Wind Towers Maine’s New Tourist Attraction

Who knew that wind towers would be a tourist attraction? Step aside lobsters and moose!

The first time Linda and I saw wind towers we were in upstate New York, headed to Colgate University to visit our daughter. I pulled off the highway and gaped. They were quite a site.

My first view of wind towers in Maine came on a trip to one of our favorite get-a-way places, First Settlers Lodge in Danforth. All of a sudden, there they were, to our left and to our right. Honestly, we thought they were beautiful. We even drove out the access road that runs alongside the towers, to see more of them.

Later, I returned to write a story about all the ways the local community was benefiting from First Wind’s Stetson Mountain Project. I illustrated the story with a photo of high school students running across First Wind’s land and past their towers in the student’s annual Adventure Race hosted by the East Grand school system.

Now, Maine snowmobilers have discovered the allure of wind towers. First Wind, working with local snowmobile clubs and the Maine Snowmobile Association, has linked its wind towers in a 590-mile circuit through some beautiful Maine country.

More than 200 snowmobilers participated in this year’s Stetson Wind Snowmobile Ride-In On February 16 including Carolann Ouellette, Director of the Maine Tourism Commission. Carolann knows a tourist attraction when she sees one! Everyone is hoping to help local businesses by directing the trails past many of First Wind’s 55 wind turbines.

Neil Kiley, Director of Development in New England for First Wind, reported, “We routinely hear from snowmobilers and ATV users that the first three questions heard from visitors to towns located near wind projects are Where is the Gas? Where is the Food? And How do I get to the wind farm?”

Bob Meyers, Executive Director of the Maine Snowmobile Association, who participated in the ride-in, expressed his enthusiasm by saying, “The ride into a wind project like this is fun for everyone, and we appreciate businesses in Maine like First Wind that open their projects up to snowmobilers.” Meyers said he’s working on a statewide wind farm trail system.

The only question I have is this. Did they see any moose?

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. George also hosts, with Harry Vanderweide, a TV talk show called Wildfire, now in its 13th year and focused on hunting, fishing, environmental, and conservation issues. The show is owned and produced by Maine Audubon and seen on its website as well as on the Time Warner cable TV station throughout the state.