The Oregon National Historic Trail is a National Register-eligible historic property. The segment of the historic trail potentially impacted by the development of the Antelope Ridge Wind Farm is a National Register-eligible trail segment located south of the radio facility in Township 13 South, Range 39 East, Section 13. Direct adverse effects on this “high-potential” segment of original Oregon Trail wagon ruts will result from the construction of roads and trenching for utilities servicing five proposed wind turbines.
High-potential sites and segments by definition are also significant for their associated setting. Under the National Trails System Act, high-potential sites and segments must have “historic significance, presence of visible historic remnants, scenic quality and relative freedom from intrusion,” and must have “greater than average scenic values.”
Adequate protection of national historic trails requires more than the protection of ruts and sites. Maintaining the physical integrity of the trail landscape is essential to preserving the overall context of the trails’ history and ensuring a rich and evocative visitor experience.
OAR 345-022-0090 protects the “public interest in preserving places that have historic, cultural or archaeological significance. The standard preserves historic and cultural artifacts and prevents permanent loss of the archaeological record unique to particular sites in the state.”
As stated in Energy Facility Siting Council Standards, the council is to use OR 345-022-0090 as a basis for the evaluation of adverse environmental impacts. Clearly, the potential adverse impacts to the historic trail as a result of the proposed wind farm are irrefutable.
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