AT&T has completed a 450-foot tall communications tower just outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
AT&T spokesman Alex Carey tells Minnesota Public Radio (http://bit.ly/YTISMz ) the tower will be operational this summer. It replaces a shorter tower and increases the availability and reliability of mobile phone service in the BWCA near Ely. Visitors within range will be able to report accidents and summon medical help.
The Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness had argued the tall tower's flashing lights would harm scenic views in a federally designated wilderness. A trial court agreed, but the Minnesota Court of Appeals overturned that decision last summer, and the Minnesota Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
The group's executive director, Paul Danicic, says AT&T could have reached almost the same area with a shorter tower.