Wind Power, Snowmobilers Link Up In Maine

This year, there was snow. So the ride was on – the Stetson Wind Snowmobile Ride-In, a tour of Maine wind farms put on by the wind power company First Wind and local groups and held, as it turns out, every odd year since 2009.

This year’s event, at the Stetson I and II wind farms, had a special purpose: To kick-start the creation a “590-mile circuit of existing trails that would connect Maine’s viewing points of power projects,” according to First Wind.

ride the wind wind power snowmobiles

Snowmobilers at Stetson Wind in Maine on Saturday (image via Ride the Wind)

For First Wind, this was savvy PR in sometimes wind-unfriendly New England, one more piece of outreach to go along with the $500 it gave to the Lee Academy in Lee, Maine, for scholarships for needy students, as well as an earlier donation to the House in the Woods, a Lee-based organization that provides outdoor activities for vets and their families.

For snowmobilers, it was more trail action, with a cool renewable energy twist, according to Bob Meyers, executive director of the Maine Snowmobile Association. And burgers off the grill for lunch.

Hot grill on a winter day (image via Ride the Wind)

Hot grill on a winter day (image via Ride the Wind)

“The ride into a wind project like this is fun for everyone, and we appreciate the businesses in Maine like First Wind who open their projects up to snowmobilers,” Meyers said in a statement. “We’re very hopeful we can move forward with a statewide wind farm trail system soon, and we look forward to providing more exciting opportunities like this one across the state.”

Proposed wind farm trail system (image via Ride the Wind)

Proposed wind farm trail system (image via Ride the Wind)

Although these are mostly trails that in one fashion or another already exist, First Wind said it is “helping to bring about upgrades, improvements, connecting trails, and signage to bring the ‘Ride the Wind’ trail to life.”

First Wind says it has five wind farms up and running in Maine, along with another two that are in the permitting process.

Sports columnist, newspaper desk guy, website managing editor, wine-industry PR specialist, freelance writer—Pete Danko’s career in media has covered a lot of terrain. The constant along the way has been a fierce dedication to knowing the story and getting it right. Danko's work has appeared in Wired, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

  • antiwhine

    Will these trails be open for snowmobile riders at any time, not just organized events? And if so, will there be a stopping point with a person who will have snowmobilers sign the sme waiver that was mandatory for the “Ride The Wind” event? http://ridethewind2013.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/release_001.pdf

    • http://www.facebook.com/petedanko Pete Danko

      I believe the trails will be generally open, and suspect the waiver was required because the riders were going directly into the wind farm for a company-hosted event. But you might want to ask at the Ride the Wind Facebook page to get definitive answers:
      https://www.facebook.com/ridethewind1