Cell Tower

On Tuesday, March 19, 2019, a vertical string of 4.5-foot-diameter red balloons was floated at the approximate location and height of a proposed 195-foot cell tower off Buttermilk Brook Road on Freeman Ridge in Southwest Harbor. The public was invited to view the balloons and comment on the impacts that the proposed tower might have on nationally significant historic resources within a 4-mile radius of the proposed tower.

Acadia’s trail system has been deemed eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places in large part because the trails were carefully sited to open Acadia’s scenery and the surrounding landscapes broadly to recreationists. Friends of Acadia took the opportunity to assess the potential impact of the proposed cell tower on two of Acadia’s trails, the Beech Mountain Loop and the Flying Mountain trail.

The greatest impact was observed on the Flying Mountain Trail, where approximately 130 feet of the cell tower would be silhouetted against the sky above the Freeman Ridge tree-line.

A composite, panoramic view from Flying Mountain in Acadia National Park of a cell phone tower balloon test on Freeman Ridge in Southwest Harbor on Tuesday, March 19. The red balloons are approximately 50 feet apart. The top one roughly represents the height of the proposed tower. A current cell phone tower on the ridge can be seen just above treeline at the left. Click on photo to enlarge.

If one were to superimpose a representative image of a 195-foot cell tower over the string of balloons, it would appear like this.

This composite, panoramic view from Flying Mountain in Acadia National Park includes a representation of what a typical 195-foot cell phone tower on the ridge might look like atop Freeman Ridge in Southwest Harbor. The top of the tower is situated where the top balloon appeared in the image above. The width and design of any actual tower might vary. Click on photo to enlarge.

Friends of Acadia recognizes the importance of connectivity and communications, but feel those goals could be accomplished with a tower more in keeping with others on Mount Desert Island that FOA has not opposed.

FOA is concerned that the proposed 195-foot cell tower would diminish the views from Flying Mountain and other trails, and therefore would harm the historic value of the trails. FOA provided comments to the consultants working on the visual assessment for BRT Group LLC, and copied representatives from the Federal Communications Commission, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, and the National Park Service.

While this stage of the process is focused on impacts to historic resources, there may be future opportunities to comment on the overall impacts of the proposed tower on the environment and community. Friends of Acadia will keep you informed of these opportunities. For more information about the process, click here

For more information:

Contact Stephanie Clement at stephanie@friendsofacadia.org or 207-288-3340.