We would like to express our opposition to the proposed communications tower on Middle Bald Mountain, located near Red Feather Lakes, Colorado.
Rising at 11,000 feet, at the south end of the Laramie Mountains, Middle Bald is a unique geological area, with alpine tundra and surrounded by tundra-forest ecotone. While able to withstand dramatic changes in temperature, alpine plants are extremely fragile and susceptible to damage. Recovery from damage can take hundreds of years, if ever.
Not only will the placement of the tower on Middle Bald Mountain destroy the alpine tundra. There will be 13 1/2 miles of power line installed along Deadman Road north to Killpecker Road, and then south to the tower site. This will require the clear cutting of a swath of trees at least 20' wide and more than likely far wider. The Forest Service estimates that 29 ACRES of trees will be sacrificed along the route. This damage will occur in a forest that has already been ravaged by the attack of the Mountain Pine Beetle.
Residents and recreational users alike will now view power poles, placed every 250', instead of the scenic beauty they have come to cherish. The power line path crosses through wetlands, stands of ancient Aspen, streams, and critical wildlife habitat. The area around the tower and outbuildings will be fenced off, perhaps forever blocking your access to sitting on that lone mountain peak and viewing the world below.
The construction of the facility and resulting destruction will have a direct impact on the tourism, recreation, and real estate sales in the area, leading to further economic decline to local business and residents.
It has been proven that 800mhz does not work in mountainous areas. The wavelengths for the 800-MHz system are stiff, unable to bend around mountains as well as VHF wavelengths can. Also, the equipment needed to use the 800-MHz radios is sensitive to heat and requires air conditioning. The US Forest Service has stated their refusal to go to the 800mhz system, which will require all local fire departments to carry 2 radios and further add to their burden of equipment maintenance and repair, along with the required annual fees for 800mhz participation.
Larimer County is facing $10 million in budget cuts, including removing deputies from both the Red Feather Lakes and Poudre Canyon areas, but yet they want to spend millions to construct a tower and destroy a mountain in the process. We do not believe that this in the best interest of our residents nor our visitors.
We believe that the citizens of Larimer County would be best served by canceling this expensive and unproven project, and protecting an important alpine summit.