North America

Palouse Falls State Park Improved Radio Coverage

In addition to supporting the daily operations and wildland firefighting efforts of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the DNR Radio Operations program provides services to the Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife and to the Washington State Parks Commission. The statewide radio system supported by DNR Radio Operations is shared with other public-land agencies and with a multitude of local agencies that work with DNR firefighting.

Washington State Parks identified a critical gap in radio coverage at Palouse Falls State Park. The unique geology of the 500-foot deep canyon provides dramatic scenery, a spectacular waterfall, however a a serious challenge for critical radio communications required by park operations, law-enforcement, EMS, and firefighting services.

The project presented three specific challenges

  1. Improve radio coverage at Palouse Falls State Park and the adjacent Lyons Ferry State Park to allow park rangers to communicate with each other and local public safety agencies.
  2. Limited funding was available to support the project.
  3. The solution must have minimal visual and ecological impact.

DNR Radio Operations met the challenge by installing a ballasted radio site that occupies 200 ft.² and operates on solar power. Radio equipment is housed in a compact outdoor cabinet, and the entire structure was painted desert-tan to blend with the surroundings.

Testing showed that the repeater met the coverage challenge; both parks now have radio coverage and a unit 50 miles away was able to access the repeater.

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