Dec 3, 2015
Wildlands Conservancy Targets Another Dam
The dams associated with this beautiful grain mill in Hellertown has been targeted by The Wildlands Conservancy. The conservancy has been in the dam demolition business now for several years. They are allowed to keep 15% of the grants received for administrative costs, which in turn they use for their salaries. The caretakers of the mill shown above have wondered aloud if the dam removal on Saucon Creek will affect the flow of water to the mill run. Although the easy answer is of course, the Wildlands will conduct a study, producing an answer which serves their needs.
It's unfortunate when organizations like the Wildlands and DEP, which are sacred cows, become so arrogant that they feel justified and entitled in whatever they do or spend. The 110 year old Wehr's Dam is an excellent example of this abuse. In 2012, the DEP reported that the dam was in overall good condition. Two years later, when the Wildlands wanted to tear it down, they spend $259,000 on a study to convince South Whitehall that the dam should go. That study concluded that it would cost $1 to $2 million dollars to repair the dam. That figure was based on a total rebuild, as if it was holding back the lake behind Hoover Dam. A director of the DEP had publicly stated that there is no reason for any mill associated dam to exist. Quite a historian. The DEP paid for the study with our tax money. That $259,000 could have kept the dam maintained for the next 110 years.
I'm proud to have started the movement to save Wehr's Dam, and glad of our success saving such a picturesque part of South Whitehall's history. I hope that kindred spirits in Saucon Valley likewise defend their dam and history, both of which are irreplaceable.