I read with interest the commentary “Wrong-headed plan risks history, tourism” by Clark B. Hall, published on Aug. 24, 2019, in the Culpeper Star-Exponent, and found Mr. Hall’s comments to be spot on!
While I am not a resident of the Culpeper area, I have been, over the last several years, a tourist to your beautiful area. The Civil War campaigns that Mr. Hall mentioned in his column, along with the area’s pristine farmlands of the area, are the reasons that I and many of my friends have made countless trips to Culpeper County.
During those trips, Mr. Hall has shared the history of the various campaigns and more importantly, the stories of the men on both sides who spent time in Culpeper during the war. Many are still buried there today, and many lay where their lifeblood was spilled.
Residents of Culpeper: I have spent, literally, thousands of dollars driving to your area, eating in your restaurants, and staying in your hotels. All of this with a purpose of trying to understand and interpret the conflicts in Culpeper to have the context, background and understanding that I can leverage for visitors to Gettysburg National Military Park in my role there as a Licensed Battlefield Guide.
On at least four separate trips, I have hosted visitors—ranging in numbers from 15 to 50—all whom stay in hotels, eat meals and spend money in the area. Their purpose in visiting was to see pristine areas where important history took place, in order to understand what happened and to honor the participants.
Why would you not protect these historical (and beautiful) farms and area so that future visitors may do the same?
Please consider the impact to your infrastructure. Can your beautiful roads, unlike any others in the world, handle an industrial solar complex? Can your first responders handle the situations involved with solar farms? Are they prepared to fight fires and handle emergencies with the toxins in solar panels? What about disposal of the panels after their lifespan is over? Where will these panels be disposed? Who is responsible for oversight to make sure that disposal is done properly, without further harm to the environment?
In an article published Monday headlined “Cricket Solar pulls permit application for Culpeper project,” it seems the industrial solar giant has stepped back, in the face of opposition.
I applaud the efforts of Mr. Hall and the residents of Culpeper to stand for maintaining the beautiful, historical landscape of the county, specifically those areas that were fought over and where soldiers are still buried, having given up all they had—including their lives—in the fight for the causes they believed in.
Will this be the end of encroachment by such companies? Only time will tell, of course.
In the meantime, please continue to support historic preservation and land protection in Culpeper. Current and future generations, tourists, historians and citizens will certainly thank you for doing so.
Please keep your area pristine for these and many other reasons. The simple reason is because it is the right thing to do for past and future generations. There are plenty of other areas in Virginia for utility-scale solar, and other solutions that are likely more viable for electrical generation and industrial-solar complexes.
I look forward to my next visit to Culpeper, in the not too distant future!