Should Yellowstone Have 484 New Cell Towers? Comments due Nov 29, 2019


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.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) commented in 2017 as well. In an article, Group Cries Foul Over Cell Service Expansion in National Parks, the author writes, “Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) said in its Oct. 30 letter to Mary Kendall, deputy inspector general for the U.S. Department of Interior, that Yosemite National Park is the latest national park in America to allow cellphone towers to be built without adequate government or public oversight. “Not only is this a helluva way to run a railroad, but Yosemite does not even know who owns the trains,” Jeff Ruch, executive director of PEER, said. He said there’s a tendency of many national park superintendents to “ensure every square inch of their park has a strong 4G signal, thus creating conflict between connectivity and serenity in remote corners of wired parks.

Updated 8/14/23

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.

Calling All Environmentalists!

The most important and thorough peer reviewed article to date on environmental effects of wireless radiofrequency radiation was published in 2021 and deserves a full read. This has been followed by other publications, as well as an eye opening 2023 legal and policy webinar on wireless radiation and wildlife that should be a call to action for all groups interested in biodiversity and planetary health. What do we know about wireless radiation effects on the natural environment? The comprehensive 3 part  review by Levitt, Lai and Manville (2021) provides a wealth of scientific information, connecting the scientific dots of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) harm to all flora and fauna. In a very readable text the authors answer many puzzling questions about this complex subject that combines biology, ecology, technology and physics. The authors warn, “It is time to recognize ambient EMF as a novel form of pollution and develop rules at regulatory agencies that designate air as ‘habitat’ so EMF can be regulated like other pollutants.”

NEW 7/22/23 Science, Legal and Policy Webinar on Wildlife and Wireless Radiation: The Ecosystem and Environmental Impacts of Cell Towers and Electromagnetic Radiation. Speakers: B Blake Levitt, Albert Manville,PhD. Former Senior Biologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, ERica Rosenber, former FCC official Daniel Favre, PhD., wildlife biologist and Dr. Cornelia Waldmannn-Selsam.  Hosted by Environmental Health Trust. July 2023. An engaging, thoughtful and eye-opening discussion about the risks of wireless radiation and increasing cell tower infrastructure in parks and public spaces affecting allof wildlife with impacts on biodiversity, agriculture and home gardening.

New 2022 Environmental Procedures at the FCC: A Case Study in Corporate Capture. Erica Rosenberg. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development. Vol 64, Pg 17-21. December 12, 2022. here Note: Erica Rosenberg, former Assistant Chief of the Competition and Infrastructure Policy Division at the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Wireless Telecommunications Bureau states in her article,  “[FCC] practices serve to facilitate deployment for carriers while ignoring environmental rules and the public. Besides environmental costs, the FCC’s approach bespeaks a lack of transparency and accountability that undermines good governance and erodes democracy. It also bespeaks an agency completely captured by the entities it is tasked with regulating.” 

NEW 11/26/22- Levitt, Lai and Manville in November 2022 published a new shorter summary article of the 3 part series in Frontiers in Public Health called “Low-level EMF effects on wildlife and plants: What research tells us about an ecosystem approach.” The authors highlight that “the unique physiology of non-human species, their extraordinary sensitivity to both natural and anthropogenic EMF, and the likelihood that artificial EMF in the static, extremely low frequency (ELF) and radiofrequency (RF) ranges of the non-ionizing electromagnetic spectrum are capable at very low intensities of adversely affecting both fauna and flora in all species studied.” and note that, “Any existing exposure standards are for humans only; wildlife is unprotected, including within the safety margins of existing guidelines, which are inappropriate for trans-species sensitivities and different non-human physiology.”Low-level EMF effects on wildlife and plants: What research tells us about an ecosystem approach. Levitt BB, Lai HC, Manville AM. Frontiers in Public Health, 25 November 2022
Sec. Radiation and Health .

NEW A 2022 publication reviews human harm from cell towers. Evidence for a health risk by RF on humans living around mobile phone base stations: from radiofrequency sickness to cancer. Alfonso Balmori. Environmental Research. 2022 Nov;214(Pt 2):113851.

See Also

Cell Tower Health Effects- PST

Environment and Wildlife Effects

Cellular Mechanism -Oxidation

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-

Letter with References To U.S. National Park Service Nov 29, 2019 regarding Cell Tower Permits in Yellowstone Park -Cindy Russell, MD 

Letter from Nina Beety: Letter Nina Beety to National Park Service regarding Yellowstone Cell Towers November 29,2019


See Also

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