I took at drive up Rist Canyon yesterday, taking the long route home. Although I had “seen” these towers before, it wasn’t until yesterday that I really took the time to get a good look at them and their impact on the landscape. Sitting at around 8,400 feet, their positioning is far more subtle than a tower on Middle Bald would be. Well, at least until you get up next to the towers.
Driving up that narrow, winding road to the peak, I was struck by the vast beauty below. Views of the Mummy Range peeked through the trees, as well as occasional glimpses of the eastern plains. So similar to our beloved mountain, but yet vastly different.
At the summit I was greeted by towers, large and small, scattered across the top, much like toy soldiers in a battle. For every tower there is a “shed”, further cluttering the landscape. Made from wood, concrete block, and prefabricated, they are apparently built for convenience rather than aesthetics. According to a search that I ran on “Antenna Search”, there are 77 antennas located on Buckhorn Mountain. Many of these antennas are grouped onto one tower. I was able to observe at least 10 freestanding towers, and the report stated they range from 120-150 feet in height. The largest tower was perhaps the most striking of them all. With its huge support building, chain link fence topped with coils of barbed wire, and the tower itself lined with antennas, I dubbed it the “Beast”. Look closely at the photo in the slideshow and you will see the beauty that this tower hides from view.
The Larimer County Commissioners and the Sheriff’s office have stated that the Middle Bald Mountain tower is for “governmental operations” only. But yet, when the first scoping request was placed by the Forest Service in 2006, there was a prospectus included by the Forest Service asking for interest by cellular, television, and other types of providers. The running of power to the summit of Middle Bald Mountain will open the pathway for further development, despite the claims of the county.
The placement of a tower on Middle Bald Mountain will destroy the ONLY alpine tundra in the Colorado Laramie Mountain Range. Unlike Buckhorn Mountain, which is montane, it will take hundreds of years, if ever, for the summit to repair itself. You cannot “re-seed” or replace alpine tundra and once scarred it will never be the same. The tower will be seen from near and afar, and Middle Bald will never again be our beautiful guardian of the Red Feather valley. As such, I ask you – Is THIS what you want for Middle Bald Mountain?