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Protecting the Dark Night Skies of the Golden Valley
Remember the old Louie Armstrong song “What a wonderful world” and the lyrics “I see skies of blue, clouds of white, the bright blessed days, the dark sacred nights ...
It is the last part, “THE DARK SACRED NIGHTS” that I think needs some serious and immediate consideration here for the Sacramento Valley and Golden Valley in particular….
Just because we have chosen not to incorporate does not mean that change, growth and development will in any way be stopped or even slowed. It just means we will have little control, if any, on the WAVE of development that is surely coming our way in the next few years. And one of the GRAVE affects of this growth, amongst others, and I say of great importance, will be the ever steady infringement on and inevitable loss of one of our greatest assets, the dark night sky.
The bright lights around businesses on 68 and 93 and the home/property security lights available through the county are slowly but surely taking away our gorgeous, gorgeous “DARK SACRED NIGHTS”… As a resident the hair on the back of my neck raises up ever time a new lot is being prepared for a new home or business and I cannot get there fast enough to beg them NOT to put in one of those intrusive security lights that will block my view of the night sky
And I would not want to suggest that the businesses nor our citizens, our neighbors should in any way be denied security measures.
We are losing our heritage of starry nights. Artificial light in the night sky threatens to destroy the spectacular views the heavens offer. This "light pollution" wastes energy and provides no benefit to society.
Utah Dark Sky Association
However there is a new awareness of and interest in “LIGHT POLLUTION” that we might collectively want to address and consider taking action on preventing. The trend in many places is to adapt new city and county standards of alternative lighting fixtures that pinpoints the light more directivity, efficiently, avoiding sideways and skyward invasion from light from one property to the next
There is an organization called the International Dark Sky Association and some of you might have seen their brochure and banner at Golden Valley Days recently. The goal of the organization is education, awareness of the problems associated with Light Pollution and alternative product choices for individuals and municipalities to safely but conservatively and respectfully light the night.
Recently there was an article about the National Park Service tracking, documenting and making recommendations to the city of Pahrump near Las Vegas about the light pollution now sweeping over Death Valley as expansion and development come ever closer to the edge of the park. The article spoke of how the city of Pahrump has responded by adopting lighting standards for new buildings and parking lot light ordnances , in the rural and housing areas retrofitting the existing antiquated light polluting street lights and security fixtures with new efficient ones in a city wide mandate..
Flagstaff AZ has done similar and has become the first International Dark Sky City. Flagstaff was a natural for this new thinking with a long history of watching the night sky and having their location one of the best for long-range viewing locations of the night sky with the Lowell Observatory. Their citizens were adamant in making sure that they will continue to enjoy the wonder and majesty of the night sky.
I for one think we should do the same and PRONTO!!!!
It is possible for GV and the residents to adopt a position as did Flagstaff that we want to preserve this one aspect about our beautiful valley absolutely and for posterity. We can all rally around this one consideration and we can petition and educate the county planning and zoning and the county supervisors to mandate and adopt the new standards of lighting fixtures residential and commercial to protect our night sky notonly for ourselves but the entire county..
It is a straightforward pitch and the numbers speak to the saving in energy cost, cost per lighting unit, maintenance, and retrofitting for already established lighting. Moreover, there are many examples across the country in Texas and Wisconsin and the world of communities that have already made a strong stand on preserving the night sky and the details for adapting new technology to correct this rather INCIDEOUS problem already researched and well documented so our county supervisors and planners can see the WIN WIN situation. And surely they can be persuaded beyond a shadow of a doubt the benefits for all and see there way clear to adapt something that will continue to give so much to so many now and in the years to come. …
A WIN WIN situation for Golden Valley and Mohave County…Lets be in the LEAD here shall we Golden Valley!
Windy River Institue
For more detailed information about this subject go to www.darksky.org or you can find their brochure at the newly renovated Golden Valley Chamber office.