The California Office of Emergency Services (OES) has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Assessment that proposes to construct new communication towers on three of the highest peaks in and around Redwood National Park and Yurok ancestral territory to replace the Red Mountain communications site, which must be removed because it is located within the Helkau Ceremonial District, a site that is sacred to the Yurok Tribe and other Native Americans and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The proposed project (Alternative 1) includes three new sites: Rodgers Peak (in Redwood National Park), Rattlesnake Peak (undeveloped land privately owned by Green Diamond), and Alder Camp (a state-owned prison facility in a developed area). The proposed towers would not offer improved cell phone coverage to the general public, as they are only for use by “officials” and emergency services.
For all of the sites, the proposed project (Alternative 1) requests approval for:
- 12-14 months of construction and ongoing operation, maintenance and monitoring activities;
- Site preparation activities including clearing trees and grading land (6.8 acres of clearing at Rattlesnake Peak, .62 acres of clearing at Rodgers Peak, and .28 acres of clearing at Alder Camp. Although, the aerial photo of the site layout maps seem to show vegetation in areas that are identified as “existing clearings”);
- A 199 foot free standing galvanized steel lattice tower with antennas, microwave dishes and lightning rods on a 50 square foot concrete foundation with a depth of 8-12 feet;
- Ten foot tall 30 by 50 foot Building(s) and/or vault facilities to house electronics, batteries and generator(s);
- Graded aggregate surface parking for several vehicles;
- A 6-8 foot tall security fence surrounding the communication facilities with a single drive through locked gate for maintenance purposes; and
- Power sources for each location including commercial power at Alder Camp, solar arrays at Rattlesnake Peak and generators at Rodgers Peak (propane or diesel backup generators and associated fuel tanks would also be installed as backup power sources); and
- Access roads (Rattlesnake peak would require 1.7 miles of new road construction on Green Diamond Land. Other sites would use existing roads through county, state and private land).
Due to numerous comments from EPIC and our allies in 2017, the initial scope of the project has been expanded to include several other alternatives that would not include Rodgers Peak, which is within Redwood National Park. New alternatives are as follows (and pictured in the map below):
- Alternative 2: Same as Alternative 1, except Rodgers Peak site would expand clearcutting from 1.5 acres to ~3.9 acres to install a solar array as a primary power source.
- Alternative 3: Rodgers Peak would not be developed under this alternative. Rattlesnake Peak and Alder Camp would be the same as Alternative 1 and Green Diamond 1 and Orick sites would also be developed for a total of 4 towers. Orick site is forested and located within the Coastal Zone.
- *Alternative 3a: Rattlesnake Peak, Alder Camp and Green Diamond 1 sites would be developed. Green Diamond 1 site is clearcut.
- Alternative 3b: Identical to Alternative 3a except Green Diamond 2 site would replace the proposed Green Diamond 1 site. The Green Diamond 2 site is clearcut but located within the Coastal Zone.
- Alternative 4: No Project Alternative. Decommissioning activities would be implemented at Red Mountain, and the sacred site would be restored consistent with existing permits issued to the State by the USFS. None of the proposed sites would be developed.
*We believe that Alternative 3a would provide emergency communication services with the least impacts since the Green Diamond 1 site is already clearcut and outside of the Coastal Zone.
EPIC agrees that the Red Mountain site should be decommissioned to restore the Yurok Tribe’s use of and access to the Helkau Ceremonial District and that that emergency communication services are essential to nearby communities. But we recognize that these services will come at a cost to the viewshed of places sacred to the Yurok Tribe, as well as Redwood National Park resources.
We need to show project proponents that our community does not support building new telecommunication towers in and around Native American sacred sites or Redwood National Park.
How You Can Help:
- Attend Public Meetings! Two public information meetings on the proposed project will be held on: January 10, 2018, from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Arcata Community Center, Arts and Crafts Room, 321 Community Park Way, Arcata, California and on January 11, 2018, from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Klamath Community Center, 219 Salmon Road, Klamath, California. Click here to share our Facebook Event Page for the Arcata meeting!
- Submit Comments on the Project! Keep an eye out for EPIC’s upcoming action alert, which will include comment on the project. The comment deadline for this project is 5:00 p.m. on January 29, 2018. Comments can also be emailed to email@example.com, subject line: “Red Mountain Project.”
- Tell your friends. Before EPIC got involved, there were only 4 comments on the project. Because we sent out an action alert, over 619 of our members and supporters also commented on the project. (Thanks to all who took action, we made a difference!!!)
- Make a Contribution. It takes weeks to read and develop comments on environmental documents that contain thousands of pages. EPIC relies on people like you to make donations so that we can compensate our staff, keep our lights on and advocate for the voiceless.
This is not over yet, with your help, we can pack the upcoming public meetings and load the record with thoughtful and effective comments to protect Redwood National Park. Stay tuned and sign up for our updates and the upcoming action alert for this project in the coming days.