Help Us Stop High-Voltage Power Lines Over Pemi!

Artist’s rendering

Dear Pemi Family,

Last fall, the Fauver and Reed families learned of a proposal to run a high-voltage direct-current transmission line from the Canadian border down through New Hampshire to southern New England.  The project, as well as the coalition of corporations proposing it, is called Northern Pass.  While the reasons why any such transmission line is a bad idea would fill many pages, this became very personal when we discovered that the preferred route would slash through the heart of the White Mountain National Forest, and the alternate route would cut directly across the head of Lower Baker Pond, up over Pemi Hill, and eventually through the heart of Al and Bertha Fauver’s home farm in Plymouth. This map and the one at the bottom illustrate the routes.

Our first step was to put together a committee of Pemi board members to identify our resources and to brainstorm how best to bring these resources to bear against this proposal. The first resource we identified, and it didn’t take but a split second, was the hundreds of loyal and passionate alumni who have spent some of their most formative, impressionable summers in the iconic New Hampshire landscape and its rich natural environment.

So we are reaching out to you. Whatever your reasons may be–whether you lament the contamination of our visual landscape or fear that hundreds of acres of prime wildlife habitat might be destroyed; whether you philosophically oppose importing more power from another country or abhor the idea of slashing a transmission line the length of the White Mountain National Forest (including the end of Lower Baker Pond and up Pemi Hill); or whether you cannot fathom using 19th-century technology to solve a 21st-century challenge—whatever your reasons may be, please join us and the vast majority of the citizens of New Hampshire, as well as The Nature Conservancy, Conservation Law Foundation, The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and the Sierra Club in opposing this project as currently designed.

Northern Pass has several permitting hurdles to leap. The first is to get a Presidential Permit to cross the international border with Canada.  The Department of Energy (DOE) is currently holding hearings to take public input on matters that will affect the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) required as part of the Presidential Permit evaluation process. The EIS covers environmental, economic and social impacts. DOE will also receive written comments until April 12, 2011.

Here are some things you can do:

–Learn about the project by visiting some of these websites:

–Send your written comments to:

Mr. Brian Mills
Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE-20)
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20585
Or, contact him via email: [email protected]

–Call any of the organizations listed above, and volunteer your time and expertise

–Contribute to the war chests of these organizations



The Pemi Board is united and is marching boldly into the fray. We will be proud to have you at our side!

Our deepest thanks,

Fred Fauver
for the Camp Pemigewassett Board of Directors
[email protected]



The route of the entire project is shown below. Click here to see these maps in greater detail and to access maps of 46 individual cities and towns affected by this proposed project.

Summer Reading

The American Camp Association has just launched “Explore 30,” a program designed for camp communities to address the issue of summer learning loss by encouraging reading while at summer camp. It will come as no surprise to those of you familiar with Pemi’s daily schedule, traditions, and even facilities, that the Pemi ethos has long valued and supported the practice of reading. From time set aside—daily rest hour, self-scheduled afternoons, bedtime—to a well-stocked library, to a 250-page “summer’s record” publication mailed annually to each community member, we like to think that Pemi has played a role in cultivating for many a boy a lifelong habit of reading.

Tom Reed, Jr., Professor of English at Dickinson College and a Pemi director, takes a look at the cherished ritual of “reading after taps.”

For as long as I can recall – thinking back over a half century as a camper and on staff – one of the most winning aspects of Pemi’s bedtime ritual finds the counselor reading to his cabin after lights-out. The practice likely goes back to the very first years of camp, when the stories would have come from Booth Tarkington or Horatio Alger and not, as in my own early days, from the Hardy Boys or, more recently, Harry Potter or Lemony Snickett.

