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Frankenpine is the name given to a cell phone tower that is camouflaged to resemble a pine tree. Efforts to disguise the steel tower include painting its base brown and attaching fake branches to it.
The term Frankenpine first garnered public attention in 2004 when the Adirondack Council, a nonprofit organization working to protect the Adirondack Park, gave a proposed tower this name.
Located in northeast New York, Adirondack Park is a publicly protected area and the largest National Historic Landmark. The area is overseen by the state Adirondack Park Agency (APA), which at that time, approved a permit for Nextel Partners Inc. to erect a 114-foot tower tapering up from a 7-foot-wide base. Part of Nextel’s proposal was for the tower to be shaped and camouflaged as a pine tree so that it would blend in with the forested area of the park where it was to be built.
However, members of the Adirondack Council opposed the APA’s decision and pointed out that a disguised cell tower still would “not look like any tree on this planet,” thus giving rise to the term Frankenpine.
To date, these faux trees, which have taken the form not only of pine trees but also of Douglas firs and palm trees, can be found across the United States. The cost of building a Frankenpine is estimated to be in the range of $40,000 to $100,000, or 10 times the cost of building a normal cell tower.