Special Sections : Wind Energy

Tuesday, Jun 12 2012 08:03 AM

Wind Museum holds ribbon cutting

Tehachapi Wind Museum inaugurated a historical exhibit on the Cameron Ridge Segment of the Pacific Crest Trail on Wednesday, June 6 . This exhibit (approximately 10 miles south of Highline Road, Tehachapi) is made possible through a generous grant from The Bakersfield Californian Foundation and through the efforts of several wind industry and government partners.

"You may be wondering why we're standing outside, away from civilization, if this is a ribbon cutting for a museum," said John Kelly, museum president. "It's our desire to modify people's expectations about a museum. Early on, the TWM board made a conscious decision to launch this museum as a virtual museum. The short term strategy is to create online exhibits and to distribute the museum out to the community without taking on the overhead of a monolithic operation. This trail is a example of the kind of exhibit you'll see from our organization. You'll also see exhibits online, on our website, Tehachapiwindmuseum.org."

The significance of the museum's recently completed project along the Pacific Crest Trail is that it is the only site on the trail through an active wind generation area, Kelly said.

The exhibit consists of three interpretive trail panels located at the southern trailhead. The three signs are titled: "Pioneers of the Wind," "Wind Development: Why Tehachapi Pass?" and "The Pacific Crest Trail: Hike a Mile or Two Thousand."

The exhibit is intended to improve local residents' and the general public's understanding of the historical, technological, environmental and cultural secrets of this diverse locale.

"You can't fully appreciate something like the Hoover Dam or the Golden Gate Bridge by reading about them or looking at photographs, you take an on-site tour instead," said James Murray, TWM secretary and lead developer of the PCT exhibit.

"In much the same way, this TWM exhibit provides a gateway for experiencing vintage and modern wind farm technology on its native turf," he added. "It was a real learning experience and a great pleasure to work on this exhibit."

In addition to the exhibit panels, a companion trail guide was developed that will educate hikers on the human and natural history of wind energy development, the local environment and the history of the eastern Kern area. This complimentary trail guide is available at the trailhead and will be available at additional locations throughout Tehachapi. The historical photos collected for this project will be archived on the TWM web site and will be made available for review and use by scholars and the general public.

TWM garnered the support of several industry and government partners to successfully complete the exhibit. The Cal Portland Company generously provided permission for the TWM to install the panels on the PCT easement on their property. The Bureau of Land Management provided an in-house graphic artist to design the panels. The U. S. Forest Service provided support in obtaining permission for installation of the panels within the existing easement. The Pacific Crest Trail Association provided support in the production of a panel dedicated to the Pacific Crest Trail and provided PCT brochures for inclusion at a trailhead dispenser and representatives from the wind energy industry provided historical photos of early wind farm development and historical commentary for development of the panel text.

The museum was born out of a desire to capture the unique history of the modern wind farm as it was developed in the Tehachapi Mountains. Most importantly, in that history, are the people who made it all happen which is the story that simply must be told, according to the TWM. To this end, the museum's mission is to "creatively capture the story in the history of the wind energy industry" by focusing on the human element and by preserving the relevant artifacts.

For more information go to: www.tehachapiwindmuseum.org. Photo by Ed Gordon

Bureau of Land Management Planner Josh Hammari cuts the first ribbon, left, with the help of Wind Museum President John Kelly while Museum Secretary Jim Murry stands by to cut the second ribbon dedicating the new signage and exhibit at the Tehachapi Wind Musem on Cameron Ridge, within 10 miles of Highline Road, Tehachapi.

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