Middle Bald radio tower moved to Killpecker site

After being without radio communication in parts of the Poudre Canyon for years, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office might finally get the radio tower it has been pushing for — just a half mile away from the proposed location.

The radio tower, proposed by the Sheriff’s Office in 2006, was originally planned for the Middle Bald Mountain Area, but a recent environmental study by the U.S. Forest Service suggests that the tower should be placed about a half-mile northwest, in an area known as the Killpecker site.

The Sheriff’s Office states that the tower is necessary for safety, as currently deputies are often without reliable signal in parts of the canyon and are forced to drive away from scenes in order to call for backup.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, a tower at the Killpecker site would meet these needs just as well as one in the Middle Bald Mountain Area, and would cause less disturbance to the surrounding environment.

“We’ve heard a lot of concern from the public over the tower being placed in Middle Bald, mostly around the visual effects and the impacts to that ecosystem,” said Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests spokeswoman Reghan Cloudman. “This was a way to address that but still meet the purpose and need of the project.”

Overall, the Sheriff’s Department is satisfied with the alternative.

“I think it’s a reasonable compromise,” Sheriff Justin Smith said. “It’s our desire to find a site to provide communication but we also want to satisfy the community’s desire.”

Larimer County Undersheriff Bill Nelson said that a radio test determined that the Killpecker site produces the same, if not slightly better, radio signal than the Middle Bald Mountain site would have, and it will also be slightly cheaper to construct.

Larimer County citizens are encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions on the newly proposed site for the tower, and can do so by e-mailing the U.S. Forest Service at middlebald@logansimpson.com or sending a letter to:

Middle Bald Communication Site Comments
c/o Logan Simpson Design
123 N. College Avenue, Suite 206
Fort Collins, CO 80524

Sheriff Smith said that he hopes the Forest Service will approve the site soon enough to begin construction on the new tower next year. He also wants to see the state contribute to the project.

“I would like to see the state of Colorado step up and help us out with this project,” Smith said. “All in all, it’s going down a positive road.”

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