Last winter a group of us stayed overnight at the Appalachian Mountain Club cabin on Mt. Cardigan. The “High cabin” is located about two miles up a meandering trail through the woods and sits about a half mile from the summit of the mountain. This being a winter trek, we all had mini crampons, hefty packs and a few sleds to bring firewood for the cabin wood stove.
The snowy trail eventually brought us to a clearing in the trees where we could take in a view of the valley below and have a quick respite for the last push to the cabin. Much to my dismay, the vista we had been waiting for was obscured by a row of tall wind turbines spaced along the distant ridge line.
Here we were, in the middle of Mt Cardigan State Park, a little escape from the civilization below, and the first good view we encounter is a line of man-made winged monoliths, spinning in the distance. In my opinion, these turbines are a blight on this state’s beautiful landscape.
The abundance of unspoiled scenery is what makes New Hampshire so special. I also understand that these wind farms have proven very deleterious to bats and birds, including hawks and eagles. These birds soar and ride the winds and air currents along the high ridge lines and encounter these spinning blades while hunting food. I read last week that the federal government authorized 30-year permits for some wind farms that basically absolve them from killing protected bird species.
I think New Hampshire and the whole nation should take a very close look at this energy source. These wind towers present a serious blot on the landscape, and the electricity they produce is not worth the damage to the scenic beauty of the country or the toll on our wildlife.
To give some perspective of the size of these industrial wind turbines, they can be as tall as 454 feet, with a blade span up to 318 feet. In comparison, a Boeing 747 has a wing span of 211 feet.
Currently there are plans to erect about 96 of these whirlwind generators in the Newfound Lake region of New Hampshire. They will surround towns such as Alexandria, Hebron, Rumney, Ashland, as well as Plymouth, which already has some. I believe most of these wind tower companies are foreign and are perhaps more interested in the tax credits and subsidies (profits) than the quality of life of the people who will live beneath these gyrating behemoths.
While I believe in renewable energy, I don’t think the government should pick and choose the winners in this game. Without the funds from the treasury of the United States in this aggressive renewable energy campaign, I seriously doubt we would be debating this issue.
New Hampshire is best known for the Old Man of the Mountain profile, which brought countless visitors to Its White Mountains to behold this incredible, natural formation. Unfortunately, it came to rest in an untimely collapse on May 3, 2003. If this wind project goes through, the ridges and hills of this beautiful state will be marred by the scene of, not natural beauty, but multitudes of huge, artificial, wind generators. In addition, the thought of majestic birds of prey, including the symbol of our great country, the American bald eagle, meeting their demise from these spinning giants is a disgrace.
I do not think this outcome is best for our tourism industry, which is the lifeblood of many Granite Staters.
Sean Kenneally is a respiratory therapist from Meredith.