Now that 25 of 28 public comments oppose a new 195-foot cell tower near Redfish Lake, will the Idaho Land Board pull the plug on it? It’s doubtful unless the opposition grows stronger.
To date, major opponents include the Custer County Board of Commissioners, the Sawtooth Society and the Idaho Conservation League.
In February, the Land Board said it would explore options and look into objections to the tower. In the same breath, its spokesman said that the leasing process would proceed on the state land on which the tower would be located.
Redfish Lake is the heart of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, the largest of the area’s three major lakes with more developed campsites than any other. It is a magnet for summer visitors.
Despoiling the SNRA ought to matter to land board members in the Gem State. It ought to matter that the communications giant AT&T could co-locate on an existing 100-foot tower owned by Custer Telephone but has been unwilling to do so.
The land board is famous for its public sentiment-be-damned actions on questionable leases in exchange for a few pieces of silver.
The Redfish Lake tower will rise a half mile from state Highway 75 and one mile from the access road to the lake. It’s impossible to camouflage.
Society’s addiction to glowing screens and the safety they can provide are driving approval of cell towers within national parks and protected state and federal lands. The people who can stop the desecration of the SNRA run for election and are supposed to listen. Land Board members include Gov. Brad Little, Secretary of State Lawerence Denney, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, State Controller Brandon Woolf, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra.
Idahoans shouldn’t let this visual blight get built without a bigger fight. So, pick up the phone or email land board members. Insist that they stop AT&T from ruining the priceless heart of Idaho.