The Western Maine mountains are a world-class tourist destination.
Recently, Outside Magazine listed Western Maine as the top winter weekend getaway. What happens to our reputation as Vacationland if we line them with 400-foot-tall wind turbines?
Many respondents in multiple economic studies have stated they are unwilling to visit an area if an industrial wind park is built. A research report prepared in June 2010 supports these findings.
Hikers on Bald Mountain in Woodstock were asked how their enjoyment would be affected if a wind park was close by. One hiker responded he would hike elsewhere, and an-other would rate her positive experience as zero.
As unappealing as it may be to vacation next to a wind park, dozens of Maine families now have to live beside them. Energy companies are refusing to learn from mistakes made in Mars Hill, Vinalhaven and Freedom. In Woodstock, Patriot Renewables hopes to construct a development a meager 2,200 feet from a residential structure and wants to be much closer at property lines. Realiz-ing noise compliance issues, the Maine DEP has asked Patriot to run in Reduced Noise Operations at night. Evidently, sleeping during the day or sell-ing properties at market value should no longer be an option for residents there.
After exploring the potential losses of nature-based tourism and the likely loss of property values, the clear conclusion is that Maine is paying too high a price for mountaintop industrial wind developments.
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