Initially, we went in there in the mid 80’s – can’t remember for whom as the ownership of the projects changed hands a couple of times – and followed the trails to the summits. There were hiking trails and a forest road that seems to have gone right over the mountain ridge to the Mass. side. At the summits, three, I think, we cut the trees (about 1/2 acre each site) for the met towers. I remember discussions about the canopy being opened on the summits like that, the thought being that without a contiguous canopy, the trees bordering the clear cuts would not have the support of the other trees and be prone to falling inward. As I recall, over the 8 years we took wind data, that did not happen.
In winter we took snowmobiles (often I did this alone) to gather the data chips each month, and at a high point of the declivity that enabled access I left the snowmobile and continued on snowshoes or skis. Sometimes there was evidence of others exploring the mountans, sometimes not.
The trails were pretty good, though, and, though not heavily traveled as they are on Snake Mountain, for example, they were obviously used. It was a recreational area.
So it went. Then in ’95 they put the turbines in. That was sad. The trails were blasted for roads. The area became unrecognizable. It resembled a wasteland with the ancient rock exposed. Cordage from the blasting (“det-cord” I believe it’s called) was strewn all over the place and the newly exposed rock was everywhere. A mess. A moon-scape.
The next time I saw it, the towers were up. In a messy, bulldozed section to the north of the main road there was a guyed lattice tower set up as a meteorological tower. I instrumented that tower. It’s about 120 ft. tall.
As far as I know now (telephone conversation with Green Mountain Power) the area is no longer a recreational site. It is off-limits to recreational visitors. There is a chainlink fence and a gate at the bottom of the main access road. The fence seems to extend into the woods. I don’t know if it goes farther in or around the entire site. Hard to imagine but possible, I suppose. It looked as though hunters used to go in there in the fall and I believe that’s no longer allowed.
There were a number of wetlands up in there, especially in the top of the declivity between knolls on which the test towers were erected. I think those wetlands are gone but I don’t know. I never went that far in after they started blasting for the roads. I’ll bet those wet areas were on topos and could be seen to be either there or gone now.
I was working for NRG Systems at the time I visited and worked in there. As far as I knew we had the data and I suspect they still might somewhere.
Feb. 20, 2007