Windmills and Snow

March 3, 2013 |

AES Windmill Safety Officer, Daniel, photo by Terry Hackney Dec 2010

Just outside of Elkins, along the Laurel Mountain Ridge, the first snowfall covered the trees, and ice coated the historic, and lovely mountain. The landscape of Laurel Mountain was changed this winter as four new windmills were installed just before one of the first snows. Americorps volunteer and photographer, Terry Hackney, visited the AES windmill site with me in December 2010 to take pictures in the snow.

Although much could be said, positive and negative, about the impact on the community and the response that neighbors have had to the $250 million windmill project to install 65 windmills by summer 2011, we went simply to capture the image, quite surreal, of one of the first major snowfalls for the Laurel Mountain windmills. The white windmills, being the same color as the snow and ice, looked nearly invisible against the cloudy skyline. Next to the ice covered trees, their slender edges seemed to have sprung out from the mountains overnight. Our AES tourguide and safety inspector Daniel told us that although the snow has been very difficult for the truckers bringing the blades and motors up the gravel road, and made for some dangerous conditions for laborers, the construction would be continuing all winter as long as the snow is not too bad.

The Laurel Mountain windmills share their ground with an important historic battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Laurel Mountain. After the June 3rd, 1861 battle in Philippi, confederate forces moved South to the base of Laurel Mountain near the road where the new windmill project is being installed. The Confederates were met with 5,000 Union soldiers on June 7th, who attacked and eventually won the battle after five days of fighting.

The new windmills also share Laurel Mountain with a number of wildlife, including black bears, who are hibernating just below the gravel road and the new windmills.

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Category: Blog, Deep Creek Lake to Elkins, Uncategorized

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