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Mon, Dec. 09

Grand Canyon National Park seeking public input on telecommunications plan

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — The National Park Service is seeking public comment on a proposed Telecommunications Plan and Environmental Assessment through midnight Jan. 6, 2020.

If approved, the plan would provide a framework and guidance for the future construction and operation of telecommunications infrastructure that could include telecommunications towers, small-cell sites and fiber optic communications cable within developed areas of Grand Canyon National Park.

Existing wireless coverage and data network capacity within developed areas of Grand Canyon National Park are insufficient to support the operations of the NPS and its in-park partners, which include: concession companies, non-profit organizations, tribes, a public school and medical clinic, a utility company, other local and federal law enforcement agencies, residents on the North and South Rims, and more than six million annual visitors.

The plan evaluates the impacts of accommodating up to five additional telecommunications towers and associated infrastructure as well as the possible removal or relocation of an existing tower, installation of small-cell technology in high visitor use areas, and the combined use of microwave antennas and fiber optic communications cable to provide the necessary links between the park and the broader wireless network.

NPS is not proposing to directly develop telecommunications infrastructure under this plan, and the plan is not in response to a specific application from a telecommunications company to build or operate this type of infrastructure. The construction and operation of any new telecommunications infrastructure developed in accordance with this plan would require site-specific review and approval in accordance with current NPS policies.

The Telecommunication Plan and Environmental Assessment is written in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. Compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act and other applicable laws are also being conducted.

Additional information is available on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment website at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/GCTelecommunications. Interested parties can also participate in an informational open house from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at Shrine of the Ages Auditorium, 20 S. Entrance Road, Grand Canyon.

A webinar is also scheduled Dec. 9 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. More information on the webinar is available at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/GCTelecommunications.

Public comments on this planning effort will be accepted for 36 days to accommodate the holiday schedule. During this time, any individual or group can submit comments electronically through the project website which is the preferred method, at public open house events, or via mail to:

Superintendent, Grand Canyon National Park

Attn: Telecommunications Plan

P.O. Box 129

Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

Comments submitted by other means, such as fax, email, Facebook or other social media posts will not be considered.

The NPS anticipates making a final decision on this plan, referred to as a Finding of No Significant Impact, in early 2020.

Information provided by NPS

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