So what is the Driftless Area? It’s 16,000 sq. miles of unique geology that was left untouched when the last glacial advance covered much of the upper Midwest. While surrounding land was scraped, flattened and littered with glacial debris by mile high ice sheets, this area was unscathed allowing erosion to slowly carve out valleys and coulees leaving stone capped river bluffs, rolling hills and (Blue) mounds. It’s a stunning landscape that harbors unique ecological niches.
The Driftless Area is internationally recognized as the largest contiguous fish and wildlife habitat in the Upper Mississippi River basin. World-class spring-fed trout streams, a landscape ideal for organic agriculture, a rich history including some of the first non-natives in Wisconsin, flourishing artistic and religious communities, and a picturesque landscape from every vantage point - it’s no wonder we love this place. We’re fortunate to call it home. But a rapidly changing world presents us with both challenges and opportunities that threaten these distinctive characteristics that draw and hold us here.
Energy production and distribution is one such challenge / opportunity. Examples of new energy saving and production technology are springing up all around us like Richland Electric Co-op’s new photo-voltaic (PV) installation. Although it sits perched on a sunny hilltop its low, snug profile is reminiscent of the architecture of Frank Llyod Wright, an icon of the Driftless Area. The 1,700 PV panels barely graze the horizon and meld with the landscape. Organic, locally sourced, unobtrusive, clean electrical generation – it’s a path to a future that incorporates the special qualities of the Driftless Region yet powers us into the future. We can preserve this unique landscape, and indeed, we have a responsibility to do so because this is our only home. We’re here forever… Earthbound.