DIXFIELD — Freemont Tibbetts unveiled two films he has taken from above several mountain ranges that showed not only his disdain for constructing wind turbines on them, but also his love for the beauty of the state of Maine.
Tibbetts, 79, a fifth-generation resident of Dixfield, hopes to show the films to as many people as possible.
“It's great to see the mountains before they put the damn windmills up,” he said as he narrated the film of his flight about two weeks ago over what he called the loop of planned wind projects in Rumford, Roxbury, Carthage, Dixfield, Canton and Woodstock.
About 100 turbines in six separate projects are in various stages of planning in the six towns, with all but Rumford's and Roxbury's proposed by Patriot Renewables LLC of Quincy, Mass. Rumford's project is proposed by First Wind LLC of Boston, and Roxbury's by Independent Wind LLC.
Nearly 20 people from several of the towns involved attended the showing.
The film of the Rumford loop described projects that would top Saddleback ridge in Carthage, cross Route 2 to Colonel Holman Mountain ridge in Dixfield, then continue on to Canton Mountain and end on the Spruce Mountain ridge in Woodstock.
Tibbetts hired Rumford pilot Phil Zinck to fly him above the Rumford loop, then a few days later, over the already completed Kibby Mountain project built by TransCanada in Franklin County, and another proposed project in the Highland Plantation area just east of Kibby Mountain in neighboring Somerset County.
Tibbetts said he could feel the vibrations of the turbines on Kibby Mountain, describing how portions of mountaintops are blasted, then rods inserted into the earth to provide stability for the nearly 400-foot tall turbines.
“It's some beautiful up there,” he said.
The flight route included views of Flagstaff Lake, a multitude of small ponds, some of which Tibbetts said he has fished, and places he has logged. There were distant and close-up views of the turbines along the mountain ridge at the Kibby Mountain project.
“When hikers climbing the Appalachian Trail reach Mt. Katahdin (which could be seen in the distance), all they'll see is these red lights from the wind mills,” he said.
Dan McKay said DVDs of the two flights are being distributed, including in Dixfield stores, and he and Tibbetts are looking for other venues to show the films.
Dixfield residents will decide at the Nov. 2 election whether to approve zoning which would basically ban wind projects. Rumford residents will also vote Nov. 2 on an ordinance that would also ban such projects, if passed.
His opposition to the area projects won't end at the November election, Tibbetts said.
“It's going to be a long fight. It will be a struggle,” he said.
He acknowledged that many people have seen turbines and think they are magnificent.
Patriot Renewables will present its plans for the Dixfield project at a public informational meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday at Ludden Memorial Library.