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.

22 thoughts on “Help Us Stop High-Voltage Power Lines Over Pemi!

  1. To me, the Northern Pass Alternate Route is ghastly. It would take away a significant amount of the enjoyment of the pristine area that was there when I was at Camp Pemi in the 1940’s, and that has been preserved ever since. If this route is used, it will detract a great deal from the camping experience, and will keep the campers from having the lifetime of wonderful memories of the beauty of the area that I have been privileged to have. I am not a nut “tree hugger,” but in some cases such as this one, as they say, “enough is enough.”

  2. To me, the Northern Pass Alternate Route is ghastly. It would take away a significant amount of the enjoyment of the pristine area that was there when I was at Camp Pemi in the 1940′s, and that has been preserved ever since. If this route is used, it will detract a great deal from the camping experience, and will keep the campers from having the lifetime of wonderful memories of the beauty of the area that I have been privileged to have. I am not a nut “tree hugger,” but in some cases such as this one, as they say, “enough is enough.”

  3. I would rather see a nuclear power plant built on the lakefront of Camp Pemigewassett’s Junior Camp before they initiate the construction of ugly, electrically-inefficient, high-voltage powerlines (aka Northern Pass Alternate Route project) through one of the most scenic, mountainous and environmentally sensitive areas in New England. Why not construct the powerlines over federal interstates where access can assuredly be gained by the Authorities (both physically from an equipment standpoint and for property rights access without the need to rape the landscape of trees along a vast linear corridor) and the visual and noise impacts related to the construction activities are likely to be no more detrimental to the citizens of New Hampshire than the highway system itself? Additionally, the powerlines would be in the valleys or near the base of the mountains on relatively flat and already cleared land that would surely be more economical to develop than the heavy timbered White Mountains. The powerlines would also be below the line of sight by those who live, hike and frequent the rolling landscape in the state…unless their goal is to clear cut the trees as part of financing this project…very sneaky and disturbing objectives on their part if this is necessary to implement and fund the project plans. I strongly encourage the White Mountains residents and countless visitors and vacationers of New Hampshire to quickly and collectively respond to this poorly thought out and designed pre-construction plan before irreversible damage is incurred by many and for generations to come.

  4. How preposterous!!! Outrageous! There is already a power line corridor in place just three or four miles down 25-A. Why not use that???

  5. Please don’t think that resistance to this terrible plan is another example of the Not-In-My-Backyard syndrome. The project, billed as “clean energy” will effectively kill multiple river systems in Canada. The damage caused to New Hampshire alone should be enough to derail this project, but if that weren’t enough, a huge swath of territory in Canada will be sacrificed to provide energy to Southern New England that is anything but sustainable.

    Thank you for putting together these materials, Fred, and thanks for spreading the word.

  6. Has Camp Pemi ever considered doing a conservation easement on its undeveloped acreage? You will notice from the Northern Pass maps that they go out of their way to avoid conserved properties (you could partner with an organization like the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests). Also, having a partner like SPNHF would be helpful if you ever have to fight the use of eminent domain. If you ever need the help of the Orford Planning Board please let me know.

    One last thought, don’t forget to get NH friends and alumni to contact the Governor Lynch’s office.

  7. A few years ago, Andy, Al suggested putting most of Pemi’s land under conservation, but we decided not to because there really was no chance that Pemi would be subjected to development pressure for decades, if ever. As you know, there is very little developable land at Pemi beyond the actual camp area. Who could have foreseen the current threat?

    The matter of taking conservation land for private gain is hot in Concord (and all along the corridor) right now, because as I understand it, that is prohibited by NH statute. This could change, if a bill recently introduced in the NH legislature to classify Northern Pass as a public utility passes.

    In any event, if putting Pemi’s land under conservation will effectively block the alternate route, believe you me, we’ll be right on it. Where can we get a good reading on the future of such a strategy?

  8. I’m guessing that the “artist’s rendering” above is quite modest. Single pole wooden poles sound unlikely, and large, steel truss towers sound more likely for a significant transmission project like this.

    I’m with Robbie J above, wondering about the inefficiencies of this kind of construction vs. established corridors. Perhaps this is because of issues inherent to DC transmission. But with all the highways around, and the challenges of maintenance in the mountains, there has to be a better way. Thus, there may be an excellent, cost/waste/engineering argument against this corridor. I hope so.

