The Upper Peninsula is a beautiful place to live. It is a great blessing to be able to own a home in such a place. A recent article in the Daily Press wrote about the ATC (American Transmission Company) electrical line on the old railroad grade from Hermansville to Escanaba. A collaboration between the DNR and the multibillion dollar company ATC to put both an ATV/multi-use trail and a large power line along the corridor. As a home owner near this tentatively planned project, this idea is greatly disturbing.
The statement in the June 5 article in your paper, that "the vast majority of the public wanted the corridor open to multi-use, including hiking, biking, ORVs, snowmobiles and equestrians" by the DNR is outrageous. Unfortunately, I feel that a well organized, vocal minority that doesn't understand the perils that come with having such a trail next to homes has overshadowed the passive majority who oppose an ATV/multi-use trail.
This old railroad grade runs right through my neighbor's front yard. There are a number of houses along this grade with small children. The combined blow of putting a large power line near these houses with an ATV/multi-use trail is devastating and dangerous. I am concerned for the safety of these children from threats such as fast moving ATVs, dust, and EMFs (electromagnetic fields created by powerlines). According to the World Health Organization's International Agency For Research On Cancer monograph from March of 2002 extremely low-frequency magnetic fields are possibly carcinogenic to humans. This is based on a two fold increase in relative risk of children living near power lines developing childhood leukemia.
It is time for homeowners along this segment of railroad grade band together to do all we can to stop this from happening, by writing our congressmen, DNR and ATC and anyone else who will listen. I have created an email to help coordinate our effort and bring our voices together: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even if this does not concern you, please consider giving your support by adding to our voice. Try to imagine what it would be like to have these dangers in your front yard, near your home, where you should feel the safest.
We live in the Upper Peninsula because it is a special place. Let's fight to keep it that way.
Carolyn Olson M.D.