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Windpower and the GMC (1/03)

At the GMC Board of Directors meeting in September, the Stewardship Committee presented a draft windpower policy for adoption. As you may guess, this is a controversial topic. If you are an Appalachian Trail Conference member, you may have read articles and letters on this issue: how do we balance the impact of windpower on the local environment (the Long Trail) with the benefits of clean energy on our greater environment (the world)?


How do we balance the impact of windpower on the local environment with the benefits of clean energy on our world?


While most of us value sources of clean, sustainable energy, at the same time, we may not want the LT adversely affected by a windpower project. For instance, some towers must be lighted at night to comply with FAA regulations, a significant visual impact near a hiking trail. Wind towers are usually sited on ridges and mountains, places with good wind and good hiking. Due to a windpower project proposal on Little Equinox Mountain, the Board faced resolving conflicting thoughts about windpower and trail protection. The proposed policy stated that the GMC supports the idea of sustainable, clean energy, but our primary mission is to protect the Long Trail. Depending on a project’s proximity to the trail, the GMC may decide to review or oppose it. After much discussion, the Board sent the proposed windpower policy back to the Stewardship Committee for further consideration and revision.

According to Matt Moore, Stewardship Coordinator, the committee met on November 13. Briefly, the revised policy has been clarified and now states that the GMC opposes windpower projects within 500 feet of the LT and within 0.5 mile of the LT system when they pose a significant adverse effect on the system. The GMC may review proposals beyond 0.5 mile.

If you have any comments or would like further information about the policy, contact Deb Brown before January 20, 2003 at 654-7831 or