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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Do you support or oppose a cell phone tower on the edge of the BWCAW?


cell phone tower, BWCAW, Ely, Minnesota


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  • I think the most important question about mobile service around the fringe of the BW is about the holes in the existing network. Verizon desperately needs a tower at the Y-store west of Tower, which could comfortably cover a substantial area including Tower itself that is currently mostly a dead zone, while AT&T signal doesn't reach very far into the woods surrounding Ely in part because the main antenna in the Ely area is situated too low to cover a large area for mobile service and there's no coverage along Highway 1 through Isabella at all. Those are probably higher life-safety priorities than putting a tower near, say, the end of the Fernberg Road, even though that would also be helpful.

    In the end more towers are going to be needed over the existing network anyway because of the increasing volume of use of cell phones and mobile data. Even with digital 3G, there are only so many ways you can split a signal on a single antenna set.

    Monday, June 28, 2010 Report this

  • If only one life is saved in spite of the opposition of some friends of the BWCA that alone makes it worthwhile. How about no: campfires, lanterns, flashlights, etc. Make it truly a wilderness experience. I'll bet some of the folks complaining have enough money for a satellite phone.. Most folks do not. Look the other way and quit your whining!

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 Report this

  • Folks concerned about a pristine wilderness experience are not going to be looking for it in a well traveled area, close to homes, highways and motor or partial motor lakes. The Friends are barking up the wrong tree with this nuisance lawsuit and should be ashamed. It's moves like this lawsuit that show their lack of credibility and responsibility. What a waste of time, money and other resources! If they used these resources for common sense purposes, this world would be a much better place for all of us. How about funding trash containers and pick ups at the entry points, to avoid the littering problem? That's one small constructive thing this group could do.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 Report this

  • chessie2go

    There are no regulations to control placement of cell phone towers. They can basically appear anywhere.

    At&T placed one right across the lake from my cabin (Little Sturgeon). Now I get to share the night with a blinking red tower. And there have been three times when technology failure kept white strobe lights flashing for nights until a repairman from central Minnesota could get here to fix it.

    This issue is not about cell coverage. It's about phone companies placing towers where they can outcompete other companies. For example, everyone in the Side Lake area must now be on AT&T in order to get good coverage.

    AT&T also has plans to place a tower on Hawk Ridge in Duluth, where it would interfere with bird migration.

    The entire issue of cell phone towers needs to be addressed. For one thing, why can't companies share towers? Why aren't there some rules or regulations to guide tower placement?

    Why is a cell phone tower allowed where it can be seen in a wilderness area? I can't believe this is the only site that could be used for a tower. It may be the most convenient site or the most competitive site, but it should be illegal if it affects the wilderness character of a Federally designated wilderness area.

    As far as safety in the Boundary Waters, I don't believe that anyone should rely on a cell phone. What are the chances that a cell phone would survive capsizing or that a cell phone would be reachable under such circumstances? Would cell phone services be available during a tornado or wind storm?

    When canoing in the BWCAW, one must always depend on good safety practices, some basic first aid knowledge, and good common sense. What did we all do in the past, before such technology was available?

    We are too willing to let technology control our lives. It's time we put some boundaries around the spread of technology, instead of giving technology free rein within our lives and our environment.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 Report this

  • I believe it is a safety issue. There are people that want to experience the BWCAW and near areas but need to be near cell service. It is to bad we all have become glued to our phones but it is what it is. The expansion of cell service would only add to the area and help build our currently lagging tourism. I am also concerned about groups that are basically from outside the area trying to control our local people and local economy. Worry about your back yard not ours. These outside groups have curtailed local use of the boundays waters and hurt local business enough. Leave us alone. Get the tower up now.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 Report this

  • If the Friends of the BWCA win this law suite then were will it end. It's bad enough that they control what we do in the BWCA but now they want to control what we do outside of the BWCA as well!

    People in Ely desirve good cell phone service just as much as those in large cities.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 Report this

  • You people baffle me. You come up here maybe once a year and you think you have the right to completely alter the lifestyles of the people who live here, work here, and raise families here. You're also the same caliber of people who can't change a tire by yourselves and need to call AAA. How would you do that up the Fernberg with no cell phone? The citizens of Ely have a right to decent cell phone coverage. Any BWCA activist who objects to this tower because it's not "primitive" enough should not be allowed to enter the boundary waters with GPS sytems or Gore Tex and should have to use birch bark canoes. I'll bet 21st century modifications would start to look pretty appealing to you then. Why don't you people go fight the oil spill and leave us alone.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010 Report this

  • My wife and I went on a day trip yesterday into the BWCAW and we could see the towers in Ely. Should these towers be ripped down because they could be seen from these Holy Waters we were on? I agree with one of the commenters on this site. If you don't like the idea of a new cell phone tower here then get a Birch Bark Canoe,and don't pack freeze dried foods for your trip. Just live off the land for your food. Don't use anything that was built in the 21st Century or the 20th Century for your Wilderness Experience and have a nice day.

    Friday, July 9, 2010 Report this

  • Thank you woodsguy55

    Friday, July 9, 2010 Report this

  • epalcich: What are you doing worrying about the needs of the Ely-Winton area? You live at Side Lake with that other wacko lunatic Peter Leschak who has scribed disrespect for our senior citizens with regard to limited motorized access to the BWCA.

    Mind your own business, let the Ely-Winton people solve their own problems.

    What did we do before? We used outboard motors and snowmobiles on the large lakes in the BWCA, until your wacko friends decided they had more privileges than the local people who once owned the land until it was robbed from them by the extremist environmental movement through the federal government. We didn't have the accidents in those days because, first, people were more personally responsible, and secondly, the lunatic large cities based users that preferred canoe travel without compass reading skills and common sense arrived on the scene.

    As for technology, I find it hypocritical that you would use a computer and the internet to communicate your illogical points of view. Why didn't you just send smoke signals?

    Friday, July 9, 2010 Report this

  • If you really need a phone you can rent or buy a satellite phone. They are great for emergencies and don't need cell phone towers.

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010 Report this

  • There is only one option available.Life is more important when time is crucial,need to know

    first aid yup,but there are times when first aid, ain't gonna save someone in serious

    condition!You do get more than just little scratches on your pinky's in the B-dub.

    Antenna you bet.If you don't want to contend with it,move further in the forest or don't lok at

    it.Plus the antenna doesn't walk or talk,does it? A big percent of the people can't afford

    more than a cell phone.

    Paint the thing camoflauge !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Monday, July 26, 2010 Report this

  • I have a question for the Schurkes'. Do you people own cell phones? If you haven't experienced bad cell phone coverage then you aren't living on this planet!. Maybe you folks are part of the rich crowd and go around with satelite phones huh! The two of you need to move into a birch bark hut and sell all of your 21st century material goods. Including your computer and your motorboat! Have a nice day Paul and Susan!

    Monday, August 2, 2010 Report this