Cell Tower Invasion

The illegal 100-foot cell phone tower overlooks Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park.

Cell phone towers are sprouting up in national parks across the nation because the National Park Service lacks any coherent policy, letting telecommunication companies decide where towers will be constructed. As a result, the incessant chirp of the cell phone can be heard in the wild backcountry as well as at iconic places like Old Faithful.

When the Telecommunications Act of 1996 opened the door to cell towers on federal lands, Congress directed federal agencies to make appropriate regulations for preventing unsightly proliferation of towers. To date, only one of the 397 units of the National Park System – the Golden Gate National Recreation Area – has adopted a cell tower plan.

After allowing five cell towers to be built without the required public notice and in violation of federal law, Yellowstone National Park officials are now preparing a cell tower plan. (They’ve decided to call it a “wireless telecommunications plan.”)

Learn more about this forthcoming plan and the existing cell towers at Yellowstone, including the one in clear view of Old Faithful geyser.