing the
distance between visitors enjoying the natural soundscapes and those
using cell phones by designating ‘cell phone free’ zones where
possible. Park visitors will be provided this information through such
avenues as park interpreters and the park Visitor Guide/Newspaper
entitled Yellowstone Today. The newspaper will also be amended to show
or list areas of the park where cell phone coverage can be expected or