Kirkwood Power Line
Note: An in depth article on the Kirkwood power line proposal can be found in the Summer 2009 Snowlands Bulletin.
Two of the three proposed routes for a power line that would provide for future expansion at Kirkwood Meadows and a cleaner replacement for existing power would cut a swath through the high country along Highway 88 to the west of Kirkwood Ski Resort. Snowlands Network opposes any alternative that includes above ground power transmission lines except for where the transmission towers already exist.
The three proposed alternatives are:
- Carson Spur Alternative – This is the only acceptable alternative because it would be completely below ground except in the location of an existing power line. It is the most expensive to construct.
- Long Valley Alternative – This alternative imposes the heaviest impacts on the scenic beauty and wilderness values of the area. The above ground power lines would essentially run along the boundary of the Mokelumne Wilderness and then cut a swath up Thunder Mountain to the west of Kirkwood.
- Silver Lake North Alternative – This alternative eliminates much of the above-ground impacts of the Long Valley Alternative, but leaves the most damaging scar, the 40- to 80-foot-wide cleared swath up Thunder Mountain.
Snowlands Network agrees that replacing “dirty” diesel-generated electricity with “grid power” makes sense, but only if the impact on the environment and forest visitors do not outweigh the benefits. Determining the tradeoff between pollution from electric generation and harm to the environment must be done with the environment and forest visitors’ priorities coming before that of the Kirkwood community.
Snowlands Network will continue to monitor this issue.