Last year I was not able to take part in the National Trails day which made me even more determined to take a hike this year in honor of it. I was delighted that this year in addition to taking part in a hike, it would be for a good cause and would be with friends.
The cause I am referring to is amongst many names also called ‘Save the Gaps’. This was the 2nd of the two hikes done this year to raise awareness of this issue and let people see first hand what was to lose by not supporting this and other such issues.
A summary of the issue:
PPL Electric Utilities Corporation on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River and PSE&G on the New Jersey side have proposed to expand a power transmission line that currently crosses three Parks (Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.) Not only will these transmission lines be a real eyesore (at 200 ft tall each), they are totally unnecessary. Their proposal is much greater than what is needed for electricity reliability. They will flood the market with cheap and unwanted energy and this will do two things. It will take away the attention and investments from looking into alternate energy sources.
The project consists of adding 500 kV power lines to the already existing 230 kV. To achieve the increase in transmission capacity they will need to build 75 195-ft towers and create 80 access roads. Environmentalists have been opposing this project from the onset because of serious ecological impacts, negative affects on air and water quality, reduced property values and public health concerns. Going on the hike made this point amply clear and was so very worth it.
A few fun facts on the hike itself:
The weather was gorgeous, a bit humid..but no rain, not too harsh of a sun and breezy at times. We were about 20 or so hikers, many from Sierra Club (the org. I am a member of and was participating on behalf of) and a few from savethepark.org. Do check out both sites to learn more about this cause and how to join in this effort through whatever means and amount (time, money, manpower) available.
I had a friend visiting from Boston and we both trudged 70 miles in the morning from my place to go on this 3.5 mile hike..but it was so worth it. My only sadness was in not being able to carpool with anyone. I feel we should all encourage and look into on any trip involving more than 20 miles and enough people.
We went through beautiful green highways (the real NJ!) and past very friendly towns. Folks in the neighboring Barksville didn’t bark or honk even once although we were going around in circles and stopping at all stop signs trying to figure our way around.
And the added bonus on the hike was the pleasure of 2 absolutely adorable and friendly dogs.Even though I am usually scared of dogs, these two were so well behaved, you couldn’t help being attracted towards them. Check out their (and other hike) pics at the below flickr site.