There’s never any trouble getting younger campers to buy into the practice. So keen are most to recreate with their new “family” the rites of their real homes that a clever counselor can often get his charges into bed and quiet even before the bugle sounds “Taps.” He simply promises to begin the reading as soon as all teeth are brushed and everyone’s clambered into their bunks, lowered their mosquito nets, and pulled their covers up to their chins.  Older boys – maybe on the 13-14 cusp – may appear to need some convincing: being read to might imply that they were still as young as the rapt listener in The Princess Bride, which might not be cool. Then again . . . ! So, we recommend that even our Upper Intermediate counselors at least try reading for the first week – and the majority of cabins seem more than happy to lock in for the duration. Seniors? They are privileged to chat quietly for a while after Taps has blown, and then to read quietly to themselves until ten o’clock or so – or until the rewarding labors of a long day take their sweet toll and they drop off one by one.  I honestly recall, though, being a Senior for the first time and secretly missing what can be among the richest communal moments at camp:

You’ve all had a remarkably active day and, after the mad rush of getting ready for bed, almost all of you are securely tucked-in. Maybe one boy is a little late getting back from the washroom, and you remind him (amiably, we hope) that he should hurry so the story can resume. Or maybe it’s been a rainy day, and you’ve all been in the cabin for an hour, but it’s still incredibly comforting to slip into the double cocoon of bug-net and bed and, as the raindrops pat evenly on the roof above, wait while your counselor switches off the overhead light, walks back to his bed, props himself up against the wall, flips on his headlamp, and opens “the book.”  A hush throughout – and he begins.

Some counselors read better than others. I recall having a Scottish counselor in one of my cabins who made Tom Sawyer sound like a Robert Burns poem. Some books are better than others. I can also recall a cabin mutiny when one of those ponderous James Fennimore Cooper novels got off to a such a slow start that we had to convince our counselor to switch to a (carefully censored!) reading of From Russia with Love. But both reader and reading matter quickly fall into the patterns of soothing routine, and one of the more fleeting but memorable parts of the cabin experience takes off for the summer.

It’s a little like a campfire, but you’re safely in bed. The light cast by the counselor’s headlamp dances on the rafters almost like firelight, as his head turns ever so slightly to follow the words – or he looks up to see a Luna moth attracted to the illuminated page. Sometimes, a boy who drifted off prior to last night’s conclusion will need an update – but the boys are normally right back up to speed with no need for a reminder. If the story is gripping, as it usually is, one or another of you may be tempted to read ahead at rest hour, say. But tempting as this may be, it’s not really how it’s done at Pemi. We’re all in it together, be it Tecumseh Day, four-day hikes, or nightly reading. And to quiet down and listen raptly and all advance together under the spell of an engaging fable is one of the dependable if simple pleasures of our communal life. Fifteen or twenty minutes, a chapter or two. We may want more. Then again, it’s been a tiring day – and if we move too quickly through the book, it will soon be over. That would be too bad.

This is of course all wise and good in a developmental sense. What could be better, amidst the full-bore active life, than to pay this regular attention to the life of the mind and of the imagination? It’s also (as you all clearly realize) a terrific way to quiet the lively masses for the night, something dearly appreciated by those staff who will monitor the cabin areas on “Night Patrol.” But if it’s a smart and practical thing to do, it’s also spiritually unifying. Whatever our days have involved, whatever trials or successes or irritations or joys, everyone in the cabin is carried along together in the momentum of carefully crafted words, offered by an “older brother” who is tuned in to the common welfare in a comfortingly dependable way.

More evenings than I can say, as I and a few senior staff stand on the Intermediate Hill or in the Junior Camp after the bugle has blown, I’ll walk down the line of cabins as the last glow leaves the western sky and a thousand stars brighten. I move from one voice to the next, one soft and another louder, one British and one with a Louisville twang, one reading a timeless tale of Poe, another a Roald Dahl. Passing by each porch, I can feel the power of every story, weaving the listeners closer by the moment. Tomorrow, they’ll rush off in their own directions. There may even be squabbles about who has to carry the trash all the way to the recycling area today. But for these hushed moments, something magical happens. It’s hard to pull away.

–Tom Reed, Jr.