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Cell phone tower close to BWCAW is contested

Fall Lake-Fernberg area
Fall Lake-Fernberg area

The location of a 450-foot cell phone tower near Fall Lake northeast of Ely has wound up in court. Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness is suing AT&T Mobility to block construction of the tower which it says will “despoil” and “leave an indelible and unnatural imprint on the scenic, aesthetic and other natural resources” of the BWCAW.
According to reports in both Twin Cities newspapers, the tower would be strobe lighted at night and the non-profit conservation group says that plus the height of the tower would violate the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act.
The tower would be located on a ridge of land adjacent to the Fernberg Trail and Fall Lake, making it visible from a number of wilderness lakes.
Lake County commissioners approved a land-use permit for the project, claiming AT&T met all of the county’s zoning regulations. AT&T is studying the complaint and not commenting at this time.