Fake tree dubbed Frankenpine

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Modern technology could alter a pristine Adirondack landscape that's captivated artists for more than a century.

Nextel Partners is proposing a 35-metre tower to provide cellular phone service for its customers along the eastern part of Lake George, including an area known as the Million Dollar Beach.

The tower would be painted brown, with fake branches attached to camouflage it as a white pine, even though it would be nine metres taller than any surrounding tree.

"We think this will be very unobtrusive," said Michael Rapp of Nextel, based in Kirkland, Wash. "The mountain continues to climb up and it will blend into that background."

But critics are dubbing the faux tree "Frankenpine." The tower would soar from a forested peninsula known as Pilot Knob in the town of Fort Ann up Buck Mountain, a subject painted by Georgia O'Keefe and others in works hanging in galleries from Manhattan to Washington, D.C.

"Placing a steel and plastic cell tower above the tops of every tree in the forest on Pilot Knob would be like painting a beard and moustache on the Mona Lisa," said Brian Houseal of the Adirondack Council, an environmental group. "The landscape around Pilot Knob is an American icon."

Hearings are being held on the matter and authorities won't vote on it before September.


Informant: Gotemf

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