The East Idaho News reported on Nov 14, 2019, that the National Park Service is seeking public comment on a proposal to install about 500 indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi networks and cell towers throughout Yellowstone National Park’s developed areas for park visitors and employees. An SF Chronicle article Oct 20, 2019 notes this is part of a push to “modernize” the nations campgrounds. The article states, “The heart of the proposal is to hand some campground operations over to concessionaires and modernize them. The Sierra Club opposes that and said that concessionaires could transform national parks into “profit centers.” Sequoia National Park is also getting its first cell tower, however, not everyone is pleased.
Digital Wireless Devices and Nature: De-stressing or Distracting America?
The National Park service page invites you to “Experience Your America”, however, if you wish for you and your children to have an undistracted and stress reducing experience in the great outdoors, you may soon not have a choice. The science of addiction and distraction with cell phones is now supporting banning cell phones in schools. California is the first state to pass AB 272 (2019), a law to reduce or eliminate cell phones during school hours due to a decline in test scores, increase in mental health problems as well as distraction. In addition if you or your children suffer from the growing condition of electrosensitivity, you will not be able to stay in park accommodations. Scientific evidence is mounting that this is condition should be considered a disability according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Wildlife Effects Wireless Technology and Cell Towers
The scientific literature on wildlife effects of non ionizing wireless radiation is substantial and alarming. Will this creeping cell tower development throughout parks affect the delicate balance of nature in the largest park from bison to bees? Will we be marching even sooner to a Wireless Silent Spring? “Biologists have noted that wildlife are susceptible to harm from manmade ambient electromagnetic fields. Researchers are now attributing RFR from cellular telecommunications to be a contributing cause of bee “colony collapse disorder”, insect disappearance, the decline in house sparrows in London, as well as the steady deterioration of the worlds bird population with now than 40% of bird species under critical threat. Scientists note a serious lack of radiation monitoring and protocols to study the impacts and call for precaution in the placement of cell towers and further expansion of wireless broadband. In the United States, Section 704 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 does not allow consideration of environmental effects in the placement of cell towers. Telecommunications Act of 1996” PST Environment and Wildlife Effects of RFR.
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) Criticizing Towers
PEER is a Washington DC based non-profit legal organization in the U.S. that fights for environmental justice and assists whistleblowers who speak up about illegal practices on public lands. PEER has even tackled climate change in the courts. This group has been concerned about placing cell towers in National Parks for many years. A PEER press release on the Yellowstone proposal for cell towers highlights that the permitting process bypasses policies on historic preservation as well as bypassing environmental review required by NEPA.
“The comments PEER filed today point out that the AccessParks plan would –
- Violate the park’s existing Wireless Plan that promises no Wi-Fi in historic buildings or lodges, yet 400 of the impacted buildings are National Historic Landmarks, within historic districts, or are eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places;
- Extend to areas where the Wireless Plan now bans coverage; and
- Be finalized without environmental review, consultation required by the National Historic Preservation Act, or any further public review. AccessParks is also withholding most photo simulations and equipment specifications on grounds that they reveal trade secrets.”
484 Cell Antenna are Up for Approval
If the permit is approved, this would allow for:
- The installation of up to 484 small (10 x 10 inch or 7 inch diameter) antennas on employee housing and visitor lodging facilities at Canyon Village, Grant Village, Lake Village, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Old Faithful.
- The Park Service website states, “Four hundred thirteen (413) of the impacted buildings have been identified as either eligible for inclusion on the NRHP, as contributors to historic districts, or as National Historic Landmarks. The Historic Properties identified include Canyon Lodge, Lake Hotel, The Lake Hamilton Store, 78 Lake Hotel Guest Cabins, 64 Lake Lodge Guest Cabins, Seagull Dormitory, Mammoth Hotel, 97 Mammoth Guest Cabins, the Mammoth Dining Hall, Lodgepole Dormitory, Juniper Dormitory, Spruce Dormitory, Old Faithful Inn, Old Faithful Lodge, 161 Old Faithful Guest Cabins, Laurel Dormitory, and Columbine Dormitory.”
- Coverage could eventually extend to other developed areas such as Norris, Madison, and Bechler for administrative and employee use.
If you have any comments on effects to historic properties, please submit them through this NPS ParkPlanning website by clicking the “Open for Comment” link at the left of this page. Contact Information
Morgan Warthin, (307) 344-2015
Link to provide comments- https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectId=89100
Letter from Nina Beety: Letter Nina Beety to National Park Service regarding Yellowstone Cell Towers November 29,2019
- More Than 500 New Antennas Slated for Yellowstone. PEER Press Release. Nov 27, 2019. https://www.peer.org/more-than-500-new-antennas-slated-for-yellowstone/
- Big push to modernize camps, amenities at national parks. Tom Stienstra. Oct 20, 2019. https://www.sfchronicle.com/travel/article/Big-push-to-modernize-camps-amenities-at-14548757.php
- Yellowstone cell service improvements move ahead amid criticism.
- Cell phone towers in the backcountry rob us of wilderness. Jason Mark. SF Chronicle. May 5, 2017. https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/article/Cell-phone-towers-in-the-backcountry-rob-us-of-11124435.php
- The Ringtone of the Wild: Cell Phone Towers Sprout in the national Parks. Lay of the Land. Sierra Club. 2005. https://vault.sierraclub.org/sierra/200501/lol.asp
- The urban brain: Analyzing outdoor physical activity with mobile EEG. Aspinall, P.A., Mavros, P., Coyne, R., and Roe, J.J. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2015 Feb;49(4):272-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23467965
- Growing Resilience through Interaction with Nature: Can Group Walks in Nature Buffer the Effects of Stressful Life Events on Mental Health? (2019) Int J Environ REs Public Health. 2019 Mar 19;16(6). Marselle MR et al. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30893850
- Does participating in physical activity in outdoor natural environments have a greater effect on physical and mental wellbeing than physical activity indoors? A systematic review. (2011) Environ Sci Technol. 2011 Mar 1;45(5):1761-72. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21291246
- Get Out of Here: Scientists Examine the Benefits of Forests, Birdsong and Running Water. Jason Mark. March 2, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/02/books/review/nature-fix-florence-williams.html
- The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative.
Florence Williams. Published 2018. W.W. Norton Company.
- The NPS Needs To Improve Management of Commercial Cellular Facilities’ Right-of-Way Permits and Revenues” Full Report Link
- The NPS Needs To Improve Management of Commercial Cellular Facilities’ Right-of-Way Permits and Revenues” PDF The NPS Needs to Improve Management of Commercial Cellular Facilities Right-of-Way Permits and Revenues PDF
- PST Environmental and Wildlife Effects of Wireless Communications. Environment and Wildlife Effects
- Wireless Silent Spring. Santa Clara County Medical Association Bulletin October 2, 2108. _Wireless Silent Spring
- A 5G Wireless Future. Santa Clara county Medical Association Bulletin. June 2017. A 5G Wireless Future: Will it Give Us a Smart Nation or Contribute to an Unhealthy One?
- PST 5G Telecommunications Science
- PST 5G “Mobile” Communications
- PST Scientific Literature-Health Effects of Cell Towers