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Transmission Recreation

Present, Potentially Affected

The Recreation and Public Purposes Act (RPPA) (68 Statute 173; 43 U.S.C. 869 et. seq.) enables the sale of public lands for public recreation. These lands do not include, “national forests, national parks and monuments, national wildlife refuges, Indian lands, and acquired lands.” Recreation activities on public lands are also recognized in the Federal Land Policy Management Act (FLPMA) (P.L. 94-579) under the multiple use clause. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages lands covered under FLPMA and appointed by the Secretary of the Interior.


Recreation Impacts & Mitigation

Transmission lines primarily pose visual and aesthetic impacts to recreationalists, while causing low impacts to other categories. Categories include impacts to usage, traffic, noise, and fugitive dust. In addition, seasonal recreation usage may be inhibited by construction activities or new provisions set by the transmission line or substations. Construction traffic may increase during development activities causing bottlenecks to recreationalist parking and access. This may also impact noise and disrupt pristine outdoor experiences.. Typical mitigation measures include:


  • Tower and counterpoise installation, tower footings, new access roads, temporary pulling/tensioning sites, and fiber optic wood poles may inhibit natural beauty viewing, therefore, situate structures outside park boundaries, realign access roads with the right-of way centerline, avoid recreation areas, and follow land contours.


  • Winter activities such as snowmobiling require plowed roads to access recreation areas. To mitigate snowy roads, plow roads with minimum length and width parameters and concentrate plowing durations.
  • Install signs indicating when recreationalists enter and exit site areas; and when transmission lines or piping is nearby. This avoids property line ambiguity, especially when snow has accrued.
  • Disclose the acres impacted and whether or not the area will be temporarily impacted to inform users of new trail closures and restricted activities.


  • To mitigate recreationalist traffic bottlenecks, plan oversized vehicles pickup and drop offs outside of peak road usage.
  • Encourage employee carpooling and off-site vehicle parking.

Noise and fugitive dust

  • Construction can cause short-term disturbance to recreationalists and the wildlife that inhabits these areas. Noise abatement techniques include installing mufflers on all motorized equipment and buffers between metal equipment.
  • Water down unpaved roads at the construction site to mitigate fugitive dust particles.


Site security

  • This also increases the risk of site trespassing and vandalized equipment. To mitigate site risks, enclose the construction site’s perimeter with fencing, install a security system, and after hours lighting.