AT&T Asks Appeals Court To Allow Tower Near BWCA

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — AT&T is asking the Minnesota Court of Appeals to overturn a judge’s decision barring it from building a 450-foot cellphone tower with flashing lights that would be visible within parts of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Attorneys for AT&T Mobility LLC say the trial court incorrectly applied a state law to federal land, overstated the aesthetic impact of the proposed tower on the wilderness area, and failed to give adequate weight to the public safety benefits for residents near the BWCA and visitors within it. The company filed its brief last week.

The Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness had sued to block AT&T from building the 450-foot tower east of Ely, on a site about 1.5 miles outside the BWCA. The group’s reply is due early next month.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Carl

    Being able to check your work email and call home every night doesnt give you the true BWCA experience. Put this tower up and you will see more people going to the Questico Park in Canada to get away without the annoyance of 612’rs who think they are more important than Nature.

  • Swamp Rat

    What happened to common sense in this cell tower matter? ATT why don’t you minimalize the huge tower impact on the BWCA and listen to the tree-huggers! To the tree huggers your nothing-at-all approach is unacceptable and unworkable for many reasons; one of which is public safety communications. The simplest and common sense answer is lower widely ‘scattered’ cell towers that are environmentally pleasing visually and user friendly and practical.

    Cell towers are basically line-of-sight for reception purposes. However, if the cell towers were shorter, widely scattered, and form a coherent network grid coverage. The BWCA could be covered for communication purposes and for emergency triangulation location coverage. The smaller towers could be reasonably concealed also. What’s wrong with that?

    The only hazard to all this is the dependence on cellular or WiFi communications in the BWCA for other than emergency use. If an emergency occurs deep in the BWCA or Quetico Wilderness regions cellular communications are useless.

    So why not mandate GPS/EPIRB satellite or ELT[Emergency Location Transmitters] transponders be carried for said possible emergencies? Once activated these transponders can be received by scores of satellites overhead and the SOS message[s] beamed to various rescue organizations. That’s hard to beat for crying help in an distress situation in deep wilderness areas.

    ATT is wasting its money for legal fees when it could be working a cheaper common sense solution to this whole matter. By doing so ATT might even show a profit in taking this proper solution to heart.

    One is supposed to be on vacation and enjoying a wilderness environment free from the maddening stressful world. Other than a GPS/EPIRB/ELT device for safety reasons cellphones or laptops aren’t warranted or needed for aesthetic and mental health reasons. Think about it?

  • Bruce Wayne

    blah, blah, blah, let them build the tower, I don’t see anything wrong with that and I don’t know what all you tree huggers are crying over…I bet if you got hurt and needed to make a call you’d want the cell tower then, damn hippies

    • Swamp Rat

      There is a better way of solving this issue. Even the real Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, can see the light of wisdom in not building this single ugly tower!

    • Sam

      Yeah, I don’t think any of the people I’ve ever seen in the Boundary Waters qualify for that label. The people I’ve gone with, who think this is a horrible idea, certainly don’t.
      They’re hunters and fishers who want a week away from their jobs and anything technological. They want to do things the way men did them before we had supermarkets and fast food and restaurants. They want to catch an animal with simple technology, and cook it with even simpler technology. The risk of getting hurt while portaging from lake to lake is part of the experience of going to the Boundary Waters.

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