As recent articles in the Idaho Mountain Express and The Idaho Statesman reveal, AT&T and the Idaho Department of Lands plan to construct a highly visible 195-foot cell tower adjacent to Redfish Lake in the heart of the Sawtooth NRA. The tower would be part of the national FirstNet System intended to provide improved cell coverage for emergency responders.
The tower would be three times the height of surrounding trees and alongside an existing 100-foot cell tower operated by CusterTel (the local telephone utility). Interestingly, both CusterTel and Sawtooth Search and Rescue (the primary emergency responder in the area of the tower) confirm through studies that the proposed new tower would provide no better coverage than AT&T simply colocating its equipment on the existing CusterTel tower, as CusterTel has offered.
Neither AT&T nor the Department of Lands sought input from any local groups or governments on the proposal. In fact, the city of Stanley, Custer County, the Sawtooth Society, Sawtooth Interpretive & Historical Association and Idaho Conservation League, plus numerous local residents, all expressed strong opposition to the tower as a major, unnecessary blight on the Sawtooth NRA landscape. Yet, AT&T and IDL are finalizing a tower lease despite strong opposition.
The bottom line is that without more public outcry, this insult to the SNRA will likely become reality. Members of the IDL board, which has power to stop this, include Gov. Little, Attorney General Wasden, Secretary of State Denny, State Controller Woolf and Superintendent of Public Instruction Ybarra.
Please join us in writing/calling them to protest this terrible and unnecessary proposal.