Seven years ago, when I first arrived in Campbell County, my breath was taken away when my Impala reached the edge of the first “Wientjes Hill” on Highway 1804. I couldn’t believe my eyes. For miles and miles, rolling river hills of lush green prairie grasses, alfalfa, and sweet clover covered the landscape. Beyond those gorgeous hills ran the beautiful Missouri River (Lake Oahe to be more precise).
I had just arrived in Campbell County after an endless, or so it seemed, drive from the southeast part of South Dakota. I’ve lived in the Land of Infinite Variety my entire life, but I was still completely amazed to see such a different landscape than what I was used to across other parts of the state.
Because I work approximately forty miles south of where we live, I am blessed with an incredibly scenic drive to and from work. I’m not sure I’ve ever reached the top of that hill on the highway and not thought about the first time seeing those hills. However, things are changing…
Right before our very eyes the priceless and indescribable beauty of the Campbell County river hills is being taken away by wind towers. As of today, ten towers are up and four have blades attached. These turbines are able to be seen for almost my entire trip home. Today when I reached the top of that first “Wientjes Hill” I didn’t have the same feeling I once did. This gal from the other side of the state felt like a little chunk of her heart was broken.
I try not to dwell on the negative, and I hope the positives outweigh the negatives like some people have claimed. But, I was raised in a family that stressed the importance of being a steward of the land and trying to make this world a cleaner, better, more beautiful place than the way it was found. These wind towers seem to be doing the opposite.
If you follow my writing, you know I always struggle with change and I’m generally too sentimental. So this situation probably shouldn’t surprise me. I pray for everyone involved: for safety of the workers, disputing neighbors, and people who are just unsure of what to think of such a major change.
Missing my towerless hills,
The Displaced City Girl