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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Transmission line or limber pine?

David McIntyre

Dear Premier Prentice,

The pictured view looks northwest toward the eastern slopes of Alberta's Livingstone Range.


Yesterday afternoon, without really knowing where I was headed, I arrived at an ancient limber pine that, growing from a thrust-faulted alter of sandstone, lies within a spectacular natural sandstone amphitheater.

My wife and I refer to the location as a vision quest site, but it isn't a prehistoric site as far as we know, or can tell, although it affords views of such sites, and of a Serengeti-like landscape - it's drop-dead gorgeous - that's rich in archaeological and paleontological treasures.

Yesterday's footloose escape took me past blooming wildflowers, flocks of migrating birds, parades of mule deer and flocks of displaying wild turkeys. Overhead, an adult golden eagle soared over a cliffside nesting site.

Deer and elk sign covered the rough fescue grasslands, where the season's first emerging Columbian ground squirrels could be seen, and where the skeletal remains of a black bear left me to wonder what had caused the animal's death.

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, … but in another sense, I was looking at them, and the reason for sleepless nights. I was looking at the Crown of the Continent landscape where AltaLink proposes to erect a view-degrading, ecologically-destroying array of overhead transmission lines.

This morning, from my home overlooking Rock Creek on the eastern flanks of the Livingstone Range, I'm viewing, as I write this message, two moose and herds of mule and white-tailed deer. And I can glance up, above my computer screen, to see a large elk herd that, moving slowly, is grazing its way northward.

Within this same view, if AltaLink's $750-million wish comes true, I'll soon look out at - and under and through - approximately 3 km of lattice towers and screaming-in-the-wind transmission lines … all paid for by cash-strapped Albertans.

David McIntyre
ravensview@toughcountry.net

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