Letter: Tower threatens Middle Bald Mountain's alpine-tundra landscape

The “Bald Mountain tower project active again” article in your March issue caught my attention, especially Larimer County undersheriff’s saying “We’ve reopened the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) study that we started in 2006.”  

The article did say “Some local residents have vigorously opposed placing the tower on Middle Bald Mountain for its environmental and visual impact.”  But no attempt was made to interview the opposition and learn more about what is at stake.  

In 2010 I conducted extensive field observations on four separate trips to the site documenting its alpine-tundra plants (for example, alpine avens – a key alpine flowering plant), patterned ground from freeze-thaw cycles that occurs only in an alpine setting, and the unique geology.  That effort culminated in my report for the Mummy Range Institute, “Middle Bald Mountain’s Alpine-Tundra Landscape — Unique in the Laramie Mountains Region of Northern Colorado.”  The report describes — in a level of detail never before available —the landscape threatened by Larimer County’s proposed tower, building, road, powerline, and other summit development.  With ample photos, it can be found on SaveTheBaldies.org.

Finally, Undersheriff Nelson’s words, “The county is not looking to build anything beyond serving its own needs” seem to be placed in question with the article’s closing remarks of his: “I don’t know if the Forest Service would allow us to let a Verizon or a Sprint put their equipment on the tower.”  Questionable – that is, still limited radio coverage seems to trump a unique alpine landscape here in our Laramie Mountains.

Jim Erdman

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