R & R in the North Country

Stand on the summits of Mooselauke or the peaks on Franconia Ridge, or take the tram up Cannon Mt. and behold the response of people as they arrive at these summits. The sound most often heard is “Oh….” followed by a pause as people totally exhale, relax, and take in sacred space.

At the Cannon Tram station, a huge blackboard invites visitors to sign in their state or country: Holland, China, India, Yugoslavia, Georgia, Indiana, and so many more, in addition to New England residents. The world is well represented on the board.

Here in NH, we have the option to hike through spell binding trails that take us up along powerful waterfalls like the miles that make up Beaver Brook’s spectacular efforts or Falling Waters or Arethusa Falls. It’s a relief to reach high viewing spots and look off at the sea of mountains and small patches of nestled towns. Our state, especially the North country, continues to be a mecca for people to visit from all over the world. In addition to providing sustenance for our tourism industry, it amply renews those who journey here.

Before returning to NH to live, I spent many weekends coming to the mountains from CT and MA to be re-energized after a work week in the metropolitan areas where I lived. As our country and the rest of the world becomes compacted by sheer numbers of people crammed in to its towns and cities, it becomes crucial for us to recognize how essential it is for us to care for the sacred spaces we have to share with the world.

Quebec has essentially allowed its sacred space to be violated and destroyed by Hydro Quebec. It’s free flowing rivers, waterfalls, and wildlife habitat have been forever altered by dikes, dams and reservoirs, despite protests from its citizens. Now Hydro Quebec looks to move in on NH. Last week, they asked the state about crossing the protected Connecticut Lakes Headwaters, underground, so they could connect the $40 million they’ve spent lining up property on either side of the Headwaters. They hope to put in high towers over that forest land they can then connect through the Headwaters. This week, they’ve come up with a plan to bury 8 miles of the lines on public right of ways.

Hydro Quebec has refused to consider burying the WHOLE line down through existing public rights of way, which would mean that the state of NH would collect the rent money, not PSNH. That is the real bottom line.

One way to protect our sacred forest space in NH is to contact Governor Hassan’s office (271-2121) and thank her for her efforts to protect the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters, including no buried lines in the Headwaters that would allow Hydro Quebec to start destroying NH the same way they have destroyed their own province.

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