New Cell Tower Frustrates West Glacier Business

Local raft company says they feel 'defeated'

By Justin Franz
New cell tower off Belton Stage Road. Contributed Photo.

A new cell tower in West Glacier is irking neighbors who say it’s detracting from the scenic beauty of Glacier National Park’s western entrance.

In September, the Flathead County Board of Adjustments approved a plan to construct a cell tower near Belton Stage Road in West Glacier. The tower was constructed soon after and has been made to look like a pine tree, albeit one that is significantly taller than anything else in the surrounding area. A similar cell tower has been constructed along Edgewood Drive in Whitefish.

Over the summer, a number of residents came out against the installation of the tower, which was constructed by Clearview Tower II LLC, a New Jersey-based company. Despite the opposition, the board approved the construction in a 3-2 vote on Sept. 4. At the time, local first responders backed the construction of the tower because it would increase cell service, which they argued would benefit public safety.

But Cathi Kessler Beers, wedding venue coordinator at Great Northern Whitewater Raft and Resort, said the new cell tower is an eyesore that detracts from the surrounding landscape. The tower is located near the resort along U.S. Highway 2, just west of the West Glacier village. She was one of a number of people to oppose the tower and is frustrated that it was built.

“We just didn’t have the money to fight this and we really feel defeated,” she said.

Kessler Beers said that she is particularly worried that more cell towers will be built in the surrounding area.

“How will we ever stop other cell towers if this one was built despite so much opposition,” she said.

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