By Marcy Stamper
The Methow Valley Ranger District is considering issuing a permit for construction of a 195-foot-tall lattice communication tower on Little Buck Mountain, above the Loup Loup Ski Bowl.
The tower would provide transmission for the cell-phone provider T-Mobile, but it could be expanded to include two more wireless carriers, according to Meg Trebon, special uses administrator for the district.
Plans also call for a propane-powered generator and for construction of a 30-by-30-foot equipment building and a 15-by-15-foot pad for propane storage, all enclosed by a 70-by-70-foot fence.
As part of the project, installers would dig a trench to connect to existing underground power. There would be no lights or guy wires, said Trebon. The steep access road would receive some maintenance to accommodate the new project.
There is an existing, shorter tower on the mountain, which is leased to the Washington State Department of Transportation and used by other state agencies. That tower is too short to carry the wireless signals, according to the proposal.
The project has been proposed by The Meridian Group, which works with wireless carriers.
The ranger district is reviewing the application and doing surveys of the area under what’s called a categorical exclusion, which means an environmental analysis is not required.
The U.S. Forest Service manages the site and would issue a special-use permit if approved, according to Mike Liu, the district ranger. Permit fees go to the U.S. Treasury and a percentage comes back to the county, but not to the local ranger district, he said.
The public is invited to comment on the proposal through Sept. 15 to email@example.com. For more information, contact Trebon at 996-4032.