A Frontier Phenomenon

- Monday, March 04, 2013

Series Producer Marsha Walton shares some information on the Lake County (Oregon) Resources Initiative, featured in episode 213 of This American Land.

When you’ve got a hit on your hands, the rest of the world takes notice!

The state of Oregon has recognized the accomplishments of LCRI, The Lake County Resources Initiative, and wants to take their message of creativity and sustainability to a bigger audience. 

We featured the “Natural Resources Revival’ in this southern Oregon region in episode 213.

 Lake County isn’t just rural—it is classified as “frontier” by the Census Department! And that frontier spirit is what has helped this area transform from being dependent on timber, to taking advantage of its other natural resources, from geothermal to solar to biomass. 

With help from the state, LCRI is building a mobile unit to show other communities more about renewable energy, how to get tax breaks for green energy projects, and how, with a view for the long term, these investments can actually make money. 

There will also be a stationary exhibit at the Lake County Chamber of Commerce in Lakeview, featuring solar exhibits, and a video of our story! Several roadside renewable energy kiosks will be placed around the county on major highways.

The Lake County Hospital is already saving $100,000 a year thanks to its geothermal conversion. And the geothermal retrofit for county schools should be complete in 2014. 

Pacific Power's two megawatt Black Cap solar facility that was just being constructed when we visited, went online in November. It’s the largest commercial scale solar project in Oregon. 

Jim Walls is the energetic executive director of LCRI. His goal is to help small communities make renewable energy an economic development tool.

LCRI has gotten help with its work from “Sustainable Northwest.” Check out this fascinating look at some individual and community actions in response to climate change in rural America.

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THIS AMERICAN LAND is the leading conservation news magazine program on public television stations nationwide. Opening windows to our country’s amazing natural heritage, we report compelling stories on America’s landscapes, waters and wildlife, taking our viewers to the front lines of conservation, science and outdoor adventure with stories that inform and entertain.
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