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Save the Boundary Waters From Cell Towers Letter Writing Campaign

Sunset over Ottertrack Lake. Canada is on the left and U.S. on the right.

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) is one of only two federally designation canoe wilderness areas in the United States of America. It’s also America’s most used federally designated wilderness area, an area that Americans set aside to protect and preserve under two separate pieces of bipartisan federal legislation. It consists over 1,000 lakes connected by portage trails within a million acres of roadless wilderness. It also has primitive campsites that allow canoeists the possibility of paddling for a month without seeing anything man-made intruding.

Aldo Leopold argued that outdoor recreation is valuable directly proportional to the experience’s intensity, and “to the degree to which it differs from and contrasts with workaday life.” And it’s this reason that the BWCA should remain in it’s current state without having anything new intrude on it. Americans should have the possibility to experience an area in a primitive state — a place without modern infrastructure and without modern conveniences.

Unfortunately, AT&T wants to build a 450-foot cell phone tower that will intrude on the scenery of the BWCA. The Friends of the Boundary Waters attempted to stop the tower in court, but eventually lost the battle. You can read more about the history of the court battle on the Friend’s BWCA Cell Tower page. Because of this loss, it’s now up to AT&T to stop building the tower.

The American people set aside the BWCA in bipartisan agreements as something that the people of the US valued, something to deliver to future generations years from now in the same state as it is now. And it’s now up to AT&T, an American company, to stand up for the same values that Americas stand up for, especially Minnesotans, who value strong environmental stewardship. It shouldn’t tarnish this treasure, only one of two in the United States, by building a cell tower that would ruin the rustic scenic beauty of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

To that end, AT&T need to hear from you. The Friends are starting a letter writing campaign and you should write a letter right now, because if AT&T doesn’t here about wilderness values, they might not understand the damage that they are doing to the America phycy and the damage that they’re causing future American citizen 100s of years into the future.

In 1916, President Theodore Roosevelt said (see my essay When They Want to Take Away Wilderness for more details):

Defenders of the short-sighted men who in their greed and selfishness will, if permitted, rob our country of half its charm by their reckless extermination of all useful and beautiful wild things sometimes seek to champion them by saying the ‘the game belongs to the people.’ So it does; and not merely to the people now alive, but to the unborn people. The ‘greatest good for the greatest number’ applies to the number within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction. Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations. The movement for the conservation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method.

Roosevelt also said:

There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country.

It’s important that AT&T understand this. Please, write a letter today.

Letter Writing Campaign:  To be most effective, we ask that you write letters to Bob Bass at AT&T in Minnesota by September 21, 2012.  Letters to him after this time are still important, but a coordinated letter writing effort over the next 10 days will have more impact.

Points to consider making in your own words. Or just write what you feel.

  • Focus on AT&T’s corporate social responsibility to act ethically, to not tarnish America’s treasured landscapes with its towers, and tread carefully and respectfully when coming into communities that have special or sacred places like the BWCA Wilderness. Do the right thing, leave the existing tower up. Building the 450′ tower is directly contrary to Minnesota’s values of environmental stewardship.
  • AT&T Now has a choice. If they choose to build a tower that will mar the ” protected” scenic wild places of Minnesota AT&T will forever be know as having championed the precedent of little by little, tower by tower, eroding the scenic resources of our beautiful state.
  • AT&T’s assertion that the taller tower will enhance public safety is false. There is no meaningful difference in coverage for residents of BWCA visitors between the existing tower and the 450′. AT&T has misled the public on this issue.
  • Not one additional residence will be served by the taller tower for outdoor 911 coverage.

Send your letter to

One of these AT&T Addresses  – Send to Bob Bass, President, AT&T Minnesota External and Legislative Affairs

733 Marquette Ave #215
Minneapolis, MN 55402
(612) 341-3849


1945 Southdale Center #480
Edina, MN 55435
Southdale Shopping Center
(952) 920-8451


3001 Hennepin Avenue #1160
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 825-4292


Bob Bass’ Linked in Page:


Copy your AT&T letter to

Star Tribune
Jon Tevlin or Josephine Marcotty
425 Portland Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55488


St Paul Pioneer Press
Dennis Lien
345 Cedar Street, St. Paul, MN 55101


Additionally you may submit a letter to the editor:

Star Tribune:


Pioneer Press:
By mail: Pioneer Press, 345 Cedar Street, St. Paul, MN 55101
By fax: (651) 228-5564.
By e-mail:’


Petition:  A concerned BWCA lover started a petition at  You may sign this petition and share it with others through Facebook or email.

Thank you for your concern on this issue and your action!

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