Help Protect Pine Ridge Natural Area!

This blog post is a call to action for those of you who care about the integrity of Fort Collins' protected natural areas.  I urge you to please help by reading this message.

Platte River Power Authority (PRPA) has received approval to put 90-110 foot high-voltage transmission towers through one of Northern Colorado’s pristine and most popular natural areas — the Pine Ridge Natural Area, on the west side of Fort Collins.  These towers are necessitated by projected new growth and will primarily benefit areas outside Fort Collins, including Loveland and Longmont. These huge towers are already installed along Trilby Road between Taft Hill and Shields and heading west into the foothills.  They have also been installed along Overland Trail Road north of Drake.  These towers have already created a major eye-sores in our views to the foothills and mountains, including impacting the views from our open spaces and community separators.  Now the proposal calls for these towers to be installed within Fort Collins' best-loved natural area, cutting across the entire length of Pine Ridge Natural Area.  Please refer to the following article and photos of what the new transmission lines will look like.

The Fort Collins City Council has an opportunity to request that PRPA bury these cables underground or to ask for other alternatives to be studied.  Burying may create some short-term impacts, but 100-foot towers will be with us forever unless other alternatives are identified.

Please join me in providing feedback to the Fort Collins City Council.  Simply copy and paste the e-mail addresses below and send your opinion to the entire Council (full names and phone numbers are at the end of this e-mail).  It is important to act quickly, construction is planned to begin this August.  Points to emphasize include the following:
Please protect our views and the valuable quality of life that our open spaces, trails and habitat provide;
  • Please bury or underground the electrical lines planned by PRPA to cut across our popular Pine Ridge Natural Area, such as you did in the Colina Mariposa Natural Area south of West Trilby Road (along the railroad tracks).  Or please ask PRPA to evaluate other alternatives to protect our natural area;
  • It is not acceptable to destroy the scenic attributes of our natural areas in order to save money on power transmission line costs;
  • The costs to underground is small compared to the $200 million yearly revenue of PRPA and the $130 million that PRPA is spending to upgrade all transmission lines to accommodate growth to the south of us.  This should be part of the cost for upgrading;
  • Other communities that benefit from upgrading the power transmission lines should pay their fair share of the costs of burying the lines;
  • PRPA has buried similar high-voltage lines when appropriate to avoid impacts to existing developments in Longmont where they actually bored under the affected areas;
  • Although the power line easement through Pine Ridge already exists and the proposed project will replace an existing power line, City of Fort Collins policy states that any new electric utility lines in natural areas must be buried;
  • We cannot underestimate the value of preserving our views and experience in the natural area appreciated by the citizens who have overwhelmingly chosen to tax themselves to preserve and create one of the most valuable assets in the region—our natural areas.  Such an action is inconsistent with the City’s reputation of being one of the Best Places to Live in the US.
Thank you for helping to keep Fort Collins great!

Ross Cunniff

Members of the Ft. Collins City Council

Karen Weitkunat, Mayor
Office: 970.416.2154

Kelly Ohlson, Mayor Pro Tem, District 5
Home/Office: 970.493.7225

Ben Manvel, Councilmember, District 1
Cell: 970.217.1932

Lisa Poppaw, Councilmember, District 2
Home: 970.223.4136

Aislinn Kottwitz, Councilmember, District 3
Cell: 970.692.9915

Wade Troxell, Councilmember, District 4
Cell: 970.219.894

Gerry Horak, Councilmember, District 6
Cell: 970.217.2993

Darin Atteberry, City Manager


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