Yellowstone National Park Wireless
Interactive Yellowstone Coverage Maps:
This map was supplied by the National Park Service in September, 2008:
source: National Park Service
Fishing Bridge Coverage Area, Verizon Wireless:
source: National Park Service
Cell 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 (Fig. 8) of the EA. Implementation of this aspect of the plan will likely not 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.
The Old 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 Road.
The equipment 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.
Any new 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 not expected.