  9. I just got back from vacation today to find the Camp Pemi emails on this imminent disaster. I cannot believe this is happening. My stomach turned over as I was reading the details. I am already composing my letter to Mr. Mills and plan to do more research on the various web sites mentioned before mailing it off. I will also be sending money to various organizations. God help us; what a mess!

  10. High voltage power lines over Pemi is unhealthy , unconscionable as well as appalling.
    I am happy to be a part of any solution to stop this. Regards to all.

  11. My son Max went to Pemi for many years and I can’t imagine something so hideous as those power lines destroying the landscape. Is there no sense of protecting the beautiful environment that exists there? The utilities have the money, and they tax the consumers to boot. PLACE the wires underground!
    Jim Paymar

  12. Our son Daniel is a longtime Pemi camper, counselor, and devoted alum. We visited Dan at Pemi countless times and are appalled that power lines would run thru the camp’s pristine and bucolic landscape. It is long past time that we stop despoiling the land with wires above ground. Yes, put them underground!

  13. Orange County NY residents had a similar plan proposed to bring power from Canada to Westchester County using rural area’s in Orange County as a preferred path, local citizens formed a “stop the line” coalition, which seemed to work, the line was eventually dropped!

  14. Fauver’s and Reeds: I believe Senator Blumenthal from CT had children who attended Pemi. You might consider contacting him in DC.I will also be passing this onto my friends at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to alert them to this awful idea.

    Eric Kampmann

  15. I also have transmission lines cutting through my NH lakeside property that services a dam on the winnepesaukee river. They also wanted to run the Rt. 3 bypass through my property and even surveyed it, but fortunately it was stopped.
    I’ll write what letters I can in support of stopping your power lines. If the lines do eventually get built I can point to one possible positive outcome. On my power pole, a pair of osprey built the first nest in 40 years in NH’s Lakes Region. PSNH then built them a platform on top. We’ve produced 2 to 3 chicks every year since, populating the Lakes Region with a continuing supply of new osprey (pics at….good luck, steve

  16. Having high voltage power lines going over Pemi is no only an accident waiting to happen, it is an electrical hazard waiting to happen. If a storm ocurred, and one of the power lines came down. That can start an electrical forest fire in a heart beat. I hope this doesn’t happen, Pemi is the last place on earth I want to see in harms way.

  17. I have written DOE urging it to reconsider the charted right of way for Northern Pass–and also challenging DOE to explore burying the lines since this must be cheaper de novo than it would be to retro-bury same or bury in an urban fabric.

  18. The New Hampshire House recently passed a bill which would prohibit the seizure of private land in the state for the likes of Northern Pass.

    The bill shortly goes to the Senate.

    Please consider e-mailing the 24 senators with your customized version of the following letter. Their e-mail addresses, with live links, can be found at

    Thank you for helping to preserve our treasured local environment.

    Here’s the template:

    Dear Senator,

    I am writing to ask you to support New Hampshire House Bill 648 when it reaches you in the Senate. This bill can be an important tool in fighting Northern Pass, a project that has little if any support from the citizens of this state.

    It is unjustifiable that private land and other private property could be taken from New Hampshire citizens through eminent domain simply for a project that will return little if any benefit at all to the state. That this same project would be devastating to the livelihoods of many of the state’s residents and to the state’s spectacular natural environment will only magnify the tragedy.

    Please give your support to this bill as well as to all other efforts to defeat Northern Pass.

    Your Name
    Camp Pemigewassett
    Wentworth, New Hampshire

  19. As a former camper and the father of one former and another future camper, I was moved – revolted may be a more accurate term – by the thought of Lower Baker being visually fenced in by power lines.

    You may want to look into the Trust for Public Lands, a not for profit entity charged with acquiring lands for public use, such as parks, and conservation – see: They have successfully acquired and protected lands across the US, including Puerto Rico.

    Guillermo R. Picó
    San Juan, Puerto Rico

  20. Tom– I would like to write your letter, but do I have any “clout” as a New Hampshire non-resident?
    Meantime, I am sending the news to my cousin Tupper Kinder who is a lawyer in Manchester.

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