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January 23, 2019

12/24/2018 11:33:00 AM
Embrace Tourism; not Transmission Lines

Dear Editor:
I grew up in Illinois as a Wisconsin tourist. Our family always went "up north" at the end of the summer-specifically during hay fever season. We rented a cabin on a lake for a week or two and swam, fished, hiked, explored, and played in the woods. Last year, seventy -five years later, 110 million tourists come "up north" to do much the same things I did in Wisconsin's rolling dairy land full of streams, ponds, rivers, and Indian mounds. The tourists and locals gradually built what has become a sustainable $1.5 billion dollar tourist industry that contributes sustainably to Wisconsin's growing economy.
I became a permanent resident in Southwest Wisconsin's Driftless Area in 1970, where I taught, and my husband manufactured photovoltaic cells. We built up our beef cattle ranch located 6 miles from the County Court house, right across from Governor Dodge State Park. It was much like living in a vacation complex without the cookie cutter design and the gates. Our infrastructure was appropriate in size and construction for this rural section of the Midwest. We tried to maintain our property to enhance the surrounding natural beauty, by clipping weeds, planting roadside gardens and grasses, painting, restoring our barn, and keeping up fences.
Ultimately we both retired and were able to sell our property and set 70 acres aside with a conservation easement. Never will this land be commercialized in any way; the animals and insects will have free range forever, and tourists will certainly want to come back this way again to explore the rustic roads. During the annual Art Tour they will find my neighbor, a potter, down the lane, they will find a cold beer and great food at Pleasant Ridge Store, and even further down the road, an exceptional 7 generation organic farm "store/stand", and further on, lush pastures for cows that make prize winning cheese.
When friends and relatives come to visit, my home becomes a base camp for tourist-like activities that can include hiking, hunting, swimming, horseback riding, cross country skiing, and fishing and canoeing. I have a thriving bee colony that flies back and forth every summer day to the flower fields of Governor Dodge State Park. My renter practices "no till", and rotational grazing, avoids genetically modified seeds and doesn't use antibiotics for his calves. I use a 17.3kw array of solar panels for waterers and other electrical needs
No, I don't want a transmission line like ATC's Cardinal Hickory Creek anywhere near my home in the Drift less Area of Southwest Wisconsin. It's not needed, it's unsightly, and it's unsustainable and ecologically destructive and costly. Ask any tourist you find, and they will never identify transmission lines as a point of interest or an enduring item of value or beauty.
Transmission lines will deter tourism. We need tourism to stabilize the local economy. I need tourism because it is based on the same values I cherish: natural beauty in sustainable balance, restorative quiet and dark skies for star gazing, clean air for breathing deeply and uncontaminated water for drinking and recreation.
Anne D. Bachner

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