Proposed sites of wind turbines in Mason County, MI. (right click and view in new window or tab to see full size)
by Joan H. Young
from the Manistee National Forest
The Huron-Manistee National Forest is seeking public comments on a proposed wind turbine project called the White Pines Wind Farm Project. A five-page document can be obtained from Patrica O'Connell. See contact information below.
A brief summary of the points in the document follows:
This project proposes the erection of 20 to 28 wind turbines, each 262 feet high within the Manistee National Forest in the area near the Lake Michigan Recreation Area and just north of Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness. The turbines would generate between 50 and 70 megawatts of power and are estimated to have a life span of 30 years.
In addition to the turbines themselves, the following are components of the project:
1. Approximately nine miles of road reconstruction, and five miles of new roads would be built.
2. Over 40 miles of underground cable would be installed.
3. A step-up transformer would be mounted on the base of each tower.
4. An electrical substation of about 5 acres would be constructed on Morton Road.
5. An above-ground transmission line would be installed to carry the power to the Pere Marquette- Stronach transmission line which already exists to the east of the project area. The right-of-way for this line will be 150 feet.
6. Existing meteoroligical towers which are currently collecting data within the project area would remain in place.
7. Three temporary staging areas would be located for concrete batch mixing, equipment storage, etc. These would be re-vegetated upon completion of construction
8. A second substation on private land would be built where the new transmission line joins the Pere Marquette- Stronach transmission line.
There are two open houses scheduled for public scoping.
1. September 30, 2008 at the Ramada Inn, 4079 W US 10, Ludington. The public is welcome between 4 and 7 pm.
2. October 1, 2008 at the Days Inn, 1462 US 31, Manistee. The public is welcome between 4 and 7 pm.
Comments should be received by the Forest by October 12, 2008. You may comment via the email given below, or by downloading the pdf form and sending it to Patricia O'Connell (address also below).
Commentary by Joan H. Young:
Questions which spring instantly to mind about this project are:
1. Will the turbines be visible from the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness?
2. Will reconstruction of the roads change the back-country character of the area? In particular, Green Road is currently dirt and very pot-holed. Although it is much traveled, there are many unofficial pull-off camping spots on the east side of Nordhouse Dunes. Will improvement of this road increase the incursion of illegal motorized vehicles and promote increased speed by legal vehicles?
3. Will the turbines change the character of the area in the Lake Michigan Recreation Area? Although this is not wilderness, the area certainly projects a wild feeling if one leaves the trail system, and is in many places less trampled than the Nordhouse Wilderness Area.
Contact Patricia O'Connell, Cadillac-Manistee Ranger District, Huron-Manistee National Forest, 412 Red Apple Road, Manistee, MI 49660, 231-723-2211 x 3119,
Comment to email@example.com
Download the White Pines Wind Farm comment form (a pdf)
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See Lake Michigan Recreation Area
See Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness