Studying the topography of the Allegheny Front and Fore Knobs on a map, I see all the familiar landmarks condensed on one page: Stack Rocks, Red Creek, Helmick Run, Stoney River Dam, Snowy Point, and Saltblock; Little Star and Big Star Runs.
Tracing the lines, I locate the Baker Sods and the Beech Woods and the Weimer Place. My topo map, like the silent, strong outline of the crest of the Allegheny, looks perfectly real and natural. Looking south toward Bear Rocks, the silhouette of red spruce creates visual interest and comfort on the horizon against a blue September sky. To those of us born and raised in the Fore Knobs, this mountain is our home; this is our life. And it always will be changed forever. Regardless, the ongoing traum precipitated on our mountains is hitting hard.
Looking north on the Allegheny Front, the horizon is drastically changed. Giant metal turbine bases, reflecting the sun like a mirror, have become the focal point. And this is only Phase I of the “wind farm”. This is less than 20 of the 200 turbines that are planned across the top of the mountain. A new road across the Front has cut through stands of red spruce and shoved giant lichen covered boulders into piles. Black bear, their homes disturbed, are seen running in the lowlands and valleys to the ease. Bald Eagles at Mount Storm Lake have all but disappeared. And mysterious towers (perhaps for wind monitoring) have sprung up in 2 different places to the south.
Who owns the mountain? Whose land? Do we go Someplace Else?
Maybe we shut our eyes, that may help.
By Donna Cook
Via Friends of Blackwater Canyon: saveblackwater.org
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