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Tragedy at Dolly Sods  

We recently heard from William H. “Marty” Martin, one of our favorite researchers. Marty has been studying the life cycle of the timber rattlesnake for 25 years. He regularly visits several dens that have been in existence on the Allegheny Front for thousands of years – to check on the emergence of snakes in the spring. Marty had been concerned about the possible disruption of the snake dens by the construction of the Ned-Power Industrial Wind Turbines, but he was assured that the dens, located in rock piles, with crevasses going into the earth, would not be disturbed.

When Marty returned to his study site this Spring, this is what he found: “It is finished. There is nothing left to save. The nicest part of the entire Allegheny Front is gone – a victim of mountaintop removal for “green energy.” The center of the study area – what I called the middle knoll where you could look north about 150 meters to Wildcat Rocks– is now a pad for a turbine. This was a globally rare environment– the scrub oak heath barren grading to a red spruce stand on Wildcat Rocks itself.

“As you know, the area was the site of a long-term study on the Timber Rattlesnake (MARTIN. W. H. 2002. Life history constraints on the Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) at its climatic limits. Pp. 285-306 in G. A. Schuett, M. Hoggren, M. E. Douglas, and H. W. Greene (Eds.) Biology of the Vipers, Eagle Mountain, Utah. I have never experienced anything like this. A civilized people would not do this. The maps that I saw showing the location of proposed turbines did not show any turbines on the study sites. To me this a personal 9/11 – millions of years of natural history now destroyed.”

Here at Friends of Blackwater, we oppose the standardless and unregulated siting of industrial wind turbines. Why? Because, as Marty Martin’s story so vividly shows us, without strict regulation of wind turbine siting, the unique ecology of the Allegheny Highlands will be destroyed!

Thank you for your continued support of Friends of Blackwater, as we work to protect all of God’s creatures in the wonderful Highlands of West Virginia.

Friends of Blackwater

July 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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