Glacier National Park is requesting public comments on a proposal from CenturyLink to install a new telecommunications tower in the St. Mary administrative area inside the park. An environmental assessment financed by the project proponent has been completed and public comments are due by November 23.
CenturyLink requested permission from the National Park Service to install a new microwave radio antenna tower in the St. Mary developed area on the east side of Glacier National Park. The purpose of the project is to provide digital subscriber line (DSL) service to the greater St. Mary area and improve the reliability and speed of internet access. The project is part of a larger statewide Montana Public Service Commission requirement mandating CenturyLink to upgrade communications capabilities at its rural exchanges in Montana. The upgrade would also benefit National Park Service radio communication capabilities.
Two alternatives were analyzed in the environmental assessment: 1) Alternative A (No Action), and 2) Alternative B (Preferred). Under Alternative A (no action), a new microwave radio antenna tower would not be built in St. Mary, and existing internet and National Park Service radio communication systems in the area would not be upgraded. Under Alternative B, the new tower would be built in St. Mary and internet and National Park Service radio communications systems would be upgraded.
The environmental assessment is available through the park's planning web site: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/StMaryTower. Public comments may be posted online at this web site, or through the mail to: Superintendent, Glacier National Park, Attention: St. Mary Tower EA, PO Box 128, West Glacier, Montana 59936.
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