Judge Denies Cell Tower Near BWCAW

A Hennepin County judge ruled Wednesday against AT&T’s proposed 450-foot lighted cellular communications tower which would have been visible deep into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The StarTribune has the story HERE.

Judge Philip Bush wrote in a 58-page ruling that the tower and its lights would “impair the scenic view and aesthetic resources of the BWCAW.”  In the same ruling, Bush did permit AT&T to build an unlighted 199-foot tower.

A PDF of Bush’s ruling can be found HERE.

AT&T proposed building the tower near Fall Lake, east of Ely, roughly a mile outside the BWCAW boundary. The tower was to sit on a 150-foot-high ridge, putting the top of the tower roughly 600 feet over most of the surrounding landscape.

The environmental advocacy group Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, which brought the suit, hailed the decision.

“This is a major victory for the hundreds of thousands of people who visit the Boundary Waters every year, and for the wilderness’s scenic vistas and wildlife,” Paul Danicic, the group’s executive director, said on the group’s web-site. “We hope AT&T will pursue without further delay a tower plan that expands cell service in the area for local residents, while preserving the most popular wilderness area in the country.”

According to the StarTribune story, AT&T declined to say whether it would appeal the decision.

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