Temperatures in the low 20s Tuesday didn't distract Frances Page from the sweeping view of the Poconos atop the Pine Hill Vista in Lackawanna State Forest.
The view makes this area so special, the Tobyhanna Township woman told several others who trudged up a snowy incline to get there, their capped heads nodding in agreement. They came because they fear the view will be marred by PPL's proposed high-voltage power lines, which are part of the utility company's North Pocono Reliability Project.
Page is part of a group pushing for a different citizens route that keeps the power lines out of the Pine Hill Vista view and away from residences. The group includes residents of several communities in the Thornhurst Township area of Lackawanna County and Buck Township in Luzerne County, she said.
The group has collected more than 600 signatures on a petition and plans to push for a hearing before the Public Utility Commission, Page said.
We really need to be heard, Page said. We are going to be taking in this tremendous burden that will change our area forever.
Dave Berry, another township resident who made the trek with his son, said he has come to the spot several times. It is absolutely silent, he said. There isn't a single sound that's manmade here.
The group spotted a distant ski slope that they identified as Jack Frost near Lake Harmony, unique mountain forms and other landscape features.
Today we can see a good 40 to 50 miles, Page said.
Page said 145-foot electrical pylons would poke up high above the tallest trees if PPL's proposal is approved.
The power lines, which PPL says will improve electric service for an estimated 250,000 people in Northeastern Pennsylvania, will run south from Plains Township along state Route 115, then loop northeast through the Poconos to connect to existing lines near Lake Wallenpaupack.
The citizens group proposes another route farther north through Lackawanna State Forest, away from populated areas.
The citizens group meets at 7:30 p.m. every third Monday at the Thornhurst Fire Hall. To foster group discussion, it established an email account at this address: email@example.com. The password is care2012 (with no quotes).