Tower Proposal Gets Icy Reception But Slides Through at Glacier National Park

The Flathead County Board of Adjustment approved a permit Tuesday for a 108-foot cell tower just outside Glacier National Park, according to the Missoulian, after local opposition has put a chill in the air.

New Jersey-based Clearview Tower Company, which already held a permit to build at 60-foot tower on the site wants to extend it another 45-feet to accommodate additional tenants. The property is on private land that borders the Park’s boundary line and the increased height added to the “eyesore” complaint from residents.

Cathi Beers, co-owner of the nearby Great Northern Resort said, “This tower will directly impact business to Glacier Park Weddings at the Great Northern Resort,” she wrote in a letter to the County Planning and Zoning Department. This will be a tremendous eyesore not only for couples getting married, but to others … heading toward the park,” Beers predicted.  

Clearview’s Bill Ray said the new tower would boost the level of cellular service in the area saying, “the goal is to improve quality coverage and service to the West Glacier, Apgar area and surrounding areas, including improved service up and down Highway 2.”

In recent years, National Parks have seen intense debate over proposals to expand cell phone coverage. Even before the Flathead County Board of Adjustment decides whether to grant the permit, this tower has both supporters and opponents.

Last year, the county rejected a proposed 150-foot tower at the same site while the Middle Canyon Land Use Advisory Committee has asked that the permit be denied, the Missoulian reported.

A local chalet owner supports the site and the added safety it brings to park visitors. “As a business person operating in and around Glacier National park and the West Glacier area,” he said “and by allowing one tower, where needed, if it saves one life it seems a worthy cause.”

The permit application documents can be viewed here.  

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September 7, 2018

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