By Allie Jarrell
In January 2012, MNA President Stephen Kelley sent a letter on behalf of MNA asking the Keweenaw County Zoning Board of Appeals to reconsider its decision to erect a 220-plus-foot cell phone tower on Brockway Mountain. Four MNA sanctuaries are on Brockway Mountain Drive, near the tower’s proposed location. MNA believes that the addition of the tower will unnecessarily injure and kill migratory birds, negatively impact scenic values and visitor experiences, and potentially result in a net negative economic impact.
Since 1973 MNA has been involved with conserving land in Keweenaw County, and now owns a total of 15 nature sanctuaries there including the four Brockway Mountain Drive properties. These sanctuaries not only conserve land, but promote tourism that would be negatively impacted by the 23-story tower. Scenic vistas will be interrupted by buildings and lights, and visitors will be confronted with the tower base, fencing and wires. In addition, migratory birds, such as eagles, falcons and hawks, are expected to suffer increased mortality rates, which is detrimental to a site that acts as a resting place for as many as 100 bald eagles on some days. Running electrical lines throughout the mountain will also cause further loss of rare plants and corridors for wildlife movement on the ground.
MNA urges the county to work to reduce the anticipated negative wildlife and scenic impacts, and to instead develop a solution that honors their claim to be “Michigan’s Scenic, Historic, and Recreation Wonderland.”