I own a small, one-room camp located at the height of land on the west side of the Long Falls Dam Road in Highland Plantation in western Somerset County, Maine.
The large industrial wind project proposed for all the mountains and hilltops in Highland Plantation is, of course, for me a personal “not in my backyard” issue. I freely admit that. The impact of enormous wind turbines spinning less than 3,000 feet from my property line will, no doubt, be significant, and my little piece of the Maine woods will be forever changed.
Earlier this year I watched the last episode of the series about our national parks done by noted documentary film maker Ken Burns. Near the end of that final episode, the narrator spoke about the vital and ongoing need for all of us to be vigilant in continuing to protect the treasures that are our national parks from any new threats that might arise, even if it comes long after those parks were initially created.
It occurred to me then as I watched that program and heard that warning, that we have that very situation right now in the state of Maine.
The Bigelow Preserve was created in 1976 to protect and preserve the Bigelow Mountain Range from a development that would have turned it into an “Aspen of the East” type ski resort. The citizens of Maine at that time showed both great wisdom and foresight in supporting a referendum to protect and preserve the incredible natural area that has since become the Bigelow Preserve, now owned by all the people of Maine. It was a decision of which all Mainers can be proud.
That natural treasure, which we voted to protect one generation ago, is once again in jeopardy. Once again the citizens of Maine need to let their voices be heard, and once again step forward and say “no” to a proposal to place a massive industrial wind complex on the very doorstep, and just a few short miles from the southeast corner of the Bigelow Preserve.
Immense wind turbines that would rise more than 400 feet above the mountains and ridgetops of Highland Plantation would be starkly visible all along one of the most spectacular high elevation stretches of the entire Appalachian Trail. This segment of the AT runs atop the Bigelow Mountain Range and includes the peaks of Little Bigelow Mountain, Avery, West and the Horns.
This mountain range is a gem not only of great significance to the state of Maine, but is of national significance as well, being part of the National Scenic Appalachian Trail in our national park system.
The time has come, once again, for this generation of Maine citizens to stand on guard and see that the natural scenic value and beauty of our Bigelow Mountain Range not be substantially diminished.
Daniel Bell lives in Cape Elizabeth.
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