"Go for the Gold"
Updated: 12 October 2014
Help Oracle State Park "Go for the Gold"!
In July 2014, the Oracle Dark Skies Committee submitted a proposal to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), headquartered in Tucson, to have Oracle State Park become the first "International Dark Sky Park" in the Arizona State Parks system. As described by the IDA, there are three tiers for an "International Dark Sky Park": Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The Committee had determined that the Park is "Gold" in every aspect except one; the night sky quality is "Silver".
While most of our "Light Pollution" comes from Tucson, Casa Grande, and Phoenix, there will be a visible benefit by reducing sources of Light Pollution in Oracle and the surrounding areas.
Milky Way rising over Oracle State Park
What is "Light Pollution" and why is it bad?
A major source of Light Pollution is business and residential lighting that is:
Two other terms are used to describe such lighting: Light Nuisance and Light Trespass. If your light bothers your neighbor or shines into their home, it is considered a "nuisance" and "trespasses" onto their property.
Light Pollution not only impacts the science of astronomy (an important business in Arizona), but it causes well documented negative impacts on wildlife, the environment, human health, and even security. Studies have shown that it wastes over 2 Billion dollars a year in the US alone. Are YOU wasting your money? Are businesses you deal with wasting money you pay for their services?
For more information on Light Pollution see the IDA web site. They have many articles and brochures on the subject.
How can you help Oracle "Go for the Gold"?
Eliminating Light Pollution does NOT mean "no light". It DOES mean to be smart when using outdoor lighting.
You can easily check your home or business for improper lighting. Stand at various places along your property line at night with your outdoor lighting turned ON. Can you see the bulbs? Is the light casting strong shadows outside your property? Is the light illuminating your neighbor's land or home or business? Is your lighting aimed upwards or horizontally? Look at your light fixtures; where do they appear on this list?
If your fixtures are "Bad" or "Really Bad", please consider replacing them. Dark Sky compliant lighting fixtures are available at Home Depot and Lowe's. Alternatively, simple "shields" can be added to existing fixtures to prevent your light from going beyond your property. Properly shielded lighting can reduce your electricity costs because you can lower the wattage of the bulbs you use.
For more information on outdoor lighting see the IDA Practical Guide.
If you want to comply with the current Pinal County Outdoor Lighting Code (2.195), here are some basic requirements:
The entire Pinal County Outdoor Lighting Code is available online.
Will you help Oracle State Park "Go for the Gold"? We hope you will.
If you decide to upgrade or replace your lights, please contact Mike Weasner, Chair of the Oracle Dark Skies Committee, at 520-289-3402 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Committee would like to document "before" and "after" photos of your lights for inclusion in the "International Dark Sky Park" proposal. If you have any questions about your lighting, please contact Mike.
If you would have questions about the work of the Committee or would like to volunteer to be on the Committee, contact Mike (520-289-3402 or email@example.com).
Although our proposal has been submitted to IDA, we hope we can upgrade Oracle State Park to "Gold Tier" by reducing Light Pollution in southern Arizona. Your support is greatly appreciated.
If you would like to read the "International Dark Sky Park" Nomination Package, the final version submitted to the International Dark-Sky Association is available for download from the Oracle State Park web site.
Even though IDA approved the designation of Oracle State Park as an "International Dark Sky Park" (Silver) in October 2014, we are still pursuing Gold status and still need your help as outlined above. We will be submitting an annual report in late 2015 documenting OSP IDSP activities and improvements, and with your help we hope to obtain Gold status by then.
Star Trails over Kannally Ranch House, Oracle State Park
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