Dark skies for naked eye astronomers and photographers

Artemus

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I am sure this comes as no surprise to us Colorado plateau wanderers but it sure is nice for CRNP to get this designation. It helps awareness and provides a baseline and ammunition to help protect against the constant increase in light pollution. Well done CRNP.

Capitol Reef National Park - "Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park"

http://www.sltrib.com/news/2421980-155/cloudless-conditions-clear-air-boost-capitol
 

Michael

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Thx for info. :)
I'll spend a couple of nights there.


Gesendet via iPhone 6 mit CrapaTalk
 

WasatchWill

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"This designation is a testament to the commitment the park has made to preserve its pristine dark skies for this and future generations," said Capitol Reef National Park Superintendent Leah McGinnis.
Perhaps I'm missing something, but I don't see how the Park staff has had as much to do with preserving it's pristine dark skies as much as it is a product of simply being so far from any major metropolis area as stated earlier in the article. The statement above implies that stepping out of the park borders will result in diminished quality of viewing the night sky, as if Boulder Mountain, Goblin Valley, San Rafael, and other areas just outside the park do not offer the same dark skies. I believe parts of Escalante NM and other nearby areas can offer virtually equivalent dark skies given that they are relatively far from major metropolis areas too. I think that with Capitol Reef being a National Park, which gives it an elevated status above the other nearby areas, is what contributed to receiving such a distinguished honor.

Still, I love the park. I've notice over the years it seems to be getting a little busier. Still far from the crowds you get in Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, and others, but word is getting out on it. It's reputation for offering such solitude may not last for too long and I will miss that about it. After getting further into some of its backcountry a couple weeks ago, I fell in love with it even more. I need to get further down the Fold and down into Muley and Halls Creek on future visits.
 

Nick

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Perhaps I'm missing something, but I don't see how the Park staff has had as much to do with preserving it's pristine dark skies as much as it is a product of simply being so far from any major metropolis area as stated earlier in the article.

There are certainly things they can do to help like not putting up light poles all over the place in the more developed areas, but yeah, I agree with you. Seems like a pretty arbitrary designation seeing how most of the region is in a similar situation.
 

WasatchWill

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There are certainly things they can do to help like not putting up light poles all over the place in the more developed areas, but yeah, I agree with you. Seems like a pretty arbitrary designation seeing how most of the region is in a similar situation.

I thought that too. But then I figured that street lights and the like aren't commonly found all over other big national parks either, especially the ones out west here designated for their wilderness.
 

Aldaron

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"This is cool, but we're not doing much more than sitting out here in the middle of nowhere."

That might not have been quite as good of a quote for the story.
 

Nick

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I thought that too. But then I figured that street lights and the like aren't commonly found all over other big national parks either, especially the ones out west here designated for their wilderness.

Right, but there are in other places of the park; campgrounds, facilities and such. I could see making a point not to have them as being gold-star-worthy for such a designation and well within the control of the park admin.
 

WasatchWill

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Right, but there are in other places of the park; campgrounds, facilities and such. I could see making a point not to have them as being gold-star-worthy for such a designation and well within the control of the park admin.

I suppose so. I stayed in the campground once in Fruita and I remember there being at least one good light pole being on, and I believe that was near the restroom, but not much else. Good to have at least that one light or two for a little security among other reasons. Visitor Center has some other minimal lighting. So yeah, they do get by with a minimal amount of light, but compared to other parks, they don't really have much development even in Fruita outside the visitor center and staff lodging. And I guess that would be where they do all they can to get by with minimal development and reduce the need for any additional lights. I know UVU has a small little complex down past Capitol Gorge at Pleasant Creek that may have a low light or two for the evenings, but outside of that, there really is no development in the park. So if that's what they mean by preserving the darkness of night, then that makes sense now. Still, I have to think there are a handful of other parks out there, like Great Basin, that appear to be in the middle of nowhere too and far enough away from any big cities to be affected by any significant amount of light pollution.
 

Nick

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I'm not saying that's what it is, I'm just speculating and suggesting there are small things within control of the park that affect night sky visibility and aren't just based on proximity to developed areas. And I totally agree about there being tons of sites that are probably just as deserving.
 

Artemus

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While there is no doubt that other parts of Utah and the mountain west are just as dark a sky this award yields multiple benefits.

It garners great press and provides awareness and visibility into the issue of our dark skies disappearing throughout our country at an alarming rate. It reminds people that otherwise may be apathetic that there are places and people that treasure a natural, star-filled, sky view and it encourages others who may be interested in enjoying and preserving such skies that there are places still pristine and worth protecting. These places are out there to visit and appreciate even though our Utah metropolitan/suburban areas where these same people live are rapidly becoming like NYC (sorry NYC) where most people's experience with visible night time objects is limited to the moon and their neighborhood neon signs.

The linked article delineates multiple ways that the park service, and this park in particular, have gone out of the way to educate and inform their users and to replace/eliminate unnecessary light sources under their purview. They then went out of their way to go after the award, win it and advertise it to further the cause. Conservation and preservation of another natural resource. Exactly what I admire our National Park Service for.
 
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Yvonne

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There are certainly things they can do to help like not putting up light poles all over the place in the more developed areas, but yeah, I agree with you. Seems like a pretty arbitrary designation seeing how most of the region is in a similar situation.

agree, that's why you have such light pollution in Bryce Canyon because Ruby's Inn has the worst light poles installed that destroy all attempts to get cool night shots.
 

Dave

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I remember sleeping out in the Salt Lake suburbs when I was a kid and learning the constellations. I'm in my 30s and a lot of those stars are now invisible in the valley. Salt Lake light pollution affects the western Uintas and burns into the sky of the west desert. CRNP getting this certification shows a commitment to preserving dark skies, even if the staff didn't do anything special to earn it.
 

WasatchWill

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While there is no doubt that other parts of Utah and the mountain west are just as dark a sky this award yields multiple benefits.

It garners great press and provides awareness and visibility into the issue of our dark skies disappearing throughout our country at an alarming rate. It reminds people that otherwise may be apathetic that there are places and people that treasure a natural, star-filled, sky view and it encourages others who may be interested in enjoying and preserving such skies that there are places still pristine and worth protecting. These places are out there to visit and appreciate even though our Utah metropolitan/suburban areas where these same people live are rapidly becoming like NYC (sorry NYC) where most people's experience with visible night time objects is limited to the moon and their neighborhood neon signs.

The linked article delineates multiple ways that the park service, and this park in particular, have gone out of the way to educate and inform their users and to replace/eliminate unnecessary light sources under their purview. They then went out of their way to go after the award, win it and advertise it to further the cause. Conservation and preservation of another natural resource. Exactly what I admire our National Park Service for.

Great points! Thanks!
 
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