Monday, January 23, 2012

Petition on cell phone tower at Brockway available on line

This photo, with a cell phone tower imposed, shows how the tower would affect the view from U.S. 41 going into Copper Harbor from the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. (Photo courtesy Chris Schmidt)*

COPPER HARBOR -- As many of you know, Brockway Mountain is slated to become home to a 250' cell tower. At a December meeting of the Keweenaw County Zoning Board of Appeals, a variance was granted to permit construction of a tower on Brockway Mountain, nearly 750 feet above Lake Superior. At its proposed site and height, the tower would be the first thing motorists and cyclists see as they head north into Copper Harbor on US 41. In addition to its mark on the horizon, as a freestanding structure, the tower's 30-foot base would also leave a significant footprint on the ground.

Although the availability of cell service in Copper Harbor is an inevitability, particularly in the name of safety, one would hope that it could be accomplished without scarring one of Michigan's great natural landmarks.

In a last-ditch effort, an online petition has been started to request that the decision of the Keweenaw County Zoning Board of Appeals be reconsidered. The petition is not against providing Copper Harbor with cell service, but rather in the proposed location of the cell tower.

If one million calls and letters to Congress could put a stop to SOPA, if one hundred thousand names on an online petition made Verizon abandon their proposed fees for online payments, and if 4,500 names were enough to stop the LaCrosse city council from transforming the scenic Upper Hixon Forest into a housing development, certainly there are enough people who have spent time on Brockway Mountain who would like to see it preserved that the Zoning Board of Appeals could be swayed to reconsider its decision.

With that in mind, please consider signing the online petition. Once a precedent has been sent, the mountain could soon be host to more towers, further damaging the view and posing additional risk to the more than 14,000 raptors that use Brockway Mountain as a final resting spot before crossing Lake Superior during their spring migration.

To view and sign the petition, please click here.

* For more photos of the site location (with and without a tower), see "Brockway Viewshed vs proposed Cell Tower" on


put the tower up. stop bickering said...

Put the tower up. It's a good idea. It's the 21st century. Tourists rely on cell phones. I can't tell you how many people I did snowmobile tours for that were pissed their cell phones didn't work. Even out west in the Rockies they have cell service. Yellowstone national park has cell service. It's a good thing to have for emergencies. Specially for loggers and contractors. Just put the tower up it's has more positives then negatives

Adam said...

Oh please... Focus on the issue. The issue is not about having service, the issue is the magnitude and the location of the tower. Options simply have not been properly explored, and there are nearly 750 signatures who are in complete agreement.

Friends of Brockway said...

Can you see cell towers near Old Faithful or near all the water falls on Yellowstone River ? They have a non-intrusive (hidden) cell service system. That's what Copper Harbor needs. A balanced approach which retains the natural character of the area and supports tourism economy.

Swamp Kat said...

Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario dresses their towers up as spruces and hides them in groves of real trees.

In Las Vegas Nevada and southern Michigan towers get disguised as cactus and trees. There's no outstanding aesthetic or migratory bird issues here -- just local zoning code and the preference of the people.

So why can't the conversation be about doing it right in Keweenaw County where issues of aesthetics and migratory birds take on a new level of importance in the community? Obviously there is a legitimate conflict otherwise a zoning variance wouldn't have been needed to approve the tower location and design.

This is not about bickering about an either or issue -- it's about implementing a viable alternative to solve a very real problem.

The comments on the petition tell the story....we should listen to them.

wahya said...

A 250ft. tall Blue Spruce I don't think so. How about cloaking as a Sasquatch. Perhaps better yet covering it with invisable paint. A Palm Tree, a Saguro cactus, etc.etc. Pretty rediculous huh....

Swamp Kat said...

Yep, pretty ridiculous.

"Monopines", unlike Sasquatch and invisible paint are real, and more importantly, work real well to solve problems and connect people.

Take a look for yourself;

mk3509 said...

It's time to put the tower up. Lets get started.

Chris Witt said...

Im from minnesota and would love to come back and mountain bike copper harbor, but I won't until there is cell service....This summer we are going to Marquette instead just because of the cell phone service issue. It is a HUGE inconvenience and safety factor!!!

Keweenaw Now said...

Chris, I understand now that there are plans for a tower but it has not yet been put up. In the meantime, you might be interested in the Ride the Keweenaw event May 27-29 that includes other bike trails in addition to Copper Harbor's. See